Bestsellers of the 60s – The Era of Self-Awareness

“Fear is the Key” by Alistair MacLean (Header image)

“Fear is the Key” by Alistair MacLean – The Art of Pulling Teeth

Alistair MacLean has written so many bestsellers later on in his career, it is easy to forget he had some earlier novels too which are well worth a read despite being flying under the radar, a prime example being Fear is the Key. Turned into a movie approximately ten years after its publication, the novel tells the story of multiple parties chasing after a mysteriously-sunken treasure, but not without their own nefarious hidden agendas.
“The Andromeda Strain” by Michael Crichton (Header image)

“The Andromeda Strain” by Michael Crichton – Otherworldly Crisis Containment

Michael Crichton will forever be remembered as one of the main pillars helping to bridge a union between literature and cinema, many of his iconic works having been turned into equally-recognized movies. The Andromeda Strain is one of them, a science-fiction novel following four elite biophysicists racing to uncover the cause behind the near-total decimation of a sleepy desert town and to contain a contagion threatening the world at large.
“Rosemary's Baby” by Ira Levin (Header image)

“Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin – Nurturing Future Damnation

Ira Levin has populated the realms of literature with some of the most original classics it has seen from the fifties to the end of the seventies, and Rosemary's Baby is perhaps his best-known work, at least among horror aficionados. The story follows the titular Rosemary and her husband Guy Woodhouse as they move into an ominous apartment building where an elderly couple begins to take an unusual and uncomfortable interest in their lives.
“Airport” by Arthur Hailey (Header image)

“Airport” by Arthur Hailey – Man Against Nature

Arthur Hailey was perhaps one of the best at taking a small field and populating it with an interesting and diverse cast of characters, a talent quite well exemplified in his bestselling 1968 novel titled Airport. It follows, over the course of seven hours, the staff working at the Lincoln International Airport in the face torrid blizzard, as well as a lone airplane desperately trying to reach its destination.
“Hotel” by Arthur Hailey (Header image)

“Hotel” by Arthur Hailey – A Vacation Crisis

Arthur Hailey has been able to pierce and expose various industries over the course of his illustrious career like few others could have hoped. In Hotel (a novel adapted into a television show as well as a movie) he takes us through five fateful days at New Orleans' largest hotel as the lives of its guests, workers and managers intersect in unpredictable ways.
“Where Eagles Dare” by Alistair MacLean (Header image)

“Where Eagles Dare” by Alistair MacLean – Schemes Within Plans

Alistair MacLean is one of those authors whose works were begging to be adapted to the silver screen, something he helped realize with his screenwriting talents. Where Eagles Dare is likely his most acclaimed work, following the story of Major Smith and his tiny group of commandos, parachuted behind enemy lines to break a general out of a Nazi fortress in the mountains. However, the mission is just a cover, and a much more insidious game is being played by both sides.
“The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut (Header image)

“The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut – The Inescapable Plan

Kurt Vonnegut has many novels through which he established his lifelong fame as an essential author of the 20th century, and the first of those was titled The Sirens of Titan. Published all the way back in 1959, it tells the story of Malachi Constant, Earth's richest and most depraved man, as he embarks on a grand interplanetary voyage against his own will, learning much about the universe in the process, and forgetting even more about himself.
“Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem (Header image)

“Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem – The Unnoticed Contact

Lem has left an indelible mark on the world of both literature and cinema when he published Solaris back in 1961. It tells the story of a psychologist, Kris Kelvin, sent on a mission to a distant space station for the purpose of studying an ocean which, so far, has managed to defy all scientific explanation. However, when he arrives the situation on the station seems strangely dire, and soon an unexpected visitor appears from thin air.
“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller (Header image)

“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller – Where Rational Thought goes to Die

Joseph Heller forever gifted humanity a slightly deeper understanding of human nature and the utter folly pervasive in war when he published the eternally-current Catch-22. The novel, drawing in part on Heller's experiences as a bombardier, follows the story of Captain John Yossarian and his mates who experience the incongruous insanity of the Second World War as they fly their missions over Italy.
“A Small Town in Germany” by John le Carre (Header image)

“A Small Town in Germany” by John le Carre – Upsetting all the Right People

John le Carre understood like few others the ins and outs of espionage, having personally stewed in it for a number of years. In A Small Town in Germany, perhaps one of the lesser-known novels in comparison to his famous ones, tells the story of a hunt for an embassy worker, Leo Harting, who goes missing with a briefcase stuffed with confidential documents.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by G. G. Marquez (Header image)

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Time is Indeed a Circle

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, is a figure who needs little introduction among book lovers. His works have always been distinguished by their profound and meaningful nature, and One Hundred Years of Solitude represents those qualities like none other. Telling of the rise and fall of a mythical town called Macondo, the story follows the lives of multiple generations belonging to the Buendia family.
“The Source” by James A. Michener (Header image)

“The Source” by James A. Michener – The Holy Land Madhouse

James A. Michener had a rather peculiar specialty as an author, focusing on rather lengthy historical novels profoundly focusing on a specific geographical location. The Source, originally published back in 1965, takes us on a journey thousands of years long through the Holy Land, recounting the origins of Judaism, the rise of the early Hebrews, and all which happened since then until the modern conflict with Palestine.
“The Agony and the Ecstasy” by Irving Stone (Header image)

“The Agony and the Ecstasy” by Irving Stone – The Grasp for Heaven

Irving Stone had a knack like none other for writing poignant biographical novels which still remained true to their sources, with The Agony and the Ecstasy arguably being his most famous and defining work. Fictionalizing the life of Michelangelo Buonarroti, the all-time famous artist responsible for many immortal creations, the novel takes us on a grandiose and perilous journey through the Renaissance as the artist tries to find his way in life against all odds.
“The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carre (Header image)

“The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carre – A Warzone for Intellectuals

John Le Carre is a man whom I believe needs little introduction at this stage, having authored so many international bestsellers, some of which found their way on our television and movie screens. Already fifty years have passed since he published his first bestselling novel, the one to really launch his career, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
“In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote (Header image)

“In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote – Reconstruct the American Tragedy

Truman Capote may very well have revolutionized the world of journalism when he wrote the novelized yet non-fictional account of the Clutter family murder, but more than that, he created one of the most powerful and compelling true crime narrations that takes us into the emotional and psychological depths of the American tragedy. Praised by one side and criticized by the other, In Cold Blood remains a rather controversial book to this very day, one that is nevertheless deemed an important milestone in American literature.