Although Generation X has been called the MTV generation, they were defined by more than just television. from Judy Bloom to fudge edward packard series choose your own adventure books, Gen X found itself at the center of some classic reads. We’re taking a look at some of the many books that defined Gen X.
‘The Outsiders’ (1967) by SE Hinton
This coming-of-age novel is unique in that the author was just a teenager when she wrote the story. Hinton began working on the novel at age 15, and by the time she was 18, the book had been published.
The story follows the conflict between two rival gangs: the Greasers and the Sox. The book became so popular that it inspired a film, TV series, and video game. Plus, the folk duo is writing the score for a 2023 stage musical based on the Jamestown Revival novel.
‘Are you there Lord? It’s Me, Margaret’ by Judy Blume (1970)
A teen story that defined many people’s childhoods, this classic by Judy Bloom was on many Gen Xers’ reading lists. For a book from 50 years ago, it still has relevant topics for girls today, such as religion, your period, and dating. In fact, the book has recently been adapted into a film and is set to release in April 2023.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972) by Judy Bloom
is the first book in to fudge series, this novel follows the relationship between Peter, 9, and his 2-year-old brother Farley, known as “Fudge”. In the story, Peter becomes more and more annoyed at all of Fudge’s antics and how the kid is able to do so much because of his age. For all of us who have younger siblings, this is an all too familiar story.
‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ (1979) by Douglas Adams
This science fiction series is loved by many people around the world. The trilogy — misnamed because there are five books in the series — follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, the last survivor of Earth after the planet is destroyed. Dent is rescued, of course, by hitchhiking onto a passing spaceship.
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‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ by Edward Packard (1979)
Being able to choose my own adventure was the best thing I could do as a kid. You were the main character in these interactive books and you got a chance to create your own story. The books were inspired by the bedtime stories that Packard’s daughters would help tell them. These stories were fun not only for his children but also for millions of children around the world.
‘Sweet Valley High’ by Francine Pascal (1983)
Who can forget the adventures of identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica? The series, which debuted in 1983, detailed the experiences of the twins and their friends at Sweet Valley High, a fictional town outside Los Angeles.
‘Bright Lights, Big City’ by Jay McInerney (1984)
a book written in the second person, bright lights, big city Follows the escapades of a 24-year-old writer. A fact-checker for a magazine, he spends his evenings trying to escape his life by partying. However, he soon learns that his past trauma is what he is actually trying to avoid.
‘Less Than Zero’ by Bret Easton Ellis (1985)
Can you get more Gen X out of a novel named after an Elvis Costello song, about a college student, and written by a 21-year-old? The book follows the main character as he becomes disconnected from the culture around him, loses faith in his friends, and contemplates the events he has just witnessed. It doesn’t get any more Gen X than this.
‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen (1986)
A classic young adult must-read, Hatchet follows 13-year-old Bryan Robson after he survives a plane crash. As the sole survivor, the boy’s only tool is the axe, which he must use to survive the days to come.
Robeson learns how to survive on his own and take care of his own needs. For the latchkey generation, it was a lesson most Gen Xers learned on their own.
‘Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture’ (1991) by Douglas Coupland
Andy, Dag, and Claire are three names you’ll probably immediately recognize if you were a teen or young adult in the 1990s. The main characters are under-employed, uneducated, unpredictable, and highly suspicious of advertisers. This classic book is the quintessential book for Gen Xers, especially since it popularized the term Generation X.
high fidelity by Nick Hornby (1995)
A book that takes place in the mid-1990s, High Fidelity tells the story of Rob Fleming, a record store owner, after his girlfriend leaves him.
The novel reads something of a movie—which eventually became made in 2000—as Fleming’s friends discuss mixtapes and desert-island top-five lists. When his ex-girlfriend returns, Fleming commits to her and his previous disc jockey career.
microsurfs by Douglas Coupland (1995)
It’s hard to think of another Gen X book that perfectly captured the rise of technology better than Coupland’s microsurfs, Although it first appeared as a short story for the cover article wiredCoupland soon turned it into a novel, in the January 1994 issue.
In fact, the story showed us what the blog would look like in the future as the book contains diary entries from the narrator, Daniel.