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Best-selling fiction novels from the year you were born

  • Ginny // Wikicommons
    1/ Ginny // Wikicommons

    Best-selling fiction novels from the year you were born

    “There is no friend as loyal as a book,” said Ernest Hemingway.

    When it comes to loyalty and books, the The New York Times’ best-sellers list has been helping bibliophiles find new adventures each week, year after year, since 1931—aside from a few newspaper strikes here and there.

    Stacker has created the ultimate list of the best-selling fiction novels from the year you and your friends and family were born using historical records from Hawes Publications and Wikipedia, showing the list of books that claimed the #1 spot on The New York Times’ best-sellers list each year. The Times officially began the list in 1931, but only used data from readers located in New York. The list expanded nationwide in 1941. For each year, Stacker included books that led the list for at least four weeks or achieved particularly notable acclaim, with some books carrying over into consecutive years.

    Give Stacker's list a read before you snuggle up with your next bookstore find.

    ALSO: Books that have sold over 50 million copies

  • Goodreads
    2/ Goodreads

    1931

    Notable best-sellers: "The Ten Commandments" by Warwick Deeping, "Maid in Waiting" by John Galsworthy

    Stacker pick: "The Ten Commandments"

    This is a story from the 1930s featuring a wounded soldier who loves beauty and a beautiful young woman who loves jazz and fast living. Deeping served in the Great War and this book carries the same tones of the American expat writers of the Lost Generation who were deeply affected by the war, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.

  • Goodreads
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    1932

    Notable best-sellers: "Magnolia Street" by Louis Golding, "Faraway" by J.B. Priestley, "Invitation to the Waltz" by Rosamond Lehmann, "Flowering Wilderness" by John Galsworthy, "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck

    Stacker pick: "The Good Earth"

    The year’s Pulitzer Prize winner depicted the rise and fall of a farmer and his wife in a Chinese peasant village before World War I and through the 1920s. It was among the first novels for many Americans at the time that depicted the life and voices of Chinese people, reflecting a tumultuous time in China, as the book is set around the same time as the ouster of the last Chinese emperor.

  • Farrar & Rinehart // Wikicommons
    4/ Farrar & Rinehart // Wikicommons

    1933

    Notable best-sellers: "Anthony Adverse" by Hervey Allen, "The Werewolf of Paris" by Guy Endore, "As the Earth Turns" by Gladys Hasty Carroll

    Stacker pick: "The Werewolf of Paris"

    This is a horror novel that follows the Gothic style of a narrator dealing with the fantastic—think of the narrators of "Frankenstein" and "Wuthering Heights"—where a werewolf is born to a young girl who was raped by a priest. The novel explores themes of sexuality and the animalistic side of humans, with the Franco-Prussian War and The Paris Commune of 1870–'71 as the historical backdrop.

  • Goodreads
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    1934

    Notable best-sellers: "The Oppermanns" by Lion Feuchtwanger, "So Red the Rose" by Stark Young, "Tender is the Night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Stacker pick: "Tender is the Night"

    This novel tells the story of a psychiatrist who marries one of this patients, a rich heiress, and the downfall of their relationship and his career. The book was published shortly after Fitzgerald's wife Zelda was checked into a mental hospital for schizophrenia.

  • Goodreads
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    1935

    Notable best-sellers: "Heaven's My Destination" by Thornton Wilder, "Of Time and the River" by Thomas Wolfe, "Lucy Gayheart" by Willa Cather, "Europa" by Robert Briffault, "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis

    Stacker pick: "Heaven's My Destination"

    Wilder’s best-selling novel set during the Great Depression follows the story of George Brush, a traveling textbook salesman. He’s a religious convert determined to lead a good life, and his travels take him throughout a more a more secular America. This book is considered a picaresque novel, just as Voltaire’s "Candide, Or, Optimism."

  • Goodreads
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    1936

    Notable best-sellers: "The Last Puritan" by George Santayana, "The Doctor" by Mary Roberts Rinehart, "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell

    Stacker pick: "Gone With the Wind"

    Margaret Mitchell’s sweeping epic novel covers the life of Georgian socialite Scarlett O’Hara during the Civil War and antebellum eras in the South, exploring a narrative of the elite Georgian class and how the loss of the Civil War changed the lives of those living in the South. The David O. Selznick 1939 film adaptation starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable is one of the most famous, acclaimed movies of all time—many know the line, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn," whether or not they've seen the film.

  • Goodreads
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    1937

    Notable best-sellers: "Drums Along the Mohawk" by Walter D. Edmonds, "Theatre" by Somerset Maugham, "The Outward Room" by Millen Brand, "Northwest Passage" by Kenneth Roberts, "The Citadel" by A.J. Cronin, "The Years" by Virginia Woolf

    Stacker pick: "The Years"

    Woolf's last novel covers the upper-middle class Pargiter family over the span of 50 years from 1880s to 1930s, specifically the children of a retired British general who served in India. The Victorian, omniscient point of view used in the novel differs from her usual stream of consciousness prose.

     

  • Goodreads
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    1938

    Notable best-sellers: "The Prodigal Parents" by Sinclair Lewis, "Action at Aquila" by Hervey Allen, "My Son, My Son" by Howard Spring, "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier, "All This and Heaven Too" by Rachel Field, "The Yearling" by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

    Stacker pick: "The Yearling"

    This novel covers the life of a family in the central Florida backwoods in the antebellum era, focusing on the growth of young Jody Baxter and his fawn, whose death represents Jody’s coming-of-age. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939, and the 1946 film adaptation starring Gregory Peck was nominated for and won a number of Academy Awards.

