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19 Quintessential Books Of The '90s

Top reads that will suck you back into the best decade ever.

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2. Generation X by Douglas Coupland (1991)

This is the book that solidified the term "Generation X" — it's an extremely postmodern novel about disaffected, ironic twentysomethings living in Southern California.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)

Although Chbosky's iconic coming-of-age novel was published just before the end of the decade, it takes place in the early '90s. Mixtapes are extremely central to the plot.


6. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (1996)

A diary-style novel based loosely on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice , this funny read is an adventure inside the mind of a young, neurotic woman (basically, you) and a picture of the always-confusing dating landscape.

8. Naked by David Sedaris (1997)

Short stories from everyone's favorite comedic writer. The 17 essays take you through hilarious moments of Sedaris's youth as he contemplates the weirdness of life in North Carolina, and his dealings with homosexuality.


9. Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel (1994)

Elizabeth Wurtzel's autobiography may have been highly personal, but it spoke to a larger cultural phenomenon of the '90s — a budding generation of extremely dark and sad teenage girls who struggled to find ways to treat depression.

10. Model Behavior by Jay McInerney (1998)

Although we tend to think of McInerney as a novelist of the '80s, this 1998 novel moves McInerny's familiar world a few years ahead—into the scene-y downtown Manhattan culture of the '90s.

11. White Oleander by Janet Fitch (1999)

An introspective tale of a teenager who is transferred from foster home from foster home, and the extreme differences she experiences with a string of Los Angeles families.


13. Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block (1998)

This anthology compiles all of the Weetzie Bat books, a young adult series characterized by dreamy prose, whimsical characters, and a backdrop of a dark yet beautiful Los Angeles.

14. Sex by Madonna (1992)

While this work put out by Madonna is more of an object — a coffee table book — it caused a stir (as if that's ever a surprise with Madonna) with its bondage photography and musings on sex.

16. Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis (1998)

This book is really fucking weird, but manages to make a satirical tap into the darkness and superficiality of the glitterati, as seen through the eyes of a beautiful male model.