Flavorwire’s 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963-2013

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Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret AtwoodWhat is it about the internet that makes everyone love lists so much? No one ever liked lists before. It’s like when you go to college and all of a sudden this urge to play frisbee overtakes you, but leaves you as soon as your life on the quad is over. But I digress. Today, the list in question is Flavorwire’s 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, where they picked the best book of the year from the last 50 years. Of course, they say that part of it is their own personal taste, so they put “runners up” for each year as well.

I’m always curious to see how I stack up against the “must reads”, although most of the time there are at least a few books on those lists that I have absolutely no interest in tackling. This one was pretty much the same.

Below is the list in full. In italics are the ones I’ve read. 4 out of 50? I guess I have some work to do, although in my defense, I’ve read a lot more of the runners up they mentioned. How many have you read?

50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963 – 2013

  • 1963 – The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
  • 1964 – Herzog, Saul Bellow
  • 1965 – The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley
  • 1966 – Against Interpretation, Susan Sontag
  • 1967 – The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  • 1968 – Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
  • 1969 – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  • 1970 – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume
  • 1971 – The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor
  • 1972 – Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
  • 1973 – Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
  • 1974 – The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin
  • 1975 – The Great Railway Bazaar, Paul Theroux
  • 1976 – Speedboat, Renata Adler
  • 1977 – The Shining, Steven King
  • 1978 – The Sea, The Sea, Iris Murdoch
  • 1979 – The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, Angela Carter
  • 1980 – Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
  • 1981 – Outside Over There, Maurice Sendak
  • 1982 – The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  • 1983 – Cathedral, Raymond Carver
  • 1984 – Money, Martin Amis
  • 1985 – The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • 1986 – Maus, Art Spiegelman
  • 1987 – Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • 1988 – Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill
  • 1989 – Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
  • 1990 – The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
  • 1991 – Possession, A.S. Byatt
  • 1992 – The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  • 1993 – The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
  • 1994 – The Ice Storm, Rick Moody
  • 1995 – Sabbath’s Theater, Philip Roth
  • 1996 – Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
  • 1997 – Underworld, Don DeLillo
  • 1998 – Birds of America, Lorrie Moore
  • 1999 – Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee
  • 2000 – Pastoralia, George Saunders
  • 2001 – Austerlitz, W.G. Sebald
  • 2002 – Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
  • 2003 – The Known World, Edward P. Jones
  • 2004 – The Epicure’s Lament, Kate Christensen
  • 2005 – Magic for Beginners, Kelly Link
  • 2006 – The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  • 2007 – The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz
  • 2008 – Dangerous Laughter, Steven Millhauser
  • 2009 – Lit: A Memoir, Mary Karr
  • 2010 – A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
  • 2011 – Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan
  • 2012 – Building Stories, Chris Ware
  • 2013 – The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner

 

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2 thoughts on “Flavorwire’s 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963-2013

  1. I love a book list with all my heart 😉 I think I’ve read 10 or so from this list. There are a bunch on there that I’ve no interest in.

    • Yup…I used to feel bad about not wanting to read the “must reads”, but my to-read pile is already too big to worry about books I don’t care about!

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