1960s -- fiction

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

What was it that defined the 1960s and made it one of the most important decades of the 20th century?  This question is often asked, even by those who lived through its tumultuous events. Many classic novels portrayed and influenced the counterculture of the 1960s, including Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, and Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Another classic novel indelibly linked the culture of the 1960s was The Crying of Lot 49, one of Thomas Pynchon’s earliest works.  Supposedly the story of a woman seeking to sort out the estate of her dead boyfriend’s will, The Crying of Lot 49 is a kaleidoscopic narrative that ventures through centuries-spanning conspiracies, bizarre characters, and an American rock band desperately pretending to be part of the British Invasion.  One of Pynchon’s earliest and shortest novels, The Crying of Lot 49 is a surreal whirlwind of 1960s literature.

Wednesday Wars

By Gary Schmidt

Go to catalog
Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn't like Holling-he's sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam.
His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation-the Big M-in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.
Reserve this title

Okay for Now

By Gary Schmidt

Go to catalog
"As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the skinny thug that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer 'a fiery young lady who smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.'
In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon's birds and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage."
Reserve this title

Dead End in Norvelt

By Jack Gantos

Go to catalog
In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.
Reserve this title

One Crazy Summer

By Rita Williams-Garcia

Go to catalog
In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.
Reserve this title

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Gemma Hardy’s story parallels Jane Eyre’s experiences—both have an evil aunt and have to work for their educations at boarding school as charity girls.  Both girls are bullied and treated unfairly by family, school staff, and students. Both girls have disappointments with men who have secrets.  If you enjoyed Charlotte Bronte’s gothic tales or Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, you will love The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey. Set in the 1950’s and 1960’s in Scotland and Iceland, the author uses the imagery of birds and flight to underscore Gemma’s journey.

The Sixteen Pleasures

By Robert Hellenga

Go to catalog

What a compelling title. I happened to pick this up casually and then noticed it was a book about a young librarian. A young librarian in Italy who has adventures? Could it be? Most definitely so for the "mud angel" Margot Harrington who leaves her drab existence in the Chicago area to volunteer in Florence following devasting flooding in 1966. Along the way she undertakes the clandestine sale of a rare volume of erotica to save a convent while involved in her own clandestine love affair.

Reserve this title

Preserve and Protect

By Allen Drury

Go to catalog
It's election time and the President of the United States has been killed just after his renomination. Chaos ensues as members of the party try to decide just who will run for president now. First published in 1968.
Reserve this title

Changes and Chances

By Mary Elmblad

Go to catalog
On the eve of the inauguration of JFK, Oklahoma lawyer Cassie Steele moves with her congressman husband to Washington, D.C., where she encounters tragedy and a chance to start over again.
Reserve this title

A Caribbean Mystery

By Agatha Christie

Go to catalog
Prim and proper Miss Jane Marple uses her razor-sharp mind and intuitive understanding of criminal behavior to solve murder mysteries. Vacationing at the golden Palm Hotel in the West Indies, she goes into action when Major Palgrave turns up dead.
Reserve this title