  • alaina buzas // Flickr
    10/ alaina buzas // Flickr

    1939

    Notable best-sellers: "Wickford Point" by John P. Marquand, "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, "Escape" by Ethel Vance, "Kitty Foyle" by Christopher Morley

    Stacker pick: "The Grapes of Wrath"

    This classic Steinbeck novel follows the tale of the Joads, an Oklahoma family that moves west to work the fields of California in an attempt to escape the hardships of the dust bowl in the Midwest. Steinbeck wrote it to depict the injustices of migrant labor during the Great Depression. It’s one of the most recognized American novels, it won the Pulitzer Prize, and its film adaptation was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in The Library of Congress.

  • Goodreads
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    1940

    Notable best-sellers: "Native Son" by Richard Wright, "Stars on the Sea" by F. Van Wyck Mason, "You Can't Go Home Again" by Thomas Wolfe, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway, "Oliver Wiswell" by Kenneth Roberts

    Stacker pick: "For Whom the Bell Tolls"

    Set during the Spanish Civil War in 1937, Hemingway's classic explores the horrors of modern warfare, both its acts and psychological aftermath, and also the political ideologies of the time such as fascism and populism. Its film adaptation was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won one.

  • Goodreads
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    1941

    Notable best-sellers: "Oliver Wiswell" by Kenneth Roberts, "Random Harvest" by James Hilton, "This Above All" by Eric Knight, "The Keys of the Kingdom" by A.J. Cronin, "Saratoga Trunk" by Edna Ferber

    Stacker pick: "Random Harvest"

    This novel follows a wealthy World War I veteran who lost his memory due to shell shock and regains it just in time for the world to enter World War II in the 1930s. It had a successful film adaptation in 1942, but it deviated from the book.

  • Goodreads
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    1942

    Notable best-sellers: "Windswept" by Mary Ellen Chase, "Dragon Seed" by Pearl S. Buck, "The Moon Is Down" by John Steinbeck, "And Now Tomorrow" by Rachel Field, "The Song of Bernadette" by Franz Werfel, "The Robe" by Lloyd Douglas

    Stacker pick: "The Song of Bernadette"

    Based on the true story of St. Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France, in 1858, the novel follows a girl who sees a vision of the Virgin Mary at a grotto. The village, officials, and law enforcement don’t believe her and harass her—until roses bloom in winter.

  • Goodreads
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    1943

    Notable best-sellers: "The Robe" by Lloyd Douglas, "So Little Time" by John P. Marquand, "Mrs. Parkington" by Louis Bromfield

    Stacker pick: "Mrs. Parkington"

    This novel follows the remarkable life of Susie Parkington, a powerful, intelligent, and wealthy old woman who is determined that her granddaughter won’t be ruined by the family’s wealth. A film adaptation in 1944 brought a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Greer Garson.

  • Goodreads
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    1944

    Notable best-sellers: "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith, "Strange Fruit" by Lillian Smith, "The Razor's Edge" by Somerset Maugham, "Green Dolphin Street" by Elizabeth Goudge, "Forever Amber" by Kathleen Winsor

    Stacker pick: "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"

    Smith’s acclaimed coming-of-age novel follows the story of a girl from a poor family in Brooklyn who loses her innocence as she becomes more aware of the reality surrounding her life. The book ultimately shows that the girl and her family are resilient despite everything life throws at them.

  • Goodreads
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    1945

    Notable best-sellers: "The Green Years" by A.J. Cronin, "Captain from Castile" by Samuel Shellabarger, "A Lion is in the Streets" by Adria Locke Langley, "The Black Rose" by Thomas B. Costain, "Earth and High Heaven" by Gwethalyn Graham

    Stacker pick: "Earth and High Heaven"

    This novel features a romance set in Montreal during World War II; a Protestant woman and a Jewish man have to overcome anti-semitism from the community in order to make their relationship work.

  • Goodreads
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    1946

    Notable best-sellers: "The Black Rose" by Thomas Costain, "The King's General" by Daphne du Maurier, "Arch of Triumph" by Erich Maria Remarque, "This Side of Innocence" by Taylor Caldwell, "The Hucksters" by Frederic Wakeman, "B.F.'s Daughter" by John P. Marquand

    Stacker pick: "Arch of Triumph"

    A German surgeon lives in Paris as a stateless refugee and secretly treats patients despite laws forbidding it. Despite the danger and the impending fall of France, he manages to find love.

  • Goodreads
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    1947

    Notable best-sellers: "B.F.'s Daughter" by John P. Marquand, "Lydia Bailey" by Kenneth Roberts, "Gentlemen's Agreement" by Laura Z. Hobson, "The Moneyman" by Thomas Costain, "House Divided" by Ben Ames Williams

    Stacker pick: "Gentlemen's Agreement"

    This novel follows the story of a Gentile writer who poses as a jew in order to experience American anti-semitism firsthand for a magazine article. His choice affects his wife’s social ambitions.

  • Goodreads
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    1948

    Notable best-sellers: "House Divided" by Ben Ames Williams, "Eagle in the Sky" by Van Wyck Mason, "Raintree County" by Ross Lockridge, "The Naked and the Dead" by Norman Mailer, "The Young Lions" by Irwin Shaw

    Stacker pick: "The Naked and the Dead"

    This novel follows a platoon of 13 men on a Japanese-held island during World War II, and features each man’s backstory through flashbacks. Mailer's work was widely praised at the time for its use of journalistic detail and descriptions.

  • Goodreads
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    1949

    Notable best-sellers: "The Big Fisherman" by Lloyd C. Douglas, "Point of No Return" by John P. Marquand, "A Rage To Live" by John O'Hara, "The Egyptian" by Mika Waltari

    Stacker pick: "A Rage To Live"

    O'Hara's best-selling novel follows a socialite living in Pennsylvania who is remarkably in tune with her sexuality, which causes issues in her marriage and her place in society.

