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17 Authors from the '90s That Deserve Your Attention Today ...
By Lyndsie • 2 Comments • Share
I love to read. I've always loved to read, ever since I learned how. During the '90s, though, I reached that special age where vociferous readers move from age-appropriate books to interesting books. Meaty books. Books that introduced me to so much more than Ramona Quimby and the Wizard of Oz. Through the local library, I was introduced to a core of writers who stuck with me forever. Decades later, they still have all my love.
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1 Helen Fielding
Not only is Helen still writing, but after introducing the world to Bridget Jones and the delectable Mark Darcy in the '90s, she recently gave us even more – kind of. I myself will not be reading the third Bridget Jones book, but my personal outrage takes nothing away from the fact that Helen still deserves all the praise in the world.
2 Nick Hornby
Fever Pitch. High Fidelity. About a Boy. Nick Hornby was the '90s answer to Nicholas Sparks, except Nick's books are actually good. Haha, sorry, that's mean – but seriously, Nick's novels are entertaining, witty, often deep, but always satisfying, rather than maudlin, morose romance novels struggling to be something more.
The elusive character Waldo has captivated our hearts and minds for years with his iconic red and white stripes. Finding him, however, might seem more than just a fun challenge. Some pertinent reasons are discussed in finding Waldo , an exploration into the fundamental skills these puzzles can subconsciously develop. Indeed, a simple children's game might lead to a journey of self-improvement and mindfulness.
3 Thomas Harris
Thomas is worth mentioning because he hasn't come out with anything in quite a long time. That's pretty much his MO, though – look at the length of time that exists between the Hannibal novels. In the '90s, however, we got The Silence of the Lambs, followed by Hannibal. Those two and Red Dragon are worth rereading over and over again – as long as you forget Hannibal Rising. Was not a fan of that.
4 Anne Rice
In the 1990s, we did not have Stephenie Meyer. We had Anne Rice. I admit that I was not a fan of her novels, but I liked them well enough – they are, at times, beautifully written, the stories are compelling, and The Vampire Diaries is still a better love story than Twilight. Besides, at least Lestat and Louis didn't sparkle.
5 Poppy Z. Brite
Poppy Z. Brite was much more my thing. If you like dark prose and enjoy LGBTQIA+ subject matter – something sorely lacking in the '90s, I might add – Poppy is definitely worth rereading today. Exquisite Corpse is my personal favorite, but your mileage may vary.
Poppy Z. Brite is an American author who is best known for her dark, gothic fiction and LGBTQIA+ subject matter. Her writing career began in the 1990s, and she has since become an iconic figure in the horror and dark fantasy genres.
Brite's debut novel, Lost Souls, was published in 1992 and quickly became a cult classic. The novel follows the lives of three vampires as they search for meaning in a world that has forgotten them. It was the first of a series of novels that Brite wrote about vampires, and it has since been adapted into a film.
Poppy Z. Brite is also well-known for her novel Exquisite Corpse, which was published in 1996. This novel follows a group of people in New Orleans who are connected by a series of strange and horrific events. The novel is considered to be one of the most influential works of dark fiction from the 1990s, and it has been praised for its exploration of gender, sexuality, and identity.
6 Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Eugenides is an exquisite writer. Absolutely exquisite. Revisit his novels today. Now. I'm serious. He is an excellent example of an author who writes beautifully and knows how to tell a good story.
7 Irvine Welsh
If you've never heard of Irvine, I feel bad for you. He is responsible for Trainspotting. Trainspotting is epic. If you've only seen the movie, I … well, I don't feel bad for you because the movie was epic – still is – but it's nothing compared to the book. Go read Trainspotting, then continue because Welsh's entirely bibliography is worth it.
8 Bret Easton Ellis
Bret Easton Ellis practically ruled the '90s with his novels of damaged, entitled, broken characters, almost all of which ended up being made into movies. American Psycho is probably his most popular title, but I've always been quite partial to The Rules of Attraction.
9 Robert R. McCammon
Robert R. McCammon is a writer of uncommon beauty. He can weave a story from the mundane details of daily life, but he makes it so good that you can't put it down. Read Boy's Life. Meet the Moon Man.
10 Terry McMillan
Terry McMillan was responsible for several amazing novels of the '90s, and they got turned into movies, as well. Her books are so much different than the films they became, though. Read Waiting to Exhale, absolutely, but don't stop there. Getting to Happy is one of my favorites.
11 Chuck Palahniuk
Oh, Chuck. He's still going strong, but if you want some '90s nostalgia, go read Fight Club. I know it doesn't have Brad Pitt, but it does still have Tyler Durden, and that's the important thing.
12 David Sedaris
David Sedaris has never written a bad book. He's still writing. However, he came into his own in the '90s and started making a name for himself. Start with Naked, but make sure you move on to his later work, as well.
13 Candace Bushnell
Without Candace Bushnell, we would not have Sex and the City, and I think that's a sad thought, indeed. Candace ruled the '90s with her pithy lessons on love. Even now, twenty years later, she has things to teach us.
14 Stephen Chbosky
Stephen Chbosky is probably best known for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which came out in 1999 but takes place earlier in the decade. It's also amazing. He's amazing. God, I love him.
15 Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton ruled the '90s, too – Jurassic Park, anyone? He created a juggernaut that's still thrilling. Seriously, if you've only seen the movie (or the sequels, or the remakes, or whatever), go now. Read it. I'll wait.
16 Donna Tartt
Donna's been a darling of the lit world forever. These days, it's all about The Goldfinch, but a couple decades ago, she captured the attention of readers everywhere with The Secret History, which I actually need to reread, right now.
17 Lois Lowry
We always need to go back to Lois Lowry. Always.
Do you have any favorite throwback authors from the 1990s?
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Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge
The vampire diaries was written by L.J. Smith, not Anne Rice.
What about Diana Gabaldon? She wrote the Outlander series, which have been turned into an ongoing tv series by the same name.
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A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 1990s
It's what you want, what you really really want.
Some books are flashes in the pan, read for entertainment and then left on a bus seat for the next lucky person to pick up and enjoy, forgotten by most after their season has passed. Others stick around, are read and re-read, are taught and discussed. sometimes due to great artistry, sometimes due to luck, and sometimes because they manage to recognize and capture some element of the culture of the time.
In the moment, you often can’t tell which books are which. The Great Gatsby wasn’t a bestseller upon its release, but we now see it as emblematic of a certain American sensibility in the 1920s. Of course, hindsight can also distort the senses; the canon looms and obscures. Still, over the next weeks, we’ll be publishing a list a day, each one attempting to define a discrete decade, starting with the 1900s (as you’ve no doubt guessed by now) and counting down until we get to the (nearly complete) 2010s.
Though the books on these lists need not be American in origin, I am looking for books that evoke some aspect of American life, actual or intellectual, in each decade—a global lens would require a much longer list. And of course, varied and complex as it is, there’s no list that could truly define American life over ten or any number of years, so I do not make any claim on exhaustiveness. I’ve simply selected books that, if read together, would give a fair picture of the landscape of literary culture for that decade—both as it was and as it is remembered. Finally, two process notes: I’ve limited myself to one book for author over the entire 12-part list, so you may see certain works skipped over in favor of others, even if both are important (for instance, I ignored Dubliners in the 1910s so I could include Ulysses in the 1920s), and in the case of translated work, I’ll be using the date of the English translation, for obvious reasons.
For our tenth installment, below you’ll find 10 books that defined the 1990s. (Head here for the 1910s , 20s , 30s , 40s , 50s , 60s , 70s , and 80s ).
The Things They Carried was O’Brien’s third book about Vietnam, but it’s frequently heralded as one of the best books ever written about the war. It sold “well over two million copies worldwide” and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award. “ The Things They Carried has lived in the bellies of American readers for more than two decades,” A. O. Scott wrote in 2013 . “It sits on the narrow shelf of indispensable works by witnesses to and participants in the fighting, alongside Michael Herr’s Dispatches , Tobias Wolff’s In Pharaoh’s Army , and James Webb’s Fields of Fire .” As far as its enduring legacy, Scott goes on:
In 1990, when Houghton Mifflin published the book, Vietnam was still recent history, its individual and collective wounds far from healed. Just as the years between combat and publication affected O’Brien’s perception of events, so has an almost exactly equal span changed the character of the writing. The Things They Carried is now, like the war it depicts, an object of classroom study, kept relevant more by its craft than by the urgency of its subject matter. The raw, restless, anguished reckoning inscribed in its pages—the “gut hate” and comradely love that motivated the soldiers—has come to reflect conventional historical wisdom. Over time, America’s wars are written in shorthand: World War II is noble sacrifice; the Civil War, tragic fratricide; Vietnam, black humor and moral ambiguity.
I’d argue that The Things They Carried is now itself a one-volume shorthand for the Vietnam War—or the closest thing to it.
Look, a play! Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes was a huge hit and subject of national discussion when it was first performed, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for Best Play, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play. In 2005, John Lahr called it “the first major play to put homosexual life at the center of its moral debate, [covering] territory that ranged from Heaven to earth, from the AIDS epidemic to conservative politics, encapsulating, in its visionary sweep, the sense of confusion and longing that defined late-twentieth-century American life.
“It gave a language to that generation,” the director George C. Wolfe, who staged both Angels in America and Caroline, or Change on Broadway, says. “It gave playwrights permission to think about theatre in a whole new way. A play could be poetic, ridiculous, fragile, overtly political, sentimental, and brave all at the same time. . . . [ Angels in America ] was an epic discourse on American life that mixed social reality with theatrical fantasy, naturalism with Judaism and magical realism. It told its story in numerous dialects—camp, black, Jewish, Wasp, even Biblical tones. At the same time, it provided a detailed map of the nation’s sense of loss.
Twenty-four characters, eight acts, fifty-nine scenes, and an epilogue: Angels in America turned the struggle of a minority into a metaphor for America’s search for self-definition. “I hate this country,” a gay black nurse called Belize says to Louis. “It’s just big ideas, and stories, and people dying, and people like you. The white cracker who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word ‘free’ to a note so high nobody can reach it.” Although “Angels” was not the first play to explore the aids pandemic—Larry Kramer’s polemical “The Normal Heart” (1985) preceded it—it was the first to explore the particular claim of the disenfranchised to a romantic vision of America. “We will be citizens,” Prior announces to the audience at the finale. “The time has come.”
It was a huge success, “hailed as a turning point for theatre, for gay life, and for American culture,” and its legacy was only further secured by the HBO miniseries, which, in 2004, won a then-record-breaking 11 Emmys.
I don’t know about its national importance, necessarily, but this here is a literary website, and few books have had as direct and intense an impact on the literary world as Johnson’s cult story collection. I mean, it’s safe to say that almost every writer has read it, and about half of them have tried to emulate it (“So many people want to write this book over again,” Michael Cunningham once said). When I was accepted into an MFA program, another writer friend gave me a copy and inscribed it: “So you’ll know what everyone is talking about.” I read it, and found out, but personally prefer Train Dreams . However, I am rather in the minority . But the book is more than just a cult novel, as William Giraldi has attested in Poets & Writers .
It’s beautiful to see, back pockets sprouting Jesus’ Son , but I’ve wondered: Do all those hip young men believe “I knew every raindrop by its name” can mean anything they want it to mean? Are these back pockets evidence of what is lazily referred to as the book’s “cult following”? Consider that in the novel More Die of Heartbreak (William Morrow, 1987), Saul Bellow has that wonderful line to the effect that cults are neither that hard to get nor that much to be proud of. If ever you hear that a writer has a cult following, pause to remind yourself what a cult actually is and how cults usually end. Jesus’ Son , the preeminent story collection of the American 1990s, is worthy of much more than mere cultism.
The collection is singular in its alloy of rarities. It wields a visionary language that mingles the Byronic with the demotic—a language of the dispossessed, half spare in bewilderment, half ecstatic in hope. There’s the bantam power of its brevity—you can read the book in one sitting—and the pitiless, poetic excavation of an underground existence bombed by narcotics, of psyches that prefer the time of their lives to the lives of their time. It boasts a deft circumvention of that tired trope polluting so many American stories of addiction: the trek from cursed to cured, from lost to loved, from breakdown to breakthrough. It also maintains an effortless appropriation of elements from the three most important story writers of the American twentieth century: Ernest Hemingway’s sanctifying of the natural world in The Nick Adams Stories ; Flannery O’Connor’s spiritual grotesquerie and redemptive questing; and Raymond Carver’s noble ciphers manhandled by the falsity of the American Dream (Johnson was one of Carver’s drinking compeers at Iowa in the early 1970s).
“We go to Jesus’ Son precisely because in its most sublime moments it reveals to us a condition both lesser and greater than human,” Giraldi concludes. “We go to it for the flawlessness of its aesthetic form, its transformative spiritual seeing, and the beauty, the deathless beauty, of sentences that sing of possible bliss.”
“How best to describe Donna Tartt’s enthralling first novel?” wondered Michiko Kakutani in a 1992 review . “Imagine the plot of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment crossed with the story of Euripides’ Bacchae set against the backdrop of Bret Easton Ellis’s Rules of Attraction and told in the elegant, ruminative voice of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited . The product, surprisingly enough, isn’t a derivative jumble, but a remarkably powerful novel that seems sure to win a lengthy stay on the best-seller lists.” Well, she wasn’t wrong— everyone’s favorite novel from the 90s was a full blown phenomenon , hyped to infinity but with good reason, both critically and commercially successful—and though not every critic was on board, the Cult of Donna was born.
Plus, as Ted Gioia put it , “ The Secret History is, by any measure, a significant fiction, and arguably the book that tilted the scales away from the minimalist 1980s fictions with their Raymond Carveresque starkness, and toward the more maximalist sensibility that has been in the ascendancy in recent years.”
The Literary Hub office was split over whether to include The Virgin Suicides here or wait for the next decade to champion Middlesex , but in the end, we couldn’t think of the 90s without Eugenides’ debut. It is a rare book that feels absolutely essential to and evocative of the decade—but also not at all bound by it. As Emma Cline wrote in a new introduction to the novel,
Even as Eugenides interrogates the postwar suburban dream, the “dying empire” of a Michigan town, there’s a sense of timelessness, the setting both immediate and otherworldly, toggling between the daily boredoms of teen-agers and a realm almost mythic: when Cecilia slits her wrists, the paramedics with the stretcher are described as “slaves offering the victim to the altar,” Cecilia as “the drugged virgin rising up on her elbows, with an otherworldly smile on her pale lips.”
Twenty-five years later, I’d argue it holds up . The fact that it spawned an equally-iconic film is only icing on the cake.
Yes, well. Despite the fact that lots of annoying dudes love this book, and Wallace’s own unignorable abusive tendencies , it’s more or less the ur-text of the literary 90s. The 1,000+ page tome was a bestseller (if not on the level as some of the others on this list) and a landmark literary event. The book, wrote one reviewer upon its publication, “has been moving toward us like an ocean disturbance, pushing increasingly hyperbolic rumors before it: that the author could not stop writing; that the publisher was begging for cuts of hundreds of pages; that it was, qua novel, a very strange piece of business altogether. Now it’s here and, yes, it is strange, not just in its radically cantilevered plot conception but also in its size (more than a thousand pages, one tenth of that bulk taking the form of endnotes): this, mind you, in an era when publishers express very real doubts about whether the younger generation—presumably a good part of Wallace’s target audience—reads at all.” People read—or at least people bought—and the book became a touchstone of literary culture, one that we’ve been arguing over and dissecting and refusing to read and forcing others to read and needing help to read ever since.
“Read today, the book’s intellectually slapstick vision of corporatism run amok embeds it within the early to mid-1990s as firmly and emblematically as “The Simpsons” and grunge music,” wrote Tom Bissell on the book’s 20th anniversary.
It is very much a novel of its time. How is it, then, that Infinite Jest still feels so transcendentally, electrically alive? Theory 1: As a novel about an “entertainment” weaponized to enslave and destroy all who look upon it, Infinite Jest is the first great Internet novel. . . . That 20 years have gone by and we still do not agree what this novel means, or what exactly it was trying to say, despite saying (seemingly) everything about everything, is yet another perfect analogy for the Internet. Both are too big. Both contain too much. Both welcome you in. Both push you away.
Bissell has some other theories, but most important to our purposes is his final one: that “ Infinite Jest is unquestionably the novel of its generation.”
I don’t know what to tell you. This book is good, and truly funny—and it’s also widely credited with kicking off an enormous wave of “chick-lit” (and attendant money for authors and publishers) on both sides of the pond. It not only reflected the culture of the 90s but also invented some of it—or at least a lot of its terminology. Were Americans saying “fuckwit” before Bridget? I think not. In closing, here is a blurb from Salman Rushdie: “Even men will laugh.” Even men, indeed.
Typically, when it comes to Fight Club (and Palahniuk in general) I like to abide by the first rule of fight club. But alas, it’s the 90s, and there’s no ignoring it. The book was well-reviewed but sold modestly when it was first published—around 5,000 copies—but when the film came out in 1999, it became a cult phenomenon, particularly among young white men, and sales of the book skyrocketed .
But in retrospect, legacy hasn’t been great. These days, Fight Club is an inspirational text to incels, who look to it “as an example of why one shouldn’t underestimate ordinary frustrated men.” The term “snowflake” (in its current usage as an insult used by right wing boors, at least) comes from the novel, and Palahniuk is proud to have coined it. “There is a kind of new Victorianism,” he told the Evening Standard in 2017. “The modern Left is always reacting to things. Once they get their show on the road culturally they will stop being so offended.”
You can argue whether the novel glorifies or attempts to criticize toxic masculinity (I find the latter reading more palatable but extremely generous, considering the above), but there’s no doubt that toxic masculinity is its subject—a subject very relevant to the 90s, and also the present. As Ted Gioia wrote ,
A real subculture exists that matches, to some degree, the rule-breaking ethos depicted in Fight Club . I’m not surprised that, in the years following the publication of this novel, the author was frequently approached by fans who either (1) believed that many elements in it were based on actual events, or (2) were determined to turn them into actual events. From this perspective, Palahniuk has at least surpassed Bret Easton Ellis, whose Harvard-MBA-turned-serial-killer is pure hokum aimed to gain notoriety through sheer shock value.
