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Book Chat > Which novels and authors would you recommend for the period 1930 to 1980?

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message 1: by Gill (last edited Feb 24, 2016 10:51AM) (new)

Gill | 5720 comments This is just a personal idea I had, following on from some discussions in a different thread.

Which novels and authors would you recommend for the period 1930 to 1980?


message 2: by Gill (last edited Feb 24, 2016 09:45AM) (new)

Gill | 5720 comments Two authors I recommend, whom I only came across recently, are Nella Larsen , I read Quicksand by her; and Ralph Ellison, I thought Invisible Man was remarkable.

Edited to add, I've broken the rule of the title already. I've just seen that Quicksand was first published in 1928. Sorry!


message 3: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Black Boy by Richard Wright
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany's, both by Truman Capote
Owl at Home and Frog and Toad Are Friends
by children's author Arnold Lobel
The Hard Blue Sky or The Condor Passes
by Shirley Ann Grau
The Member of the Wedding or The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
both by Carson McCullers
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Franny and Zooey and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb
(This had been planned to be published in 1939 but then was turned down due to Steinbeck's publication. Supposedly there was no market for both!)

These pop into my head immediately. I am sure I can think of some more!


message 5: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Here are some more:
Lolita and Speak, Memory
by Vladimir Nabokov
The Little Prince an d more by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Rascal by Sterling North
Little Bear and all of the other children books by Else Holmelund Minarik
A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary by Marta Hillers
Vilhelm Moberg's series that begins with The Emigrants
Astrid Lindgren's books for kids (Pippi, Longstockings
Roald Dahl's kids books!

There are so many children's books I cannot think of them all!


message 6: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11553 comments Mod
Good idea, I seem to miss this period completely, I have only read a couple of the books that Chrissie and Petra have posted on here. It's an amazing timeline as I believe so much happened in those fifty years.


message 7: by Leslie (last edited Feb 24, 2016 05:42PM) (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Gill wrote: "This is just a personal idea I had, following on from some discussions in a different thread.

Which novels and authors would you recommend for the period 1930 to 1980?"


This could be a very long list!

I'll list a few authors of more light-weight books as there are plenty members here to cover the literary fiction ;)

In no particular order,
Isaac Asimov - both the Foundation series and the Robot books
Graham Greene
Angela Thirkell
J.R.R. Tolkien
Mary Stewart
Eric Ambler
Ursula K. Le Guin
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
The King Must Die by Mary Renault
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
and of course, my favorite historical fiction romance author, Georgette Heyer

Lots of wonderful mystery writers in this time period but I will just mention Agatha Christie and Edmund Crispin.


message 8: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7372 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "Gill wrote: "This is just a personal idea I had, following on from some discussions in a different thread.

Which novels and authors would you recommend for the period 1930 to 1980?"

This could be..."


I haven't felt energetic enough to answer this yet, but I love your list of "lighter" writers. I've read about half of them and found all of those I've read to be highly enjoyable. :)


message 9: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Greg, I'm glad you like my list :)

I keep thinking of other authors, not necessarily lighter ones, but from this time:

Muriel Spark
Saul Bellow
John Fowles


message 10: by Chrissie (last edited Feb 25, 2016 01:14AM) (new)

Chrissie Leslie, you are SO absolutely right about J.R.R. Tolkien and James Herriot! They simply must be listed here. I love how you love mysteries! You simply have to read John Steinbeck's The Winter of Our Discontent. I am sure you will love it.


message 11: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Petra, I totally agree about your books/authors too!

Allanah, if you have questions about a particular author or book I hope you will ask. I will do my best to answer. Some I have read quite long ago.

Was it wrong of me to put some authors of children's books???


message 12: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Chrissie wrote: "Leslie, you are SO absolutely right about J.R.R. Tolkien and James Herriot! They simply must be listed here. I love how you love mysteries! You simply have to read [a..."