  • Goodreads
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    1950

    Notable best-sellers: "The Egyptian" by Mika Waltari, "The Parasites" by Daphne du Maurier, "The Wall" by John Hersey, "The Cardinal" by Henry Morton Robinson, "Across the River and into the Trees" by Ernest Hemingway, "The Disenchanted" by Budd Schulberg

    Stacker pick: "Across the River and into the Trees"

    Hemingway's novel follows Col. Cantwell in the late-'40s to early '50s as he duck hunts in Italy, and spends much of the novel in flashbacks to his time in the country during World War I.

  • Goodreads
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    1951

    Notable best-sellers: "Joy Street" by Frances Parkinson Keyes, "From Here to Eternity" by James Jones, "The Caine Mutiny" by Herman Wouk

    Stacker pick: "From Here to Eternity"

    Jones' novel follows an Army infantry company stationed in Hawaii in the weeks leading up to to the attack on Pearl Harbor. One soldier refuses to box on behalf of his company, and another also defies authority by seducing a superior’s wife. The famous film adaptation received 13 Academy Award nominations and eight wins.

  • Goodreads
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    1952

    Notable best-sellers: "The Caine Mutiny" by Herman Wouk, "My Cousin Rachel" by Daphne du Maurier, "The Silver Chalice" by Thomas B. Costain, "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck

    Stacker pick: "East of Eden"

    "East of Eden" is arguably one of Steinbeck’s most famous novels. It follows the story of a couple generations of two families in Salinas Valley in California, the Trasks and Hamiltons. The novel heavily alludes to the story of Cain and Abel.

  • Goodreads
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    1953

    Notable best-sellers: "The Silver Chalice" by Thomas B. Costain, "Désirée" by Annemarie Selinko, "Beyond This Place" by A.J. Cronin, "Lord Vanity" by Samuel Shellabarger

    Stacker pick: "Beyond This Place"

    An aspiring teacher learns that his father has been convicted for murder. He sets out to learn the truth.

  • Goodreads
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    1954

    Notable best-sellers: "Lord Vanity" by Samuel Shellabarger, "Not as a Stranger" by Morton Thompson, "Mary Anne" by Daphne du Maurier, "Love is Eternal" by Irving Stone

    Stacker pick: "Not as a Stranger"

    A medical student has been dedicated to medicine since he was a child, and has a glorified view of the field and of doctors. Over time, he comes to grips with the fact that doctors are human and imperfect. The movie adaptation starred Frank Sinatra.

  • Goodreads
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    1955

    Notable best-sellers: "The View from Pompey's Head" by Hamilton Basso, "Sincerely, Willis Wayde" by John P. Marquand, "Bonjour Tristesse" by Françoise Sagan, "Auntie Mame" by Patrick Dennis, "Marjorie Morningstar" by Herman Wouk

    Stacker pick: "The View from Pompey's Head"

    This novel follows a Manhattan lawyer who has to return to his hometown in the South on business for one of his clients. He learns that it’s not as easy as he thought to completely leave the South.

  • Goodreads
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    1956

    Notable best-sellers: "Andersonville" by MacKinlay Kantor, "The Last Hurrah" by Edwin O'Connor, "Don't Go Near the Water" by William Brinkley, "Peyton Place" by Grace Metalious

    Stacker pick: "The Last Hurrah"

    O'Connor's novel follows a veteran politician running for mayor who quickly learns that old-school politics—name recognition, experience, events, and door-to-door campaigns—aren’t quite as effective in the age of TV. Known as one of the more successful early novels about American politics, the main character believed to be based on politician James Michael Curley.

  • Goodreads
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    1957

    Notable best-sellers: "Peyton Place" by Grace Metalious, "The Scapegoat" by Daphne du Maurier, "By Love Possessed" by James Gould Cozzens

    Stacker pick: "By Love Possessed"

    This novel follows 49 hours of a small-town lawyer's life. The story features his life through flashbacks and some of the cases he’s working on, which include a dead woman’s estate and a young man accused of rape.

  • Goodreads
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    1958

    Notable best-sellers: "By Love Possessed" by James Gould Cozzens, "Anatomy of a Murder" by Robert Traver, "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, "Doctor Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak

    Stacker pick: "Lolita"

    "Lolita" is Nabokov’s most infamous novel and it gained plenty of critics. The story is presented as a manuscript written by a literature professor who died while awaiting trial. The manuscript covers the professor’s obsession with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores whom he privately nicknamed Lolita. It was adapted into an extremely censored film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962.

  • Goodreads
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    1959

    Notable best-sellers: "Doctor Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak, "Exodus" by Leon Uris, "Advise and Consent" by Allen Drury

    Stacker pick: "Doctor Zhivago"

    This epic novel tells the story of a young man caught between his love for two women against the backdrop of Russia between the Revolution of 1905 and World War II. The USSR tried to suppress its publication for its critique against Stalinism and other events held dear by the communist party. The CIA reportedly used the novel as a propaganda tool. Its most famous adaptation was for film in 1965, which won five Oscars, though it has been adapted a number of times for stage and screen.

  • Goodreads
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    1960

    Notable best-sellers: "Advise and Consent" by Allen Drury, "Hawaii" by James Michener

    Stacker pick: "Advise and Consent"

    This novel remained popular in 1960 after its debut a year earlier, winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It follows a U.S. senator after the president nominates him as the new secretary of state, except the nominee is rumored to have a communist past. Scheming, blackmailing, and suicide ensue.

  • Goodreads
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    1961

    Notable best-sellers: "Hawaii" by James Michener, "The Last of the Just" by André Schwarz-Bart, "The Agony and the Ecstasy" by Irving Stone, "Franny and Zooey" by J.D. Salinger

    Stacker pick: "Franny and Zooey"

    Beloved novella focusing on Franny and Zooey, the two youngest siblings of Salinger’s Glass family. Franny has a religious and existential breakdown while visiting her boyfriend’s college over a weekend.

