10 Gnarly Best Selling Books of the 1980s You Need to Read Again

The 1980s was an intriguing time to be alive. The Cold War was still in full swing, Reaganomics had just begun, Madonna and Michael Jackson were the biggest stars around, and people couldn’t get enough of “Dallas.” If you loved reading during this decade (or if you’re looking for a good excuse to start), then we’ve got your back! Here are the best selling books from the 1980s that are worth revisiting.

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (1980)

When Jason Bourne’s memory of his past becomes unclear due to an accident in which he was shot and hit over the head, he finds himself struggling with bizarre side effects and the possibility that he may be a puppet without strings. With his life in danger, Bourne’s only hope for survival is to find out who he really is and retrace his own steps on an international quest for truth before it’s too late.

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith (1981)

In the height of summer, Arkady Renko is summoned to investigate when a mutilated corpse is found in Gorky Park. The clues lead him into the world of black market organ transplants and international terrorism–and not all his suspects are still breathing.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

The Color Purple is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, first published in 1982. The protagonist and focal point of the story is Celie. She’s an African American woman who endures poverty, abuse from her father (after he takes custody of her), sexual abuse from various men including two different husbands, as well as physical and emotional abuse from her sister.

Christine by Stephen King (1983)

Christine is a novel by Stephen King published in 1983. The story revolves around the beautiful and popular teenager Christine, who becomes possessed by an evil spirit after her best friend tries to commit suicide in her car.

Poland by James A. Michener (1983)

This is the story of Poland’s turbulent history and its people-its nobility, clergy, trade unions, opposition groups, youth gangs.

Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor (1985)

Named after the fictional town in which it is set, Lake Wobegon Days details Keillor’s childhood and early adulthood. A bestseller for over a decade, this novel was turned into an Emmy Award-winning television show.

IT by Stephen King (1986)

Stephen King’s IT, published in 1986 and considered one of the best horror novels ever written, is about seven children from a small town who are terrorized by an evil being that takes on various forms. The Losers’ Club sets out to destroy this creature  ” once and for all.”

No Time for Fears by Cynthia Freeman (1986)

Cynthia Freeman’s No Time for Fears is a collection of three ghost stories, in which each tale takes place at the mansion on Scarlet Hill.

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe (1987)

The Bonfire of the Vanities, a contemporary novel by Tom Wolfe first published in 1987 about greed and power in 1980s New York City, was called “the best book written about the decade’s ills.” Set in Manhattan in the late 1980s, it is a satirical novel about race and class politics.

Patriot Games by Tom Clancy (1987)

In Patriot Games, CIA analyst Jack Ryan goes on the run from terrorists after a sensitive document is stolen.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (1988)

A Brief History of Time chronicles the life and work of Stephen Hawking, who spent his career searching for a single theory that would unify all the laws governing our universe.

Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (1988)

The Satanic Verses tells the story of a writer who becomes an exile from his homeland after he is accused of committing blasphemy and mocking Islam.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)

The housekeeper is a 1950s butler who, although he lives with the consequences of his actions for over thirty years, never discloses any significant information about himself.

(Do you like Best Selling Books of the 1980s? Then you might like our article about Best Selling Books of the 1970s, click here. Or how about To Kill a Mockingbird, click here.)

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