ENGLEWOOD — This is the last in the series of books of the decade starting with the 1960s and ending with the 1990s. This last decade, the 1990s, ushered in many cultural changes like the rise of multiculturalism, the Rave scene, Hip Hop and continuing new technology such as cable TV and the worldwide web. Unfortunately, wars continued in the Middle East. It seems like every decade has its ups and downs but we do persevere as a country and as people. So too, do books. Here are six of the best during the decade of the nineties.
Girl with the Pearl Earring (historical fiction): Novelist Tracy Chevalier transports the reader to a bygone time and place where a young women inspired Vermeer’s most celebrated painting. Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter in the 1660s during the Dutch golden age. The book tells the story of a sixteen year old girl, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius. She becomes intimate with her master who then employs her as his assistant and ultimately paints her. Chevalier has written eight novels but this particular book was adapted to a film in 2003.
Holes (children’s adventure): Louis Sachar’s book follows a young boy who is unjustly sent to a detention center where the boys are forced to dig holes every day. They are digging holes because the warden is looking for something buried under a dried up lake. This is a “darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment — and redemption.” By the way, Sachar attended Antioch College for a semester.
The Deep End of the Ocean (women’s fiction): Jacquelyn Mitchard has concocted a masterful story about human connection and emotional survival. It’s about a middle class suburban family that is torn apart when the youngest son is kidnapped and raised by a mentally ill women until he appears years later at the doorstep of his real mother and asks if he can mow her lawn. Goodreads in their website wrote, “here is a story of rare power, one that will touch reader’s hearts and make them celebrate the emotions that make us all one.”
The Horse Whisperer (literary fiction): Nicholas Evans has written the classic page turner with 15 million copies sold and named one of the ten bestselling novels in the US in 1995. This is about Tom Booker who can calm wild horses with a touch that can heal broken spirits. It’s also about Annie Graves who traveled to his Montana ranch to heal her injured daughter, the girl’s crippled horse and her own wounded heart. One reviewer remarked, “Buy it, borrow it or steal it, but don’t miss this gem for anything.” The book also found its way into a movie starring Robert Redford.
Sole Survivor (suspense thriller): Dean Koontz is acknowledged as America’s most popular suspense novelist by Rolling Stone magazine. A plane crashes without warning and 350 people were killed with no explanation and no survivors. Crime reporter Joe Carpenter lost his wife and two daughters in the crash. Joe’s search for the truth will shatter him and force him to question everything he knows about life and death. Amazon says, “Koontz pumps up the volume and gives his readers what they come to expect from him — an expert mix of cover ups, cults, bizarre suicides and a shocking twist at the end.”
The Secret History (suspense thriller): Donna Tartt’s first novel is about a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college. They go beyond the boundaries of normal morality and their lives are changed forever when they discover how easy it is to kill. Anna Silman, New York journalist wrote, “If you have not yet been initiated to Donna Tartt there’s never a bad time to start.” I guess so, the book was translated into 24 languages and sold over 5 million copies.
As the decades pass us by they each have special memories good and bad. Douglas Copeland the “Generation X”author wrapped it up by saying, “I instantly reached a conclusion that the 1990s need a magic something called, content.” I hope you have been content with the past four decades and the wonderful books that were published during these periods. Be content in your reading, everyone!