My blog is about reuniting with some of the books that I–and other members of the Baby Boom generation–fell in love with in our formative years.

Every week or so I’ll be discussing a book that mattered to us when we were in our early adulthood: high school, college, post-college. Most of the books will have been published in the Fifties, Sixties, or Seventies.

to kill a mockingbird

I’ve emailed and spoken with dozens of Baby Boomers about their first literary loves–the books they kept in their lockers in high school, the books they carried in their backpacks in college, the books they had on their shelves with they went off to grad school or landed their first real jobs.

We’ll be discussing the first time we encountered books such as On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, East of Eden, Slaughterhouse-Five, To Kill a Mockingbird, Goodbye Columbus and many more.

electric kool-aid acid test

While some of the books have remained strong sellers and are widely read, others have fallen by the wayside. I’ll also be blogging about some of these cultural artifacts as well: Soul on Ice, Love Story, Steppenwolf, and, yes, even, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Why did we love them then? Could we love them again? Are they even still worth a look?


And even if you aren’t a Baby Boomer yourself, there should be plenty here of interest for you, too. Many of the books I’m covering are fantastic books which are well worth reading in their own right, 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 a young person like you has even heard of Soul on Ice or The Greening of  America.

The Books That Mattered (Discussed So Far)


15 responses to “ABOUT

  1. Thanks for doing this blog (and thanks for following mine!) this genre, this generational canon, is a way into literature for anyone like me; fans of the counter-culture but not around at the time…as well as Kerouac and Hunter S Thompson I am a particular fan of Lester Bangs, the high-priest of psychedelic/psychotic rock’n’roll journalism.

    • Thanks for following The Books That Mattered — I really like following your blog too, so we’re perfect for each other. Even though I’ve used “Baby Boomer books” as a hook for my blog — I’ve tried to make clear that you don’t have to be a Baby Boomer to appreciate many of these books. Lots of them are still alive and relevant. Even the ones that are cultural artifacts are fun to revisit, so that younger folks can say, “What the hell were they thinking?”

      Funny you should mention Lester Bangs — he was one of my favorite music critics back in the day. Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung remains a treasured favorite. I appreciate your taking the time to comment — always nice to get some feedback. Cheers.

  2. Thank you for following me. I have no idea how you found my little blog over in this massive blogsphere, but thank you for gracing my blog with your presence 🙂

    • Well, funny story, I heard about your blog from brooksbooks (http://wp.me/4d1wq), who recommended your blog (as well as mine and a few others). I checked you out (your blog that is) and liked what I saw. So that’s how that happened.

      Like to thank Brooks for spreading the love and giving a shout out re/ our blogs. I’m new to this blogging thing, but I’m starting to get very good vibes about many of the people I’ve met in the blogosphere. Peace out.

  3. it’s great when you start to find the kind of people you’re on a wavelength with…on another note, any ideas on the kind of books/writing that has been inspired or followed on from the kinds of books above? who are the inheritors of these traditions?

    • That’s a great — but exceedingly — knotty question! Not sure I have a quick answer for it at the moment. I suspect that there are probably several distinct lines of influence running through the Fifties/Sixties/Seventies through to today’s authors. Might be worth writing a whole post about it at some point.

  4. This is such a cool idea for a blog. Love your take on these classic books. Thanks.

  5. What a great idea for a blog! Look forward to reading more…

  6. This is such a cool concept. It’s really fun and interesting to look back at the books that mattered to you when you were growing up and see how they look to you after all these years.

  7. Thanks for following along. I hope we get to cover some books that mattered to you personally.

  8. Enjoyed visiting your blog–brought back memories of books that impacted me all along the journey. Great topic, thank you. 🙂

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