Favorite Books & Authors of the Last 25 Years

Politics & Prose Customers respond…

On Sunday, May 21, 2006, the New York Times Book Review featured a selection of the best books of the last 25 years as chosen by a number of authors, editors, and reviewers. We wanted to see what our customers thought.

In our weekly email on May 24th we asked Politics and Prose customers to name their favorite author and their favorite book of the last 25 years. We did not limit it to American authors. We did not even limit it to fiction. We heard from about 100 of you. We guess that the respondents were evenly divided between men and women, and you certainly had different answers from the respondents to the Times query.

The top vote-getter was Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, followed closely by Possession by A.S. Byatt and Shipping News by Annie Proulx. Just behind them are two Wallace Stegner novels, Angle of Repose and Crossing to Safety. Tied with the Stegner novels are A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

Not as many of the respondents chose authors as chose a single book. Among those that were named, the favorites were Philip Roth, Wallace Stegner, Alistair MacLeod, and Anne Tyler.

To read descriptions of these selections and to purchase them online, click the book title.To read more books by the author, click the author's name




All the Names, by José Saramago
All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell
Blindness, by José Saramago
Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald
Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
Colony of Unrequited Dreams, by Wayne Johnston
Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner
Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
Damascus Gate, by Robert Stone
Dancing at the Rascal Fair, by Ivan Doig
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler
Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee
Emigrants, by W.G. Sebald
Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer
Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry
Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell
Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
Good Husband, by Gail Godwin
Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Hours, by Michael Cunningham
House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Debus III
Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson
Jesus’ Son, by Denis Johnson
Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
North China Lover, by Marguerite Duras
Outerbridge Reach, by Robert Stone
Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
Plot Against America, by Philip Roth
Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
Possession, by A.S. Byatt
Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
Rabbit Angstrom, by John Updike
Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood
Secret History, by Donna Tartt
Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Shipping News, by Annie Proulx
Skinny Legs and All, by Tom Robbins
Snow, by Orhan Pamuk
Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
Straight Man, by Richard Russo
Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth
Time of Our Singing, by Richard Powers
Tortilla Curtain, by T.C. Boyle
Untouchable, by John Banville
Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Michael Dorris

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond
Hope in the Unseen, by Ron Suskind
John Adams, by David McCullough
Liberty and Freedom, by David Hackett Fischer
Lost Triumph, by Tom Carhart
My Own Country, by Abraham Verghese
Nine Parts of Desire, by Geraldine Brooks
Parting the Waters, by Taylor Branch
Praying for Sheetrock, by Melissa Fay Greene
Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Truman, by David McCullough

Isabel Allende
William Boyd
Bill Bryson
Peter Carey
Raymond Carver
Andre Dubus III
Shusaku Endo
John Irving
Alistair MacLeod
William Maxwell
Ian McEwan
Alice Munro
Michael Ondaatje
Richard Powers
Terry Pratchett
Reynolds Price
Annie Proulx
Ruth Rendell
Philip Roth
W.G. Sebald
Wallace Stegner
Anne Tyler
John Updike

David Foster Wallace

Stephen Jay Gould
Carl Sagan

Mary Oliver
Wislawa Szymborska