Skip to content

Readers' Picks: 10 Books Boomers Love

These reads resonated with those who grew up in the boomer generation

  • Catch-22, The Catcher In The Rye, And Roots, Boomer Books

    10 Books Boomers Love

    AARP The Magazine asked author Erica Jong to select 10 essential books of the boomer generation. Then we asked readers to come up with their own list. Here are the top reads you picked, starting with your 10th place selection ... 

    1 of 13
  • The World According To Garp, Boomer Books
    David Rogowski

    10. 'The World According to Garp'

    John Irving’s tragicomic 1978 novel about the rise and fall of a novelist/wrestling coach is laced with autobiographical elements; it won a National Book Award for fiction in 1980.

    2 of 13
  • Joy of Sex, Boomer Books
    David Rogowski

    9. 'The Joy of Sex'

    The Sexual Revolution was already under way when Alex Comfort’s “Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking” appeared in 1972, but this seminal self-help manual — and its famously graphic illustrations — spiced up the love lives of mainstream America in the Me Decade.

    3 of 13
  • The Color Purple, Boomer Books
    David Rogowski

    8. 'The Color Purple'

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1983, Alice Walker’s acclaimed third novel, about African American women in rural Georgia of the 1930s, was successfully adapted into a film and Broadway musical.

    4 of 13
  • Slaughterhouse Five, Boomer Books
    David Rogowski

    7. 'Slaughterhouse-Five'

    Many a boomer high-schooler hauled a knapsack full of Kurt Vonnegut paperbacks; this science-fiction satire from 1969 about a time-traveling Dresden bombing survivor abducted by aliens was perhaps the most popular.

    5 of 13
  • Fahrenheit 451, Boomer Books
    David Rogowski

    6. 'Fahrenheit 451'

    Science-fiction legend Ray Bradbury crafted this 1953 parable about book-burning "firemen" in a repressive future society as a response to government censorship during the McCarthy era.

    6 of 13
  • A middle aged caucasian couple look at a map outdoors with text that reads keep life fun and your calendar full.

    AARP Offer

    Sign up for the AARP Lifestyle Newsletter to find out about new movies, great games and travel ideas each month. By joining AARP today, you can also save on movie tickets, restaurants, airfare, hotels and more and have even more fun!

    7 of 13
  • Lord of the Flies, Boomer Books
    David Rogowski

    5. 'Lord of the Flies'

    More anxiety about the future of the human race, this time from William Golding: His dystopian novel about British schoolboys descending into savagery was published in 1954 and became a staple of high school reading lists in the 1960s.

    8 of 13
  • In Cold Blood, Boomer Books
    David Rogowski

    4. 'In Cold Blood'

    Truman Capote called his hugely influential 1965 account of a real-life Kansas murder spree a “nonfiction novel,” though questions swirl around how much he might have fabricated.

    9 of 13
  • Roots, Boomer Books
    David Rogowski

    3. 'Roots'

    Alex Haley’s sprawling 1976 inquiry into his family’s past — and the TV miniseries that followed in 1977 — became a national cultural event that sparked a wide interest in genealogy.

    10 of 13
  • Catch-22,  boomer books
    Ted Morrison

    2. 'Catch-22'

    The 1961 novel that birthed an exceptionally useful idiom captured the absurdity of war for Vietnam-era readers; author Joseph Heller delivered a sequel, Closing Time, in 1994.

    11 of 13
  • The Catcher In The Rye, Boomer Books
    Ted Morrison

    1. 'The Catcher in the Rye'

    First published in 1951, J.D. Salinger's portrait of youthful alienation became an object of fascination, especially for teen readers; so has the life of its reclusive author.

    12 of 13
  • Entertainment End-Slide
    13 of 13

As the last of the Baby Boomer Generation turns 50 and more baby boomers are retiring, AARP celebrates the generation that changed the world.

Essential Boomer Entertainment

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.