:) One of the best things about GoodReads is this exchange of titles. You and I have different tastes that overlap in a small segment but we have understood each other enough by our posts to be able to see what might interest the other - to me, this is the goal of participation here. So your post has made me very happy Chrissie!


message 13: by Zippergirl (last edited Feb 25, 2016 07:03PM) (new)

Zippergirl Kurt Vonnegut Kurt Vonnegut

Joseph Heller Joseph Heller

I wouldn't be who I am without them.


message 15: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Thanks, Alice. I have added Half a Lifelong Romance. Have you read this one?


message 16: by Huda (new)

Huda (huda_thebookworm) | 143 comments I recommend two novels: 1984 by George Orwell,
And then there were none by Agatha Christie.


message 17: by Alice (last edited Feb 26, 2016 11:46AM) (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) Chrissie wrote: "Thanks, Alice. I have added Half a Lifelong Romance. Have you read this one?"

No Chrissie, I haven't read this one. In my early teens, my favorite authors were Chiung Yao (Taiwanese) and Jin Yong (known for his martial arts & chivalry novels) and not Eileen Chang. But I saw a couple of movies adapted from her novels: Love in a Fallen City (set in Shanghai and Hong Kong); Lust, Caution: The Story, which were excellent.

Oh, I should've added Jin Yong in my earlier post - remedied now :)


message 18: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Alice, I could get Lust, Caution: The Story too, but it's a story, and you know how I prefer long over short.


message 19: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) Chrissie wrote: "Alice, I could get Lust, Caution: The Story too, but it's a story, and you know how I prefer long over short."

Heehee yes. I've heard good things about Half a Lifelong Romance, and also The Rice Sprout Song.


message 20: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I could grab the story if I want more.


message 21: by Pink (last edited Feb 27, 2016 07:54AM) (new)


message 22: by Greg (last edited Feb 27, 2016 07:57PM) (new)

Greg | 7372 comments Mod
Lots of great choices by everyone!

Harlem Renaissance (1930's):

There's too many in that whole date range for me to list, but going off of Pink's Hurston recommendation, there are loads of fascinating writers that came to their full power in the surge of white-hot energy & creativity surrounding the Harlem Renaissance. I put my favorite of their works that I've read so far in the parentheses after the name.
* = especially liked, ** = masterpiece

Countee Cullen (Color)*
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)**
James Weldon Johnson (God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse)
Richard Wright (Native Son)
Langston Hughes (The Ways of White Folks)
Claude McKay (Selected Poems of Claude McKay)*

Muriel Rukeyser (1930's - 1970's):

Not everyone's cup of tea, for sure, but a lesser known poet, essayist, and writer that deserves special mention is Muriel Rukeyser, from her tour-de-force ranging meditation on poetry, The Life of Poetry (1949), to her mesmerizing and sometimes cryptic poetry that's fully engaged: emotional, political, sensual, and perhaps even a bit mystic (her first was the fine Theory of Flight (1935) but my personal favorite is The Speed Of Darkness, 1968). Then there is her weird & fascinating account of her participation in a pagan ritual at the 'Puck Fair' in Ireland (The Orgy: An Irish Journey of Passion and Transformation - 1965) (!?).

Various:

So many other things to hone in on, but it would take too long. A couple other brilliant authors/books from the date range:

1931- Pearl S. Buck (The Good Earth)
1956- James Baldwin (several are equally brilliant but my personal favorite is Giovanni's Room)
1959 - John Knowles (A Separate Peace)
1961 - Muriel Spark (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)
1973 - Peter Shaffer (Equus) [drama] (warning - disturbing subject matter!!)

American Feminism:

If I had energy, I'd list more American women writers from the creative explosion surrounding feminism in the 1950's - 1970's, but here's a random couple. There are many other fine poets that sprung from the movement and came to hone their craft to a very sharp point IMO.

Although her first books are a bit simplistic, I personally think that Audre Lorde's later poetry was brilliant (The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance: Poems, 1987-1992, Our Dead Behind Us: Poems). She was a cantankerous woman for sure but also fearless.

Adrienne Rich was another fine poet, right from the beginning. I love Diving Into the Wreck (1973), but she published many fine books over her long career as late as Dark Fields of the Republic in the 1990's.


message 23: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Ayn Rand should be here. I particularly liked We the Living, but The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged should be noted. She will not appeal to all.


message 24: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments I was thinking John Steinbeck, John Wyndham, Daphne du Maurier, Josephine Tey, plus so many others already mentioned!


message 25: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov HAS to be mentioned. Now here is science fiction that even I adore!

Then there is Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell. I have not read it yet but will soon. It is considered a modern classic.

