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Have you Read the Most Popular Book from the Year You Were Born?

By January 29, 2017February 2nd, 2017Literature

Books are timeless, it doesn’t matter if they were written over a hundred years ago or just yesterday, if they are written well then the story is just as vibrant and beautiful as the day it was first penned. Books don’t rely on special effects or owning a compatible device all you need to be able to do to enjoy a book from any era is read and I don’t know about you but I think I am pretty good at reading. 

I’ve read classics written 300 years ago and books that will stay with me forever that still have wet ink and loved them all but have I read the most popular book from the year I was born? I had no idea but thanks to Good Housekeeping I can find out and (as long as you were born after 1930) now so can you.

The years 1976 -2016 are in this list, a link to the books from  1930 to 1975 can be found on the link at the bottom of this page.

1976 – Sleeping Murder

With the Queen of Crime dying in this year Miss Marple’s final case received a boost to its sales as people renewed their acquaintance with Agatha Christie.

Sleeping Murder US
Sleeping Murder UK

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1977 – The Thorn Birds

Three generations long this epic novel about a family from the outback by  Colleen McCullough was a smash hit upon its release.

The Thorn Birds US
The Thorn Birds UK

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1978 – Fools Die

Mario Puzi’s novel about the complex and corrupt world of gambling benefited from the success of the Godfather films.

Fools Die US
Fools Die UK

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1979 – Sophie’s Choice

It’s not until the final third of this dark depiction of post war Brooklyn that we discover just what choice Sophie has to make.

Sophie’s Choice US
Sophie’s Choice UK

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1980 – The Bourne Identity

Robert Ludlum introduced us to Jason Bourne and spawned a whole series of books and films about a man with amnesia who must try and find out why everyone is trying to kill him.

The Bourne Identity US
The Bourne Identity UK

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1981 – Cujo

King’s storytelling ability is showcased perfectly in this book about a woman and her son trapped in a broken down car by a rabid dog.

Cujo US
Cujo UK

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1982 – E.T

A bit of anomaly here as E.T is the novelisation of a film, it was obviously a success though despite its unusual origin.


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1983 – The Color Purple

Violent and hard to read at times Alice Walker’s novel is ultimately a tale of three women’s journey to salvation through friendship.

The Color Purple US
The Color Purple UK

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1984 – The Sicilian

Mario Puzo and Michael Corleone return to the top of the book of the year charts with the sequel to the first of the Godfather books.

The Sicilian US
The Sicilian UK

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1985 – Secrets

Danielle Steele makes her debut with this juicy novel about two celebrities hose love affair is played out on and off screen.

Secrets US
Secrets UK

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1986 – The Prince of Tides

A brother tries desperately to unravel the family secret that is tormenting his schizophrenic sister.

The Prince of Tides US
The Prince of Tides UK

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1987 – Patriot Games

The second Jack Ryan book from author Tom Clancy had everyone reading about the CIA agent’s exploits.

Patriot Games US
Patriot Games UK

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1988 – The Queen of the Damned

The third novel in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series was the best seller for 1988.

The Queen of the Damned US
The Queen of the Damned UK

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1989 – The Satanic Verses

It may have won critical acclaim but it also brought its author to the attention of the Ayatollah Khomeini who was so incensed by Rushdie’s examination of a controversial passage from the Quran that he immediately placed a Fatwa on Rushdie causing the author to go into hiding.

The Satanic Verses US
The Satanic Verses UK

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1990 – The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

Oscar Hijuelos became the first Hispanic author to win a Pulitzer prize for this wonderful book about musical brothers who emigrate from Cuba to live in NYC.

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love US
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love UK

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1991 – The Things They Carried

A blurred and hazy mix of short stories, memoirs and novel about Vietnam based on the experiences of author Tim O’Brien.

The Things They Carried US
The Things They Carried UK

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1992 – Waiting to Exhale

A beautiful book of friendship about four African American women waiting for a man who will take their breath away.

Waiting to Exhale US
Waiting to Exhale UK

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1993 – The Bridges of Madison County

Imagine meeting your soul mate, the love of your life, the person who completes you and having little to no time left to enjoy them.