  • Goodreads
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    1962

    Notable best-sellers: "Franny and Zooey" by J.D. Salinger, "Ship of Fools" by Katherine Anne Porter, "A Shade of Difference" by Allen Drury, "Seven Days in May" by Charles W. Bailey II and Fletcher Knebel

    Stacker pick: "Seven Days in May

    The authors' novel follows a military plot to overthrow the U.S. president after he negotiated a treaty with the USSR. The novel and its film adaptation reflect the events surrounding the country at the time, when President John F. Kennedy accepted the resignation of an anti-communist general.

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    1963

    Notable best-sellers: "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" by J. D. Salinger, "The Glass-Blowers" by Daphne du Maurier, "The Shoes of the Fisherman" by Morris West, "The Group" by Mary McCarthy

    Stacker pick: "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters"

    This novel follows Buddy Glass, who takes a brief leave from the Army during World War II to attend his brother Seymour’s wedding. Seymour is missing, and the novel depicts Buddy’s experience in interacting with the wedding party and attendees.

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    1964

    Notable best-sellers: "The Group" by Mary McCarthy, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" by John le Carré, "Herzog" by Saul Bellow

    Stacker pick: "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold"

    A successful and experienced British spy wants to quit his career but takes on one last assignment to become a double agent. The author portrays Western espionage as morally inconsistent with Western democracy and values.

  • Goodreads
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    1965

    Notable best-sellers: "Herzog" by Saul Bellow, "Up the Down Staircase" by Bel Kaufman, "The Source" by James Michener

    Stacker pick: "Up the Down Staircase"

    A teacher at an inner-city public school is frustrated by bureaucracy, student indifference, and staff incompetence. As the novel progresses via notes, letters, homework papers, and other bits of correspondence, Kaufman paints a nuanced portrait of a career woman and the factors that stand in the way of good teaching.

  • Goodreads
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    1966

    Notable best-sellers: "The Source" by James Michener, "Valley of the Dolls" by Jacqueline Susann, "The Secret of Santa Vittoria" by Robert Crichton

    Stacker pick: "Valley of the Dolls"

    Three women try to make it in the entertainment industry. As life becomes tough they rely heavily on “dolls,” amphetamines, and barbiturates. It was the best-selling novel of that year.

  • Goodreads
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    1967

    Notable best-sellers: "The Secret of Santa Vittoria" by Robert Crichton, "The Arrangement" by Elia Kazan, "The Eighth Day" by Thornton Wilder, "The Confessions of Nat Turner" by William Styron

    Stacker pick: "The Arrangement"

    This story follows a Greek-American who pursues different titles and roles—husband, advertising executive, magazine writer—and struggles between the self that he projects to others and his true self. He suffers a mental breakdown in the process of living authentically.

  • Goodreads
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    1968

    Notable best-sellers: "The Confessions of Nat Turner" by William Styron, "Airport" by Arthur Hailey, "The Salzburg Connection" by Helen MacInnes, "Couples" by John Updike

    Stacker pick: "Couples"

    The novel follows the lives of 10 couples in suburban middle-class Massachusetts and their struggle to balance old-fashioned notions of sex with the changing attitude of the time. It features clinical descriptions of sex acts that were generally positively reviewed and landed Updike on the cover of Time.

  • Goodreads
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    1969

    Notable best-sellers: "The Salzburg Connection" by Helen MacInnes, "Portnoy's Complaint" by Philip Roth, "The Love Machine" by Jacqueline Susann, "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo

    Stacker pick: "The Godfather"

    The Corleones are a powerful mafia family based in New York. After the patriarch—the Godfather—is shot by people who work for a rival gang, his sons and other ranking members run the family business. It's often interpreted as a coming-of-age story for Michael Corleone, who originally wanted to lead a normal American life. The book was adapted into a film that is largely considered the most influential mafia films in cinematic history and is deeply ingrained in American culture, considered second only to “Citizen Kane” by some critics.

  • Goodreads
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    1970

    Notable best-sellers: "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo, "The French Lieutenant's Woman" by John Fowles, "Love Story" by Erich Segal

    Stacker pick: "Love Story"

    Two polar opposites fall in love, one coming from a wealthy family and another coming from a working-class one. They grapple with the loss of family support, infertility, and cancer.

  • Goodreads
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    1971

    Notable best-sellers: "Love Story" by Erich Segal, "QB VII" by Leon Uris, "The Passions of the Mind" by Irving Stone, "The Exorcist" by William Peter Blatty, "The Day of the Jackal" by Frederick Forsyth, "Wheels" by Arthur Hailey

    Stacker pick: "The Exorcist"

    The terrifying book that became a hit film follows the tale of a famous actress’ daughter who is possessed by a demon and the two priests who try to expel the demon. Its film adaptation is one of the highest grossing films ever and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

  • Goodreads
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    1972

    Notable best-sellers: "The Winds of War" by Herman Wouk, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach

    Stacker pick: "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"

    The beloved novel presented in novella form is about a seagull's journey to becoming an amazing flier, diving deep into what it truly means to fly. When he tries to tell the flock that there is much more to life than being a squawking bird, he is shunned and soon sets off on a spiritual journey.

  • Goodreads
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    1973

    Notable best-sellers: "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach, "The Odessa File" by Frederick Forsyth, "Once Is Not Enough" by Jacqueline Susann, "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut, "The Hollow Hills" by Mary Stewart, "Burr" by Gore Vidal

    Stacker pick: "Burr"

    "Burr" is a historical novel in which a fictional version of Aaron Burr decides to create a memoir recalling the events surrounding the founding of the nation. He enlists the help of a young law clerk at his firm, and the novel follows both the clerk’s thoughts on mid-19th century New York and Burr’s memories.

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    1974

    Notable best-sellers: "Burr" by Gore Vidal, "Watership Down" by Richard Adams, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" by John le Carré, "Centennial" by James Michener

    Stacker pick: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"

    This is a spy novel in which a Soviet mole has risen in the ranks of British foreign intelligence and it’s up to George Smiley to figure out how to catch the traitor. The novel is based on the revelations of the Cambridge Five, in which high-ranking British intelligence officials were exposed as double-agents. It was turned into a film in 2011, which starred notable actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, John Hurt, and Tom Hardy.

