Birthday party in 1962. Submitted by Steve Ayers of Camp Verde.
We Boomers are a literary bunch. We learned to read early. And after we got older, lots of us read and watched television at the same time.
Many of us loved to read books about animals who displayed noble or human characteristics like Animal Farm, Charlotte’s Web, Peter Rabbit, Stuart Little, Black Beauty, and the Black Stallion.
We apparently enjoyed books in either a series or serial form. Boys enjoyed the Chip Hilton sports series or Hardy Boys mysteries. Girls enjoyed Little Men, Little Women, Little House on the Prairie, the Nancy Drew detective books, and the Sue Barton series about nurses.
Many Boomers were drawn to action or mystery books.
Several enjoyed “coming of age” or “growing up” books like Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and – a huge favorite among teens – Catcher in the Rye.
One mild surprise: Although we grew up in an era of space emphasis and exploration, the only “futuristic” novel chosen by a panel member was The Time Machine.
Since 50 Boomers were invited to join our focus group, we received lots of book recommendations. Here are a few books our group read and enjoyed, listed alphabetically:
Adventures of Mabel by Harry Thurston Peck
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
Amuse Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Black Stallion book series by Walter Farley
Bridge at Andau by James Michener
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Chip Hilton (sports book series) by Clair Bee
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther
Fail Safe by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
A Fairly Honorable Defeat by Iris Murdoch
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Hardy Boys mysteries by Franklin W. Dixon
Helen Keller – “Anything about her. I thought she was amazing,” one Boomer wrote.
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte’
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar by Jules Verne
Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Once and Future King by T.H. White
Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Rebecca and the King’s General by Dame Daphne DuMaurier
Secret of the Old Clock – A Nancy Drew mystery.
Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright
Stuart Little, which was reportedly E.B. White’s first children’s story.