The Bridges of Madison County US
The Bridges of Madison County UK

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1994 – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

The sordid scandals occurring behind the walls of Savannah’s gorgeous mansions are chronicled by John Berendt.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil US
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil UK

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1995 – High Fidelity

Nick Hornby burst onto the scenes with this debut novel about a record shop owner and his memories of his top five reationships.

High Fidelity US
High Fidelity UK

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1996 – The Deep End of the Ocean

The power of Oprah, in creating a national book club and selecting this as her first recommendation it was inevitable that tale of tragedy and a missing boy would do well.

The Deep End of the Ocean US
The Deep End of the Ocean UK

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1997 – Cold Mountain

The record breaking narrative of a Civil War soldier who abandons his post and begins a slow pilgrimage back home.

Cold Mountain US
Cold Mountain UK

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1998 – Paradise

Toni Morrison’s seventh publication is another book that benefited from being recommended by Oprah.

Paradise US
Paradise UK

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1999 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

After the slow burn of the first book JK Rowling’s second novel would begin a worldwide obsession with the boy wizard.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets US
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets UK

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2000 – The Rescue

The Rescue may only have been Nicholas Sparks’ fourth novel but the world already knew they were bound to cry when reading this novel.

The Rescue US
The Rescue UK

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2001 – The Corrections

A richly realistic and darkly hilarious masterpiece about a family breakdown in an age of easy fixes saw Franzen’s third novel at the top of the charts for 2001.

The Corrections US
The Corrections UK

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2002 – The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold’s novel written from the perspective a murdered fourteen year old girl haunted millions.

The Lovely Bones US
The Lovely Bones UK

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2003 – The Da Vinci Code

Secret symbols in plain sight and clues that lead to something that has been searched for for centuries held us all in thrall.

The Da Vinci Code US
The Da Vinci Code UK

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2004 – The Five People you Meet in Heaven

Upon his death a man meets five people in Heaven who explain the meaning of his life to him.

The Five People you Meet in Heaven US
The Five People you Meet in Heaven UK

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2005 – The Mermaid Chair

Sue Monk Kiddd’s magical Island where the inhabitant’s believe that an ancient chair owned by a saint possesses magical powers.

The Mermaid Chair US
The Mermaid Chair UK

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2006 – Marley and Me

John Grogan’s memoir of life with his exasperatingly gorgeous dog Marley had us crying with laughter and sorrow in equal measures..

Marley and Me US
Marley and Me UK

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2007 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The release of the final novel in the story of Harry Potter had people dressing up and queuing for hours so it’s no surprise this topped the charts for the year.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows US
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows UK

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2008 – Twilight

Vampires and werewolves and a teenage girl with no sense of danger had girls everywhere hoping that their boyfriend sparkled in the sunshine.

Twilight US
Twilight UK

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2009 – My Sister’s Keeper

Jodi Picoult tugs at the heartstrings with this story of a daughter’s battle with her parents to have the right to do with her body what she wishes, including donating parts of it to her older sister who has cancer.

My Sister’s Keeper US
My Sister’s Keeper UK

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2010 – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The first of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy, published posthumously and an instant hit.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo US
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo UK

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2011 – The Help

Hearing everything and saying nothing, after you have read this book you will never look at pie without suspicion again.

The Help US
The Help UK

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2012 – Fifty Shades of Grey

The success of EL James’ book came as a shock to many including the author herself who had initially just thought of this as fanfiction.

Fifty Shades of Grey US
Fifty Shades of Grey UK

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2013 – Gone Girl

Did he didn’t he? Is she isn’t she? This truly twisted story from Gillian Flynn entertained and incensed us all.

Gone Girl US
Gone Girl UK

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2014 – The Fault in Our Stars

John Green single handedly trebled tissue sales with this heartbreaking story of the love between two cancer stricken teens.

The Fault in Our Stars US
The Fault in Our Stars UK

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2015 – The Girl on the Train

Rachel is our narrator in this intriguing and irritating tale; unreliable and an alcoholic she will fascinate and frustrate you in equal measure.

The Girl on the Train US
The Girl on the Train UK

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2016 – Alexander Hamilton

An unexpected best seller, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow received a boost from the hugely popular musical.

Alexander Hamilton US
Alexander Hamilton UK

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And that’s the lot, some of the titles on this list really have surprised me and many are books I have never heard of before but you can be certain I will be adding a few (including the book from my birth year) to my TBR list.

Years 1930 – 1975

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