  • Goodreads
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    1975

    Notable best-sellers: "Centennial" by James Michener, "The Moneychangers" by Arthur Hailey, "Ragtime" by E. L. Doctorow, "Curtain" by Agatha Christie

    Stacker pick: "Curtain"

    This is the last adventure featuring beloved detective characters Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings, in which the former calls on the latter to help him stop a serial killer at a country house, which also happened to be the same scene in their first adventure together. 

  • Goodreads
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    1976

    Notable best-sellers: "Curtain" by Agatha Christie, "1876" by Gore Vidal, "Trinity" by Leon Uris, "Sleeping Murder" by Agatha Christie

    Stacker pick: "Trinity"

    The novel follows the intertwining lives of Catholic hill farmer families, the Larkins and the O'Neills, Protestant family Macleods, and the Hubbles. The novel chronicles the events from the Great Famine to the Easter Rising in 1916, centered on Irish independence and nationalism.

  • Goodreads
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    1977

    Notable best-sellers: "Trinity" by Leon Uris, "Oliver's Story" by Erich Segal, "The Thorn Birds" by Colleen McCullough, "The Silmarillion" by J.R.R. Tolkien

    Stacker pick: "The Silmarillion"

    This novel is the origin story for the entire universe of "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings." It chronicles the events from the moment Ilúvatar created the universe to the creation of elves and men, to the Third Age of Middle-Earth—and thus setting the scene for the hobbit tales we all know and love.

  • Goodreads
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    1978

    Notable best-sellers: "The Silmarillion" by J.R.R. Tolkien, "Bloodline" by Sidney Sheldon, "War and Remembrance" by Herman Wouk, "The Holcroft Covenant" by Robert Ludlum

    Stacker pick: "The Holcroft Covenant"

    A New York architect is given a mission to redistribute funds stolen from the Third Reich in order to make up for the horrors of the Holocaust. The main thing standing in his way is the leader of a secret group of Nazis who were raised and indoctrinated since they were children, and aim to create a Fourth Reich.

  • Goodreads
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    1979

    Notable best-sellers: "Chesapeake" by James Michener, "The Matarese Circle" by Robert Ludlum, "Sophie's Choice" by William Styron, "The Last Enchantment" by Mary Stewart, "The Establishment" by Howard Fast

    Stacker pick: "Sophie's Choice"

    This novel covers the relationships between three people living in New York: novelist Stingo, Nathan Landau, and his lover Sophie, a Polish Catholic who survived the Nazi camps. Nathan is a paranoid schizophrenic who encourages Sophie to commit suicide with him, and Sophie is haunted by her time in the camps. It was later adapted into a film, in which Meryl Streep won Best Actress. “Sophie’s Choice” has become shorthand for making a decision between two terrible options.

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    1980

    Notable best-sellers: "Smiley's People" by John le Carré, "Princess Daisy" by Judith Krantz, "The Bourne Identity" by Robert Ludlum, "Rage of Angels" by Sidney Sheldon, "The Covenant" by James Michener, "Firestarter" by Stephen King

    Stacker pick: "Firestarter"

    Two people who were subjects of a top-secret government program gain psychic abilities in this novel. Their daughter has stronger powers, particularly pyrokinesis. The government pursues the family in order to access the daughter’s powers for their own means, and the daughter is inclined to retaliate against them. It was made into a film, but it was not particularly noteworthy.

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    1981

    Notable best-sellers: "The Covenant" by James Michener, "Noble House" by James Clavell, "Cujo" by Stephen King, "The Hotel New Hampshire" by John Irving, "An Indecent Obsession" by Colleen McCullough

    Stacker pick: "Cujo"

    A beloved Saint-Bernard follows a rabbit into a cave and evil ensues. It was made into a classic film in 1983.

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    1982

    Notable best-sellers: "An Indecent Obsession" by Colleen McCullough, "The Parsifal Mosaic" by Robert Ludlum, "The Prodigal Daughter" by Jeffrey Archer, "Master of the Game" by Sidney Sheldon, "Space" by James Michener, "The Man from St. Petersburg" by Ken Follett

    Stacker pick: "The Man from St. Petersburg"

    This is a historical fiction-thriller novel that follows secret negotiations between Russia and Great Britain just before World War I. The protagonist, Feliks, aims to assassinate Russian Prince Alexei who is negotiating on behalf of Czar Nicholas II. The main things in his way are the British police, a lord, and Winston Churchill.

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    1983

    Notable best-sellers: "Space" by James Michener, "The Little Drummer Girl" by John le Carré, "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – The Storybook Based on the Movie" by Joan D. Vinge, "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco, "Poland" by James Michener, "Pet Sematary" by Stephen King

    Stacker pick: "Space"

    This story centers around a fictional version of the United States space program. It covers the lives of four men and their families over the course of 30 years: an engineer, a U.S. senator, a former Nazi, and an astronaut.

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    1984

    Notable best-sellers: "Pet Sematary" by Stephen King, "The Aquitaine Progression" by Robert Ludlum, "Full Circle" by Danielle Steel, "...And Ladies of the Club" by Helen Hooven Santmyer, "The Fourth Protocol" by Frederick Forsyth, "The Talisman" by Stephen King and Peter Straub

    Stacker pick: "...And Ladies of the Club"

    This book focuses on the formation of an Ohio women’s book club, which grows into an important service organization in the town as its members navigate a fast-changing world, and learn about themselves and each other. The book begins in 1868 and ends in 1932.