Which reminds me: American Psycho was published in the 90s too—but Fight Club has beaten it to the top 10 because of the 80s-ness of the former, and because of exactly what Gioia suggests above.
Listen, as far as 90s memoirs go, I personally wanted to champion a) Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club (1995) or b) Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation (1994), but the Literary Hub office at large shouted me down. Apparently Angela’s Ashes is kind of a big deal. Sure, it sold some 4 million copies , even before the movie came out, was on the bestseller list for 117 weeks, won a Pulitzer Prize and a NBCC award, and was translated into over 20 languages, and is more or less the reigning champion of the Misery Memoir. America loved it, but folks from Limerick weren’t as pleased, accusing McCourt of exaggeration. One of them ripped up a copy in front of the writer at a book signing. “He named names. He insulted people,” said the book-defacer . “Most of the people are dead. But the families have to suffer and live with the consequences.” Apparently, even Angela herself (read: McCourt’s mother) once stood up at one of the author’s appearances to yell out, “It didn’t happen that way! It’s all a pack of lies!” Ouch.
To be fair, this book was barely published in the 90s—I’m sure more people read it in the early 2000s—but it was a sensation, and I can’t possibly discount it. Everyone read this book. It was a huge bestseller, selling upwards of 15 million copies, which is astounding for a short story collection, and won both the Pulitzer (making Lahiri the first person of South Asian descent to win an individual Pulitzer Prize) and the PEN Award. In World Literature Today , Ronny Noor wrote that “The value of these stories—although some of them are loosely constructed—lies in the fact that they transcend confined borders of immigrant experience to embrace larger age-old issues that are, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘cast into the mould of these new times’ redefining America.”
See also (these lists are getting longer with each decade as the culling clarity of hindsight grows hazier):
Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth (1990), Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (1990), A. S. Byatt, Possession (1990), Elmore Leonard, Get Shorty (1990), Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park (1990), James Ellroy, L.A. Confidential (1990), Janet Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer (1990), Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (1990), Douglas Coupland, Generation X (1991), Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres (1991), Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (1991), Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991), Ben Okri, The Famished Road (1991), Art Spiegelman, Maus II (1991), Norman Rush, Mating (1991), David Gates, Jernigan (1991), Martin Amis, Time’s Arrow (1991), Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho (1991), Alex Kotlowitz, There Are No Children Here (1991), John Grisham, The Firm (1991), Jung Chang, Wild Swans (1992), Madonna, Sex (1992), Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses (1992), Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient (1992), Joyce Carol Oates, Black Water (1992), Toni Morrison, Jazz (1992), Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County (1992), Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (first English translation, 1993), Annie Proulx, The Shipping News (1993), Lois Lowry, The Giver (1993), Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying (1993), Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993), Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics (1993), Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting (1993), Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries (1993), Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation (1994), John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994), Rick Moody, The Ice Storm (1994), Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate (first English translation, 1995), Kenzaburo Oe, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids (first English translation, 1995), Nick Hornby, High Fidelity (1995), Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (1995), Mary Karr, The Liars’ Club (1995), Philip Roth, Sabbath’s Theater (1995), Richard Ford, Independence Day (1995), Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (1995), Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father (1995), Javier Marías, A Heart So White (first English translation, 1995), Margaret Edson, Wit (1995), Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace (1996), Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild (1996), Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City (1996), Junot Díaz, Drown (1996), Alex Garland, The Beach (1996), Stephen King, The Green Mile (1996), George Saunders, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (1996), Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie (1997), J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1997), Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (first English translation, 1997), Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain (1997), Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods (1997), George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (1997), Philip Roth, American Pastoral (1997), Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), Daniel Clowes, Ghost World (1997), Geoff Dyer, Out of Sheer Rage (1997), Don DeLillo, Underworld (1997), Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm (1997), José Saramago, Blindness (first English translation, 1997), Chris Kraus, I Love Dick (1997), Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon (1997), Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (1997), Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues (1998), Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible (1998), Edwidge Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1998), Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red (1998), Michael Cunningham, The Hours (1998), Nick Hornby, About a Boy (1998), Lorrie Moore, Birds of America (1998), Tom Perrotta, Election (1998), Louis Sachar, Holes (1998), Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998), W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (first English translation, 1998), Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full (1998), Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999), Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn (1999), Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999), Ha Jin, Waiting (1999), J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace (1999), Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist (1999)
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80's & 90's Authors
Not particular order.
1. J.K. Rowling
Writer | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
Joanne Rowling was born in Yate, near Bristol, a few miles south of a town called Dursley ("Harry Potter"'s Muggle-family). Her father Peter Rowling was an engineer for Rolls Royce in Bristol at this time. Her mother, Anne, was half-French and half-Scottish. They met on a train as it left King's ...
2. Christopher Pike
Writer | Spooksville
Christopher Pike was born in November 1954 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Spooksville (2013), The Season of Passage and The Midnight Club (2022).
3. Virginia C. Andrews
Writer | The Dollanganger Saga
Virginia C. Andrews was born on June 6, 1923 in Portsmouth, Virginia, USA. She was a writer and actress, known for The Dollanganger Saga (2014), Flowers in the Attic (1987) and V.C. Andrews' Heaven (2019). She died on December 19, 1986 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA.
4. L.J. Smith
Writer | The Vampire Diaries
Lisa Jane Smith, known professionally as L.J. Smith, is an American author of young-adult literature. Her books, which combine elements of the genres of horror, science fiction/fantasy, and romance, are populated with young and apparently-young human and supernatural characters locked in dark vs. ...
5. R.L. Stine
Writer | Goosebumps
R.L. Stine was born on October 8, 1943 in Columbus, Ohio, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Goosebumps (2015), Fear Street: Part One - 1994 (2021) and Fear Street: Part Three - 1666 (2021). He has been married to Jane Stine since June 22, 1969. They have one child.
6. Louis Sachar
Writer | Holes
Louis Sachar was born on March 20, 1954 in East Meadow, New York, USA. He is a writer and actor, known for Holes (2003), Sideways Stories from Wayside School and Holes (2003). He has been married to Carla Jean Askew since May 26, 1985. They have one child.
7. Caroline B. Cooney
Writer | Rearview Mirror
Caroline B. Cooney was born on May 10, 1947 in Geneva, New York, USA. She is a writer, known for Rearview Mirror (1984), Both Sides of Time and The Face on the Milk Carton (1995).
8. Francine Pascal
Writer | Little Crew of Butchers
Francine Pascal was born on May 13, 1938 in Manhattan, New York, USA. She is a writer and producer, known for Little Crew of Butchers , Save Johanna! and La Villa . She was previously married to John Pascal .
9. Alvin Schwartz
Writer | Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Alvin Schwartz was born on April 25, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He was a writer, known for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 2 and Hatred (2015). He died on March 14, 1992 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
10. Lois Lowry
Writer | The Giver
Lois Lowry was born on March 20, 1937 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. She is a writer, known for The Giver (2014), The Willoughbys (2020) and Gossamer . She was previously married to Donald Lowry.
11. Philip Pullman
Writer | The Golden Compass
Philip Pullman was born on October 19, 1946 in Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK. He is a writer and producer, known for The Golden Compass (2007), His Dark Materials (2019) and The Adventures of John Blake . He has been married to Judith Speller since April 15, 1970.
12. Gail Carson Levine
Writer | Ella Enchanted
Gail Carson Levine was born on September 17, 1947 in New York City, New York, USA. She is a writer, known for Ella Enchanted (2004) and Ella Enchanted: A Red Carpet Premiere Special (2004). She has been married to David Levine since 1967.
13. Lois Duncan
Writer | I Know What You Did Last Summer
Lois Duncan was born on April 28, 1934 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She was a writer, known for I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) and Down a Dark Hall (2018). She was married to Don Arquette and Joseph "Buzz" Cardozo. She died on June 15, ...
14. Ann M. Martin
Writer | The Baby-Sitters Club
Ann M. Martin was born on August 12, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. She is a writer and producer, known for The Baby-Sitters Club (2020), The Baby-Sitters Club (1990) and The Baby-Sitters Club (1995).
15. Sharon Creech
Writer | Love That Dog
Sharon Creech is known for Love That Dog (2008).
16. Jerry Spinelli
Writer | Milkweed
Jerry Spinelli was born on February 1, 1941 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Milkweed , Stargirl (2020) and Hollywood Stargirl (2022). He is married to Eileen Spinelli.
17. Judy Blume
Writer | Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Judy Blume was born on February 12, 1938 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA. She is a writer and actress, known for Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (2023), Forever and Tiger Eyes (2012). She has been married to George Cooper since June 6, 1987. She was previously married to Thomas A. Kitchens and ...
18. Diana Wynne Jones
Writer | Hauru no ugoku shiro
Diana Wynne Jones was born on August 16, 1934 in London, England, UK. She was a writer, known for Howl's Moving Castle (2004), Jackanory (1965) and Archer's Goon (1992). She was married to John A. Burrows. She died on March 26, 2011 in Bristol, England, UK.
19. Annette Curtis Klause
Writer | Blood and Chocolate
Annette Curtis Klause was born on June 20, 1953 in Bristol, England, UK. She is a writer, known for Blood and Chocolate (2007). She has been married to Mark Jeffrey Klause since August 11, 1979.
20. Beatrice Sparks
Writer | Kalamity Kids - The Science Fair
Beatrice Sparks was born on January 15, 1917 in Goldberg, Idaho, USA. She was a writer and actress, known for Kalamity Kids - The Science Fair (1991). She was married to LaVorn Greer Sparks. She died on May 25, 2012 in Provo, Utah, USA.
21. Jane Yolen
Writer | The Wild Hunt
Jane Yolen was born on February 11, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA. She is a writer and actress, known for The Wild Hunt , Jackanory (1965) and How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? (2005). She was previously married to David W. Stemple.
22. John Marsden
Writer | Tomorrow, When the War Began
John Marsden is known for Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010), Tomorrow: The Dead of the Night and Вторжение. Битва за рай (2016).
23. Mary Downing Hahn
Writer | Wait Till Helen Comes
Mary Downing Hahn is known for Wait Till Helen Comes (2016).
24. James Howe
Producer | Bunnicula
James Howe is known for Bunnicula (2016) and ABC Weekend Specials (1977). He has been married to Mark Davis since September 18, 2011. He was previously married to Deborah Howe and Betsy Imershein.
25. Stephen King
Writer | Maximum Overdrive
Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947, at the Maine General Hospital in Portland. His parents were Nellie Ruth (Pillsbury), who worked as a caregiver at a mental institute, and Donald Edwin King, a merchant seaman. His father was born under the surname "Pollock," but used the last name ...
26. Orson Scott Card
Writer | Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card was born in Richland in the state of Washington. He has also lived in California, Arizona, and Utah. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a two year mission for The Church in Brazil. He received a degree from Brigham Young University in 1975 ...
27. Douglas Adams
Writer | The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Born Douglas Noel Adams on March 11, 1952 in Cambridge. From 1959 until 1970 he went to Brentwood school in Essex, and his main interest was science. As a student in Cambridge he decided to hitch-hike through Europe to Istanbul, and in order to raise funds for this he took a lot of small jobs. In ...
28. Michael Crichton
Writer | Jurassic Park
Michael Crichton was born in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in Roslyn, New York. His father was a journalist and encouraged him to write and to type. Michael gave up studying English at Harvard University, having become disillusioned with the teaching standards--the final straw came when he ...
29. Isaac Asimov
Writer | I, Robot
Isaac Asimov was born Isaak Judah Ozimov, on January 2, 1920, in Petrovichi shtetl, near Smolensk, Russia. He was the oldest of three children. His father, named Judah Ozimov, and his mother, named Anna Rachel Ozimov (nee Berman), were Orthodox Jews. Ozimov family were millers (the name Ozimov ...
30. Jackie Collins
Actress | Danger Man
Jackie Collins was born on October 4, 1937 in London, England, UK. She was an actress and writer, known for Danger Man (1960), The Saint (1962) and The Stud (1978). She was married to Oscar Lerman and Wallace Austin. She died on September 19, 2015 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
31. Shirley Conran
Writer | Lace
Shirley Conran was born on September 21, 1932. She is a writer, known for Lace (1984), Lace II (1985) and It's Patently Obvious (1976). She was previously married to Terence Conran .
32. Laurie Halse Anderson
Writer | Speak
Laurie Halse Anderson was born on October 23, 1961 in Potsdam, New York, USA. She is an actress and writer, known for Speak (2004), At-Risk Summer (2015) and RAINN Public Service Announcements (1994). She has been married to Scot Larrabee since June 5, 2004. She was previously married to Gregory H....
33. Chuck Palahniuk
Writer | Fight Club
Chuck is a low key writer who never stops writing and taking down notes to file away for future writing. Very funny, very creative and very thought provoking. His books often make you look at yourself in ways that you would never have before. Same goes for the world, he will make you notice things ...
34. Irvine Welsh
Writer | Trainspotting
Welsh's books have made him a cult figure within the writing world since the 1990s. Several of his books have become best sellers and all have a mixture of comedy, drama and hard-hitting issues...the best-known being Trainspotting (1996) which was made into a box-office smash worldwide at the ...
35. Stephen Chbosky
Writer | The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky was born on January 25, 1970 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Wonder (2017) and Rent (2005). He has been married to Liz Maccie since September 18, 2010. They have two children.
36. John Grisham
Writer | Runaway Jury
A graduate of Mississippi State University and Ole Miss Law School, John Grisham obtained his law degree in 1981 and practiced law for about 10 years, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. He was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1983 and served until...
37. James Patterson
Writer | Alex Cross
James Patterson was born on March 22, 1947 in Newburgh, New York, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Alex Cross (2012), Kiss the Girls (1997) and Maximum Ride (2016). He has been married to Susan Patterson since July 24, 1997. They have one child.
38. Amy Tan
Writer | Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat
Amy Tan was born in Oakland, California, USA; and attended San Jose State University, where she received a master's degree in linguistics. She has written essays for numerous magazines; a few books (including "The Joy Luck Club"; and fiction for such forums as Atlantic as McCall's. She currently ...
39. Alan Moore
Writer | The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Alan Moore was born on November 18, 1953 in Northampton, England, UK. He is a writer and actor, known for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), From Hell (2001) and Watchmen (2019). He has been married to Melinda Gebbie since May 12, 2007. He was previously married to Phyllis B. Dixon.
40. Alice Walker
Writer | The Color Purple
Alice Walker was born on February 9, 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia, USA. She is a writer and producer, known for The Color Purple (1985), The Color Purple (2023) and Everyday Use (2003). She was previously married to Melvyn R. Leventhal .
41. Roald Dahl
Writer | The Witches
Dahl was born in Wales in 1916. He served as a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II. He made a forced landing in the Libyan Desert and was severely injured. As a result, he spent five months in a Royal Navy hospital in Alexandria. Dahl is noted for how he relates suspenseful and...
42. Toni Morrison
Writer | Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison was born on February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio, USA. She was a writer and actress, known for Song of Solomon , Beloved (1998) and American Experience (1987). She was married to Harold Morrison. She died on August 5, 2019 in Bronx, New York City, New York, USA.
43. Kazuo Ishiguro
Writer | Living
Kazuo Ishiguro was born on November 8, 1954 in Nagasaki, Japan. He is a writer and producer, known for Living (2022), Never Let Me Go (2010) and The Remains of the Day (1993). He has been married to Lorna Anne MacDougall since 1986. They have one child.
44. Marion Zimmer Bradley
Writer | Darkover
Marion Zimmer Bradley was born on June 3, 1930 in Albany, New York, USA. She was a writer, known for Darkover , The Mists of Avalon (2001) and The Chronic Rift (1990). She was married to Walter Breen and Robert Alden Bradley. She died on September 25, 1999 in Berkeley, California, USA.
45. Margaret Atwood
Writer | The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood was born on November 18, 1939 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is a writer and producer, known for The Handmaid's Tale (2017), Alias Grace (2017) and MaddAddam . She was previously married to Graeme Gibson and Jim Polk.
46. Katherine Applegate
Writer | Animorphs
Katherine Applegate was born in 1956 in Michigan, USA. She is a writer, known for Animorphs (1998), The One and Only Ivan (2020) and Animorphs .
47. John Irving
Writer | The Cider House Rules
John Irving was born on March 2, 1942 in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA. He is a writer and actor, known for The Cider House Rules (1999), The Door in the Floor (2004) and The World According to Garp (1982). He has been married to Janet Turnbull since 1987. They have one child. He was previously ...
48. Fannie Flagg
Writer | Fried Green Tomatoes
Fannie Flagg was born on September 21, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. She is an actress and writer, known for Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Grease (1978) and Five Easy Pieces (1970).
49. Ken Follett
Writer | Eye of the Needle
Follett's parents belonged to the Plymouth Brethren, a Protestant sect similar to the Baptists. He was forbidden to watch television, radio or cinema. He showed a strong penchant for literature in his early youth, when he read the works of H.G. at the age of seven. Wells and Ian Flamming discovered...
50. Larry McMurtry
Writer | Brokeback Mountain
Larry McMurtry was born on June 3, 1936 in Archer City, Texas, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for Brokeback Mountain (2005), The Last Picture Show (1971) and Streets of Laredo (1995). He was married to Faye Kesey and Josephine Ballard. He died on March 25, 2021 in Archer City, Texas, USA.
51. Anne Rice
Writer | Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Anne Rice began life in New Orleans as Howard Allen O'Brien, named after her father, as the second of four daughters of Howard and Katherine Allen O'Brien. She decided to call herself "Anne" when she enrolled in first grade at the Redemptorist Catholic School. Her mother (who had long suffered from...
52. Thomas Harris
Writer | The Silence of the Lambs
Thomas Harris was born in 1940 in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. He was raised in the town of Rich where his father worked as a farmer. He earned his bachelor's degree in English from Baylor University in Texas in 1964. While attending school, he also worked for the local newspaper. After graduating, ...
