“The Books That Mattered” . . . Q & A

Several folks have asked some really good questions about my blog:

What books do you plan on covering in your blog?

At the bottom of this post I’ve included 3 lists:

  • Books I’ve already covered
  • The next 10 books I’ll be discussing
  • Books I plan on covering in the future


Can you provide a schedule of the books that you’ll be covering and when?

I don’t have a rigid schedule — so far I’ve been playing this by ear. I do try to publish a post every week or so.

But I do know my next 10 books, which I’ve detailed below. These are my next 2:

  • Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice
  • Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead

How did you/do you choose the books that mattered?

When I started exploring this project several years back, I spoke with and emailed 50 or so people in my network who are Baby Boomers (family members, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, acquaintances of acquaintances, etc.). I asked them what books had mattered to them when they were in their formative years (high school, college, grad school, young adulthood).

I compiled their responses and spoke directly to many of them about their choices. I mixed in some books that no one else had mentioned, but that had mattered to me, personally. Threw in a few books that no one mentioned but which had been culturally significant (Love Story, for instance) . . . and, voila, came up with the list you see below.

Is your list of Books That Mattered set in stone? Are you  willing to take suggestions?

No, my list is not set in stone. I absolutely would love to hear suggestions from readers regarding other books you’d like to see discussed.

Also, any memories, observations, or stories regarding the books that mattered to you would be much appreciated.

Is this blog only of interest to Baby Boomers? What about younger readers?

Great question!

(OK, I admit it, this question I made up.)  But I wanted to make sure that readers understand that while my blog is about the books that influenced and shaped the Baby Boom generation — I hope its interest and appeal is much broader than that.

Many of the books I’m covering are fantastic books which are well worth reading in their own right. Even though most were written in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, many have universal and timeless appeal — no matter what your age.

And even those books that had a short shelf life and are now curiosities and cultural artifacts are well worth looking at again. For one thing, like the fashions back then, books like Love Story or Jonathan Livingstone Seagull can be pretty funny and embarrassing.

And reading about these books may give you a better handle on your Baby Boomer parents, relatives, friends, and co-workers. In any case, they’ll be impressed and amazed that you’ve even heard of Soul on Ice or The Greening of  America.


Books Already Covered

  • The James Bond Books — Ian Fleming
  • The Bell Jar — Sylvia Plath
  • On the Road — Jack Kerouac
  • The Catcher in the Rye — J. D. Salinger
  • Love Story — Erich Segal
  • Goodbye, Columbus — Philip Roth
  • One Few Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — Ken Kesey

Next 10 Books I’ll Be Covering (in order)

  • Soul on Ice — Eldridge Cleaver
  • The Fountainhead — Ayn Rand
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test — Tom Wolfe
  • Slaughterhouse Five — Kurt Vonnegut
  • To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee
  • Catch-22 –Joseph Heller
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — Hunter S. Thompson
  • Fahrenheit 451 — Ray Bradbury
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance — Robert Pirsig
  • A Clockwork Orange — Anthony Burgess

Other Books I Plan on Covering (in no particular order)

  • The World According to Garp — John Irving
  • Slouching Toward Bethlehem — Joan Didion
  • The White Album — Joan Didion
  • Lord of the Flies — William Golding
  • East of Eden — John Steinbeck
  • The Golden Notebook — Doris Lessing
  • Lolita — Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter — Carson McCullers
  • Siddartha — Herman Hesse
  • Steppenwolf — Herman Hesse
  • Black Boy — Richard Wright
  • The Chosen — Chaim Potok
  • The Greening of America — Charles A. Reich
  • In Cold Blood — Truman Capote
  • The Right Stuff — Tom Wolfe
  • Hell’s Angels — Hunter S. Thompson
  • Dune — Frank Herbert
  • Portnoy’s Complaint — Philip Roth
  • A Separate Peace — John Knowles
  • The Foundation Trilogy — Isaac Asimov
  • The Autobiography of Malcom X — Malcolm X
  • Flowers for Algernon — Daniel Keyes
  • Stranger in a Strange Land — Robert Heinlein
  • Jonathan Livingstone Seagull — Richard Bach
  • Sometimes a Great Notion — Ken Kesey
  • Atlas Shrugged — Ayn Rand
  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy — J. R. R. Tolkien


Filed under baby boomers, books, literature

4 responses to ““The Books That Mattered” . . . Q & A

  1. Great list of books. I am so jazzed to read what you have to say about some of these. One question: no “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison? Really?

  2. Really fun list of upcoming books. Keep on posting! I’ll keep on reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s