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    1985

    Notable best-sellers: "If Tomorrow Comes" by Sidney Sheldon, "Family Album" by Danielle Steel, "Thinner" by Richard Bachman (pseudonym for Stephen King), "Skeleton Crew" by Stephen King, "Lake Wobegon Days" by Garrison Keillor, "Texas" by James Michener, "The Mammoth Hunters" by Jean M. Auel

    Stacker pick: "Skeleton Crew"

    "Skeleton Crew" is collection of stories written in classic Stephen King style, from a mist that hides unknown terrors, to a lake that holds evil, to a man who can edit his own reality.

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    1986

    Notable best-sellers: "The Mammoth Hunters" by Jean M. Auel, "The Bourne Supremacy" by Robert Ludlum, "A Perfect Spy" by John le Carré, "Last of the Breed" by Louis L'Amour, "Wanderlust" by Danielle Steel, "Red Storm Rising" by Tom Clancy, "It" by Stephen King, "Whirlwind" by James Clavell

    Stacker pick: "It"

    One of King’s most famous horror novels. Twenty-eight years ago a group of teenagers battled an evil that was murdering children in their hometown. Now grown, the group returned to their hometown to defeat the spirit once and for all. The book was adapted into a miniseries and a two-part megahit film, which grossed $700.3 million worldwide.

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    1987

    Notable best-sellers: "Windmills of the Gods" by Sidney Sheldon, "Fine Things" by Danielle Steel, "Misery" by Stephen King, "Presumed Innocent" by Scott Turow, "Patriot Games" by Tom Clancy, "Kaleidoscope" by Danielle Steel, "The Tommyknockers" by Stephen King

    Stacker pick: "Misery"

    "Misery" is King’s famous novel featuring the stan of all stans, Annie Wilkes. Author Paul Sheldon decided to kill off the famous protagonist of his romance series in order to expand his creative pursuits. Annie rescued Paul from a car accident and became furious when she learned that her favorite character died in Paul’s latest book. She decided to hold him prisoner until he figured out a way to bring her back to life. The film adaptation was popular and won an Academy Award, and Annie Wilkes, played by Kathy Bates, was rated as one of the top cinematic villains of all time by the American Film Institute in 2003.

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    1988

    Notable best-sellers: "The Bonfire of the Vanities" by Tom Wolfe, "The Icarus Agenda" by Robert Ludlum, "Zoya" by Danielle Steel, "Alaska" by James Michener, "The Cardinal of the Kremlin" by Tom Clancy, "The Sands of Time" by Sidney Sheldon

    Stacker pick: "The Bonfire of the Vanities"

    This modern American satire follows a wealthy Manhattan man who has everything he could ever want until one wrong turn causes his life to spiral downwards.

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    1989

    Notable best-sellers: "The Sands of Time" by Sidney Sheldon, "Star" by Danielle Steel, "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie, "The Russia House" by John le Carré, "Clear and Present Danger" by Tom Clancy, "The Dark Half" by Stephen King, "Daddy" by Danielle Steel, "Midnight" by Dean Koontz

    Stacker pick: "Midnight"

    The town of Midnight Cove is plagued by humans who turn into beasts that kill normal human beings. Those who survive band together to stop whatever is causing the phenomenon.

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    1990

    Notable best-sellers: "The Bourne Ultimatum" by Robert Ludlum, "September" by Rosamunde Pilcher, "The Stand" by Stephen King, "The Burden of Proof" by Scott Turow, "Four Past Midnight" by Stephen King, "The Plains of Passage" by Jean M. Auel

    Stacker pick: "The Bourne Ultimatum"

    This is the third book of the "Jason Bourne" series. Carlos, known as the Jackal, is the world’s deadliest terrorist. As he nears old age, he desires one last showdown with Jason Bourne, an elite spy and David Webb’s alias. David decides to create a trap that ends the Jackal once and for all. The film adaptation starring Matt Damon was loosely based on the book and won three Academy Awards.

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    1991

    Notable best-sellers: "Heartbeat" by Danielle Steel, "Loves Music, Loves to Dance" by Mary Higgins Clark, "The Kitchen God's Wife" by Amy Tan, "The Sum of All Fears" by Tom Clancy, "Scarlett" by Alexandra Ripley

    Stacker pick: "The Kitchen God's Wife"

    From the author of “The Joy Luck Club,” Tan’s best-selling novel focuses on Winnie and Helen, who have kept each other’s secrets for more than 50 years. Helen determines that it is time for Winnie and her American-born daughter Pearl to share their secrets with each other. Winnie relates the events of her life in China and her journey to the United States.

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    1992

    Notable best-sellers: "Scarlett" by Alexandra Ripley, "Hideaway" by Dean Koontz, "The Pelican Brief" by John Grisham, "Jewels" by Danielle Steel, "Gerald's Game" by Stephen King, "The Tale of the Body Thief" by Anne Rice, "Dolores Claiborne" by Stephen King

    Stacker pick: "Scarlett"

    This sequel by Alexandra Ripley to Margaret Mitchell’s beloved "Gone With The Wind" picks up right where Rhett Butler left Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlet attempts to win Rhett back, but instead finds her way to Ireland and makes a life for herself there, all the while still in love with Rhett. Critics and fans of "Gone With The Wind" generally agree that the novel isn’t of the same literary quality of Mitchell’s work.

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    1993

    Notable best-sellers: "The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller, "The Client" by John Grisham, "The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller, "Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend" by Robert James Waller

    Stacker pick: "The Bridges of Madison County"

    This novel is a story presented as if it was a novelization of a true story, but it’s entirely fictional. It follows the story of Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer sent to photograph the covered bridges of Madison County, and his intense four-day affair with Francesca Johnson, a housewife whose husband and children are away on a trip. The 1995 film adaptation starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep was commercially successful.