53. Isabel Allende
Writer | The House of the Spirits
Isabel Allende is one of today's most important voices of Southern America literature. She was born in Lima, Peru, in 1942, but at the age of 3 she moved to Chile with her mother and two brothers. She spent her childhood there, at her maternal grandparents'home, but she also traveled a lot and ...
54. Patrick Süskind
Writer | Kir Royal
Patrick Süskind was born on March 26, 1949 in Ambach, Bavaria, Germany. He is a writer and actor, known for Kir Royal (1986), Rossini (1997) and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006).
55. Tom Wolfe
Writer | The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe was born on March 2, 1930 in Richmond, Virginia, USA. He was a writer and actor, known for The Right Stuff (1983), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test . He was married to Sheila Berger . He died on May 14, 2018 in New York, USA.
56. Pat Conroy
Writer | The Prince of Tides
Pat Conroy was born on October 26, 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He was a writer, known for The Prince of Tides (1991), Conrack (1974) and The Lords of Discipline (1983). He was married to Cassandra King, Lenore Fleischer and Barbara Jones. He died on March 4, 2016 in Beaufort, South Carolina, USA.
57. Anne Tyler
Writer | The Accidental Tourist
Anne Tyler was born on October 25, 1941 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. She is a writer, known for The Accidental Tourist (1988), A Slipping-Down Life (1999) and Earthly Possessions (1999). She was previously married to Taghi Modarressi.
58. Terry Pratchett
Writer | Untitled Discworld Project
Terry Pratchett was born on April 28, 1948 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England, UK. He was a writer and actor, known for Untitled Discworld Project , The Wee Free Men and The Watch (2020). He was married to Lyn Marian Purves. He died on March 12, 2015 in Broadchalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, ...
59. Patricia MacLachlan
Writer | Baby
Patricia MacLachlan was born on March 3, 1938 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA. She was a writer and producer, known for Baby (2000), Journey (1995) and Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991). She was married to Robert MacLachlen. She died on March 31, 2022 in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, USA.
60. Bret Easton Ellis
Writer | American Psycho
Bret Easton Ellis was born on March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is a writer and director, known for American Psycho (2000), Less Than Zero (1987) and The Canyons (2013).
61. Jay McInerney
Writer | Gia
Jay McInerney was born on January 13, 1955 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. He is a writer and actor, known for Gia (1998), Bright Lights, Big City and Brightness Falls . He has been married to Anne Hearst since November 21, 2006. He was previously married to Helen Bransford, Merry Reymond and Linda ...
62. Patricia Cornwell
Writer | Kay Scarpetta
Patricia Cornwell was born on June 9, 1956 in Miami, Florida, USA. She is a writer and producer, known for Kay Scarpetta , The Front (2010) and Untitled Kay Scarpetta Project . She has been married to Staci Gruber since February 24, 2005. She was previously married to Charles L. Cornwell.
63. Madeleine L'Engle
Writer | A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle was born on November 29, 1918 in New York City, New York, USA. She was a writer, known for A Wrinkle in Time (2018), A Ring of Endless Light (2002) and Camilla Dickinson (2012). She was married to Hugh Franklin . She died on September 6, 2007 in Litchfield, Connecticut, USA.
64. Tom Clancy
Writer | The Hunt for Red October
Tom Clancy became one of the best-selling writers of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, starting with the publication of his 1984 thriller, The Hunt for Red October (1990). Born in Baltimore to a U.S. Post Office employee and his wife on April 12, 1947, Clancy graduated from Loyola Blakefield,...
65. John Updike
Writer | The Witches of Eastwick
John Updike is among the leading novelists of the late 20th century, having twice won the Pulitzer Prize. Updike graduated Harvard College in 1954 to the staff of the New Yorker, with whom he has worked ever since as a contributor and reviewer. Updike has published 15 novels and lives in ...
66. Martin Cruz Smith
Writer | Gorky Park
Martin Cruz Smith was born on November 3, 1942 in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a writer, known for Gorky Park (1983), Nightwing (1979) and The Art of Crime (1975).
67. Robert Ludlum
Writer | The Bourne Supremacy
Robert Ludlum was born on May 25, 1927 in New York City, New York, USA. He was a writer and actor, known for The Bourne Supremacy (2004), The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Legacy (2012). He was married to Karen Dunn and Mary Patricia Ryducha. He died on March 12, 2001 in Naples, Florida, ...
68. James Ellroy
Writer | L.A. Confidential
James Ellroy was born on March 4, 1948 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for L.A. Confidential (1997), Street Kings (2008) and The Black Dahlia (2006).
69. Katherine Paterson
Writer | Bridge to Terabithia
Katherine Paterson was born on October 31, 1932 in Qing Jiang, China. She is a writer and actress, known for Bridge to Terabithia (2007), The Flint Heart and The Great Gilly Hopkins (2015). She has been married to John Paterson since 1962. They have four children.
70. Frank Miller
Writer | Sin City
Frank Miller was born in Olney, Maryland, to a nurse mother and a carpenter and electrician father, and was raised in Montpelier, Vermont. He is of Irish descent. Miller was a big comics writer/artist in the '70s and '80s. He wrote and penciled the Marvel series "Daredevil" for a long time. His ...
71. Sidney Sheldon
Writer | Easter Parade
Sheldon was born in Chicago on February 17, 1917. He began writing as a youngster and at the age of ten he made his first sale of a poem for $10. During the Depression, he worked at a variety of jobs and while attending Northwestern University he contributed short plays to drama groups. At seventeen...
72. John le Carré
Writer | Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
John le Carré was born in Poole, Dorset in England on 19 October, 1931. He went to Sherborne School and, later, studied German literature for one year at University of Bern. Later, he went to Lincoln College, Oxford and graduated in Modern Languages. From 1956 to 1958, he taught at Eton and from ...
73. Elizabeth George
Writer | The Inspector Lynley Mysteries
Elizabeth George was born on February 26, 1949 in Warren, Ohio, USA. She is a writer and actress, known for The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2001), Alchemy and Other Imperfections (2011) and The Buggy Grand Prix (2011).
74. Kaye Gibbons
Writer | Charms for the Easy Life
Kaye Gibbons is known for Charms for the Easy Life (2002) and Ellen Foster (1997).
75. Michael Blake
Writer | Dances with Wolves
Michael Blake was born on July 5, 1945 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA. He was a writer and director, known for Dances with Wolves (1990), Winnetou and The One . He was married to Marianne Mortensen . He died on May 2, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona, USA.
76. Dean R. Koontz
Writer | Odd Thomas
Dean R. Koontz was born on July 9, 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Odd Thomas (2013), Phantoms (1998) and Watchers (1988). He has been married to Gerda Ann Cerra since October 15, 1966.
77. James Alexander Thom
Writer | Long Knife
James Alexander Thom was born on May 28, 1933 in Gosport, Indiana, USA. He was a writer, known for Long Knife , Follow the River (1995) and Tecumseh: The Last Warrior (1995). He died on January 30, 2023 in Indiana, USA.
78. Paul Theroux
Writer | The Mosquito Coast
Paul Theroux was born on April 10, 1941 in Medford, Massachusetts, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for The Mosquito Coast (1986), The Mosquito Coast (2021) and Saint Jack (1979). He has been married to Sheila Donnelly since November 18, 1995. He was previously married to Anne Castle.
79. Eva Ibbotson
Writer | Journey to the River Sea
Eva Ibbotson was born on January 21, 1925 in Vienna, Austria. Eva was a writer, known for Journey to the River Sea , ITV Television Playhouse (1955) and Which Witch? . Eva was married to Alan Ibbotson. Eva died on October 20, 2010 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK.
80. Susan Hill
Writer | The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
Susan Hill was born on February 5, 1942 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, UK. She is a writer and producer, known for The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), The Woman in Black (2012) and The Small Hand (Ghost Story) (2019). She has been married to Stanley Wells since April 23, 1975. They ...
81. Dick King-Smith
Writer | Babe
Dick King-Smith was born on March 27, 1922 in Bitton, Gloucestershire, England, UK. He was a writer, known for Babe (1995), The Water Horse (2007) and Babe: Pig in the City (1998). He was married to Zona Bedding and Myrle King-Smith. He died on January 4, 2011 in Bath, Somerset, England, UK.
82. John Jakes
Writer | North and South
Internationally acclaimed author John Jakes was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated from DePauw University with a degree in creative writing and later also added an M.A. in literature from Ohio State to his résumé. Jakes worked as a copywriter for advertising agencies for sixteen years before ...
83. Michael Tolkin
Writer | The Player
Michael Tolkin was born on October 17, 1950 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for The Player (1992), Deep Impact (1998) and Changing Lanes (2002).
84. Judith Krantz
Writer | Till We Meet Again
Judith Krantz was born on January 9, 1928 in New York City, New York, USA. She was a writer, known for Till We Meet Again (1989), Mistral's Daughter (1984) and I'll Take Manhattan (1987). She was married to Steve Krantz . She died on June 22, 2019 in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, USA.
85. George R.R. Martin
Writer | Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin is an American novelist and short-story writer in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, a screenwriter, and television producer. He is known for his international bestselling series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which was later adapted into the HBO ...
86. Arthur Golden
Writer | Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden was born in 1956 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. He is a writer, known for Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), I riassuntini (2018) and The Opportunity Crisis (2003). He has been married to Trudy Legee since 1982.
87. Tracy Chevalier
Writer | Girl with a Pearl Earring
Tracy Chevalier was born on October 19, 1962 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. She is a writer, known for Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), Remarkable Creatures and The Worlds of Fantasy (2008). She is married to Jonathan Drori. They have one child.
88. Helen Fielding
Producer | Bridget Jones's Diary
Helen Fielding was born on February 19, 1958 in Morley, West Yorkshire, England, UK. She is a producer and writer, known for Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Bridget Jones's Baby (2016) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004).
89. Jeffrey Eugenides
Writer | The Switch
Jeffrey Eugenides was born on March 8, 1960 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He is a writer and actor, known for The Switch (2010), The Virgin Suicides (1999) and The Marriage Plot .
90. Gregory Maguire
Writer | Wicked: Part One
Gregory Maguire was born in 1954 in Albany, New York, USA. He is a writer, known for Wicked (2024), Wicked: Part Two (2025) and Egg and Spoon .
91. Janet Fitch
Writer | White Oleander
Janet Fitch was born in Los Angeles, a third-generation native. In 1978, she graduated from Reed College with a degree in history, and studied Russian history at Keele University in England. After deciding to write fiction, she began publishing short stories in literary journals, briefly attended ...
92. Neil Gaiman
Writer | Good Omens
Neil Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films. He is best known for the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. As a child and a teenager, Gaiman read the works of C. S. ...
93. Nicholas Sparks
Writer | Safe Haven
Nicholas Sparks was born on December 31, 1965 in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1988 and is one of the more critically-acclaimed authors of the past 5 years. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, including "The Notebook" and "The Rescue". Eleven of his books, ...
94. Daniel Handler
Writer | A Series of Unfortunate Events
Daniel Handler was born on February 28, 1970 in San Francisco, California, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017), A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) and Why We Broke Up . He is married to Lisa Brown. They have one child.
95. Michael Ondaatje
Writer | The English Patient
Michael Ondaatje was born on September 12, 1943 in Colombo, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka]. He is a writer and director, known for The English Patient (1996), Elimination Dance (1998) and The Offering (1966). He is married to Linda Spaulding.
96. Nick Hornby
Writer | Wild
Nick Hornby was born on April 17, 1957 in Maidenhead, England, UK. He is a writer and producer, known for Wild (2014), Brooklyn (2015) and About a Boy (2002). He was previously married to Virginia Bovell.
97. Bernhard Schlink
Writer | The Reader
Bernhard Schlink was born on July 6, 1944 in Bielefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He is a writer, known for The Reader (2008), The Other Man (2008) and Girl with Lizard .
98. Annie Proulx
Annie Proulx was born on August 22, 1935 in Norwich, Connecticut, USA. She is a writer and producer, known for Brokeback Mountain (2005), The Shipping News (2001) and Barkskins (2020).
99. Charles Frazier
Writer | Cold Mountain
Charles Frazier was born on November 4, 1950 in Asheville, North Carolina, USA. He is a writer, known for Cold Mountain (2003), Cold Mountain: Deleted Scenes (2004) and Charlie Rose (1991). He is married to Catherine. They have one child.
100. Michael Cunningham
Writer | The Hours
Michael Cunningham was born on November 6, 1952 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He is a producer and writer, known for The Hours (2002), A Home at the End of the World (2004) and Evening (2007).
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20 Bestsellers Published in the 1990s
Whoomp, there it is: a list of the biggest books from the 90s. fyi, they are all that and a bag of chips., the hot zone, by richard preston.
Buy from other retailers:, by thomas harris.
By dean koontz.
Mass Market Paperback $9.99
The horse whisperer, by nicholas evans.
The Deep End of the Ocean
By jacquelyn mitchard.
American psycho, by bret easton ellis.
Oh, the places you’ll go, by dr. seuss.
By toni morrison.
Tuesdays with morrie, by mitch albom.
Into Thin Air
By jon krakauer.
The Greatest Generation
By tom brokaw.
A game of thrones, by george r. r. martin.
by Louis Sachar
Girl with a pearl earring, by tracy chevalier.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
By helen fielding.
The Secret History
By donna tartt.
By michael crichton.
We Were the Mulvaneys
By joyce carol oates.
By philip roth.
All the Pretty Horses
By cormac mccarthy.
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Books that defined the 1990s
Charles and Di, Blur vs. Oasis, mobile phones or dial tones... the Nineties were a cultural and technological melting pot. Here, from J. K. Rowling to Jonathan Coe, Ben Okri to Helen Fielding, are some of the authors who best captured the decade in words.
The 1990s was a slippery old decade to define. Concertinaed between the Cold War and the War on Terror, it has been dubbed “ the holiday from history ” – a decade of relative peace and prosperity, free from the existential angst of decades past. No global conflicts to speak of (notwithstanding Blur vs. Oasis, of course), no economic doom to wallow in, no Margaret Thatcher.
With the dawn of a new millennium about to break, it was (for most people) a strange, floating decade of positivity, hope and a thing nobody yet understood called the World Wide Web.
It was the decade of Girl Power, Neighbours, and New Labour. Thatcher was out, Mandela was free and the Berlin Wall was rubble. Charles and Diana was the new soap opera and "Cool Britannia" ruled the airwaves.
As for books, there were many that sought to paint the times with words. Here, from Michael Crichton to Alice Walker, Sue Townsend to Jonathan Coe, are 20 authors who did it best.
'For many in the west, Wild Swans was their first real insight into life under the Chinese Communist party'
Wild Swans by Jung Chang (1991)
Everyone had watched the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests devolve into massacre two years earlier, shining a harsh light on Chairman Mao's tyranny over China.
But if those images provided a keyhole to life inside one of the world's most secretive societies, Wild Swans flung open the door, and gave ordinary Chinese civilians a voice that had never been heard before.
It obliterated best-selling records worldwide, was translated into 37 languages – including Chinese, where it was instantly banned – and sold more than 10 million copies.
“It arrived at just the right time to satisfy a readership hungry for information about this unknown country,” wrote The Guardian in 2005. “For many in the west, Wild Swans was their first real insight into life under the Chinese Communist party.”
'Bridget unwittingly tapped into the gap between how people feel they are expected to be on the outside and how they actually feel inside'
Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding (1996)
For a novel that began as a newspaper column about the trials of single-girl life in London, BJD exceeded all expectations, becoming one of the most successful British fiction exports of the 20th century.
This hilarious faux-diary of a perennial spinster who lives hard, loves hard and drinks even harder than that, blew in on a cyclone of critical and commercial acclaim, selling 15 million copies, spawning two blockbuster films which each took over £150m at the box office.
As Helen Fielding wrote of the book's success in 2013, "I suspected that what Bridget had unwittingly tapped into was the gap between how people feel they are expected to be on the outside and how they actually feel inside."
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (1997)
It doesn't need an intro – everyone knows who Harry is, where Hogwarts is, and what Quidditch is. It was the story that launched the most successful book series in history, and changed the literary world.
The series has sold more than 500 million copies, been translated into 80 languages, inspired a series of blockbuster movies, launched a theme park, and turned Rowling from a single mother on benefits to being named the world's first billionaire author by Forbes. You know the rest.
'it is a novel that is Faulknerian in its ambitious tackling of family and race and class, Dickensian in its sharp-eyed observation of society and character'
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997)
Not only did this win Arundati Roy the Booker Prize, but it made her the biggest-selling non-expat Indian writer in Britain at the time. The God of Small Things , in other words, was a very big thing indeed.
It is, first and foremost, a story of childhood, set in Kerala, India, during the political turmoil of the 1960s. Rahel and Estha are twins doing their best to negotiate a weird world of adult imperfection that they can't quite understand.
And from there grows a novel that provided as warm and powerful a slice of Indian life as anything that the British reading public had read before.
“[It's] a novel that turns out to be as subtle as it is powerful, a novel that is Faulknerian in its ambitious tackling of family and race and class, Dickensian in its sharp-eyed observation of society and character,” wrote New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani." It became the literary sensation of the 1990s.
Image: Ryan MacEachern/Penguin
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25 Iconic & Best Books From The ’90s
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Travel back in time with the most iconic and best books from the ’90s – sure to spark your 1990s nostalgia. What a decade!
Whether you were born in the ’90s or have seen relics such as Furby, Tamagotchis, endless episodes of Friends , beanie babies, and images of Blockbuster, you know the 1990s was an iconic decade.
Along with a revival in Lisa Frank notebooks and Pogs, the decade brought some incredible ’90s books, many of which were made into equally – if not, more so – famous movies.
So, what are the best books of the 1990s to read for the first time or to re-read and spark that nostalgia? Who were the top authors of the time?
Below, find top 1990s books in all genres, including cult classics, tales of dark academia, thrillers, and controversial memoirs. Let’s get started!
*Please note that while all of these books were published in the 1990s, many of the book covers and links are for newer editions.