And then there is Theodore Dreiser. I recently read Sister Carrie and really liked it. An American Tragedy is on my wishlist.

I keep thinking of more and more and more.


message 26: by Pink (new)

Pink I love this thread!


message 27: by Petra (new)

Petra | 3246 comments Chrissie wrote: "Ayn Rand should be here. I particularly liked We the Living, but The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged should be noted. She will not appeal to all."

It's been so many years since I read Ayn Rand. I really liked her books, particularly Atlas Shrugged and We the Living.


message 28: by Chrissie (last edited Feb 28, 2016 11:10AM) (new)

Chrissie Petra, yeah, these have to be considered classics.


message 29: by Joy (new)

Joy Stephenson (joyfrankie) | 243 comments I've enjoyed many of those listed so far. I don't think anyone has mentioned Paul Gallico. I remember reading Jennie as a mid-teen - a good segue from children's to adults' novels at a time when no-one seemed to be writing for that age group.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

I would add an American writer of the South, Reynolds Price.


message 31: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Terri , I love Price's writing!


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Angela, you're the first person I've come across who is familiar with Price! I also love his writing. :)


message 33: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Terri , I've read at least 5 or 6 of Price's books quite a while ago. Your post reminded me of how much I really loved them . I should go back some time and read some others .


message 34: by Katy (new)

Katy | 422 comments I would add A Death in the Family by James Agee. Heartbreakingly beautiful.


message 35: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 1283 comments Lots of children's writers in this period including:

Alan Garner especially his Owl Service
Cynthia Harnett - read a couple of hers as a kid, The Wool Pack and The Weight of Unicorn
Nicholas Stuart Gray - loved his Grimbold's Other World, Mainly by Moonlight, The Seventh Swan and others
Catherine Storr - especially Marianne Dreams
Joan Aiken for loads, esp the Dido Twite series starting with The Wolves of Wiloughby Chase
Leon Garfield esp for Smith
Elizabeth Goudge - The Little White Horse
The earlier fiction of Jan Mark starting with The Ennead

Just a small section, I expect more will occur to me later


message 36: by katie (new)

katie | 74 comments I second Zora Neale Hurston and the Harlem Renaissance. Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
I didn't read every message above yet, so apologies if I'm duplicating but here are my other thoughts:

Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison
Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir
Virginia Woolf
Kurt Vonnegut
Ursula K. Le Guin, Madeleine L'Engle, Mary StewartRay Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, T.H. White
Anne McCaffrey Susan Cooper


message 37: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7372 comments Mod
katie wrote: "I second Zora Neale Hurston and the Harlem Renaissance. Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
I didn't read every message above yet, so apologies if I'm duplicating..."


Lots of great ones in your list katie!


message 38: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 1283 comments Yes of course Le Guin. should have remembered The Wizard of Earthsea and its earlier sequels when I was listing the children's books. (Not that it's just for children; it straddles all age groups.)


message 39: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Some additions:

1. Brave New World Publihed in 1932.
2. Ape and Essence Published in 1948.
3. The Genius And The Goddess Published in 1955.
4. Island Published in 1962.

Planning to read Huxley. I have not read any of his works.

I also will add Flannery O'Connor's works.

Also go for the works of Yasunari Kawabata that were published after 1930s. The novels of Shūsaku Endō that were published before 1980.

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne Published in 1955.


message 40: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) I've just thought of one more Chinese novelist: Ba Jin. His well-known works include:-

Family (1931)
Autumn (1940)
Spring (1938)
The Love Trilogy: Fog, Rain & Lightning (1931 - 1935)


message 41: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Alice, I was actually going to ask you about him when I came back from Shanghai in May where I visited his former residence. I hadn't heard of him before but I thought he sounded interesting, unfortunately though they had no English translations in their bookshop. Do you have a favourite one by him? Or is any of the titles you've mentioned a good one to start with?


message 42: by Alice (last edited Sep 28, 2016 03:53PM) (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) Jenny wrote: "Alice, I was actually going to ask you about him when I came back from Shanghai in May where I visited his former residence. I hadn't heard of him before but I thought he sounded interesting, unfor..."

Jenny, those are all good ones. I would start with Family, which is most popular. Spring and Autumn are sequels to Family.

