Remember when….

These ‘strange times’ as we’re calling it lately has me doing things I once never dreamed possible…FaceTime happy hours, online conferences and virtual book clubs! Sadly it’s also forced me to do things I’ve held off for as long as possible…namely cleaning through closets I haven’t opened since the last house move. And so I find myself sorting through old books…and memories. 

As I rummage through boxes of my thumb-worn paperbacks with yellowed (even tear-stained) pages, each story takes me back in time, remembering when I read it, where I was and who recommended it. Funny…or maybe unbelievable depending on your age – but there was a time when most book recommendations came from ‘word of mouth,’ close friends, the buzz around the office water cooler or even…wait for it… newspaper reviews.

And so feeling nostalgic for the good old days I offer this mixed genre sampling of ‘through the decades‘ titles. All are available as ebooks or e-audiobooks on Overdrive or Hoopla. Or create your own ‘by the decade list’ through Goodreads or google search.  I would love to hear from readers if any of these books sparked memories or titles of other iconic books for you.


The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (epic Australian romance)

Jaws by Peter Benchley (best and scariest beach read ever)

Roots by Alex Hayley (cultural sensation of its time)

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (disturbing yet fascinating true story)

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (best-selling vampire thriller)

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (cautionary tale of teen drug abuse)

All Creatures Great & Small by James Herriot (heartwarming, funny memoir of country veterinarian)

The Stand by Stephen King (scary pandemic story)


The Color Purple by Alice Walker (must-read, powerful novel)

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (sweeping historical saga)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (Spy thriller)

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (beautiful, disturbing story of love & family secrets)

The Handmaid’s Tale (chilling speculative fiction)

Misery by Stephen King (classic modern thriller) 

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (loved the book! really loved the movie)

The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton (one of my favorite Oprah-inspired titles!)


Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (romantic, suspenseful, wonderful)

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (unforgettable memoir)

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (legendary love story)

Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (psychological thriller)

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (epic fantasy)

The Firm by John Grisham (legal thriller)

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (one of my first book club reads)

White Oleander by Janet Fitch ( an Oprah pick I loved)

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (beloved bestseller)

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding (hilarious, even funnier than the movie)


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (great novel of friendship & betrayal)

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (riveting story of a family in conflict)

Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (controversial thriller)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (funny, poignant, part mystery & coming-of-age story).

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (modern love story with a twist)

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (modern classic of young girl’s journey

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (chilling post-apocalyptic tale)

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (unforgettable memoir I’ve read a few times)