Read across time with the best books from every decade .
Grab your favorite ’90s books :
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25 Books From The ’90s
1. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1990)
Before it was better known as a Stephen Spielberg film, Jurassic Park was one of the most iconic books from the ’90s – and one that’s set in Costa Rica .
You know the story: dinosaur DNA found in insects is used to clone long-extinct terrifying monsters, to be showcased to the public in a tropical park.
A few workplace health-and-safety incidents have the investors spooked, so the billionaire founder brings in consultants to put new failsafes in place.
This is a crash-course cautionary tale about genetic engineering, and absolutely worth a read (even if you think you already “know” the story).
Explore even more great books made into movies , and see what other movies took place in Costa Rica . Read Jurassic Park : Amazon | Goodreads
2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)
The Secret History is not only an iconic dark academia novel ; it’s also one of the best books of the 1990s.
Donna Tartt’s debut novel was an instant best-seller when it was first published in 1992, and it’s still going gangbusters three decades later.
It’s a story of intrigue, privilege, and murder, set in a small (but elite) liberal arts college in Vermont.
The fascinating and compelling cast of characters is a close-knit group of classics students, led by the enigmatic but charming professor Julian Morrow.
They’re academically gifted and socially isolated. It all comes to a tragic head when one of them is murdered. Read The Secret History : Amazon | Goodreads
3. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh (1993)
If you are looking for novels set in Edinburgh that teach you about its darker underbelly, this book recommendation might just be for you.
Irvine Welsh is a big literary name now, but in the early ‘90s, he was completely unknown.
Trainspotting , his debut novel, was released in 1993, and its impact still reverberates through to the present day.
It is styled as a series of short stories about the lives of heroin users, and those who exist in their orbit. It’s dark, gritty, and nihilistic – everything a book needs to achieve cult status.
Of all the ‘90s books nominated for Booker Prizes, this is the only one that has the distinction of being disqualified for “offending the sensibilities of two judges.”
Find even more great books on Scotland – life, history, and culture – to read before traveling there. Read Trainspotting : Amazon | Goodreads
4. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (1996)
Bridget Jones’s Diary is to books from the ‘90s as Pride And Prejudice is to books from the 1800s.
This contemporary adaptation places the protagonist – every bit as lovable as Austen’s Lizzie Bennet – in ‘90s London, caught between a dignified, awkward man and a roguish, handsome one.
Originally published as a series of columns in The Daily Telegraph , the novel has gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide and spawned two sequels, as well as a major film franchise starring Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth (the O.G. Mr. Darcy himself).
Read more about the British rom-com film adaptation here – along with finding even more great British romance movies to watch. Read Bridget Jones’s Diary : Amazon | Goodreads
5. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (1996)
Sure, if your date has Fight Club on their bookshelves, some might consider it a red flag – but Chuck Palahniuk’s most famous novel is still undoubtedly one of the most significant ‘90s books.
Palahniuk was inspired by his co-workers’ reaction when he showed up to work one day battered and bruised.
He first wrote Fight Club as a short story but worked on expanding the story into a novel after his first full-length manuscript ( Invisible Monsters ) was roundly rejected by publishers and agents.
Fight Club has since become a symbol of both toxic masculinity and the changing role of men in society. Read Fight Club : Amazon | Goodreads
6. The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997)
The God Of Small Things was one of the best books of the ‘90s – so good, in fact, that the author Arundhati Roy didn’t write another one for twenty years.
It’s a family drama about fraternal twins whose lives are torn apart by the Keralan “Love Laws” of the 1960s.
As the title suggests, Roy focuses on the small things – supposedly insignificant objects and moments – that shape the lives of people.
Roy drew upon her own Syrian Christian and Hindu lineage, her parent’s divorce, and other aspects of her own life to draw a rich and masterful portrait, for which she was awarded the Booker Prize in the year of its release.
Explore more books set in India . Read The God Of Small Things : Amazon | Goodreads
7. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (1993)
The Virgin Suicides is not only one of the most haunting 1990s books; it also launched two remarkable creative careers.
First, it was the debut novel of Jeffrey Eugenides, a uniquely talented writer who crafts the most fascinating and complex characters of contemporary literature.
Then, in 1999, Sofia Coppola made her directorial debut with the film adaptation starring Kirsten Dunst.
Despite the dark and triggering content (the doomed Libson sisters, each of whom dies by suicide before the book’s end), it’s an intriguing story of a suburban nightmare that continues to fascinate and devastate readers around the world. Read The Virgin Suicides : Amazon | Goodreads
8. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996)
Few ‘90s books are as acclaimed – or as controversial – as Angela’s Ashes , Frank McCourt’s memoir of his Irish-American childhood.
McCourt was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Critics Circle award, and the Boeke Prize, as well as being elected the Irish American Of The Year following its release.
However, he was also subject to strenuous public criticism for allegedly fabricating or exaggerating his impoverished upbringing.
His mother famously walked out of a dramatic performance by McCourt and his brother, saying it was “all a pack of lies.”
McCourt has since admitted that Angela’s Ashes is “a memoir, not an exact history,” but its disputed veracity seems to have made no dent in its enduring popularity.
Explore more of the best books about Ireland . Read Angela’s Ashes : Amazon | Goodreads
9. The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm (1990)
A book about journalistic ethics doesn’t sound like a likely candidate for the best books of the ‘90s, but Janet Malcolm was such an incredible writing talent that she made it work.
The Journalist And The Murderer is her interrogation of the professional (and personal) choices of journalist Joe McGinnis in writing his 1983 true crime book Fatal Vision .
McGinnis famously ingratiated himself with the (now convicted) murderer, former Special Forces captain Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald, and inserted himself into the legal defense case in order to gain access.
Murderinos must read this ever-timely account of the ethical considerations at the heart of this non-fiction sub-genre. Read The Journalist and the Murderer : Amazon | Goodreads
10. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)
Outlander – originally published as Cross Stitch in 1991 – was voted the second most-loved book of all time by Americans in the PBS Great American Read, second only to To Kill A Mockingbird .
Surely, that alone makes it one of the best books of the 1990s.
If that’s not enough to convince you, consider that it has sold over 25 million copies around the world, and along with its sequels, it is one of the best-selling book series of all time.
Gabaldon blends genres–historical fiction, fantasy, adventure, and romance–in a gripping story that runs across two timelines.
If you enjoy Outlander , read even more novels featuring time travel . Read Outlander : Amazon | Goodreads | More
11. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
When you picture Manhattan at the end of the 20th century, what comes to mind?
If your first thought is of yuppie greed – investment bankers, supermodels, and stock market jockeys – then American Psycho will definitely blow your mind.
One of the most controversial ‘90s books, later popularised by the movie adaptation starring Christian Bale as the titular psycho Patrick Bateman, it depicts a gruesome and violent underbelly of that particular microcosm of ‘90s culture.
This serial killer book is still banned in many parts of the world, because of its graphic violence (including horrific sexualized violence), with some places even going so far as to shrink-wrap it for sale.
Explore even more novels set in New York City & State . Read American Psycho : Amazon | Goodreads
12. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
We tend to think of young adult books as a more recent phenomenon, but one of the best books of the ‘90s is a quintessential YA drama: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower .
It’s also a great LGBTQ+ book for teens .
What’s more, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower can be enjoyed by teens and adult-adults alike, as a piercing coming-of-age novel about repressed trauma and the bonds of adolescent friendship.
Styled as a series of letters from the protagonist Charlie, addressed to his anonymous (possibly imaginary) “friend,” it depicts the struggle of growing up when you’re not sure you can necessarily trust your own mind, let alone the people around you.
Explore even more friendship novels . Read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower : Amazon | Goodreads
13. A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (1996)
If everything you know about the Song Of Ice And Fire series comes from the HBO TV show, then you need to strap in, because A Game Of Thrones was one of the best books of the 1990s.
The doorstop fantasy novel – the first in the still-ongoing series – has it all. Politics, romance, adventure, drama, fantasy world maps , and dragons: what more could you ask for?
Even readers who don’t normally go for high fantasy will find something in here to love.
Three main storylines unfold simultaneously, and the book gives readers deeper insight into the perspectives of each of the major players than the show ever did.
The complexity of Martin’s world is second to none. Read A Game Of Thrones : Amazon | Goodreads
14. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
If “stranger in a strange land” stories are your jam, you need to check out The Poisonwood Bible , one of the most breathtaking ‘90s books.
The family at the heart of the story, the Prices, are missionaries, and they abruptly shift from their home in Georgia to the remote village of Kilanga in the Belgian Congo.
The patriarch of the family is a Southern Baptist minister racked with guilt, a fascinating character in his own right.
However, the way the story unfolds through the perspectives of the women in his family – his wife and daughters – is what makes this a truly masterful novel.
Check out even more well-known 50 States books . Read The Poisonwood Bible : Amazon | Goodreads
15. Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (1999)
Art buffs know Girl With A Pearl Earring as the Johannes Vermeer oil painting (circa 1665, the Dutch Golden Age).
Tracy Chevalier took her inspiration from the painting to write her novel of the same name, one of the best historical fiction books from the ‘90s.
She has said that the girl’s “ambiguous look” led her to wonder about the story behind it.
In Chevalier’s version of events, the titular girl is Griet, a teenager forced to take employment in Vermeer’s home as a maid.
Despite her low status, the master painter recognises her unique eye for art, and she unintentionally becomes his muse. Read Girl With A Pearl Earring : Amazon | Goodreads
16. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (1996)
There are plenty of ‘90s books about going on adventures and seeing new parts of the world, but if you’re looking for a more realistic take, you need to pick up Into The Wild .
As a journalist and one of our favorite travel writers , Jon Krakauer took a particular interest in the story of Chris McCandless, a middle-class suburban boy who gave up his comfortable, privileged life (not to mention his college fund!) to hike into the Alaskan wilderness where he met his tragic end.
Krakauer expanded his original 9,000 word article into this non-fiction book, which went on to become an international bestseller.
If you love hiking books , you should also check out Into Thin Air (1997), Krakauer’s account of his experience in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.
Both books are fantastic books to gift dad on Father’s Day . Read Into The Wild : Amazon | Goodreads
17. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (1997)
Translated into English by Jay Rubin
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is one of the best books from the ‘90s a few times over.
It was originally published in three volumes, in Murakami’s native Japanese: Book of the Thieving Magpie (泥棒かささぎ編, Dorobō kasasagi hen ), Book of the Prophesying Bird (予言する鳥編, Yogen suru tori hen ), and Book of the Bird-Catcher Man (鳥刺し男編, Torisashi otoko hen ), in 1994-95.
Then, the first “official” English translation was released as a single volume in 1997.
It’s the story of an exceedingly average and passive Japanese man, whose mundane domestic life turns into an adventure when he begins to search for his missing cat.
Explore even more of the best Japanese books . Read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle : Amazon | Goodreads
18. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (1997)
Some non-fiction books are so penetrating and tell us so much about the world we live in, that they become instant classics and continue to be read decades later (even after some of the information they contain has aged out of accuracy).
That’s definitely the case for Guns, Germs, and Steel , one of the best books of the ‘90s.
Jared Diamond’s transdisciplinary non-fiction book endeavors to explain why some civilizations dominate while others fade away, or are conquered.
This book will completely change the way you understand the positive feedback loops that we take for granted in history. Read Guns, Germs, and Steel : Amazon | Goodreads
19. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom (1997)
When sports columnist Mitch Albom decides on a whim to visit his old sociology professor one Tuesday, he does not realize the experience will be life-changing and inspire one of the most moving books from the ‘90s.
In Tuesdays With Morrie , Albom’s memoir, he describes the fourteen visits he has with Morrie Schwartz –once a week, every Tuesday – as Morrie succumbs to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Alongside extracts from Schwartz’s lectures and other supplementary material, Albom generously shares the lessons Morrie teaches him about living, dying, and everything in between.
Their story reached even more people when it was adapted to film in 1999.
Travel to MA with even more books set there . Read Tuesdays With Morrie : Amazon | Goodreads
20. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (1992)
Four very different people – a man with severe burns, a Canadian Army nurse, a thief, and a Sikh sapper –find themselves brought together at an Italian villa during the Second World War.
Through multiple timelines and narrators, The English Patient incrementally reveals the burned man’s memories of events prior to his injuries, alternating with the events at the villa.
Bibliophiles and history buffs will delight in the motifs and symbolism, such as the burned man’s only possession: a copy of The Histories that miraculously survives.
This is one of the most enduring books from the ‘90s; not only did it receive the 1992 Booker Prize, but it was also awarded the Golden Booker in 2018.
Check out these books on WW2 . Or, read more books about and set in Italy . Read The English Patient : Amazon | Goodreads
21. The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1998)
Rather than being a straight adaptation, The Hours weaves the story of Mrs. Dalloway into its plot, looking at the impact of Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel on three generations of women.
Clarissa lives in the present day and throws a party for her best friend, who is dying of AIDS.
Mrs. Brown is a suburban housewife in 1949, planning an intimate birthday celebration for her husband while reading Mrs. Dalloway for the first time.
And then there’s Virginia Woolf herself, working on her novel while contending with her mental illness.
This is one of the best books of the 1990s, and certainly one of the most ingenious.
If you enjoy The Hours , explore more kick-butt women for historical fiction lovers . Read The Hours : Amazon | Goodreads
22. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (1996)
Both true crime fans and historical fiction lovers will enjoy Alias Grace .
Margaret Atwood has been a prolific author and poet for decades now, but this is definitely the best of her books from the ‘90s.
Atwood based the story on the real-life murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in 1843.
In the book (and in history), Kinnear’s servant James McDermott was hanged for the crime, while his other servant, Grace Marks, was sentenced to life in prison.
Through fictionalized conversations between Grace and her psychiatrist, Atwood explores what it means to be an underprivileged woman in 19th century Canada, and what might drive one to murder. Read Alias Grace : Amazon | Goodreads
23. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (1995)
Of course, you’re more familiar with the 1998 film adaptation of the same name, but Practical Magic is one of the most underrated 1990s books, a hidden gem of the decade.
Gillian and Sally are sisters and inherit the poor reputation that women of their Massachusetts family have endured for decades.
They’re desperate to escape the rumors and suspicion – that their elderly aunts seem to encourage and delight in – but whether they run away or try to marry into respectability, their family ties keep pulling taut.
This is a wonderful, magical story for anyone in the mood for witchy books . Read Practical Magic : Amazon | Goodreads
24. About A Boy by Nick Hornby (1998)
Will Freeman is, by anyone’s standards, living the dream.
He lives a comfortable life on the royalties of a successful Christmas pop song he wrote back in the ‘90s, which leaves him free to pursue his passions (listening to records and sleeping with women).
When he has the ingenious idea to invent a fake son, in order to “connect” with women in a single mum’s group, he doesn’t foresee Fiona and her son, Marcus, changing his life – but they do.
About A Boy is one of the most heartwarming ‘90s books you’ll read, perfect for fans of British rom-coms that don’t sugarcoat the dark sides of life.
Travel to London with these books . Read About A Boy : Amazon | Goodreads
25. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (1998)
Even though it’s mostly used as a punchline now, the episodic play The Vagina Monologues is actually one of the best books of the 1990s if you give it a chance.
It explores all of the subjects that are still headline news and viral thinkpiece catnip today: sex, body image, reproductive rights, periods, sex work, assault and harassment, intersectionality…
What’s more, through productions of the play and the establishment of the V-Day Movement, Ensler has raised over $100 million to end gender-based violence and support victims.
Whether you read it on the page or see it on the stage, this is one of the ‘90s books that will pierce your heart and stay with you for years. Read The Vagina Monologues : Amazon | Goodreads
Save These ’90s Books For Later:
Grab the best books of the ’90s here :
What are the best books of the 1990s?
If you were born or lived through the ’90s, what are your favorite memories, inventions, and mementos?
What do you wish survived past the decade, and what 1990s trends do you hope never come back?
Lastly, which 1990s books do you love? Let us know in the comments!
This reading list is also a part of our 2022 Uncorked Reading Challenge .
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Sheree (pronouns: she/her) is a writer and book reviewer living on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation (known as Sydney, Australia). She has been reviewing books on her blog, Keeping Up With The Penguins , since 2017. She reads books of all kinds and shares her thoughts on them all across the internet.
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20 Prominent 90s Screenwriters Who Deserve a Resurgence
Written by Matt Hendricks
The accomplishments of a screenwriter are rarely as celebrated or remembered as the accomplishments of an actor or director. Screenwriters are treated expendably and always have been. Hollywood’s publicity machine has repeatedly taught us that actors are the stars, directors are the artists, and everyone else is serving under their vision. When a movie is a success, the writer’s credit is often nowhere to be found. When it’s not, they’re often the first person to be blamed.
A screenwriter’s job is just as important as anyone else’s on a movie, perhaps more so. Without the blueprint that actors, directors, and crew people follow, there is little hope for success in any capacity. Why, then, have screenwriters always been treated with such disrespect (that is, if you don’t count their paycheck)? There are many reasons, but the predominant one is that a screenwriter’s work, if done correctly, is usually invisible. Bad screenwriting usually receives the most attention because it sticks out. Good screenwriting makes the director and actors look all the more capable, and they usually wind up hogging most of the credit as a result.
Flashily stylish screenwriting that draws attention to itself is usually the type that receives the most positive attention from audiences and critics. This was particularly true in the 90s. Back then, if your last name wasn’t Tarantino, if you didn’t create a television show about vampire slayers, and if you weren’t writing clever, long-winded, pop-culture referencing dialogue that sometimes stuck a “y” on the end of select words regardless of grammatical correctness, then you weren’t a writer worth caring about.
The following list features screenwriters who did prominent work in the 90s. Some of them received attention at the time and some of them primarily went by unnoticed. Today, all of them are under-appreciated, especially when considering the quality and, sometimes, classic work that they have all been responsible for creating. The writers on this list are all immensely talented, yet none of them are currently as celebrated or as produced as often as they deserve to be. Few screenwriters are, except, of course, for all those Tarantino-y.
