Read up on the 1950s!

Get ready for “The Fifties in Focus” (summer 2021 in Ashland) with a deep dive into America’s most iconic decade. This selection of books covers a wide range of pertinent topics. 

Isaac Asimov, I, Robot (1950)

Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train (1950) 

J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha (first English translation, 1951) 

Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time (1951) 

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952) 

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl (first English translation, 1952) 

Bernard Malamud, The Natural (1952)

Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood (1952) 

John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952)

Kurt Vonnegut, Piano Player (1952)

Saul Bellow, Adventures of Augie March (1953)

Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye (1953)

James Baldwin, Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953) 

Ian Fleming, Casino Royale (1953)

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1953)

Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha (1953)

Arthur Miller, The Crucible (1953)

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

William Golding, Lord of the Flies (1954)  

Richard Matheson, I Am Legend (1954)

Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)

J. P. Donleavy, The Ginger Man (1955)

Graham Greene, The Quiet American (1955)  

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (1955)

Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories (1955)

Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems (1956) 

John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle (1957) 

Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Towards Freedom (1957)

Bernard Malamud, The Assistant (1957)

Nevil Shute, On the Beach (1957) 

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

Leon Uris, Exodus (1958)

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958)

Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago (first English translation, 1958) 

Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958)

Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana (1958) 

Yukio Mishima, Confessions of a Mask (first English translation, 1958) 

Americo Paredes, With His Pistol in His Hand (1958)

Robert Bloch, Psycho (1959)

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (1959) 

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch (1959)

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (1959)

John Knowles, A Separate Peace (1959)


Source: “Ten Books That Defined the 1950s