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    1994

    Notable best-sellers: "Disclosure" by Michael Crichton, "Accident" by Danielle Steel, "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield, "The Chamber" by John Grisham, "The Gift" by Danielle Steel, "Debt of Honor" by Tom Clancy

    Stacker pick: "The Celestine Prophecy"

    This is a first-person narrative of a man who wants to learn the nine insights of life from an ancient Peruvian manuscript that had been recently translated. As he continues in his spiritual journey and his attempt to bring the knowledge to the public at large, he is chased by authorities who are loyal to the Catholic Church and don’t want the manuscript to get out.

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    1995

    Notable best-sellers: "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield, "The Rainmaker" by John Grisham, "The Lost World" by Michael Crichton, "The Horse Whisperer" by Nicholas Evans

    Stacker pick: "The Horse Whisperer"

    A New York magazine editor’s daughter gets into a grisly riding accident that leaves both her and her horse traumatized. The editor takes the three of them to Montana to get help from a man called the Horse Whisperer, and she falls in love. The movie adaptation starring Robert Redford grossed $186.8 million worldwide.

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    1996

    Notable best-sellers: "Primary Colors" by Anonymous (Later revealed to be Joe Klein), "Moonlight Becomes You" by Mary Higgins Clark, "The Runaway Jury" by John Grisham, "Cause of Death" by Patricia Cornwell, "Executive Orders" by Tom Clancy, "The Deep End of the Ocean" by Jacquelyn Mitchard, "Silent Honor" by Danielle Steel

    Stacker pick: "Primary Colors"

    An idealistic man joins the presidential campaign of a southern democrat who is reportedly a thinly veiled Bill Clinton. As the campaign drags on and the antics of the candidate show him to be an ingenuous, womanizing politician, the protagonist eventually has to choose between his ideals and reality. This story was fairly significant at the time, considering it was in the second year of Clinton’s second term and the Lewinsky scandal wouldn’t come to light for another two years. 

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    1997

    Notable best-sellers: "Airframe" by Michael Crichton, "Hornet's Nest" by Patricia Cornwell, "The Partner" by John Grisham, "Pretend You Don't See Her" by Mary Higgins Clark, "Plum Island" by Nelson DeMille, "Unnatural Exposure" by Patricia Cornwell, "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier

    Stacker pick: "Cold Mountain"

    In the last days of the Civil War, a soldier walks home through the ravaged South to Cold Mountain in North Carolina, to reunite with his sweetheart. The 2003 film adaptation grossed about $173 million worldwide and featured Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.

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    1998

    Notable best-sellers: "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier, "The Street Lawyer" by John Grisham, "You Belong to Me" by Mary Higgins Clark, "Rainbow Six" by Tom Clancy, "Bag of Bones" by Stephen King, "A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe, "Paradise" by Toni Morrison

    Stacker pick: "Paradise"

    Morrison's novel chronicles the tension between a heavily patriarchal, all-black community in Oklahoma and an all-women group living in a former convent 17 miles away. The men in Ruby grow to have an intolerance for outsiders, the women of the convent included.

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    1999

    Notable best-sellers: "A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe, "The Testament" by John Grisham, "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" by Terry Brooks, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling, "Hannibal" by Thomas Harris, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by J. K. Rowling

    Stacker pick: "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"

    This is the first book in the beloved "Harry Potter" series. Harry learns that he is a wizard who managed to survive a killing curse from Voldemort, the world’s most powerful dark wizard, when he was a baby. As he goes through his first year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry races to stop a plot to bring Voldemort back to power. The film franchise, product extensions, and theme park experiences have helped Harry Potter and Rowling become a worldwide success.

    Note: "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was released in the U.K. in 1997 by Bloomsbury. In 1998 Scholastic Corporation released the novel in the U.S. under a slightly different name: "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." 

     

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    2000

    Notable best-sellers: "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling, "The Brethren" by John Grisham, "Before I Say Goodbye" by Mary Higgins Clark, "The Indwelling" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, "The House on Hope Street" by Danielle Steel, "The Bear and the Dragon" by Tom Clancy, "The Mark" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, "Drowning Ruth" by Christina Schwarz

    Stacker pick: "Drowning Ruth"

    In 1919, a young Wisconsin mother drowned in an icy lake and the shock of her death dramatically changes the life of her sister, husband, and daughter.

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    2001

    Notable best-sellers: "A Painted House" by John Grisham, "On the Street Where You Live" by Mary Higgins Clark, "Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas" by James Patterson, "Valhalla Rising" by Clive Cussler, "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham, "The Kiss" by Danielle Steel

    Stacker pick: "The Kiss"

    Isabelle Forrester and Bill Robinson are both trapped in empty marriages, but they find comfort in their long-distance friendship. They decide to spend a few days in London together and just as they share their first kiss, their limo is struck by a double-decker bus. They face the long journey to recovery together.

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    2002

    Notable best-sellers: "The Summons" by John Grisham, "The Shelters of Stone" by Jean M. Auel, "The Remnant" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold, "The Nanny Diaries" by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

    Stacker pick: "The Nanny Diaries"

    An NYU college student takes care of a wealthy family’s son, and in the process learns to juggle her personal life and the family’s dysfunction. The film adaptation starred Scarlett Johansson.

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    2003

    Notable best-sellers: "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold, "The King of Torts" by John Grisham, "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, "Armageddon" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom

    Stacker pick: "The Lovely Bones"

    A 14-year-old girl is raped and murdered by her neighbor in the 1970s, and from the other side she watches her family and friends deal with the shock of her death, as well as their search for her murderer. It was made into a movie in 2009 and was nominated for numerous awards.

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    2004

    Notable best-sellers: "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, "The Dark Tower" by Stephen King

    Stacker pick: "The Dark Tower"

    Considered his magnum opus, this is the final book in King’s “The Dark Tower” series of books, which were inspired in equal parts by Robert Browning’s poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western classics. The 2017 film adaptation failed to live up to expectations despite considerable star powerIdris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.

