The most recommended books about the 1970s

Who picked these books? Meet our 33 experts.

33 authors created a book list connected to 1970s, and here are their favorite 1970s books.
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What type of 1970s book?


Book cover of When You Reach Me

Jennie Yabroff Author Of If You Were Here

From my list on young readers set in old-school NYC.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in California, I was enchanted by the idea of New York City—largely due to the visions of it I found in the books on this list. I’ve now lived in NYC for 20 years and love matching real locations with their versions in my imagination. In my time in the city I’ve been a staff writer for Newsweek Magazine, an editor at Scholastic, and a freelancer for many publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post. I’m currently working on a second novel. 

Jennie's book list on young readers set in old-school NYC

Jennie Yabroff Why did Jennie love this book?

Miranda Sinclair is a latchkey kid who lives with her single mom on the Upper West Side of New York City in the late 1970s. I love the way Miranda navigates her dirty, dangerous, yet enchanting city – her street smarts, her fears, her relationships with the adults in the neighborhood who keep a watchful eye over her. And the book, while totally gritty and real, also has a lovely, melancholy element of magical realism that makes the story mysterious and poignant. 

By Rebecca Stead,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked When You Reach Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Miranda's life is starting to unravel. Her best friend, Sal, gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The key that Miranda's mum keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives:
'I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own.
I ask two favours. First, you must write me a letter.'

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realises that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she…

Book cover of Black Hole

François Vigneault and Jonas Madden-Connor

From my list on graphic novels begging to be on the screen.

Why are we passionate about this?

We’re a couple of award-winning graphic novel creators who happen to have been friends since middle school. We’ve been enmeshed in films and comic books for our entire lives, and always enjoyed discussing them with each other, sharing hidden gems, and staying up late to pore over what went right (or wrong) when a favorite comic was made into a movie or TV show. We’re in the middle of an ongoing wave of cinematic adaptations, with billion-dollar blockbusters and indie gems alike looking to graphic novels for inspiration. Read these five books now before they show up on a screen near you, and you’ll have the sweet pleasure of pronouncing “The graphic novel was better!”

François' book list on graphic novels begging to be on the screen

François Vigneault and Jonas Madden-Connor Why did François love this book?

Black Hole is a striking tale of a sexually transmitted plague running rampant amongst a community of teenagers in suburban Washington in the 1970s, all illustrated in creator Charles Burns’ almost inhumanly precise and dark art style. Mind-bending and terrifying, this graphic novel has come close to being adapted many times over the year, and its mix of eminently relatable interpersonal drama and existential dread make it a perfect fit for the screen, a horror story with heart and soul.

By Charles Burns,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Black Hole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The best graphic novel of the year” (Time) tells the story of a strange plague devastating the lives of teenagers in mid-1970s suburban Seattle, revealing the horrifying nature of high school alienation—the savagery, the cruelty, the relentless anxiety, and the ennui.

We learn from the outset that a strange plague has descended upon the area’s teenagers, transmitted by sexual contact. The disease is manifested in any number of ways—from the hideously grotesque to the subtle (and concealable)—but once you’ve got it, that’s it. There’s no turning back.

As we inhabit the heads of several key characters—some kids who have it,…

Book cover of Firefly Lane

Annie Cathryn Author Of The Friendship Breakup

From my list on humorous reads about adult female friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

When writing about friendships, it was important for me to highlight the highs and the lows of friendships. This approach takes the reader on a journey with the main character as she remembers the good times while she navigates through the tough times. By sprinkling in humor, a story that could sway to the serious side and stay there is suddenly entertaining and balanced, giving the main character’s plight depth and the reader an engrossing experience.  

Annie's book list on humorous reads about adult female friendships

Annie Cathryn Why did Annie love this book?

Firefly Lane is a beautiful story of a friendship that spans three decades.

Tully and Kate have been through so much together—a wild roller coaster ride of a friendship. It’s a touching look at the promises, secrets, and sacrifices that bond the two.

A powerful story of treasured friends that made me think of my best friend who I’ve been friends with for thirty years as well.

We’ve had our ups and downs too, but we have always found our way back to each other.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Firefly Lane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship. . . . now a #1 Netflix series!

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the "coolest girl in the world" moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a…

Book cover of Never a Dull Moment: 1971 the Year That Rock Exploded

Richard J. Alley Author Of Five Night Stand

From my list on culture of mid-20th century music and musicians.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in 1970. From my earliest memory there was music. But it’s never been just about the music, I have a natural curiosity for the people who make that music. The artist on the album cover, but also the side musicians, the producers, engineers, and promoters. I’m also fascinated by the roadmap from blues to rock to Laurel Canyon to disco to punk and on and on. Real music infuses and informs the fiction I write — by reading real-life accounts and listening to the songs, I’m put in the world from which it was all born.

