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Staff Picks - 1960's Literature

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Trout Fishing in America
by Richard Brautigan (Adult Fiction)
An indescribable romp, the novel is best summed up  in one word: mayonnaise.

In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote (364.152)
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of    Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. Five years, four months and twenty-nine days later, on April 14, 1965, Richard Eugene Hickock, aged          thirty-three, and Perry Edward Smith, aged thirty-six, were hanged for the crime on a gallows in a warehouse in the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas. In Cold Blood is the story of the lives and deaths of these six people.

 The Reivers 
by William Faulkner (Adult Fiction)
This grand misadventure is the story of three unlikely thieves, or reivers: 11-year-old Lucius Priest and two of his family's retainers. In 1905, these three set out from Mississippi for Memphis in a stolen motorcar. The astonishing and  complicated results reveal Faulkner as a master of the picaresque.

The Magus
By John Fowles (Adult Fiction)
The story of Nicholas Urfe, a young Englishman who accepts a teaching assignment on a remote Greek island. There his friendship with a local millionaire evolves into a deadly game, one in which reality and fantasy are deliberately manipulated, and Nicholas must fight for his sanity and his very survival. 

One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel García Marquez (Adult Fiction)
Telling the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family, this novel chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love. Its rich, imaginative prose introduced to the world the genre known as "magical   realism."

Catch 22
by Joseph Heller (Adult Fiction)
Depicts the struggles of a U.S. airman attempting to survive the lunacy and depravity of a World War II base. This satirical, historical novel is set during the later stages of World War II from 1944 onwards. It has a distinctive non-chronological style where events are described from different characters' points of view and out of sequence so that the time line develops along with the plot.

by Frank Herbert (Science Fiction)
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, it is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who will become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib. Paul’s noble family is named stewards of Arrakis, whose sands are the only source of a powerful drug called “the spice.” After his family is brought down in a traitorous plot, Paul must go undercover to seek revenge, and to bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey (Adult Fiction)
The story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold
by John LeCarre (Adult Fiction)
In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse—a desk job—Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered and dissolute ex-agent, Leamas is set up to trap Mundt, the deputy director of the East German Intelligence Service—with himself as the bait. In the background is George Smiley, ready to make the game play out just as Control wants.

A New Life
by Bernard Malamud (Adult Fiction)
Sy Levin, a high school teacher beset by alcohol and bad decisions, leaves the city for the Pacific Northwest to start over as a professor. Soon after his arrival at Cascadia College, however, Levin realizes he has been taken in by a mirage. The failures pile up anew, and Levin, fired from his post, finds himself back where he started.

The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison  (Adult Fiction)
Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different. Shunned by the town's prosperous black  families, Pecola lives with her alcoholic father and embittered, overworked mother in a storefront that reeks of the hopeless destitution that overwhelms their lives. In awe of her clean well-groomed schoolmates, and certain of her own intense ugliness, Pecola tries to make herself disappear.

The Moviegoer   
by Walter Percy (Adult Fiction)
Binx Bolling, a young New Orleans stockbroker who surveys the world with the detached gaze of a Bourbon Street dandy, even as he yearns for a spiritual  redemption he cannot bring himself to believe in. On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, he occupies himself dallying with his secretaries and going to movies, which provide him with the "treasurable moments" absent from his real life. But one fateful Mardi Gras, Binx   embarks on a harebrained quest that outrages his family, endangers his fragile cousin Kate, and sends him reeling through the chaos of New Orleans' French Quarter.

True Grit
by Charles Portis (Adult Fiction)
The story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash money. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S.  Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.

The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath (Adult Fiction)
Echoing Plath's own experiences as a rising writer/editor in the early 1950s, this work chronicles the nervous breakdown of Esther Greenwood:  brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented,            successful, but slowly going under, and maybe  for the last time.

Ship of Fools
by Katherine Anne Porter (Adult Fiction)
The title of this book is a translation from the German of Das Narrenschiff, a moral allegory by Sebastian Brant. The author read it in Basel in the summer of 1932 when she had still vividly in mind the impressions of her first voyage to Europe. She took for her own this simple almost universal image of the ship of this world on its voyage to eternity.

The Crying of Lot 49
by Thomas Pynchon (Adult Fiction)
The highly original satire about Oedipa Maas, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a    worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not        inconsiderable amount of self knowledge. 

by Thomas Pynchon (Adult Fiction)
The wild, macabre tale of the twentieth century and of two men -- one looking for something he has lost, the other with nothing much to lose -- and "V.," the unknown woman of the title.

Portnoy’s Complaint
by Philip Roth (Adult Fiction)
A novel which takes place on the couch of a psychoanalyst, an appropriate jumping-off place for an insanely comical novel about the Jewish American experience.

Wide Sargasso Sea
by Jean Rhys (Adult Fiction)
Inspired by, but independent of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, the author tells the story of the childhood and marriage of the first Mrs. Rochester, the West Indian Creole heiress who went insane in a haunting, intense, and tragic tropical world. 

Franny and Zooey   
by J.D. Salinger (Adult Fiction)
Two children of the Glass family appear in separate stories laid in twentieth-century New York.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Adult Fiction)
From the icy blast of reveille through the sweet release of sleep, Ivan Denisovich endures. A common carpenter, he is one of millions viciously imprisoned for countless years on baseless       charges, sentenced to the waking nightmares of the Soviet work camps in Siberia. Even in the face of degrading hatred, where life is reduced to a bowl of gruel and a rare cigarette, hope and dignity prevail. This powerful novel of fact is a scathing indictment of Communist tyranny, and an eloquent affirmation of the human spirit. 

Cat’s Cradle
by Kurt Vonnegut (Adult Fiction)
Traveling from the home turf of Vonnegut's imagination, Ilium, N.Y. to a Caribbean banana republic where an illicit religion called Bokononism is practiced, as a sense of doom (in the form of icenine) overtakes mankind.