The Best Books Of the 80′s (1980′s)

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This is our list of the 10 Best Books from 1980 – 1989. This list of the best books of the 80′s has been compiled using some of the internet’s most reliable sources. You may view these sources at the end of this post. We hope you find your next great read and remember to bookmark this page for future reference. This best books of the 80′s list is in no particular order.



The Handmaid's Tale Book CoverThe Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Offred has been made a concubine (“handmaid”) in the new theocratic military dictatorship known as “The Rebuplic of Gilead” inside the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. Since the staged terrorist attack, which killed the president, the “Sons of Jacob” have taken over the government and created a totalitarian theocracy in which women are degraded to a point of being used mostly for reproduction purposes, having no say in their own lives. The story is told from Offred’s point of view, and what she must endure as a woman living in this society.

Beloved, by Toni MorrisonBeloved, by Toni Morrison

According to the New York Times, Beloved is the best book of the 1980′s. Sethe has run away from “Sweet Home”, where she has been kept a slave, with her daughter Denver and her two sons. Frequently visited by her dead daughter’s ghost, her two sons run away from home in fear. While trying to rebuild their lives at their new place of residence, an old friend Paul D comes to visit and is shocked to find that “Beloved” (Sethe’s dead daughter), is visiting far too much, becoming demanding, and consuming Sethe’s life with guilt. Sethe finally tells Paul D why she has been shunned by the community and what happened to her oldest daughter.

Remains Of The Day Book CoverThe Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

“The Remains of the Day” is told in first person and in letter form with many flashbacks into the writer’s memory. The story is about a butler named Stevens and his rekindled relationship with a previous coworker Miss Kenton when they begin writing each other after many lost years. The book is set during the beginning of World War II and tells the old feelings and relationship of two former friends a long time ago. Miss Kenton being married for over 20 years tells stories of her husband and family and her soon to be grandchild, while Stevens looks forward to the rest of his days.

Love in the Time Of Cholera Book CoverLove in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Written by Columbian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Love in the time of Cholera” is about a young woman named Fermina Daza, who chooses security over love. Engaging in a young romance with Florentino Ariza was not enough for Fermina to commit and chooses instead to marry Juvenal urbino at the age of 21. It is not until years later that Juvenal confesses his infidelity to Fermina, and not until his death that Fermina and Florentino reconnect.

The Name of the Rose Book CoverThe Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco

What makes this such an interesting book and one of the best books of the 1980′s is the setting and the amount of research the author must have done. Set in the year 1327 in a monastery in Italy, Franciscan Friar William of Baskerville and Adso of Melk while attending a theological disputation, find themselves in a search to solve a murder mystery. People are mysteriously dying, and although it was common in the day to assume demonic presence, it is up to the protagonists to find the true cause through reasoning, observation, and intuition.

Firestarter Book CoverFirestarter, by Stephen King

Father and daughter Andrew and Charlie McGee are on the run from a government agency trying to capture and kill them both. During a science experiment when Andy was in college he developed superhuman powers along with his wife, also part of the experiment, and in turn their daughter develops a power of her own, the ability to start fires. Vital to the agency, Andrew and Charlie are constantly being chased all over the country until they are finally captured and separated for six months for observation. After escaping, the two reunite and it is Charlie’s mission to inform the world of their story.

Hotel New Hampshire Book CoverThe Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving

One of the best books of the 1980′s, full of twists and turns, The Hotel New Hampshire tells the story of a family named the Berry’s. Written from John’s point of view (one of the 5 Berry children) the book describes the complicated and unusual lives of each of the family members in detail, understanding that their family is a bit on the odd side. John and Franny are the closest and the most “normal” of the bunch. Frank is battling with his homosexuality. Lilly is a small hopeless romantic, and “Egg” is the youngest and most immature you likes to play make believe. This is their story.

Red Storm Rising Book CoverRed Storm Rising, by Tom Clancy

Red Storm Rising deserves a spot on our best books of the 80′s list due to it’s incredibly suspenseful story. A brilliant take on a futuristic World War 3. The basic idea is that after a terrorist attack on the U.S.S.R.’s oil supply. It is devastating to Russia, the Soviet Union invades West Germany, hoping to take out The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Then, the U.S.S.R. would be free to control the Middle East’s oil fields. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization fights back, producing World War III.

American Psycho Book CoverAmerican Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis

This thrilling and controversial book is written in first person through the mind of serial killer Patrick Bateman. Patrick is a seemingly normal man, with a career on Wall Street, a great apartment and comes from a good background. He takes us through the book by describing his normal everyday activities…what he does step by step throughout his day. Although Patrick lives the life of a normal upper class member of society, he feels no true love in his life, not even for his fiancee, and his sadistic urges begin to take over more and more.

Money Book CoverMoney: A Suicide Note, by Martin Amis

Money is the intricate study of Mr. John Self, a very extravagant consumer. This guy dedicates himself to the ideal of the hedonist. He leaves a large trail of pornography, drugs, and violence in his path, and yet still possesses enough vim to make the reader cry for laughing. Martin Amis has put together a spectacular and enchanting ‘psychodrama’ that gets through right to the core of an entirely perverse and lovable personality. The path to that center is gritty and extremely amusing.

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