#FBF: Favorite Books of the 1960s

If you’ve followed me around on Instagram or Goodreads you’ll already know how much of a book nerd I am. In fact, whenever somebody asks what my hobby is, I usually say, “reading”.

So, when it came time to research for All Manner of Things I just HAD to know what books my characters might read. I found that some of my favorite books were published in the 1960s.

What follows is just a sampling of what released from 1960-1969, all of which I’ve read. I hope you find a few great books to add to your to-read pile!

1960

Is it cliché to say that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorite books? No. Good. Because I wouldn’t care if it was!

Fun fact, in the first chapter of All Manner of Things Annie Jacobson has a copy of Harper Lee’s novel in her purse. Yeah. My protagonist is a reader. 🙂

I recently read Night by Elie Wiesel for the first time. It’s an extremely difficult, true account of the horrors of the holocaust. It’s one that we all should have the courage to read, if not just to remind ourselves of the potential for human evil and also the potential for people to survive and overcome.
I do, I like Green Eggs and Ham! I mean, who doesn’t, Sam I Am?

1962

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin is the nonfiction account of a white man who has his skin temporarily darkened so he could live, undercover, in the deep south and experience life under Jim Crow laws. It’s a stark, eye opening account, one that still has much relevance today.
I’m not a big fan of The Catcher in the Rye. That said, I have enjoyed reading about the Glass Family in books like Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories.
Steinbeck had a way with troubling, depressing, less than happily-ever-after ending stories. The Winter of Our Discontent is no different. Still, it’s Steinbeck.
Full disclosure: I don’t like peaches. BUT, I do adore James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. There’s just something about a little boy, bugs, and a floating fruit.

1962

My mom is a big Bradbury fan and I remember finding his paperbacks laying all over our house. My first Bradbury read was Something Wicked This Way Comes. So good. So creepy. So haunting. I need to read it again.

Hey, Mom? Can I borrow your copy?
Somehow I missed reading this one when I was a kid. So, I read it to my three and really enjoyed it.

Fun fact: This book also makes a VERY important appearance in All Manner of Things.
I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in a college literature class. It’s a journey into madness, empathy, and a look into mental health treatment in that era. One I need to pull out and read again.
Another Steinbeck. This time a nonfiction record of the author traveling across America with his cute pup. The careful reader of All Manner of Things will spot the reference to this book along with some parallels to my character Frank.

1963

While Where the Wild Things Are was never my favorite, it did give me pretty vivid nightmares when I was a child. That’s something, right?
While not technically a book, Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. is an essential read for all Americans. It goes beyond the polite, inspiring quotes we typically see from King and goes directly to the heart of his purpose.
In Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut marries science fiction, religion, and satire. It’s whackadoodle, just like all of his books. And that’s why I love him.

1964

Interestingly enough, I’m currently reading The Book of Three to my kids. It’s the first of The Chronicles of Prydain, a fantasy series. I’m really enjoying it even if I can’t pronounce half the names…
Ah! Nothing makes me want to tear into a candy bar quite as much as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s a favorite book around our house.
I remember when my elementary school teachers read The Giving Tree to my class and I felt like bawling my eyes out. I still get that way when I read it. Sniff, sniff.

1965

Ah! Who doesn’t live a motorcycle riding mouse?
This is, perhaps, my favorite Dr. Seuss book. It’s a tongue twisting challenge with great rhythm built in. I couldn’t even guess how many times I read this one to my kids when they were younger.

1966

I recently read Silence by Shûsaku Endô. It challenged my faith, motivations, and gave me a stronger appreciation for Christian martyrs throughout history.
I’m completely incapable of reading Flowers for Algernon without losing my composure. We’re talking ugly crying, friends.

1967

I first read this in fifth grade. Then I read it again as a nearly 40 year old. Ah. What a difference. I so appreciated it as an adult.
Stay gold, Ponyboy. Oh boy. That line gets me every single time. This is one of the books I read as a young teen that made me want to write powerful stories with characters that feel like friends.

Keep your eyes open while reading All Manner of Things to catch the reference to Hinton’s classic!
Ah! What a fun book! I read it out loud to my kids a few years ago and enjoyed it even more as an adult than I did as a kid.

1968

Okay. So this one isn’t a favorite. But I’d forgotten reading it when I was in middle school and was instantly taken back to a host of disturbing feelings I had while reading it when I saw the cover. Was anyone else scarred by this one? No? Only me? Okay. Cool.
Ah. That’s better. Corduroy makes all things happy once more.

1969

Vonnegut drew from his own experiences after surviving the bombing of Dresden in World War II to write this sci-fi, anti-war, satyrical novel. It is, so far, my favorite of his novels.
Anyone who wants to learn about the African-American experience should read this book. It’s essential.
After 50 years this poor critter still has the munchies!

What have I missed? What are some of your favorite books to come out of the 1960s? I’d love to add to my book list!

10 Comments on “#FBF: Favorite Books of the 1960s

  1. Wow! I love this so much. You’re right, we can learn a lot about a time period and its people when we know what they are reading! So important! I adore all the vintage book covers you used in this post, too.

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    • It does inform us of their outlooks and literary taste. 😉 I tried to find as many of the original covers as I could. It makes me happy to see the way some of the covers have changed over the years to fit the times.

      Like

  2. Wow! You just brought back a wealth of memories! I have many of those books that we’ve enjoyed over the years!

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  3. I have read TWENTY-ONE of these (patting self on back). Fox in Sox was a huge favorite here a zillion years ago when my kids were Dr. Seuss age (though Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You? was probably at the top – but I just checked, and it wasn’t published until 1970). I also love the vintage covers. Can’t wait to try to pick out all the references you mentioned in All Manner of Things!

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  4. I loved this list!! There are quite a few of my favorites here, and even more I’ve not read (and some I’ve never heard of).
    I appreciate seeing the great lengths authors will take to bring life to their books!

    Like

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