Book to the Future: the 1990s

Pick up your South West Reading Passport 2016: Book to the Future from your local library, read through the decades and win prizes from now until March 2017. Find out more on our  Book to the Future blog post.

There are more suggestions in your passport , but we’ve gathered a selection of books to get you started, either set in, or published in, the 1990s. You can also download a list from here: 1990s

hornbyNick Hornby, High Fidelity Do you know your desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups? Rob does. He keeps a list, in fact. But Laura isn’t on it – even though she’s just become his latest ex. He’s got his life back, you see. He can just do what he wants when he wants: like listen to whatever music he likes, look up the girls that are on his list, and generally behave as if Laura never mattered. But Rob finds he can’t move on. He’s stuck in a really deep groove – and it’s called Laura. Soon, he’s asking himself some big questions: about love, about life – and about why we choose to share ours with the people we do.

J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel.

martinGeorge R R Martin, Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones tells the tragic tale of treachery, greed and war that threatens the unity of the Seven Kingdoms. It is a powerful and absorbing epic.

Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting ‘Trainspotting’ is engaging, hilarious, and profane, riddled with drugs, drunks and bad behaviour and rich with fascinating and flawed characters. The interwoven stories of a group of friends and junkies, it is a dazzling, dislocated trip through the highs and lows of their lives, from wild nights out to terrible nights in.

fieldingHelen Fielding, Bridget Jones Diary “123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)…” Bridget Jones’ Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget’s permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement – a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR. Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and – like millions of readers the world round – you’ll find yourself shouting, “Bridget Jones is me!”

Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Moving from tenderness and sardonic wit to clinical horror, this epic novel encompasses cruelty, humour, love and friendship, hope and despair

Joanne Harris, Chocolat Vianne Rocher moves to a French village and opens a chocolate boutique at the beginning of Lent! The local priest is outraged and the ensuing controversy escalates into a ‘church not chocolate’ battle.

chevalierTracy Chevalier, Girl with a Pearl Earring Griet, the young daughter of a tilemaker in 17th century Holland, obtains her first job as a servant in Vermeer’s household. She loves being drawn into his artistic life, but the cost to her own survival may be high.

Alexander McCall Smith, No 1 Ladies Detective Agency The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is one woman, Precious Ramotswe, working out of a breezeblock office in Botswana. A cross between Kinsey Millhone and Miss Marple, Precious makes an unlikely heroine as she embarks on a very African mystery.

doyleRoddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha Paddy Clarke is ten years old and breathless with discovery. From fun and adventure on the streets, boredom in the classroom to increasing isolation at home, this book is the story of a boy who sees everything but understands less and less.

Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong. This is the story of Stephen who arrives in Amiens in 1910. His life goes through a series of traumatic experiences, from the clandestine love affair that tears apart the family with whom he lives, to the unprecedented experience of the war itself.

goldenArthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha This seductive and evocative epic tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. It reveals the cruelty and ugliness of life behind the rice-paper screens, and summons up more than 20 years of Japan’s most dramatic history.

Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere Under the streets of London there’s a world most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, and pale girls in black velvet. Richard Mayhew is a young businessman who is about to find out more than he bargained for about this other London.

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient This is a tale of love and confusion set at the end of the Second World War, following a small group of shell-shocked characters thrown together in an Italian villa.