Book World 25th Anniversary

Historic highlights from Book World reviews of the:
1970s | 1980s | 1990s

Hardcover Bestsellers, 1972-1996


The Book World staff picks its favorites of the last quarter-century.

Editor Nina King ponders the vagaries of becoming a bestseller.

Jonathan Yardley, Carolyn See and Kunio Francis Tanabe write of their personal experiences as critics.

Marie Arana-Ward explores the relationship between publisher and critic.

Jabari Asim celebrates a flourishing of African American literature.

Michael Dirda comments on the state of fiction.

David Nicholson speculates on the future of books in a technological age.

Go to Chapter One

Go to Style
Spacer

Spacer

Personal Favorites

Sunday, June 1, 1997

We asked Book World's staff editors and reviewers to list their 10 favorite books of the past 25 years. Surprisingly, the overlaps were few. Not surprisingly, only a few of these selections ever appeared on the bestseller lists:

NINA KING
The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell
Dancer From the Dance by Andrew Holleran
Disturbing the Universe by Freeman Dyson
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
The Enigma of Arrival by V.S. Naipaul
The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark
Collected Poems by Philip Larkin
The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald
A Whole New Life by Reynolds Price


JONATHAN YARDLEY
Beyond the Bedroom Wall by Larry Woiwode
The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff
The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor
Growing Up by Russell Baker
Look at Me by Anita Brookner
Small World by David Lodge
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas
The Old Forest and Other Stories by Peter Taylor


MARIE ARANA-WARD
The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman
Dispatches by Michael Herr
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
George Mills by Stanley Elkin
The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


MICHAEL DIRDA
The Evening Colonnade: Essays and Reviews by Cyril Connolly
Samuel Johnson: A Biography by Walter Jackson Bate
The George Lyttelton/Rupert Hart-Davis Letters
Kipling, Auden & Co.: Essays and Reviews by Randall Jarrell
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
The Far Side Gallery by Gary Larson
Collected Poems by Philip Larkin
Collected Earlier Poems by Anthony Hecht
Lost Property: Memoirs and Confessions of a Bad Boy by Ben Sonnenberg
Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell


JABARI ASIM
Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry by Eugene B. Redmond
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Two Thousand Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah
Collected Poems of Robert Hayden
The Life of Langston Hughes, Vol. I: I, Too, Sing America by Arnold Rampersad
The Essential Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson
The Life of Langston Hughes, Vol. II: I Dream A World by Arnold Rampersad
Knees of a Natural Man: The Selected Poetry of Henry Dumas
Big Bank Take Little Bank by Paul Beatty
Middle Passage by Charles Johnson


KUNIO FRANCIS TANABE
Light Years by James Salter
Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow
Silence by Shusaku Endo
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Possession by A.S. Byatt
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx


DENNIS DRABELLE
Essays of E.B. White
Coming Into the Country by John McPhee
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
A Judgment in Stone by Ruth Rendell
Collected Stories of John Cheever
White Noise by Don DeLillo
The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
Young Men and Fire by Norman McLean
Frank Capra by Joseph McBride
United States: Essays by Gore Vidal


JENNIFER HOWARD
Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
World of Wonders by Robertson Davies
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
Neuromancer by William Gibson
The Old Forest and Other Stories by Peter Taylor
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Burning Your Boats: Collected Stories by Angela Carter
Selected Stories by Alice Munro


CAROLYN SEE
Being Geniuses Together by Kay Boyle and Robert McAlmon (revised ed.)
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
Golden Days by Carolyn See
Paris Trout by Pete Dexter
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Artistic Differences by Charles Hauch
Cloud Street by Tim Winton
Minor Heresies, Major Departures by John Espey
Anything Your Little Heart Desires by Patricia Bosworth


DAVID NICHOLSON
The Hero and the Blues by Albert Murray
A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews
Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson
The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley
Little, Big by John Crowley
The Night of the Weeping Women by Laurence Naumoff
Teen Angel: And Other Stories of Young Love by Marianne Gingher
The Rabbi in the Attic and Other Stories by Eileen Pollack
W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race by David Levering Lewis
The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

Back to the top
Spacer


WashingtonPost.com
Navigation image map
Home page Site Index Search Help! Home page Site Index Search Help!