20. David Veloz
One of the most controversial, equally hated and revered movies of the 90s, Natural Born Killers, started with an original screenplay by the one and only Quentin Tarantino (though you could argue it actually started with a screenplay by Roger Avary, but we’ll get into that later). That screenplay was eventually rethought and rewritten (though not as heavily as has been reported) by the film’s director, Oliver Stone, and his associates, Richard Rutowski and David Veloz.
Through the rewrites, Natural Born Killers became an astute and bombastic satire of the 90s, as socially aware as it is chaotically charged. One of the most inspired and daring additions to the script, a flashback scene in which a brutal killer imagines her life as a then-modern-day sitcom, was solely Veloz’s creation.
Since Killers ’ 1994 release, little has been seen or heard from Veloz. In 1998, he directed his own adaptation of Jerry Stahl’s classic addiction memoir, Permanent Midnight. Despite his commendable work on that challenging film, he has only received writing credits on two shorts and one feature-length film since. That feature is 2001’s Owen Wilson- and Gene Hackman-starring military thriller, Behind Enemy Lines.
Veloz’s unique and audacious talents have served past films well, and they will, hopefully, return to increase the quality of films yet to come.
19. Chuck Pfarrer
When it comes to 90s action films, there isn’t a more legitimate force behind them than Chuck Pfarrer. An ex-Navy SEAL, Pfarrer has lent a hefty amount of authenticity to a number of films that he wrote or co-wrote. 1990’s Navy Seals and Darkman, 1993’s Hard Target, 1996’s Barb Wire, and 1997’s The Jackal are all action titles that benefitted from Pfarrer’s talents and life experiences.
The 90s were a busy time for the writer, as he also created two comic books for Dark Horse Comics that were published during the early years of the decade, Virus (which was later adapted into a 1999 Jamie Lee Curtis-starring film) and The Thing From Another World . Pfarrer also tried his hand at writing for video games around this time, lending his talents to such titles as Flash Traffic: City of Angels and Silent Steel.
Since the 90s, Pfarrer’s screenwriting work has been scarce and primarily uncredited, aside from his work on the 2000 science fiction thriller, Red Planet . He has managed to keep busy, however, by writing books.
In 2004, Pfarrer published his memoir, Warrior Soul: The Memoir of a Navy SEAL and, in 2011, he published the non-fiction book, SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden. He has also, to date, written two historical fiction novels, 2007’s Killing Che and 2016’s Philip Nolan: The Man Without a Country.
18. Ebbe Roe Smith
Star Michael Douglas and director Joel Schumacher received some of the best reviews of their careers for 1993’s Falling Down. The film centers on a mentally unstable man (Douglas) who abandons his car in a traffic jam, then treks through Los Angeles on foot while facing many of the city’s darker aspects.
Falling Down is a fiercely satirical, intelligently observational, and dramatically powerful piece of work. While Douglas and Schumacher deserve their praises, the individual who wrote and created the film never quite received the credit he deserved.
Ebbe Roe Smith, despite having written one of the smartest and edgiest studio films of the 90s, only has two other screenplay credits to his name. Also in 1993, he co-wrote the Peter Weller-directed made-for-television movie, Partners, and, in 1994, he was credited for writing the critically maligned feature-length remake of the 60s sitcom, Car 54, Where Are You?
Also an actor, Smith has several screen credits to his name, the most recent of which is for a recurring role on the hit comedy series, Portlandia.
17. Jim Uhls
Director David Fincher and source novelist Chuck Palahniuk are usually considered the most important names behind the creation of 1999’s Fight Club, which is one of the most original, scathingly hilarious, and impressively crafted satires of all time.
The guy who actually adapted Palahniuk’s novel for the screen, Jim Uhls, somehow gets lost when the film’s praises are being sung. This is a shame because a large part of what makes Fight Club so spectacular is its carefully crafted yet anarchically structured screenplay.
Uhls has had very few screen credits to his name since Fight Club . He received sole credit for the little-seen 2004 feature, Sweet Talk, and was credited alongside David S. Goyer and Simon Kinberg for the 2008 sci-fi/action film, Jumper. Aside from those titles, he has been credited for a handful of short films over the years and for the upcoming documentary, Idiot Savant: The Savage Life of Ryan Leone .
Uhls’ celebrated spec screenplay, The Train, remains unproduced, despite having Ridley Scott attached to direct it and H.R. Giger attached to design it in the late 80s.
16. Guinevere Turner and Rose Troche
The 90s were a time in which an eclectic group of voices were heard in filmmaking, particularly in the independent scene. Though the lesbian community wasn’t properly represented in the time’s mainstream films (and still isn’t to this day), it was given respect and examination with the critically lauded 1994 independent comedy/drama, Go Fish.
The Chicago-set film was written by star Guinevere Turner and director Rose Troche, who were romantically linked to one another at the time of the film’s production. Though it wasn’t exactly embraced by mass audiences, Go Fish was an influential hit on the indie circuit at the time of its release. Indie sensation Kevin Smith openly celebrated the film, citing it as a major influence on his own 1997 lesbian-themed comedy/drama, Chasing Amy.
Turner and Troche have consistently worked as writers since the 90s, with both of them contributing to the mid-to-late 2000s lesbian-centered hit series, The L Word. Turner also has a wide variety of acting credits to her name, while Troche has since directed a couple of features (1998’s Bedrooms and Hallways and 2001’s The Safety of Objects ) and numerous television episodes ( Six Feet Under, Ugly Betty, Law & Order, Greenleaf, Shameless, FBI, and many others).
Though Troche seems to be more focused on directing today, Turner has gone on to be credited for writing a significant number of features and short films. Her most noteworthy works are her screenplay collaborations with the celebrated indie filmmaker, Mary Harron, which include 2000’s American Psycho, 2005’s The Notorious Bettie Page, and 2018’s Charlie Says. Though both Turner and Troche are still steadily working today, their voices are unjustly uncelebrated by the mainstream.
15. Dale Launer
After penning a string of successful dark comedies in the mid-to-late 80s ( Ruthless People, Blind Date, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels ), Dale Launer was credited for writing one of the most iconic movies of the 90s, the 1992 fish-out-of-water comedy, My Cousin Vinny.
The film is considered to be one of the best of stars Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei’s (who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in the film) careers. Launer’s endlessly hilarious writing, however, didn’t receive the same attention.
Since My Cousin Vinny ’s release, Launer has received very few screen credits. Also in 1992, he wrote and directed the underrated comedy, Love Potion No. 9. Launer didn’t receive another screen credit until over a decade later for his unreleased and little-seen writing and directing effort, Tom’s Nu Heaven.
Since then, he has only been credited for the story and for the co-writing of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ 2019 remake, The Hustle.
14. Jeb Stuart
Action screenwriters, like most screenwriters, never get the credit they deserve. This is true even if their first screenplay credit, like Jeb Stuart’s, is for arguably the greatest and most lauded action film ever made, 1988’s Die Hard.
Since Die Hard ’s release, Stuart worked steadily into the late 90s, co-penning major titles such as 1989’s Leviathan and Lock Up, 1990’s Vital Signs and Another 48 Hrs., 1993’s The Fugitive, 1995’s Just Cause, and 1997’s Fire Down Below. Also in 1997, Stuart made his directorial debut (and received his first solo screenwriting credit) with Switchback , a well-done action/thriller that failed to find success at the box office.
Since Switchback , Stuart’s name hasn’t been as seen as often as it once was. He didn’t receive another screen credit until his 2010 adaptation of the book, Blood Done Sign My Name, which he also directed. Since then, Stuart has worked primarily in television, writing the 2020 miniseries, The Liberator, and creating and writing for the recently released, Vikings: Valhalla.
Stuart appears to have no intention of breaking from his action roots, as he is currently committed to write for the upcoming series based on the popular action video game franchise, Assassin’s Creed.
13. Billy Bob Thorton and Tom Epperson
The first-produced screenplay by the writing team of these two Arkansas natives resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed films of the 90s, 1992’s One False Move.
Billy Bob Thorton and Tom Epperson went on to write several other screenplays, both as individuals and as a team, over the years. Their writing collaborations have included 1996’s A Family Thing, that same year’s Don’t Look Back, and 2000’s The Gift. The duo’s last-produced effort, 2012’s Jayne Mansfield’s Car, co-starred and was directed by Thorton. That film has, to date, received very little attention from audiences or critics.
Thorton’s most noteworthy solo writing work is his Oscar-winning screenplay for 1996’s Sling Blade , which he also acted in and directed . In 2001, he starred in and directed the production of his original screenplay, Daddy and Them. Needless to say, Thorton has had a very successful acting career to fall back on between lapses in writing work.
Epperson has also stayed busy outside of his and Thorton’s collaborations. He co-wrote 1997’s A Gun, A Car, A Blonde and solely authored 2006’s Jesse Stone: Night Passage , a made-for-television adaptation of an entry in Robert B. Parker’s popular book series . To date, Epperson has also written four novels, 2008’s The Kind One, 2012’s Sailor, 2018’s Roberto to the Dark Tower Came, and the upcoming 2022 release, Make Believe.
12. Bruce Joel Rubin
An early New York peer of Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese, Bruce Joel Rubin didn’t find Hollywood success until relatively late in his career. After having a couple of short films (one of which was directed by De Palma) produced in the 60s and 70s, his first-produced features were 1983’s Brainstorm (for which he would receive story credit) and 1986’s Wes Craven-directed Deadly Friend.
In the 90s, Rubin truly made his mark with the metaphysical, death-exploring productions of 1990’s Ghost (for which he won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar) , that same year’s Jacob’s Ladder (which was previously one of the most celebrated unproduced screenplays of the 80s), and 1993’s My Life (which would also provide his first and, to date, only directorial credit).
Since his 90s winning streak, Rubin’s work has been scarce. The films that credited his name since then have little thematic connection to the titles that previously brought him high levels of success. Over the years, he has worked as a hired gun on such impersonal projects as 1998’s Deep Impact, 2002’s Stuart Little 2, and 2007’s The Last Mimzy.
Rubin somewhat returned to his roots with the modestly successful 2009 screen adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife and with his book and lyrics work for Ghost ’s 2012 Broadway adaptation. Since then, Rubin’s name has not been attached to any projects with the exception of the poorly received 2019 Jacob’s Ladder remake, which he had no hand in writing despite the fact that it was based on his original work.
11. Ted Tally
Prior to winning the 1992 Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for the classic, The Silence of the Lambs, Ted Tally was a successful playwright who had a few screen credits to his name.
Though Tally didn’t receive screenwriting credit for it, 1984’s made-for-television movie, Terra Nova, was based on his play. He co-wrote the 1987 made-for-television movie, The Father Clements Story, and the 1990 romantic drama, White Palace. It was Lambs’ success in 1991, however, that truly jumpstarted his Hollywood career.
Since Lambs, Tally’s talents have been somewhat pigeonholed, as every screenwriting credit he has since received has been for adapting a successful novel. 1996’s The Juror and Before and After, 2000’s All the Pretty Horses, 2002’s Red Dragon, and 2018’s 12 Strong all started out with a popular source material before receiving a Tally screen adaptation.
Aside from his screenwriting credits, Tally has been credited for a handful of miscellaneous tasks over the years. In 2000, he associate produced Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars. Tally also worked as a creative consultant on such films as 2004’s Shrek 2, 2005’s Madagascar, and 2007’s Shrek the Third. With everything he has accomplished to date, Tally’s name is long overdue for his next major screenwriting credit.
10. Roger Avary
Roger Avary is, perhaps (depending on who you listen to), at least partially responsible for Quentin Tarantino’s meteoric rise to success in the 90s. He wrote the original screenplay for The Open Road, which would later mutate into Tarantino’s early screenplays for the 90s classics, True Romance (for which Avary did uncredited rewrites) and Natural Born Killers .
Though Avary won an Oscar for his “story by” credit on 1994’s Pulp Fiction, some believe he wasn’t properly credited and that he should have shared a full-on screenwriting title along with Tarantino for the classic film. However you cut it, Avary was right beside Tarantino during his early years of success, and it’s a downright shame that his name hasn’t achieved the same kind of recognition.
Since Pulp Fiction’s massive success, Avary has worked as both a director and a writer-for-hire. He wrote and directed 1993’s Killing Zoe, 1995’s Mr. Stitch, the 2002 adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel, The Rules of Attraction, and, after a long hiatus, 2019’s Lucky Day.
As a screenwriter, he was also credited for 2006’s Silent Hill and for Robert Zemeckis’ 2007 adaptation of Beowulf. Though Avary is still working, it hasn’t been consistent enough to appropriately represent his massive and unsung talent.
9. Harley Peyton
Mark Frost and, especially, David Lynch are the names most often associated with the creation and development of the 90s classic series, Twin Peaks. Unbeknownst to many, both of Peaks’ original creators were too busy with other projects to properly oversee the show’s second season. Another writer by the name of Harley Peyton essentially served as the series’ showrunner during that time.
Peyton provided the show with snappy dialogue, mysterious storylines, and quirky humor that was primarily attributed to Lynch and Frost. Unfortunately, Peyton’s contributions to Twin Peaks are largely unnoticed.
Prior to Twin Peaks, Peyton had been credited for adapting Bret Easton Ellis’ debut novel, Less Than Zero, for a production released in 1987. Since Twin Peaks, Peyton has worked steadily, though rather quietly, on numerous projects. He is credited for writing or co-writing the screenplays for such feature films as 1996’s Heaven’s Prisoners, 1997’s Keys to Tulsa, 2001’s Bandits, and 2011’s Friends With Benefits . He has worked more prominently in television over the years, however, as a writer and a producer on such series as Dracula, Reign, Channel Zero, Project Blue Book, and Chucky. Most recently, he is credited for creating, writing, and executive producing the upcoming series, Reginald the Vampire.
Though he has remained plenty busy, Peyton has yet to receive suitable recognition for his noteworthy accomplishments.
8. Michael Tolkin
In the early 90s, Michael Tolkin was a hot screenwriter because of his Academy Award-nominated work on The Player. Adapted from Tolkin’s own 1988 novel and directed by Robert Altman, the film exposed many of Hollywood’s dark sides, particularly its poor treatment of screenwriters.
Previously, Tolkin had briefly written for television, providing stories and teleplays for Taxi and Delta House. He had also written the 1989 Christian Slater-starring skateboarding drama/mystery, Gleaming the Cube. Tolkin then directed his own screenplay for the well-received 1991 religion drama, The Rapture.
Tolkin’s work since The Player has not been as celebrated. He’s worked steadily, however, with his name credited for writing or co-writing such screenplays as 1992’s Deep Cover, 1994’s The New Age (which he also directed), 1998’s Deep Impact, 2002’s Changing Lanes, and 2009’s Nine. He’s worked most prominently in television, writing and producing such shows as Ray Donovan, Escape at Dannemora, and the upcoming The Offer.
Tolkin has also written several novels over the years, including 1988’s Bed Master, 1993’s Among the Dead, 2003’s Under Radar, 2006’s The Player sequel, The Return of the Player, and 2017’s NK3.
7. Andrew Kevin Walker
While working at a Tower Records in New York City, Andrew Kevin Walker penned the screenplay that would jump-start his career in Hollywood. Se7en was not his first-produced film, but it did get him work on such projects as a Tales From the Crypt episode and the mid-90s films, Brainscan and Hideaway. When Se7en was eventually released in 1995, it became an instant classic whose writer was essentially deemed as Hollywood’s premier prince of darkness.
During that time, Walker also worked as a script doctor, doing uncredited rewrites on such films as Event Horizon, The Game, Fight Club, and Stir of Echoes. Walker was then credited for writing two films that were released in 1999, 8MM and Sleepy Hollow. Despite the fact that they were toned down by other writers (much to Walker’s disliking), both films still managed to cement Walker’s image as one of Hollywood’s grittiest, edgiest, and most uncompromisingly dark writers.
Since the 90s, Walker’s work has been somewhat scarce. In the early 2000s, he wrote three short films for the BMW film series, The Hire, starring Clive Owen. After that, he wasn’t credited for a feature project until 2010’s negatively received The Wolfman. In 2015, Walker became a first-time novelist when his book, Old Man Johnson, was published. In 2016, Walker wrote the little-seen and darkly comedic animated feature, Nerdland.
Currently, Walker has two high-profile projects to his name and appears to be in the midst of a possible comeback. He co-wrote the 2022 thriller, Windfall, which was just released on Netflix. The recently wrapped and upcoming The Killer , based on Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel, reunites Walker with his Se7en director, David Fincher. Time will tell if either of these projects brings Walker back to the level of prominence he once had.
6. David Webb Peoples
Before the 90s, David Webb Peoples had already secured a successful career in Hollywood. He was best known for rewriting Hampton Fancher’s Blade Runner screenplay for director Ridley Scott in the early 80s. He went on to do an uncredited rewrite for Richard Donner’s 1985 production of Ladyhawke. Peoples was then credited for writing the story for the 1989 science fiction/horror film, Leviathan, and for writing and directing the same year’s Rutger Hauer-starring minor cult classic, The Blood of Heroes.
The 90s were even more successful for Peoples. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the 1992 classic Clint Eastwood Western, Unforgiven. He would then go on to be credited for 1992’s Hero, 1995’s 12 Monkeys (which he co-wrote with his wife, Janet), and 1998’s Soldier.
Since the 90s, Peoples’ name has not been associated with any new works. He has been credited for the source material of a Japanese remake of Unforgiven and for a series adaptation of 12 Monkeys, but not for anything original.
Though Peoples currently appears to have stepped away from Hollywood, his past accomplishments will continue to speak for themselves for many years to come.
5. Callie Khouri
While working as a production assistant for a commercial and music video company, Callie Khouri wrote her first screenplay. That script went on to become the Ridley Scott-directed, Susan Sarandon- and Geena Davis-starring feminist classic, Thelma & Louise. Khouri received a great deal of recognition for her work on the film, culminating with her 1992 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay
Since Thelma & Louise, Khouri has worked consistently as a director, writer, and producer on projects with varying degrees of success, though none of them have received the same kind of attention that Thelma & Louise did.