I couldn't find English versions of The Love Trilogy on Goodreads :(

Ba Jin was known for his iconoclastic views. He lived and studied in Paris in his youth.


message 43: by Kathy McC (new)

Kathy McC | 99 comments Anything by John Steinbeck. My favorites are Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, and The Grapes of Wrath his Pulitzer Prize winner.


message 44: by Travis (last edited Sep 28, 2016 06:54PM) (new)

Travis Russell | 8 comments This is most definitely my favourite era for books; though I like some of the true classics I can relate far more to the paradoxical works of the postmodern.
This is the time of Nabokov's prime, when he was far from Russia and in love with both the English and Russian language, culminating in Lolita.
If you've ever really studied history during this time, war and violence were rampant - and one can look at these atrocities and either cry or laugh (what else is there to do?). If you're unsure, try Catch-22 or Slaughterhouse-Five.
Just as any other era in history, time was unescapable. In this era, however, it seemed almost nobody cared for the past, (at least not as we do; see One Hundred Years of Solitude) but rather for the depressing present (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and even more depressing future (Brave New World).


message 45: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments thank you Alice!


message 46: by Tytti (new)

Tytti I have hundreds of books shelved and divided by the decade, you can see the 1930s from here https://www.goodreads.com/review/list..., and continue from there. Most of them are literary fiction.

And Gill, I think you asked about the translations, so if the book is also shelved as "Keltainen kirjasto", "Otavan kirjasto", "Aikamme kertojia" or "Baabel", they belong to a special series of translations which try to publish novels that are of higher literary quality.

From Finnish authors I would recommend Mika Waltari. His novel The Egyptian, published in 1945, was the number one bestselling translated novel in the US until Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose in 1980. It was even made into a (not so good) Hollywood movie. Unfortunately the translation is abridged and probably not so well translated from a Swedish translation. But it's a book many Finns consider the best book ever written in Finnish and people of all ages tend to find something new from it. It is also pretty accurate historically and at least the director and the curator of the Egyptian department of the British Museum praises it.
http://www.finemb.org.uk/Public/defau...


message 47: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments The Egyptian sounds very interesting Tytti, I will see if my library has it.


message 48: by Tytti (last edited Sep 29, 2016 12:59PM) (new)

Tytti Judging from the page count the German editions seem to be complete, not abridged. The Finnish edition is about 780 pages. The writing style should also be different, it is trying to mimic the old Egyptian style of writing.

How it was written is also slightly interesting. Waltari had been interested in Egypt since he was a young student during the 1920's and had read everything about it. Apparently the novel was ready in his head already in the late 1930's but then the war started and Waltari was needed in the information department. After the war he wrote the book in a frenzy over a few months during the summer of 1945. His war time experiences had also changed the novel, it would have been different if written before.


message 49: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7372 comments Mod
Tytti wrote: "Judging from the page count the German editions seem to be complete, not abridged. The Finnish edition is about 780 pages. The writing style should also be different, it is trying to mimic the old ..."

This does look interesting Tytti! I see he wrote a number of historical novels - are any of the others good also? I'm attracted to the description of The Roman.


message 50: by Tytti (new)

Tytti Greg wrote: "I see he wrote a number of historical novels - are any of the others good also?"

He was very productive and wrote all kinds of things and his detective novels and the movies made out of them are some of my favourites. I also liked his breakthrough novel, a contemporary novel he wrote when he was 19, so he can write.

I believe all his (historical) novels are worth a read if you like his writing (and won't mind that they have been abridged), he does have similiar themes and characters sometimes. The translation has a boring title, though, in Finnish it's called "The Enemies of the Humankind" which is what Nero called Christians. (And The Etruscan is actually "Turms, immortal". They all seem to mimic the naming of The Egyptian, in Finnish "Sinuhe Egyptian".) I would probably read The Secret of the Kingdom first, as it is about the father of Minutus who happens to arrive in Jerusalem on the day of the crucifixion of Jesus and who watches the events as an outsider. I wouldn't call him a "Christian" author, though, even though different religions do play a part in his novels (in one of them the main character converts to Islam). Already in his first novel there were mentions of prostitution and drug use, and one character was based on Minna Craucher whose murder was later reported even in Time. (Her biography https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)


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