ENGLEWOOD — Well, it’s March people! According to WHIO Meteorologist, Eric Elwell, meteorological spring begins on March 1. Now that’s good news!
With that in mind I’m going to continue discussing past decades with this month’s column on the decade of the 1980s. The 1980s had lots of good news with amazing advances in technology. Not only that, it was a record setting era that provided more economic expansion than any time in U.S. history. Penguin Random House highlights 24 bestseller books of the 1980s and I have selected six of the best-of-the-best to review for you here
Cider House Rules (literary fiction): This book was author John Irving’s sixth novel set in rural Maine during the first half of the century. It tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch, founder and director of an orphanage in St. Cloud and his favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted. Joseph Heller wrote, “Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime.”
Cosmos (science): One of the bestselling science books of all time. Carl Sagan’s novel reveals a world that is just beginning to discover its own identity. The book retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter in the universe. Sagan discusses the death of the sun, the evolution of galaxies and the forces that have shaped modern science. He also played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Galileo spacecraft expeditions. The Miami Herald heralded his book writing, “Brilliant in scope and provocative in its suggestions…simmers with a sense of wonder.”
Red Storm Rising (suspense thriller): Tom Clancy’s novel is right up there with the best spy novels of all time. When Muslim terrorists blow up a key Soviet oil complex, making an already critical oil shortage disastrous, the Russians are ready to take things into their own hands. Clancy was at his height from this book forward and established himself as the undisputed master of realism, authenticity, intricate plotting and razor sharp suspense. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2013.
The Remains of the Day (historical fiction): Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than a million copies and became a highly acclaimed film. The book is a compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler in post- World War II England, serving “great gentleman” Lord Darlington. However, he began doubting the true nature of Darlington’s greatness and much greater doubts about the nature of his own life. Newsweek succinctly said, “Brilliant and quietly devastating.”
House of Spirits (historical fiction): Chilean writer Isabel Allende’s classic novel is both a richly symbolic family saga and the riveting story of an unnamed Latin American country’s turbulent history. The Trueba family’s passions and secrets span three generations and a century of violent change. Cosmopolitan wrote, “A book about one family and one country that is a book about the world and becomes the world in a book.”
North and South (historical military fiction): Author of more than a dozen novels, John Jakes, is the acknowledged contemporary master of the family saga and the “godfather” of the historical novel. Two strangers, young men from Pennsylvania and South Carolina, meet on the way to West Point. Thus begins the fantastic novel of antebellum America spanning three generations. Jakes is well known in these parts. Born in Chicago, and a Buckeye of sorts, he earned an M.A. in American Literature from The Ohio State University. The New York Times praised his book as, “An entertaining, authentic dramatization of American history.”
According to Wikipedia there has been multiple opinions since the late 2000s that the present day culture, fashion and music strongly resembles the 1980s. It could be the same for books don’t you think? If you have read these books, you might want to read them again or recommend them to others. If you haven’t you might want to put them on your “want to read list.” If you would like a list of all 24 of these books, contact New & Olde Pages Book Shoppe at 832-3022. There’s one more decade to go, folks. Happy springtime reading, everyone!
Reach New and Olde Pages Book Shoppe at (937) 832-3022. New and Olde Pages is located at 856 Union Blvd., Englewood.