In 1995, Khouri penned the modestly successful Julia Roberts–starring romantic comedy, Something to Talk About. In 2002, she made her directorial debut with her hit adaptation of the popular book, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Khouri also wrote and directed an ABC pilot called Hollis & Rae in 2006, but it wasn’t picked up. In 2008, she directed other screenwriters’ work for the disappointingly received Mad Money.
Khouri’s most enduring success post- Thelma & Louise was with the ongoing series, Nashville, for which she served as a creator, executive producer, and sometimes writer and director. Since that show’s end after its sixth season in 2018, Khouri has directed the made-for-television movie, Patsy & Loretta , and co-directed (along with her True Detective musician husband, T Bone Burnett) an upcoming Jerry Lee Lewis documentary.
Khouri’s voice and talents are still in high demand after all these years, despite the fact that she’s currently not the household name that her admirers know she should be.
4. Paul Rudnick
Paul Rudnick was a successful playwright and novelist in the 80s and early 90s before beginning his screenwriting career. As a screenwriter, Rudnick first lent his wittily satiric voice to such early 90s comedy classics as The Addams Family, The First Wives Club, and Sister Act— none of which he received or accepted screen credit for co-writing.
Once established, Rudnick went on to be credited for his work on the underrated and endlessly clever 1993 sequel, The Addams Family Values, and for his 1995 screen adaptation of his hit play, Jeffrey. Openly gay during a time when few dared to be, Rudnick’s unique sensibilities gave the homosexual community a voice in popular filmmaking. This culminated with his celebrated 1997 comedy about a man grappling with his own confused sexuality, In & Out.
Since the 90s, Rudnick’s screenwriting career has persevered, though not without its share of lulls. Rudnick’s name has appeared on a number of screenplays since then, including 2000’s Isn’t She Great, 2003’s Marci X, 2004’s The Stepford Wives, the unpicked 2016 CBS pilot, I Shudder, and the 2020 made-for-cable COVID-19 comedy, Coastal Elites . His name is currently attached to the pilot for a potential new series, The Biggest Star in Appleton.
Rudnick’s sparkling writing talents have been put to good use in other mediums over the years. He has consistently had plays produced (he most recently wrote the book for the stage musical production of The Devil Wears Prada ) and essays and books published (2021’s Playing the Palace is his most recent novel) that showcase his endlessly clever and insightful observations on life.
3. Wesley Strick
Wesley Strick began his writing career in New York City in the 80s as a rock journalist, contributing to such publications as Cream and Rolling Stone. His first produced screenplay was for the 1989 legal thriller, True Believer, which stars James Woods and Robert Downey Jr.
Strick then went on to write or co-write the screenplays for a number of high-profile 90s films, including 1990’s Arachnophobia, Martin Scorsese’s 1991 remake of Cape Fear, 1992’s Final Analysis, 1994’s Wolf, 1997’s The Saint, and 1998’s Return to Paradise. He also did uncredited script doctoring work for such popular films of the time as Batman Returns, Face/Off, and Mission: Impossible 2. In the 90s, Strick seemed to be on an unstoppable winning streak when it came to being an in-demand writer for intelligent, adult-oriented, and character-driven thrillers.
In 1995, he gave directing someone else’s screenplay a try with the underrated, Daryl Hannah-starring thriller, The Tie That Binds. Strick would go on to direct his own screenplay for the darkly comedic and unjustly under-known 2001 made-for-television movie, Hitched . He also tried his hand at being a novelist, penning 2006’s Out There in the Dark and 2009’s Whirlybird.
Strick has worked consistently as a screenwriter on a variety of projects since the 90s, though with some occasional lulls on his resume. His most noteworthy screenwriting work in the 2000s was for Tim Burton’s famously unproduced film, Superman Lives. He was also credited for writing or co-writing 2001’s The Glass House, 2005’s Doom, 2006’s Love is the Drug, 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street remake, and 2014’s The Loft.
In 2016, Strick turned to streaming when he started writing episodes of the Phillip K. Dick-based series, The Man in the High Castle. Strick has also recently written an episode of the series, Monsterland.
Though he isn’t currently getting spec scripts produced or working with A-list directors, Strick’s talents are still being put to use on well-regarded projects. Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before another edgy, intense, and intelligently crafted screenplay by Wesley Strick finds its way into production again.
2. Caroline Thompson
Caroline Thompson began her offbeat writing career in 1983 with the publication of her novel, First Born, which is a horrific and darkly comedic tale about an abortion that comes back to life. The book, whose potential film adaptation drew interest from such filmmakers as Penelope Spheeris and William Friedkin, opened a number of Hollywood doors for Thompson, despite the fact that it never wound up being produced as a feature film.
First Born also caught the attention of director Tim Burton, who would go on to collaborate with her on the story for his 1990 film, Edward Scissorhands. Thompson is solely credited for writing the film’s screenplay.
After that iconic film’s release, Thompson wrote or co-wrote a number of popular titles, including 1991’s The Addams Family and three 1993 titles, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, The Secret Garden, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. After securing her footing in Hollywood through screenwriting, Thompson was then given the opportunity to direct her screenplays for 1994’s Black Beauty and 1997’s Buddy .
After her 90s hot streak, Thompson continued to work, though not quite as steadily and not on projects that would go on to have the same classic status as many of her previous ones. She directed one more of her scripts for the 2001, made-for-television production, Snow White: The Fairest of Them All . In 2005, she collaborated with director and choreographer Matthew Bourne for a theatrical ballet production of Edward Scissorhands. Also in 2005, Thompson received a co-screenwriting credit for reuniting with Tim Burton for his film, Corpse Bride. In 2008, she was credited for her screenplay adaptation of Jeanne Duprau’s book, City of Ember.
In the late 2000s, Thompson launched Small and Creepy Films, a production company dedicated to releasing artfully strange short films online. She also wrote an unproduced and celebrated adaptation of the popular Young Adult book series, Wicked Lovely, in the early 2010s. Thompson wasn’t credited for writing another feature-length film until she collaborated with director Robert Zemeckis on the screenplay for his underrated 2018 production, Welcome to Marwen .
Whatever is next on the horizon for Thompson, we can only hope it will be worthy of her endlessly fascinating and highly unconventional talents.
1. Daniel Waters
Daniel Waters began his screenwriting career in the late 80s while working at a video store and eating popcorn for dinner every night. During this time, he worked on the screenplay for the 1989 dark comedy classic, Heathers . Waters would go on to become a highly in-demand screenwriter whose wildly unique talents produced some of the most off-kilter and tonally daring mainstream films of the 90s.
Waters’ 90s screenplay credits showcase a distinctly innovative and cleverly satiric writing style. 1990’s The Adventures of Ford Fairlane and 1991’s Hudson Hawk both contain charmingly lowbrow and unconventional senses of humor. Neither film was met with much respect, as Waters was given the uncoveted Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay two years in a row for co-writing both films. 1992’s Batman Returns and 1993’s Demolition Man both contain a wholly original mix of action, extreme and silly absurdism, and surprisingly profound social commentary. Two celebrated scripts by Waters, The Model Daughter and a Batman Returns spinoff titled Catwoman , were also written during this time but never found their way into production.
Waters’ work has only been produced on rare occasions since the 90s. He directed his own screenplays for two comedies that daringly tested the boundaries of their genre, 2001’s underrated Happy Campers and 2007’s excellent Sex and Death 101. He has been credited for writing one other feature since then, the disappointingly received 2014 adaptation of Richelle Mead’s popular Young Adult book series, Vampire Academy . That film happened to be directed by Waters’ younger brother, Mark.
2018 saw the release of a short-lived series based on Heathers, though Waters had nothing to do with its production aside from creating the source material. Also in 2018, Waters tried to create an ongoing series with the production of his satiric fashion industry pilot, #Fashionvictim, which was also directed by his brother, Mark. The pilot was never picked up and is, to date, the last work that Waters has had produced.
Waters recently announced on social media that he is currently putting the finishing touches on his first novel—a format which will, no doubt, serve the robustly verbose writer well. Regardless of the medium that he chooses, Waters’ highly individualistic, beautifully astute, and bitingly effective wit is needed as much today as it has ever been.
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5 Authors From The '90's You Should Re-Read
Nostalgia is money these days, and with good reason. We all love to look back at the good ole days and wonder why anything had to change at all. As a '90s kid , I remember trading Pokemon on my super cool see-through purple Game Boy. I was allowed to run wild around my neighborhood on my bike so long as I was back by the time the streetlights went on. During elementary school I wore leopard print leggings and over-sized shirts almost every day (something I could absolutely never pull off now), and the greatest day of my entire life was the day of the Scholastic book fair .
Do you remember those awesome fliers that advertised what books would be available? I treasured them, reading them over and over until I could get the books that I wanted. While there were a few outliers, more often than not I always knew that I would get something good if I stuck to a few specific authors. These authors reigned supreme throughout my school days, a pantheon of guaranteed hits that my '90s brain loved to love. They are the only reason why I know that the past was objectively better, they just don't make books like these anymore, or what books now exist don't fit into that space left by these extraordinary authors.
So what to do? That's easy, just re-read them! I've compiled a list of five authors from the '90s that are well worth re-reading. Whether you loved supernatural teens, scary stories, or good old fashioned fun, these authors can stand the test of time...and I'll tell you why.
1. Ann M. Martin
Would it surprise you to hear that Ann M. Martin actually wrote other books besides those of the famous Baby-sitter's Club series ? It actually surprised me, but this is mostly because I was pretty convinced that "Ann M. Martin" was a pseudonym for a super group of ghostwriters due to the high volume of Babysitter's Club books. No, she's real, is from Princeton, New Jersey, and is still writing books today!
So, why should you re-read Ann M. Martin? Three words: The Baby-sitter's Club. That was pretty obvious, wasn't it? But hear me out: There is something so pure and beautiful about the premise of the Baby-sitters Club: a group of teenage (and occasionally guys) who were all best friends but also ran a highly organized and successful business. The middle grade category is tough to put my finger on now that I'm no longer in the torturous agony of middle school, but I remember being a young tween, still loving horses and anime at the age of 12. All I know is that whenever I want to recapture the feeling of feeling like I was growing up when I was barely doing any growing at all, I reached for a Baby-sitter's Club novel.
If you don't want to re-read the entire series (although now as adults you could probably knock it out in about a week), why not just stick to the Baby-sitter's Club Super Specials? Or the Mysteries? Or the Super Mysteries?! These awesome big tomes featuring multiple points of view were like sweeps week but for books. If you want something a little edgy, just reach for the California Diaries series, or perhaps check out one of the books that she wrote to stand alone? Either way the possibilities are endless, and you'll feel like you're coming home.
The Baby-sitter's Club #1 , $4, Amazon
2. Francine Pascal
Advocating for the work of Francine Pascal might be cheating a little bit, given the fact that the first Sweet Valley High books were published in the mid-to-late '80s, but because the bulk of the series was published in the '90s I'll give her a pass. Francine is also cheating a little bit, given the fact that she was simply the creator of the multiple Sweet Valley High series, but if it wasn't for her, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield would have never existed, and I never would have developed my overwhelming and abiding love for soap opera plots.
Why should you re-read Francine Pascal? This one is pure nostalgia for melodrama. While The Baby-sitters Club was full of purity, the Sweet Valley High series was nothing but backstabbing and drama, and I'll admit even to myself that in spite of how exhausting it can be in real life, there is a reason why human beings can't seem to shake it. Drama is entertaining. It's why reality television is so addictive, and how better to enjoy your drama by reading completely fictional replays of it? For those who either can't seem to pick a series from the myriad choices that Sweet Valley offers, why not check out Fearless ? It's a 36-book series starring Gaia Moore, a girl born without the gene for fear while she lives in the city with her father's anti-terrorist CIA friend. If you've read it before, clearly you need to re-read it, if you've never heard about it until now, you're welcome.
Sweet Valley High Books 1-12 , $24, Amazon
3. R.L. Stine
I don't need to tell you to keep reading R.L. Stine because you never stopped, right? The Goosebumps series was an institution back when I was growing up, and I refuse to believe that it's any different now even if I've stopped reading the books myself. He was Wes Craven for kids, spinning spooky supernatural tales that weren't too scary, not like we remember them as anything less than utterly bone-chilling. As I grew I moved on to the Fear Street Series, another series that, much like a bunch of series for children in the '90s, had a whole handful of spin-off series to choose from. Of course, R.L. is still kickin', including writing a relaunch of the Fear Street series much to the delight of myself (and hopefully others), while the Goosebumps series tickled all of our nostalgia by being released as a movie starring Jack Black.
So why should you re-read R.L. Stine? Mostly because it's pretty amazing to see what used to scare us when we were children, and with the new Fear Street relaunch, it'll be a heck of a lot of fun to compare his writing now to his writing then. I highly recommend Goosebumps # 27: Night in Terror Tower , because that ending still resonates with me today.
Party Games , $8, Amazon
4. Caroline B. Cooney
The Face on the Milk Carton was the first YA novel I ever read, I was enthralled with the ongoing adventures of Janie Johnson, beginning from that first moment she saw her own face on the back of a milk carton. Caroline B. Cooney was the queen of the Scholastic book fair, if I wasn't searching for a new Janie Johnson book, I could hope to find one of her books in the Point Horror series, or the Time Travelers series... children's and YA authors were pretty prolific back in the '90s.
Why should you re-read Caroline B. Cooney? This is mostly because I believe her work could absolutely still stand up today. There are certain things that went completely over my head when I was reading her books as a child ("Why was Janie's dad so mad that she had a sleepover with her boyfriend Reeve?" asked 12-year-old me), and it would be interesting to pick things up as they are now. It holds up, is what I'm saying.
The Face On The Milk Carton , $7, Amazon
5. Katherine Applegate
Although that totally classic Animorphs cover displays her name as "K.A. Applegate," Katherine Applegate finally bust through the bias of women's writers and publishes under her own name. Animorphs was the very first supernatural teenager series I've ever read. Back in my day, we didn't have Edward, Bella, and Alice, we had Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Marco, and Tobias. I mean, imagine being a 13-year-old and stumbling upon an alien that not only tells you that a powerful group of aliens has infiltrated earth but also gives you magical animal morphing powers. Do you know what I was doing at 13? I was playing a dog in a school production of Annie .
However, I'm not going to suggest you re-read the Animorphs series, even if I do remember looking forward to each Megamorphs book like it was Christmas, I'm suggesting that you either read or re-read the Everworld series. This 12 book series was definitely a little darker than edgier than the Animorphs were. Centering on a group of four teenagers who find themselves trapped in a strange world full of a mish-mosh of different mythologies, they need to find a way home before they are lost forever. This was the first book series I've ever read that has hearts being ripped out by book two. It may still be the only series that does.
The Invasion: Animorphs Book 1 , $5, Amazon
'80s & '90s cult movie writers: where are they now.
Their screenplays became beloved films, so whatever happened to the writers who penned the best cult movies of the '80s and '90s?
The Golden Age of teen and tween adventure movies was found in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of our readers were brought up on the films of these decades, or were old enough to enjoy them as adults. Yet the people who wrote the stories and dialogue never became as famous as the directors or child stars.
While childhood wish-fulfillment epics like Gremlins (1984) and The Goonies (1985) made writers like Chris Columbus Hollywood mainstays, and John Hughes reigned as king of the coming-of-age films, not everyone was so lucky - even if their films still enjoy sizable cult followings.
But we can't help but wonder: whatever happened to those writers that caught lightning in a bottle once, and never again? Never ones to leave stones un-turned, we've done the digging to answer the question: ' 80s & '90s Cult Movie Writers: Where Did They Go?
Written By: Jonathan R. Betuel
The story was brilliant: teenage arcade all-star Alex Rogan is recruited by aliens to save their civilization using his finely-honed skills. One of the first films to use extensive computer effects, Nick Castle's The Last Starfighter was a dream come true for anyone who ever pumped quarter after quarter into an arcade cabinet in the hope that someday, somehow, it would all matter.
Unfortunately, whatever credit scriptwriter Jonathan Betuel earned was spent on his next film, My Science Project (1985) - and fully exhausted when he went on to write, executive produce and direct Theodore Rex starring Whoopi Goldberg and a man in a T-Rex suit.
We can't say why Betuel felt that film deserved such an overwhelming dedication, but we applaud his effort. After that, his credits came to an end. The only bright spot: the name his follow-up film was released under in Sweden, in order to take momentum from both Ghostbusters and Back to the Future : TimeBusters .
Written By: Steven Brill
Not one, but two classic pre-teen movies under belt - one following a youth hockey team and the other a group of kids at 'fat camp.' Steven Brill was on a role. His work didn't end there, but was quickly directed towards different audiences.
Brill helped pen both sequels to The Mighty Ducks before his friendship with Adam Sandler had him developing the screenplay for Little Nicky before directing it, Mr. Deeds , Without a Paddle , Drillbit Taylor and the upcoming Movie 43 , among others. All that in addition to a few turns in front of the camera as well.
Brill most recently caught the Internet's ire when he was brought in to re-cut Kyle Newman's Fanboys , responding to fan complaints with profanity-laced threats via email. That hasn't slowed him down, as Brill's next credit will be writing and directing Walk of Shame .
Written By: Laurice Elehwany
Her name may not be as familiar as the young heroine she created (Vada Sultenfuss, for the uninitiated), but Laurice Elehwany is just as important. As the mind behind the coming-of-age tale centered around a young girl, Elehwany's story of summer love made Macaulay Culkin more than a booby-trap expert.
It's rare for any film ostensibly about and for young womem to gain attention among a far broader audience, but interest in this film hasn't subsided, as rumors of a third My Girl (once again starring Anna Chlumsky) have been circling for some time.
Elehwany delivered a solid story that still stands the test of time (and bees), but after My Girl , the majority of her writing came as one of several script doctors on projects like The Brady Bunch Movie and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas .