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    2005

    Notable best-sellers: "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, "The Broker" by John Grisham, "Honeymoon" by James Patterson and Howard Roughan, "4th of July" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, "Lifeguard" by James Patterson and Andrew Gross, "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly

    Stacker pick: "The Lincoln Lawyer"

    In Michael Connelly’s best-selling thriller, Mickey Haller is a “Lincoln Lawyer”—a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the various courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind. The book was released as a feature film in 2011 starring Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, and Marisa Tomei.

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    2006

    Notable best-sellers: "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, "Two Little Girls in Blue" by Mary Higgins Clark, "Judge and Jury" by James Patterson and Andrew Gross, "For One More Day" by Mitch Albom, "Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks

    Stacker pick: "Dear John"

    The events of 9/11 change everything for young lovers John and Savannah. After a long separation, Savannah falls in love with someone else. “Dear John…” her letter begins. The 2010 film adaptation starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried was a box office success, raking in $114.9 million domestically—nearly as much as Sparks’ most famous work's film adaptation, “The Notebook.”

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    2007

    Notable best-sellers: "Plum Lovin'" by Janet Evanovich, "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

    Stacker pick: "A Thousand Splendid Suns"

    Following his best-selling 2003 debut, “The Kite Runner,” Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns” focuses on the relationships between mothers and daughters. It’s been adapted into a play and feature film.

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    2008

    Notable best-sellers: "The Appeal" by John Grisham, "The Christmas Sweater" by Glenn Beck

    Stacker pick: "The Christmas Sweater"

    Conservative radio and TV host Glenn Beck’s “The Christmas Sweater” is about a boy who finds out about the true meaning of Christmas in an unlikely place. He sold the film rights to a producer from HBO, but after script and budget issues, the TV adaptation didn’t live up to the success of the book.

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    2009

    Notable best-sellers: "The Associate" by John Grisham, "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown, "Under the Dome" by Stephen King

    Stacker pick: "Under the Dome"

    In King’s latest best-selling sci-fi novel, “Under the Dome,” residents of a small town deal with being suddenly cut off from the outside world via an invisible barrier. The book was adapted into a TV series by Steven Spielberg in 2013 and was an instant success.

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    2010

    Notable best-sellers: "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" by Stieg Larsson

    Stacker pick: "The Help"

    The best-selling novel about the African-American women who helped white households in Mississippi in the 1960s became a sleeper hit film starring Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Allison Janney, and Jessica Chastain. Spencer won an Academy Award for her performance, while the film received three other nominations.

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    2011

    Notable best-sellers: "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen, "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

    Stacker pick: "Water for Elephants"

    Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon starred in the 2011 film adaptation of this acclaimed best-selling novel by Sara Gruen about a Depression-era traveling circus and an unlikely romance. While the film received mixed reviews, the 2006 page-turning novel gained new fans.

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    2012

    Notable best-sellers: "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer

    Stacker pick: "Fifty Shades of Grey"

    In the first installment of the best-selling erotic trilogy from British author E.L. James, readers meet Christian Grey, a powerful young entrepreneur who is both beautiful and intimidating. The book became a worldwide success and a mega-hit film franchise grossing more than $571 million at the box office worldwide.

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    2013

    Notable best-sellers: "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks, "Inferno" by Dan Brown, "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym for J.K. Rowling), "Sycamore Row" by John Grisham, "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

    Stacker pick: "Gone Girl"

    In this disturbing psychological thriller, a wife’s sudden disappearance isn’t what it seems. Or is it? The film adaptation starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2014. Pike’s performance was particularly lauded while the film was a smashing commercial success, grossing nearly $370 million at the box office.

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    2014

    Notable best-sellers: "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn, "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt, "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty, "The Book of Life" by Deborah Harkness

    Stacker pick: "Big Little Lies"

    In Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel turned hit TV series, three women find themselves at a crossroads in a humorous, but also serious tale about ex-husbands, new wives, and domestic abuse. HBO’s mini-series starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern was nominated for and won a number of awards, and was picked up for another season.

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    2015

    Notable best-sellers: "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins, "Grey" by E.L. James, "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee, "Rogue Lawyer" by John Grisham, "The Martian" by Andy Weir

    Stacker pick: "Go Set a Watchman"

    In what was most likely an early draft by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee, “Go Set A Watchman” was released in 2015 as a sequel. Still, fans of the author’s famed work “To Kill A Mockingbird” flocked to bookstores to learn about Scout and Atticus in their later years. A film adaptation was halted for a number of reasons, including questions over how Universal Pictures would handle the use of the beloved characters from the acclaimed original Gregory Peck film.

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    2016

    Notable best-sellers: "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins, "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes

    Stacker pick: "The Girl on the Train"

    Paula Hawkins’ debut novel is a gripping psychological thriller about a woman who sees what she thinks is a perfect couple every morning on the train to work—until one day the wife disappears. The 2016 film adaptation starring Emily Blunt received mixed reviews, though it helped the 2015 best-selling book stay on the list another year.

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    2017

    Notable best-sellers: "The Shack" by William P. Young, "Camino Island" by John Grisham, "A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron

    Stacker pick: "A Dog's Purpose"

    A devoted dog learns the meaning of his own existence in this best-selling novel turned film starring Josh Gad. Reviews and audience reaction to the film were mixed after an animal abuse scandal was reported on the set. 

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    2018

    Notable best-sellers: "The Next Person You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom, "Crazy Rich Asians" by Kevin Kwan, "The President Is Missing" by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, "The Tattooist of Auschwitz" by Heather Morris, 

    Stacker pick: "Crazy Rich Asians"

    The film adaptation of Kevin Kwan's 2013 novel "Crazy Rich Asians" may be to thank for its resurgence. Released in August, the film has made more than $172 million at the domestic box office. Kwan's comedic novel, which centers around three incredibly rich families from contemporary Asia, tells the story of what happens when an heir to a massive fortune brings home his American-born Chinese girlfriend to meet the palace-residing family. 

     

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