Richard's book list on culture of mid-20th century music and musicians

Richard J. Alley Why did Richard love this book?

I love the idea of taking a very specific time period, in this case one year, and parsing out what happened within an art form. The evolution of pop music in 1971 was changing both the industry and the world. Throughout 12 months, we see the same characters weaving in and out — Carol King, Van Morrison, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Mick Jagger — and the way they came together and pushed apart is its own year-long miniseries. To get at how art and industry cohabitate, and how we got to the pop culture machine we know today, there is no better crash course than 1971.

By David Hepworth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Never a Dull Moment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The basis for the new hit documentary 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything, now streaming on Apple TV+.

A rollicking look at 1971, rock’s golden year, the year that saw the release of the indelible recordings of Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Who, Rod Stewart, Carole King, the Rolling Stones, and others and produced more classics than any other year in rock history

The Sixties ended a year late. On New Year’s Eve 1970 Paul McCartney instructed his lawyers to issue the writ at the High Court in London that effectively ended the Beatles. You might say this was…

Book cover of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

Phyllis R. Dixon Author Of Intermission

From my list on Books on musicians for those fascinated with musical history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love music and books about the music industry. Fiction or nonfiction–the drama of a musician’s rise and efforts to sustain a career never gets old to me. I can relate to their determination to make a living doing something they love. Also, as a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, I’m fascinated by the musical history here and often meet people that had ties to the music industry and are now “regular people.” My latest novel Intermission is about a singing group. I’ve read numerous books in this genre, from Motown bios to the five listed. What a great way to combine my two favorite things–music and books!

Phyllis' book list on Books on musicians for those fascinated with musical history

Phyllis R. Dixon Why did Phyllis love this book?

This book piqued my interest because it was on former President Obama’s reading list. On the surface, this is a story about an interracial rock duo’s rise to fame and their breakup. But it is really about how race impacts black women and the choices we have to make that others don’t.

The story is primarily set in the 1970s, and as a baby boomer, I enjoy reading about this time period. In 2016, they considered a reunion, but of course, secrets and unresolved issues got in the way.

By Dawnie Walton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Final Revival of Opal & Nev as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'A thrilling work' TA-NEHISI COATES

'Lovely and lyrical . . . warm and wonderful' KILEY REID

A queen of punk before her time. A duo on the brink of stardom. A night that will define their story for ever.

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, a Black punk artist before her time. Despite her unconventional looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her one night,…

Book cover of Strange Flowers

Anne Griffin Author Of Listening Still

From my list on Irish books by Irish authors I like to rave about.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love great writing and great storytelling too. As a child I liked nothing more than when my father made up bedtime stories for me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate how writers work exceptionally hard not just at getting the plot of a story right but in the words they chose. Being Irish, I love to support the wealth of enviably good writers that seem to spill out from these shores. In each of these books you will find love and loss and laughter. It never fails to make me smile when abroad to see one of these guys on the shelves of the bookshops I visit. 

Anne's book list on Irish books by Irish authors I like to rave about

Anne Griffin Why did Anne love this book?

I love Donal Ryan’s work and thankfully he is a prolific writer. Really, I could have chosen any of his books, but this one is his most recent and had me rereading sentence after sentence because his prose is so full of beauty. Paddy and Kit Gladney’s daughter disappears in 1973. They know nothing of where she has gone and if she is alive at all. Five years later she returns, with a son, changing the course of her family’s life forever. This a beautiful and devastating exploration of loss, alienation, and the redemptive power of love and affirms Ryan as one of the best storytellers Ireland has ever known. 

By Donal Ryan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strange Flowers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Awards

"Mr. Ryan writes conspicuously beautiful prose... The fleeting happiness and abiding melancholy of the asymmetry, heightened by the intimately rendered surroundings, brings out Mr. Ryan's most sensuous and emotive writing." -The Wall Street Journal

From the Booker nominated author of From a Low and Quiet Sea, Donal Ryan's new novel follows the Gladney family across three generations seeking the true meaning of what it is to find home and love.

In 1973, twenty-year-old Moll Gladney takes a morning bus from her rural home in Ireland…

Book cover of Crossroads

Seth J. Gillihan Author Of Mindful Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Simple Path to Healing, Hope, and Peace

From Seth's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Psychologist Dad of three Cook Music lover Gardener

Seth's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Seth's 8-year-old's favorite books.

Seth J. Gillihan Why did Seth love this book?