Written By: Robert Mark Kamen
Take a second to digest this one: the man who first emphasized the crane kick as a finishing move and not a balancing act in The Karate Kid series obviously took this martial arts stuff to heart. And in the process, built himself one heck of a career.
His work on both Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element brought Kamen together with writer/director Luc Besson, and the rest is history. The pair of Besson and Kamen have collectively given the world Kiss of the Dragon , The Transporter 1 , 2 and 3 , Colombiana , and finally, Taken .
That's right: the writer credited with Liam Neeson's "I have a particular set of skills" speech was the same one that twenty-four years earlier gave the world "wax on, wax off."
Out of our entire group, that alone makes Kamen one of the only writers still consistently writing movies practically guaranteed to develop cult followings.
Written By: Todd W. Langen
It's sad to think that the writer who helped create the first live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film - and took over solo writing duties on Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze - never got the opportunity to work on another outlandish comic book property, but Todd W. Langen was nowhere to be found for the trip to feudal Japan in the third Turtles adventure.
It really should come as no shock that Langen's obvious brilliance in forming the lyrics to Vanilla Ice's 'Ninja Rap' helped him script several episodes of the other gem of our childhood, The Wonder Years .
Most recently, Langen put himself to a test that would make any amateur filmmaker quiver in fear: 42StoryHouse . A collection of 42 sketch comedies written, performed, directed and edited by Langen himself, all set within the same location. We would think that bringing four mutated amphibious ninjas to life would be the most challenging task before any writer, but apparently, we'd be wrong.
Written By: Keith Walker
After writing a handful of TV show script scripts, Keith Walker hit the big time with his screenplay for Free Willy . A story pairing a troubled young boy with an orca whale may not sound like a story that many kids or families would be able to relate to; but then, neither does How To Train Your Dragon (2010).
While Keiko, the killer whale star of the film may have earned more name recognition than either his co-star Jason James Richter, or Walker himself, children of the 1980s will likely still know his face: he played Mikey and Brand's father in The Goonies (1985).
We don't know if that's the kind of celluloid immortality that most scriptwriters hope for, but it's a lot more than most will ever be granted.
Written By: Eric Luke
The quintessential childhood film for many young boys and girls, Eric Luke's story for Explorers convinced an entire generation of kids that their backyards could hold secrets - not just sprinklers or swimming pools.
Surprisingly, Luke has since put his writing talents to use far beyond penning standard coming-of-age tales or pitching scripts to studios. He Co-plotted the first five-episode "Awakening" story arc that launched the '90s Gargoyles animated series for Disney, as well as one of the most beloved '80s cartoon shows: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles .
Luke then left animation in favor of the comic book page, creating and authoring the entire first run of Ghost for Vertigo, before a twenty-issue run as writer of Wonder Woman for DC.
Those who wish to support Luke should check out Interference , an audiobook about an audiobook that attempts to kills its listeners, available for free on iTunes .
Written By: Melissa Mathison
What would nowadays be considered a career-making script created alongside Steven Spielberg, Mathison's career post- E.T. the Extraterrestrial isn't quite what one might imagine. E.T. earned her an Academy Award nomination for Original Screenplay, a category won that year by Gandhi (1983).
Indian in the Cupboard (1995) tapped into the same world of childhood fantasy and adventure as her work on E.T. and The Black Stallion (1979), while her work on Kundun (1997) led to a lasting friendship with the Dalai Lama.
Even so, the decade of quiet following her marriage to Harrison Ford and mothering two children is surprising. Sadly, the most recent memory of Mathison for many movie fans is the all-too-public divorce between the two.
Then again, considering the hardships and kidnappings Ford's family regularly encounters (onscreen), she probably had her hands full.
Written By: Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
The writing duo behind the most annoying ginger-haired child in cinema history, Alexander and Karaszewski first began working together leading scriptwriting seminars at USC film school - proving once and for all that the belief that 'those who can't do, teach' is downright false.
Defying expectations, the writing duo went on to craft screenplays for notable biopics like Ed Wood , The People vs. Larry Flynt and even Man on the Moon .
How that blend of real-life accounts and dramatization will carry over into the latest project seeking their writing skills , Ridley Scott's Monopoly adaptation, isn't clear just yet.
All things considered, it could prove to be their most successful project to date.
Written By: David M. Evans & Robert Gunter
The Sandlot is an interesting case where the talent behind the camera (and in front of it, come to think of it) is concerned. Co-writer Robert Gunter never earned a major writing credit again, while writer/director David Mickey Evans had already delivered a cult treasure in the form of classic red-wagon fantasy Radio Flyer - a story that set the record for any spec script sale to that point.
Aside from providing the script, direction and voice of The Sandlot and its sequel, Evans continues to produce screenplays, take speaking tours and work on other projects, having recently founded the small publishing house Flying Wagon Books ( check them out on Facebook ).
The publisher's first illustrated novel, "The King of Pacoima" is still in the works, sporting some stunning artwork sure to bring a burst of nostalgia for any fan of Radio Flyer , the film adaptation of the same story.
Written By: Dan Gordon
A horrific blend of waves, ninjutsu, and Rob Schneider, Surf Ninjas proved that ninjas don't make everything better, and that grade schoolers shouldn't be allowed to pitch movies to major studios. Dan Gordon provided the script, and the critics provided the scathing attacks.
Receiving criticism for downright pandering to children in the name of fads - not to mention skimping on actual surfing - the movie didn't act as a ringing endorsement for Gordon. But that didn't slow him down, putting Rob Schneider's ginger locks and Leslie Nielsen's admittedly entertaining dictator behind him and bringing his A-game.
Gordon went on to write alongside Lawrence Kasdan and executive produce Wyatt Earp , pen the screenplay for Murder in the First , and The Hurricane . He also wrote the script for Passenger 57, which proves that the mind advising us to "always bet on black" had better than Surf Ninjas in him.
Written By : David Chisholm
It was the movie that perfectly encapsulated the explosion of video games and made Nintendo Entertainment System a household name (and arguably the most influential console to date). Besides entertaining droves of young gamers, The Wizard promised that playing Super Mario Bros. 3 wasn't wasting time - it was investing it.
But like so many gamers inspired by the events of the 100-minute-long Nintendo commercial, scriptwriter David Chisholm ran into a few speed-bumps afterwards. If Nintendo had turned their film projects into a legitimate venture, Chisholm would've been a no-brainer. But history isn't written by ten-year-olds.
TV work followed, but Chisholm was never again able to create an axiom as timeless as "I love the Power Glove." Perhaps it was futile to attempt it.
Written By : S.S. Wilson & Brent Maddock.
Not only did the writing duo of Wilson and Maddock create the story of a sentient robot seeking love and freedom in Short Circuit , they apparently had enough audacity left in them to help bring meaning to the term *batteries not included (How many movie titles are pulled from the fine print? We rest our case).
The didn't just pen the robot adventure/comedy films we hold most dear - they were also the minds behind Tremors , Ghost Dad , Heart and Souls (don't mind the tears, it's just our allergies) and the Will Smith-led reboot of Wild Wild West . The pair still work regularly, and have made a career out of Tremors sequels alone.
So just to recap: 1) robot comedies, 2) Bill Cosby as an apparition, 3) underground man-eating giant slugs, 4) romantic ghost comedy, and 5) a Steampunk western for good measure. These two deserve a monument.
Written By : Blake Snyder
Better at turning spec scripts into serious money via studio bidding wars than churning out endless screenplays, Blake Snyder made his first half-million with the script that would ultimately pair Sly Stallone with Estelle Getty in possibly the only cop/granny comedy, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992).
But it was Blank Check that embodied every kid's wish come true. We don't know how $1,000,000 could buy everything witnessed in the film, but hey - we were kids. Also, inflation could have drastically increased the per-square-foot pricing of a mansion as big as Mr. Macintosh's.
Snyder translated his skills into teaching, expanding his scriptwriting manual 'Save The Cat!' into a worldwide program of workshops and computer software, teaching budding scriptwriters the craft until his death in 2009.
Our only bone to pick: our bikes being run over rarely ended in a million-dollar shopping spree. Usually, just tears.
Oh how the times have changed, as studios these days seem just as interested in discovering hidden gems as copying the formula of successful genre films. That being said, who knows where some of today's most sought-after scriptwriters could end up in ten years. If this list proves anything, it's that they could be anywhere, doing practically anything.
This collection of writers all found varying levels of success and recognition, but their work will stand the test of time and be a source of nostalgia for all who experienced these stories in their formative years.
Which classic movies from your childhood did you always wish to see more of, or what adventures did you wish other studios would ape? Perhaps more importantly, is the trend of studios rebooting childhood treasures a dream come true, or sacrilege?
Follow me on Twitter @ andrew_dyce .
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The 50 best selling books of the 1990s
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Every year, top writers compete to win the Booker Prize. This year's shortlist has just been announced. But while the judges debate their choices, what about the public's taste for fiction? Or, for that matter, non-fiction? Which books have average British readers bought and read over the years? Rachelle Thackray examines the evidence
n 10 best literary fiction
n 20 best popular fiction
n 10 best biography
n 10 best non-fiction
DIANA: HER TRUE STORY
Author: Andrew Morton
Publisher: Michael O'Mara
Diana was the goose that lay a golden egg for Andrew Morton, the bespectacled, earnest-looking author who managed to win her trust and subsequently told the world of her anguished marriage. First published in 1992, when to all intents and purposes the royal partnership was still intact, it was later revealed that Diana had co-operated fully with the project. The book was updated after her death with new material and photographs, in time to catch the tide of sentiment.
Sales: 1.5 million in two editions
Weeks on bestseller list: 58
If you liked this, you'll love: Fergie's My Story, published by Simon and Schuster
BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY
Author: Helen Fielding
For a middle-aged writerly whinge which started out as a humble newspaper column, this book has beaten all expectations; its author is now becoming resigned to being addressed as her alter ego, having already made a fortune by turning the insecurities of today's youngish, independent, have-it- all woman into hilarious idiosyncrasies. Even the Americans have a TV equivalent; the brattish Ally McBeal. Bridget herself would be happy if she could get her weight down to 8st 7lb, but her quest for self-improvement has been inversely proportionate to the unexpected success of the book.
Weeks on bestseller list: 61
If you liked this, you'll love: That old chestnut with an uncannily similar plot, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, published by Penguin
NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND
Author: Bill Bryson
Publisher: Black Swan
After spending 20 years in Britain, Bryson decided it was time to go home - back to the States. But before taking his leave, he took one last affectionate look around this "small island", and his observations will be giggled over for generations to come. Characters such as Mrs Smegma on the South Coast come to life under his eagle eye; fans of his other bestselling books voted this one his best effort, and it topped the chart for months.
Sales: 1 million-plus
Weeks on bestseller list: 107
If you liked this, you'll love: Letters From London by Julian Barnes, published by Picador
DELIA SMITH'S COMPLETE COOKERY COURSE
Author: Delia Smith
With her bestselling summer, winter and Christmas collections - as well as this original course, first published in the 1970s - Delia has established herself as the nation's number one cook. The beauty of this course, now illustrated, is to offer instructions which are clear, comprehensive and pretty near infallible. Even the most hamfisted of cooks will be able to come up with a plausible concoction from this cornucopia of ideas.
Weeks on bestseller list: 202
If you liked this, you'll love: Good Housekeeping Cookery Course, published by Ebury Press
Author: Nick Hornby
Publisher: Gollancz/ Indigo
Undoubtedly an all-time bestseller on the subject of football, this account starts from the perspective of an Arsenal-mad 10-year-old, who became hooked on the team after seeing them beat Stoke City in 1968. More than 20 years of dedication bordering on obsession are chronicled here; from pre-match entertainment to hooliganism, from the tragedies of the stadium to Arsenal's reputation as the most boring team in the league. While lads rushed out to buy this book or hastened to put it on their Christmas list, women - for the most part - remained unconvinced.
Weeks on bestseller list: 91
If you liked this, you'll love: All Played Out by Pete Davies, published by Arrow
ROSEMARY CONLEY'S HIP AND THIGH DIET
Author: Rosemary Conley
Cashing in on a nationwide wave of early Nineties post-Christmas angst about over-eating, Conley - known for her bubble-perm, boundless energy and born-again beliefs - crooned Britain's overweight ladies into shape with her video and diet books, of which this was the most popular. It contains more than 150 diet recipes, plenty of vegetarian options and a programme of easy-to- follow exercises. Conley herself, of course, exemplified the fact that it all came down to discipline.
Weeks on bestseller list: 168
If you liked this, you'll love: Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Chocolate, published by Lorenz
Author: Jung Chang
This book captured the hearts and imaginations of readers with its blend of politics and warmly told family history - three generations of Chinese women growing up under an oppressive regime, and their ways of coping. Like the film The Last Emperor, it tapped into the growing curiosity of the West about the East, particularly at the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising. Since then, it's been enduringly popular; a classic of its time.
Weeks on bestseller list: 143
If you liked this, you'll love: Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt or Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan, both published by HarperCollins
THE RHS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PLANT AND FLOWERS
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley
This is the standard textbook for any green-fingered home-owner: a feast of 1,000 illustrations plus 4,250 colour photographs, and narrative covering everything from plant origins and names, to a planter's guide and plant catalogue, and how to create a garden. It may be pricey but that hasn't stopped it from rivalling Delia Smith in sales figures; gardeners simply wouldn't be without it.
Weeks on bestseller list: 117
If you liked this, you'll love: Flora Britannica by Richard Mabey, published by Sinclair-Stevenson
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Author: Thomas Harris
Publisher: Random House
The actor Anthony Hopkins brought to life Hannibal Lecter, the evil canniballistic serial killer. In the celebrated film version of this novel he is brought in to advise Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) on the movements of a killer on the loose. Can his genius help trap the killer who knows that beauty is only skin deep? Utterly gripping, but extremely gory, this was snapped up by bloodthirsty and enthralled fans after the film proved to be a huge hit.
Sales: 1 million+
Weeks on bestseller list: 88
If you liked this, you'll love: anything by Stephen King
A paean to the thirtysomething man who feels life has passed him by, this tale of woe is about Rob, a miserable chap who runs an ailing record shop and decides to track down his former girlfriends - who mostly don't want to know him - on the road to self-discovery. His creator also penned the hugely successful football book about Arsenal, Fever Pitch (no 5) and this one shot straight into the bestseller lists with its potent mix of cynicism and humour.
Weeks on bestseller list: 75
If you liked this, you'll love: The female equivalent, Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (no 2) or Giles Smith's Lost in Music, both published by Picador
Author: Michael Crichton
With a multi-million-dollar Steven Spielberg film of the same name, starring Richard Attenborough, Sam Neill and Laura Dern, this Michael Crichton futuristic thriller couldn't really fail to end up on the bestseller list, with its combination of carnivorous raptors, a giant theme park, and every boy's fantasy of creating a brand-new dinosaur. Michael Crichton has written several other successful books, but Jurassic Park was a hard act to follow in sales terms.
Weeks on bestseller list: 20
If you liked this, you'll love: Meg by Stephen Alten, published by Hodder Headline
THE RECTOR'S WIFE
Author: Joanna Trollope
When her husband fails to win promotion in the church, Anna Bouverle - a vicar's wife for 20 years who has served God in a variety of ways - turns her back on her spouse's isolated bitterness and takes a job in the local supermarket, which brings her a new lease of life and a string of admirers. Trollope's books have dominated the bestseller lists for years, ever since she discovered the public's avid taste for deliciously-seething hypocrisy; another of her novels, The Choir, was televised.
Sales: 750,000 (including TV edition)
Weeks on bestseller list: 50
If you liked this, you'll love: The Ex-Wives, by Deborah Moggach, published by Arrow
BRAVO TWO ZERO
Author: Andy McNab
This first-hand account of operations during the Gulf War in Iraq in the early Nineties was a runaway success. McNab, with his dark humour and a talent for pace, describes an SAS mission in which he led an eight- man patrol deep behind enemy lines. For their efforts, they later became what is believed to be the most highly-decorated patrol since the Boer War.
Weeks on bestseller list: 157
If you liked this, you'll love: The One that Got Away by Chris Ryan, published by Arrow
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME
Author: Stephen Hawking
This is one of the stalwarts of the bestseller lists, at the vanguard of popular science literature, a field that has evolved rapidly in the Nineties. Written by the wheelchair-bound Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, it deals with the nature of time and the universe, looking at theories of the cosmos from Galileo and Newton to Einstein. It also explores some of the outlying reaches of our knowledge of astrophysics.
Weeks on bestseller list: 252
If you liked this, you'll love: Guns, Gems and Steel: a Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years by Jared Diamond, published by Vintage
Author: John Grisham
Patrick S Lanigan died in a car crash in 1992. But six weeks after his death, $90 million disappeared from his law firm; his partners knew, then, that he was still alive. A lawyer himself in real life, Grisham is one of the most popular authors in the world. His compulsively readable books have topped the bestseller charts, and their pacy formula has translated well into several high- grossing films, including The Firm, starring Tom Cruise.
Sales: (including film edition) 700,000-plus
Weeks on bestseller list: 44
If you liked this, you'll love: any other of his thrillers, or Free to Trade by Michael Ridpath, published by Michael Joseph
THE GLASS LAKE
Author: Maeve Binchy
Binchy has achieved remarkable success with her unique brand of aga saga: in this decade alone, her novels Copper Beech and Circle of Friends - turned into a film starring Minnie Driver - have made it into the bestseller lists. The Glass Lake is set in Loughshee, a typical Irish town complete with an amiable doctor, an eccentric nun who lives as a hermit in the woods, and a mad garage-owner who tries to catch angels. Martin the pharmacist, his unhappy wife, Helen, and their kids, Emmet and Kit, are the stars: it's a bit like TV's Ballykissangel in print.
Weeks on bestseller list: 30
If you liked this, you'll love: The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough, published by Century
CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN
Author: Louis de Bernieres
Publisher: Minerva/ Vintage
It's not an exaggeration to say that this book has become a classic of its kind. It's a gentle but entrancing and subtly written holiday read, set on the Greek island of Cephalonia. There, a young Italian captain is billeted in the doctor's house, and turns out to be rather an accomplished musician. He treats the locals to his talents, one of whom is particularly captivated. Unfortunately, the brutality of the conflict soon catches up with the islanders.
