Reading Group Center

Literary Hits from the 90s We Love to Reread

Trends may come and go, but great books are forever. As we approach the twenty-fifth anniversary of Sapphire’s groundbreaking novel Push, we’re looking back at other literary hits from the 90s that we still can’t get enough of. From Pulitzer prize–winning literary novels to uplifting mysteries, there are plenty of captivating reads from the decade that are more relevant today than ever. Enjoy these great books that captured our hearts at the turn of the 21st century!

Push edited by Sapphire

“Affecting and impassioned . . . sails on the strength of pure, stirring feeling.”—The New York Times Book Review

This new twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the instant classic is definitely worth revisiting. This trailblazing book inspired the major motion picture and Sundance Film Festival winner Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire, whose power and ferocity influenced a generation of writers.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Buy the Book

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

“Beautifully written, suspenseful from start to finish.”—Vogue

Donna Tartt, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her most recent novel, The Goldfinch, first established herself as a major talent with The Secret History, which has become a contemporary classic.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Buy the Book

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gainesn

“This majestic, moving novel is an instant classic, a book that will be read, discussed and taught beyond the rest of our lives.”—Chicago Tribune

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, A Lesson Before Dying is a deep and compassionate novel set in the 1940s about a man who bonds with a black inmate incarcerated on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Get the Teacher’s Guide | Buy the Book

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

“A formally beautiful, disturbing and finally morally devastating novel.”—Los Angeles Times

Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Buy the Book

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

“Funny, thoughtful, moving. . . . Atwood’s plotting is masterful, and her humor is razor-edged, sexy, and raucous.” —The Washington Post

You may be familiar with number-one New York Times bestselling author Margaret Atwood from The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, but The Robber Bride is her 90s literary smash hit that you won’t want to miss. In a novel about three women who plot to confront their larger-than-life nemesis, Atwood proves herself a gleefully acute observer of the treacherous shoals of friendship, trust, desire, and power.

Get the Reader’s Guidet | Buy the Book

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

“Superbly crafted and astonishingly powerful. . . . Will thrill readers who cherish their worn copies of To Kill A Mockingbird.” —People

This contemporary classic that has sold more than two million copies and was a selection of Oprah’s Book Club. Midwives is a compulsively readable novel that explores questions of human responsibility that are as fundamental to our society now as they were when the book was first published more than twenty years ago.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Buy the Book

Paradise by Toni Morrison

“A fascinating story, wonderfully detailed. . . . The town is the stage for a profound and provocative debate.” —Los Angeles Times

In prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem, Toni Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever-present.

Read an Excerpt| Buy the Book

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

“Smart and sassy. . . . Precious’ progress is charted in passages that have the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once.” —Los Angeles Times

Fans around the world adore the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and its proprietor, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective. In this charming novel from the 90s, Mma Ramotswe—with help from her loyal associate, Grace Makutsi—navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, good humor, and the occasional cup of tea.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Get the Teacher’s Guide | Buy the Book

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

“One of Roth’s most powerful novels ever . . . moving, generous and ambitious . . . a fiercely affecting work of art.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, American Pastoral is Philip Roth’s masterpiece—an elegy for the American century’s promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Buy the Book

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

“A rare and spellbinding web of dreams.” —Time

With unsettling beauty and intelligence, this Golden Man Booker Prize–winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guidek| Buy the Book

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

“Rambunctious, high-spirited. . . . All the Pretty Horses is a true American original.” —Newsweek

The national bestseller and the first volume in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Get the Teacher’s Guide | Buy the Book

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

“Stunning prose and unforgettable characters . . . an enthralling tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying ways our lives can spin out of control.”—Entertainment Weekly

From the author of the widely acclaimed The Book of Ruth comes a harrowing, heartbreaking drama about a rural American family and a disastrous event that forever changes their lives.

Read an Excerpt | Get the Reader’s Guide | Buy the Book