Best Books of the Decade: 1950's

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3.89 avg rating — 609,588 ratings
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4.37 avg rating — 395,755 ratings
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3.63 avg rating — 319,399 ratings
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10

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4.26 avg rating — 467,638 ratings
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11

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3.57 avg rating — 297,810 ratings
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12

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4.36 avg rating — 299,846 ratings
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13

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4.14 avg rating — 191,408 ratings
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14

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4.12 avg rating — 433,886 ratings
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15

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3.86 avg rating — 146,188 ratings
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16

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3.89 avg rating — 197,889 ratings
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17

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4.17 avg rating — 376,898 ratings
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18

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3.94 avg rating — 44,517 ratings
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19

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3.65 avg rating — 260,934 ratings
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20

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4.08 avg rating — 90,946 ratings
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21

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3.82 avg rating — 144,690 ratings
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22

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4.04 avg rating — 63,466 ratings
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23

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4.03 avg rating — 74,329 ratings
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24

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3.57 avg rating — 181,613 ratings
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25

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4.03 avg rating — 368,189 ratings
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26

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4.09 avg rating — 369,571 ratings
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27

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4.16 avg rating — 369,466 ratings
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28

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3.92 avg rating — 247,846 ratings
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29

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3.85 avg rating — 126,991 ratings
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30

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4.17 avg rating — 90,840 ratings
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31

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4.19 avg rating — 250,731 ratings
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32

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3.98 avg rating — 127,146 ratings
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33

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3.77 avg rating — 11,984 ratings
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34

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3.97 avg rating — 317,974 ratings
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35

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3.94 avg rating — 49,726 ratings
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36

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3.96 avg rating — 36,523 ratings
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37

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3.89 avg rating — 5,675 ratings
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38

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3.96 avg rating — 217,009 ratings
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39

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4.08 avg rating — 50,152 ratings
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40

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4.19 avg rating — 126,202 ratings
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41

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3.69 avg rating — 336,406 ratings
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42

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4.34 avg rating — 87,586 ratings
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43

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3.98 avg rating — 177,188 ratings
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44

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4.03 avg rating — 84,816 ratings
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45

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3.97 avg rating — 43,056 ratings
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46

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4.25 avg rating — 117,716 ratings
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47

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4.29 avg rating — 5,332 ratings
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48

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4.20 avg rating — 68,307 ratings
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49

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4.12 avg rating — 87,818 ratings
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50

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4.16 avg rating — 103,339 ratings
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51

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4.25 avg rating — 16,279 ratings
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52

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3.98 avg rating — 39,768 ratings
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53

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4.22 avg rating — 36,317 ratings
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54

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3.96 avg rating — 34,104 ratings
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55

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4.01 avg rating — 175,241 ratings
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56

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4.03 avg rating — 202,843 ratings
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57

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4.02 avg rating — 39,640 ratings
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58

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3.93 avg rating — 32,688 ratings
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59

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4.11 avg rating — 117,290 ratings
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60

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4.22 avg rating — 71,045 ratings
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61

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3.73 avg rating — 58,401 ratings
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62

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4.25 avg rating — 19,690 ratings
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63

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4.01 avg rating — 83,167 ratings
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64

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 20,389 ratings
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65

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3.77 avg rating — 60,492 ratings
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66

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3.93 avg rating — 21,708 ratings
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67

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4.23 avg rating — 52,229 ratings
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68

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4.14 avg rating — 46,864 ratings
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69

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4.22 avg rating — 29,768 ratings
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70

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3.46 avg rating — 72,138 ratings
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71

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4.41 avg rating — 84,192 ratings
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72

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 113,195 ratings
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73

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3.95 avg rating — 38,231 ratings
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74

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3.99 avg rating — 89,283 ratings
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75

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4.25 avg rating — 32,655 ratings
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76

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77

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78

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79

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3.63 avg rating — 23,851 ratings
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80

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4.49 avg rating — 515,208 ratings
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81

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4.02 avg rating — 15,902 ratings
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82

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3.93 avg rating — 39,346 ratings
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83

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3.88 avg rating — 11,377 ratings
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84

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4.19 avg rating — 47,673 ratings
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85

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3.83 avg rating — 11,026 ratings
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86

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3.93 avg rating — 3,385 ratings
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87

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3.83 avg rating — 17,207 ratings
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88

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4.11 avg rating — 39,186 ratings
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89

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3.93 avg rating — 3,306 ratings
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90

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4.19 avg rating — 27,769 ratings
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91

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4.22 avg rating — 31,426 ratings
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92

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4.17 avg rating — 23,217 ratings
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93

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4.16 avg rating — 4,866 ratings
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94

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3.78 avg rating — 15,408 ratings
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95

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4.19 avg rating — 10,920 ratings
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96

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3.54 avg rating — 9,400 ratings
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97

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3.89 avg rating — 16,885 ratings
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98

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4.13 avg rating — 3,861 ratings
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99

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3.90 avg rating — 6,391 ratings
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100

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3.86 avg rating — 15,692 ratings
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923 books · 1,401 voters · list created June 14th, 2008 by deleted user.
172 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


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Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)

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message 1: by Monika (new)

Monika Ingram night is on here twice


message 2: by John (new)

John Burns One of the better decade lists. The stars my destination is the only book i had to add. Seems like the 60s is the all-time best decade for literature.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Long Day's Journey Into Night, though a superb play, doesn't belong on this list - it was written in the 40s.


message 4: by John (new)

John Burns Removed Long day's journey into night and duplicate of Elie wiesels night.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Long Day's Journey Into Night back on - written published 1956.


message 6: by Chris (new)

Chris Johnson Best decade of the century when it comes to the perfect balance of mainstream classics like Catcher In The Rye, Lord Of The Flies, and art-driven pure literature classics like Invisible Man, On The Road and Lord Of The Rings


message 7: by Chris (new)

Chris Johnson the 50's............when America's number one entertainment was reading. today it's blogs and TV.


message 8: by Alessandra (new)

Alessandra There are multiple duplicate Lord of the Rings entries, both individual volumes and the entire trilogy.


message 9: by Frankania (new)

Frankania I read a sci-fi novel in 1963 that described a Long Island, NY community that was cut off from everything by an errant ray from outer space.

