Book List

Books to Read For Every Decade

February 24, 2021
Francie Crawford

Whether you’re currently obsessed with decades because you’re watching WandaVision or just a fan of the different music, fashion, and slang the many decades bring, we know content from different time periods is always a fun adventure. If you’re sick of the present, read a book set in every decade of the past!

Books to Read For Every Decade

The 1700s:

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

This haunting tale by the renowned Laurie Halse Anderson is a look at life before modern advancements. If you’re looking for a colonial setting, you won’t get one better than Philadelphia, just a few years following the American Revolution.

 

The 1800s:

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

This beloved trilogy is set in the late 1800’s in London. The language, fashion, transportation, social concepts, and more are all so well matched with the time period. You’ll feel a bit more elegant with every page you turn!

 

The 1900s:

The Last Hours by Cassandra Clare

This wonderful follow-up series to The Infernal Devices is just a little farther along on the timeline, and just as proper. You’ll want to sip a cup of tea while you read this one, and make sure to keep that pinky up!

 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Infernal Devices and The Last Hours weren’t enough magic in the past for you? This series is sure to satisfy your need for centuries old drama. A modern time traveler gets trapped in the year 1902 and has to fight a guild of evil sorcerers to get back to our time—what more could you want?

 

The 1920s:

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

This fascinating new take on Romeo and Juliet will send you back to 1920s Shanghai. This tale is anything but modern, action-packed, and romantic, all in one book. You won’t want to put it down.

 

 The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann

This compelling novel explores the dark side of the 1920s, following four girls who were institutionalized as they attempt to break free of the expectations set for them by an unforgiving environment.

 

The 1930s:

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Journey to 1930s Romania with this quirky, adventurous treasure-hunting romp. If you want romance, you’ll find it here. If you want vampire hunting, you’ll find that here, too. This read is the intersection of a bunch of unique elements, but is sure to satisfy your craving for another decade.

 

The 1940s:

Jazz Owls by Margarita Engle

This powerful book in verse takes place during the Zoot Suit Riots of the 1940s. While a heavy topic, it will certainly transport you back to this era in American history with expert imagery and lyrical description.

 

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

Set within the walls of Auschwitz during the Holocaust, this emotionally raw tale is based on the true story of two girls whose friendship helped them stay sane and survive through the impossibly unimaginable experiences they endured.

 

The 1950s:

Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber

A beautiful coming of age tale, this book is set during the Red Scare. Told from the perspective of an Asian American citizen, it’s a unique perspective on the fear the Cold War created in America, and a masterful look at the other side of it.

 

The 1960s:

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Set in late-60s Kuala Lumpur, this debut was another haunting look at a dark time in history. A truly heart-pounding read, this story is all about survival and family in a time when nothing and no one was safe.

 

The 1970s:

The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee

This heartwarming and romantic novel will transport you back to the 70s. Revolving around the local hippie commune, this coming of age tale follows a few kids inside and outside the compound looking for themselves and chasing their dreams.

 

The 1980s:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This slow burn coming of age novel will make you feel all your feelings, all the while sending you back to the 80s. If you’re looking for something totally tubular that’ll melt your heart, this is the book for you.

 

The 1990s:

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

This incredibly poignant book takes place during the Rodney King Riots in L.A. It couldn’t get more 90s than this, but you’ll also get an extremely insightful look at racial prejudices in America in this timely tale.

 

Looking for more? Check out these historical fiction books!

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