Weeks on bestseller list: 46
If you liked this, you'll love: AS Byatt's Booker Prize-winning Possession, published by Vintage
Author: Rosamunde Pilcher
Following up the success of her bestselling novel The Shell Seekers, Pilcher writes of a family gathering in Perthshire in this novel, which stayed in the charts for nearly a year. Here she explores the relationships between Virginia Aird and her husband, who are bitterly divided over their son and are forced to face the unanswered questions existing behind the facade of their apparently happy marriage.
Weeks on bestseller list: 49
If you liked this, you'll love: anything by Maeve Binchy - try Circle of Friends or Light a Penny Candle
A YEAR IN PROVENCE
Author: Peter Mayle
This personal description of Provencal life - everything from mad country bumpkin-plumbers to intelligent truffle pigs - was written when the author and his wife moved into an old farmhouse at the foot of the Luberon mountains between Avignon and Aix. Often hilarious but somewhat smug, it depicted the life that every middle-aged city drone dreamed of, and for that reason alone sold extremely well. The follow-up, Toujours Provence, was also a hit.
Sales: 600,000-plus in paperback
Weeks on bestseller list: 154
If you liked this, you'll love: anything by Lawrence Durrell, or Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson, published by Black Swan (see no 3)
Author: Thomas Keneally
Made into a hugely popular Oscar-winning film starring Liam Neeson, this book (originally entitled Schindler's Ark) is based on the true story of Nazi Party member Oskar Schindler, who took over a formerly Jewish- owned Polish factory, and attempted to save the lives of many of his workers during the Holocaust that followed. Persuading the Nazis to let him build a new factory, he drew up a list of 1000 Jews to work for him, thereby shielding them from some of the war's worst horrors. A gripping read, and one that gained sales from the film's success.
If you liked this, you'll love: If Not Now, When? or If This is Man, both written by Primo Levi and published by Abacus
AS THE CROW FLIES
Author: Jeffrey Archer
The author, a former politician and now in the running for London's mayor, was once quoted as saying that if you wanted to write a book, you should lock yourself into a room until you'd damn well finished it. His own novels, though panned by more snobbish members of the literary establishment, have consistently done well. This one traces the rise of poor but ambitious Charlie Trumper, a man who becomes embroiled in one family's battle to build London's greatest department store against the odds and several determined enemies. Sound familiar?
Weeks on bestseller list: 36
If you liked this, you'll love: Losing My Virginity, the recent autobiography by Richard Branson, published by Virgin
THE HORSE WHISPERER
Author: Nicholas Evans
The recent film based on this book stars Robert Redford and Kristin Scott Thomas; the more risque scenes were omitted. Tom Booker is a Montana ranchman called upon to help a brittle but successful magazine editor (Scott Thomas) whose daughter and horse are in trouble after being hit by a 40-ton truck in upstate New York. Tom soon has them all on the road to recovery, and the book's sales reflect its feel-good factor..
Weeks on bestseller list: 69
If you liked this, you'll love: Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller, published by Arrow (now a film starring another Hollywood stalwart, Clint Eastwood)
MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS
Author: John Gray
At last, the well-kept secrets of the opposite sex laid bare in a readable 256-page paperback. It was no surprise when this book, subtitled "A practical guide to improving communication and getting what you want in your relationships", shot to the top of the charts. Men have been keen readers (rather as teenage boys once surreptitiously fingered the pages of the girls' magazine Jackie), ensuring that four years after publication, the book is still going strong.
Weeks on bestseller list: 121
If you liked this, you'll love: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, published by Bloomsbury
Author: Jostein Gaarder
Publisher: Phoenix House
Potted history of the philosophies of the world, dressed up in a painting-by-numbers plot which features a little girl and a mysterious postman who sends her notes asking "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" This book starts with the earliest Greek philosophers and devotes a chapter to each influential theory or thinker thereafter; the ideas of Descartes, Kant, Spinoza, Hulme, Hobbes and the Romantics are addressed, but the "truth" is stranger than Sophie imagines.
Weeks on bestseller list: 83
If you liked this, you'll love: How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton, published by Picador
Author: Robert Harris
The gripping story of what life in the 20th century might have been like had the Nazis got their way. The loner March follows a trail which leads him to the black heart of wartime corruption, incorporating love, danger and Swiss bank vaults. With its true-to-life narrative, this won the W H Smith Thumping Good Read award in 1993, and since then has had a constant stream of readers.
Weeks on bestseller list: 33
If you liked this, you'll love: Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson, published by Arrow
THE QUEEN AND I
Author: Sue Townsend
A fantastically funny story, by the author of the bestselling Adrian Mole series of the 1980s, which begins with the premise that the end is nigh for the Royal Family when a radical government comes to power. Cue a move to a Leicester housing estate, and all the hilarious consequences that might entail, including problems with the corgis and a necessary trim for a few heirloom carpets. A warm-hearted and affectionate fantasy, this explores the failings of the Welfare State as well as the possible benefits to the Royals of such a lurch into obscurity.
Weeks on bestseller list: 37
If you liked this, you'll love: The Gunseller by comedian Hugh Laurie, published by Arrow
THE TINKER'S GIRL
Author: Catherine Cookson
Cookson, the grand old dame of literature, amassed possibly the largest- known following of fans with her rags-to-riches formula; she was indubitably the Agatha Christie of the aga-saga, and her novels, eagerly awaited, sold in shoploads. This one, set in the 1870s, tells of Jinnie Howlett, who is offered an escape from the workhouse with the job of a maid to the Shaleman family, living near Cumbria. Through it, she meets the dashing Richard Baxton-Powell, and is suddenly pushed from childhood into the adult world.
Weeks on bestseller list: 15
If you liked this, you'll love: A Little Badness by Josephine Cox, published by Headline
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Author: Michael Palin
It's now a decade since the former Monty Python star set out on his circumnavigation of the world, via Phileas Fogg's original route. (More recently, he completed another televised adventure, Full Circle). Written with punchy humour and illustrated with colourful pictures, Palin talks the reader through his experiences: in Hong Kong he was attacked by a parrot, in India he had a close shave - literally - and in Egypt he takes a trek on a camel called Michael. Readers lapped it all up.
Weeks on bestseller list: 77
If you liked this, you'll love: Joe Simpson's Touching the Void, published by Vintage, or Stephen Pile's Book of Heroic Failures, published by Penguin
Author: Jilly Cooper
Some of the characters from Jilly Cooper's previous novels ride again - excuse the pun - in this bonkbuster, which centres on the adventures of the ravishing Perdita and her conquests in the masculine world of the polo field. Cooper has been something of a publishing phenomenon: members of the literary establishment may have heaped scorn upon her credentials, but she has won a devoted following with her lively, feisty and frequently downright raunchy style.
Weeks on bestseller list: 40
If you liked this, you'll love: Anything by Anita Burgh
FOOD COMBINING FOR HEALTH
Author: Doris Grant
Despite the fact that this system of eating was devised more than 100 years ago by an American doctor, William Howard Hay, Doris Grant's guide - with a foreword by Sir John Mills - has proved consistently popular throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The idea is that if you avoid eating starchy foods with protein, you can vastly improve your digestion and general health. There's also advice on alleviating obesity, arthritic pain and ulcers.
Weeks on bestseller list: 68
If you liked this, you'll love: Complete Book of Food Combining, published by Penguin
FROM POTTER'S FIELD
Author: Patricia D Cornwell
Easily ensconced as one of the decade's bestselling crime novelists, Cornwell has built up a sizeable following for her character Kay Scarpetta. In this novel, the detective is summoned to New York to investigate the murder of a woman who is apparently the latest victim of serial killer William Gault. He's left a cunning trail for the police, but this cat-and-mouse narrative leaves readers on the edge as to whether he'll be apprehended.
Weeks on bestseller list: 34
If you liked this, you'll love: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs, published by Heinemann
THE RUSSIA HOUSE
Author: John Le Carre
A winning combination of love and intrigue from a long-established master of espionage fiction. This tale is about a derelict, saxophone- playing publisher who is recruited by British intelligence; he visits the Moscow Book Fair, where he stumbles on some hot Soviet defence secrets, and the rest is, as you'd expect, a thrilling chase. Le Carre, author of the televised Smiley's People and A Perfect Spy, saw Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer star in the filmed version of this bestseller.
Weeks on bestseller list: 41
If you liked this, you'll love: Mexico Set by Len Deighton, published by HarperCollins, or anything by Jack Higgins
AN EVIL CRADLING
Author: Brian Keenan
This account, written by a former hostage, struck a nerve in the early Nineties; Keenan's release was the first ray of hope for those held in the Middle East, and he describes their plight with first-hand knowledge. His language borders on the poetic as he describes the pain and claustrophobia of imprisonment, and the book stayed a constant presence in the bestseller charts, and won accolades for its quality of writing.
Weeks on bestseller list: 85
If you liked this, you'll love: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by J D Bauby, published by Fourth Estate, or The Railway Man by Eric Lomax, published by Vintage
Author: Alan Bennett
This collection of idiosyncratic and autobiographical fragments was collated over a quarter of a century from the author's diaries, broadcast material, candid reminiscences and reviews. There's also a tribute to the late Peter Cook. When it came out in 1994, it won the Book of the Year; Bennett was also named author of the year, and the public demonstrated their agreement by flocking to buy his work.
If you liked this, you'll love: Alan Clark's Diaries, published by Orion
Author: Frank McCourt
A warmlywritten memoir of a childhood which began in New York in the 1930s generated much interest. The author tells of extreme hardship, first in the tenements of Brooklyn and later, the slums of Limerick, in Ireland. Since publication, his litany of despair - too many children, too little money, a father whose drinking bouts drove the family to disaster - has been echoed by other writers; this remembrance of times past, however, outdid them all.
If you liked this, you'll love: Once In a House on Fire by Andrea Ashworth, published by Picador
PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA
Author: Roddy Doyle
Now on the reading list for schoolchildren, this Booker Prize-winning novel describes the world of a 10-year-old boy from Dublin who, as the title suggests, must endure a world full of childish cruelty. Written in colloquial and engaging language, it combines moments of love and warmth with odder themes such as sardines and slaps across the face. A novel of depth and feeling which has sold steadily since 1995.
Weeks on bestseller list: 67
If you liked this, you'll love: That old classic Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, published by Penguin
Author: Danielle Steel
Unusually for a novel ostensibly for women, this one has a man at its centre; Oliver Watson, whose wife, Sarah, leaves him after 18 years to pursue her own ambitions, and who is forced to cope with his three children's problems and a new, turbulent love life. With something of the Sleepless in Seattle/Three Men and a Baby touch about it, this best-seller has sold steadily since it first appeared in 1991.
Weeks on bestseller list: 13
If you liked this, you'll love: Mistral's Daughter by Judith Krantz, published by Bantam/Transworld
SOME OTHER RAINBOW
Authors: Jill Morrell and John McCarthy
Television journalist McCarthy was kidnapped in Beirut in 1986. He was kept hostage for five years, cut off from family and from the girl he was to marry, Jill Morrell. This gripping book tells of their dual struggle - his to endure deprivation, squalor and the agony of isolation; hers to accept that her partner was gone, but not to give up hope. And of the work put in on the hostages' behalf until the day in 1991 when McCarthy was released.
Weeks on bestseller list: 82
If you liked this, you'll love: To War With Whitaker: The Wartime Diaries of Countess Ranfurly 1939-1945, published by Mandarin
Author: Sebastian Faulks
This elegantly written story, first published more than four years ago, is set in France before and during the First World War. It concerns a young Englishman who lives through a set of extreme experiences. The climax of the book comes when he embarks on a traumatic love affair which tears apart the bourgeois French family with whom he is living.
If you liked this, you'll love: Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy, published by Penguin, or anything by Primo Levi
THE GOLDEN FOX
Author: Wilbur Smith
Like John Grisham, Smith has been one of the most consistent bestselling authors of the decade, although his success stems from his first novel, The Lion Feeds, published in 1966. This is set in humid Africa, where 20 years of dynastic conflict are about to explode with ferocity. Heroine Isabella Courtenay stands between her two brothers who are ready to engage in mutual destruction; can she stop them?
Weeks on bestseller list: 35
If you liked this, you'll love: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, published by Penguin
DEBT OF HONOUR
Author: Tom Clancy
Clancy's creation, Jack Ryan, played in Hollywood by Harrison Ford, has attracted a huge following; The Hunt for Red October was also a mammoth hit, both on screen and in book form. This fast-moving thriller, pacily written, had a guaranteed readership, with Ryan called in to help the President of the United States get through a tricky time.
Weeks on bestseller list: 21
If you liked this, you'll love: The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth, published by Arrow
A SUITABLE BOY
Author: Vikram Seth
A sensation when it first appeared - partly due to its gargantuan size - this novel tells of Lata and her mother, who attempt to find the "suitable boy" of the title through either love or maternal appraisal. The book is set in post-Independence India and involves four large families; readers tended to either love or loathe it, but it won the author the 1994 W H Smith Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize of the same year.
Weeks on bestseller list: 38
If you liked this, you'll love: Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, published by Cape, or Romesh Gunesehera's Reef, from Granta.
MISS SMILLA'S FEELING FOR SNOW
Author: Peter Hoeg
Publisher: Harvill/ HarperCollins
When a little boy falls off a roof in Copenhagen and is killed, it appears to be an accident. But his neighbour, Smilla, is not so sure: she has a feeling for snow - having been brought up by her Greenlander mother - and has seen the boy's footprints in the white stuff. Although the film, starring British actor Julia Ormond, was panned by many critics, the book has been an enduring success.
If you liked this, you'll love: Snow Falling On Cedars, by David Guterson, published by Bloomsbury, or Michael Dibdin's Rat King, from Faber
THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS
Author: Arundhati Roy
Twins Esthappen and Rahel live in Kerala, and exist among the vats of banana jam and heaps of peppercorns in their grandmother's factory. There, set against a politically turbulent background, they craft themselves a childhood amid a fragmented family. Published last year, this textured novel won its stylish author much acclaim and sold quickly when it first appeared.
Sales: 313,000-plus (as well as more than 100,000 hardback)
Weeks on bestseller list: 71 weeks (hardback and paperback)
If you liked this, you'll love: Other novels set on the subcontinent - E M Forster's A Passage to India (Penguin), or Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy (Phoenix House, no 42)
A SENSIBLE LIFE
Author: Mary Wesley
The author is famous for her late-blooming talent: she had her first novel published when she was in her seventies, and has gone on to be feted for her carefully observed tales of rural life. This book tells the story of Flora Trevelyan, a 10-year-old abandoned by self-obsessed parents, and left to her own devices in Dinard, France. She finds new friends among the rich, well-meaning English families holidaying there, and feels the first pangs of love for Cosmo, Hubert and Felix.
Weeks on bestseller list: 32
If you liked this, you'll love: Anything by Molly Keane (Good Behaviour, for example).
Author: Stephen Fry
Written with a verve and charm characteristic of its author, the book has as its hero a chronic liar, who meets Professor Trefusis - an academic, a broadcaster, a polyglot and admirer of Elvis Costello - and joins him on an adventure which takes him from Piccadilly rent-boys to international espionage and disgraceful scenes on a cricket field. Along the way, he discovers a lost Dickens novel. Furiously inventive, the book's enigmatic author pulled in many admirers with this tale.
Weeks on bestseller list: 29
If you liked this, you'll love: Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis, published by Hodder Headline
RHODES AROUND BRITAIN
Author: Gary Rhodes
With 40 colour photographs, this collection of traditional British dishes, first published in the 1980s, was a favourite with amateur chefs and made excellent Christmas present material. Updating recipes such as braised oxtail, Lancashire hotpot and boiled bacon with pearl barley and lentils, Gary Rhodes (he of the chequered trousers and runaway hair) proved with his sales figures that the love of old-fashioned home cooking still runs deep in British households.
Weeks on bestseller list: 28
If you liked this, you'll love: Real Good Food by Nigel Slater, published by Fourth Estate
THE GHOST ROAD
Author: Pat Barker
The Booker Prize winner of 1995, this novel concerns Sarah, a young woman working in a munitions factory and on Wilfred Owen, the lauded but tragic First World War poet. The action veers between real events and imaginary characters; Barker's former novels use the position of women as a sub-theme, but here she brings it to the fore and offers some sharp insights, which have won her a large following.
If you liked this, you'll love: J M Coetzee's Boyhood: A Memoir, published by Vintage
SEASONS OF MY LIFE
Author: Hannah Hauxwell
Andy Warhol coined the phrase "15 minutes of fame", and Hannah Hauxwell - an apparently sweet old lady and the literary precursor to a legion of "ordinary" stars from fly-on-the-wall TV docu-soaps - certainly made the most of hers. Her account of her life in the countryside endeared her to the nation, and was followed by other stories of her travels abroad.
Weeks on bestseller list: 106
If you liked this, you'll love: Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson, published by Penguin
RICK STEIN'S TASTE OF THE SEA
Author: Rick Stein
Fish-lovers snapped up this collection of 150 fish recipes, written by the flamboyant proprietor of the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall. It was a hit with those looking for a more innovative take on traditional seafood cuisine, with its lists of inventive ways to make the most of the specific flavours and characters of individual fish. The author's colourful television personality also, undoubtedly, helped sales.
If you liked this, you'll love: The Livebait Cookbook by Charles Campion, published by Hodder Headline
Listings are based on data from Bookwatch, which has compiled newspaper bestseller lists since the 1970s. Sales figures are estimated from the time the books were tracked, and are primarily for paperback editions. Some categories, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, are not included.
Special thanks to Lizzie Lapidge at Books Etc in Canary Wharf; Steve Butler and Tom Holman at Bookwatch; Diona Gregory of The Independent books desk; and Elaine Iles at Book Data, whose Internet site showing these and a further million titles can be accessed at www.thebookplace.com.
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