The interesting point was that the 3 or 4 thousand people developed their own govt. based on their needs and the reality of their situation.

What was the NAME of that novel??


message 10: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Does anyone know a title of a book in which a character of the story was named Honey Shaw? My mother was named after the character but she doesn't know the title or authors name. I am assuming it is a Romance novel from the 1950s or earlier since my mom was born in 52. Any info would be appreciated!


message 11: by Ted (new)

Ted Selected stories of Chekhov - is this here because the collection was first published in the 50s? They sure weren't written then.


message 12: by Zoe's Human (new)

Zoe's Human Ted wrote: "Selected stories of Chekhov - is this here because the collection was first published in the 50s? They sure weren't written then."

No idea why it's on the 50s list.

All the stories in it were written and published in some form prior to 1904. However, these lists go by publication list, so it can be argued that the collection belongs in the decade list based on when it was first published in that form.

In which case, this still doesn't belong on this list because the edition that is on here was translated by a married couple who did not meet until the seventies when they began working together on translating books.

Regardless, it's coming off this list today as I can't find a single thing tying this book to 1950 for an original publication date including what is actually on the book entry and the Library of Congress listing.


message 13: by Zoe's Human (new)

Zoe's Human Ted wrote: "Selected stories of Chekhov - is this here because the collection was first published in the 50s? They sure weren't written then."

Part of the problem might be that at some point some non-matching Anton Chekhov collections were merged. There are multiple collections of his which do not contain the same stories. I've seen this happen and have even (twice now) separated a book from others that were similar but not the same. Potentially a book which was published in the 50s was added to this list but then combined improperly with one that wasn't.


message 15: by Thania (new)

Thania H. The novel Flowers for Algernon should be removed because it was published in the sixties and can already be found on that decade's list of books.


message 16: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Removed The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn: not published until 1973. (French and English translations: Volume 1 in 1974.)


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Thania wrote: "The novel Flowers for Algernon should be removed because it was published in the sixties and can already be found on that decade's list of books."
The original short story was published in 1959. The novel published in 1966 was an expanded version of this. In effect, it was published twice.


message 18: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Removed Henry James' 'The Portrait of a Lady', published 1881.


message 19: by Noorilhuda (last edited Oct 24, 2014 12:20AM) (new)

Noorilhuda The list I've included contains 80-plus books featured as bestsellers of the decade by Publisher's Weekly. Some of which GR catalogue does not identify as occurring within the said period. Books such as The Foundling (Georgette Heyer), The Adventurer, The Robe (Douglas), The Following, The Wall (Long), The Wanderer (Leiber), Winthrop Woman (Seton) all cannot be included because of this reason.

'Advise and Consent' got Pulitzer in 1960.

And I cannot add great Pakistani / South-asian fiction from the time because they are posted according to latest Urdu editions of the works or English versions - that were published in recent years.


message 20: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Checked for duplicates: 5 books removed.


message 21: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Noorilhuda wrote: "The list I've included contains 80-plus books featured as bestsellers of the decade by Publisher's Weekly. Some of which GR catalogue does not identify as occurring within the said period. Books su..."
'Advise and Consent' was published in 1959, and won the Pulitzer the following year. It's correctly listed.


message 22: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Noorilhuda wrote: "The list I've included contains 80-plus books featured as bestsellers of the decade by Publisher's Weekly. Some of which GR catalogue does not identify as occurring within the said period. Books su..."
Books listed in these decade lists are included by virtue of their date of original publication, not by their presence on best-seller lists in later decades. For example, Douglas' 'The Robe' was first published in 1942, not during the 1950s, and so is excluded here.


message 23: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Checked for duplicates: 1 book removed.


message 24: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Checked for duplicates: 2 books removed.


message 25: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Checked for duplicates: 5 books removed.


message 26: by Susan (new)

Susan Endless Night was first published in 1967.


message 27: by George P. (new)

George P. Animal Farm and 1984 were both published in the 1940s, so I don't think the combo "Animal Farm / 1984" should be listed here in the 50s (#248).


message 28: by Elyse (last edited Oct 27, 2018 07:19PM) (new)

Elyse I accidentally messed up the Lord of the Rings Trilogy #1-3. I am a librarian and thought I would "fix" this entry. I deleted the individual books because I thought the whole trilogy had already been entered. Not. So I re-entered it but now it only has my one vote. If you voted for this trilogy in the past will you please look for it and vote again? I apologize profusely. It needs to be near the top of the list again!


message 29: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Story The Top 100 of this list is missing some major and popular works. The following all have reader averages above 4.0 with at least 40,000 ratings. And all are lingering outside the top 100. What happened?

Lord of the Rings!! (the series and the individual books)
Huxley's "The Doors of Perception..."
Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine" and "The Illustrated Man"
Asimov's Foundation #2 and #3
The Agony and the Ecstasy
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!! (Although, strangely, all the subsequent books in the series are up there).


message 30: by The rockabilly werewolf from Mars (last edited Nov 09, 2019 12:29PM) (new)

The rockabilly werewolf from Mars The only decade where the music was better than the books. If it weren't for Jackson, Bradbury, Dick, and Matheson (and Bloch and Beaumont, but they were mostly writing short stories), I don't know what people would have read. It's the only decade that produced a significant body of good music, however.


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