My aunt-in-law, a well-known poet, recommended this book to me largely because the main character was a pastor, and I grew up as the son of a preacher man.

Franzen expertly portrays the complexities of individual characters’ psyches, as well as the intricacies of family dynamics. Every character is three-dimensional with a backstory, relatable foibles, and the full suite of human strengths and weaknesses.

Whether you grew up as a preacher’s kid or with no religion at all, you’ll find a lot that pulls you into this story, start to finish. 

By Jonathan Franzen,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Crossroads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jonathan Franzen’s gift for wedding depth and vividness of character with breadth of social vision has never been more dazzlingly evident than in Crossroads.

It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless—unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social…

Book cover of No Rules: A Memoir

Rita Dragonette Author Of The Fourteenth of September

From my list on the Vietnam War era by women writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the role of women in war: men may be on the front lines, but women deal with its impact and often struggle to have equal standing. I was inspired by stories told by my mother who was a nurse in World War II and participated in surgery under gunfire and helped liberate a POW camp in Germany. Yet, no one wanted to hear from her because she was “just a nurse.” Fast forward to Vietnam where women were still being marginalized. I wrote The Fourteenth of September to even the playing field by telling a story that was largely based upon my own experience in college during l969-1970.

Rita's book list on the Vietnam War era by women writers

Rita Dragonette Why did Rita love this book?

When a girl is stuck between generations in the early days of feminism:

A classic coming-of-age memoir of the early ‘70s, where a 16-year-old who thinks she has it all figured out, hits the road. She is forced to learn fast as she encounters dropouts, draft dodgers, and communal living, all the while running up against the sexism that masqueraded as freedom and love as she discovers by trial and error, the liberated woman she wants to be.

By Sharon Dukett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Rules as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this coming-of-age memoir, Sharon takes you with her on a nail-biting adventure through the early 1970s after leaving her sheltered home life at sixteen years old to join the hippies. Yearning for freedom, she lands in an adult world for which she is unprepared, and must learn quickly in order to survive.

As Sharon navigates the US and Canada-whether by hitchhiking, bicycle, or the back of a motorcycle-she experiences love and heartbreak, discovers whom she can and cannot trust, and awakens to the growing women's liberation movement while living in a rural off-grid commune. In this colorful memoir, she…

Book cover of Let the Great World Spin

Barney Norris Author Of Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

From my list on collage novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first novel Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain was a collage novel; an interweaving of several voices in order to create a composite portrait of the city of Salisbury, which told several stories as a way of revealing more of the life of that place. Since then I’ve written three more novels, all of them interested in the effects of using different voices to tell different parts of the story. I think that polyphony makes for great books, and these are four examples of that—different ways of weaving multiple tales together.

Barney's book list on collage novels

Barney Norris Why did Barney love this book?

Let The Great World Spin orbits around Philip Petit’s high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in New York in 1974; an amazing feat that has, of course, only become more charged and potent with time. The novel creates a kaleidoscope of lives touched by that breathtaking act, as well as capturing, in heartstopping prose, the magnitude of the act itself.

By Colum McCann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let the Great World Spin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • Colum McCann’s beloved novel inspired by Philippe Petit’s daring high-wire stunt, which is also depicted in the film The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.


Book cover of Daisy Jones & The Six

David Starkey Author Of Poor Ghost

From my list on books about Rock and Roll that really rock.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started singing and playing guitar in garage bands in high school, about the same time that I began thinking of myself as a serious writer, so for me the two endeavors have always gone hand in hand. Over the decades, I’ve continued to write creatively—while teaching thousands of students along the way—and also to play in a number of bands that have specialized in everything from country-folk to raucous punk. Like many writer-musicians, I love reading good stories about the challenges and joys of people joining together, and falling apart, as they attempt to transcend ordinary life through the power of music.

David's book list on books about Rock and Roll that really rock

David Starkey Why did David love this book?

Taylor Jenkins Reid is not the first or only person to adapt the nonfiction oral history format into a work of fiction, but she does it with the most panache.

Loosely based on the mid-seventies romance between Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, Daisy Jones & the Six offers a nonstop procession of drama and conflict, but there’s a tender heart beating at its center and a heartbreaking reveal at the end.

By Taylor Jenkins Reid,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Daisy Jones & The Six as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



From the author of THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO and the bestselling MALIBU RISING

'I LOVE it . . . I can't remember the last time I read a book that was so fun' DOLLY ALDERTON

Everybody knows Daisy Jones and the Six.

From the moment Daisy walked barefoot on to the stage at the Whisky, she and the band were a sensation.

Their sound defined an era. Their albums were on every turntable. They…