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Topic: Women's fiction written/set in the 1950s

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Subject: Women's fiction written/set in the 1950s
Date Posted: 1/2/2008 12:20 AM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2005
Posts: 446
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I recently finished the Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice (amazing!!!) and love the language, the clothes, the storylines.

Any recommendations for older books written in 1950s and 1960s or contemporary novels set during this period? I'd love it if they were set in Europe or England but they don't have to be.

I also read Something Light a book set in the 1960s and written by Margery Smith (wrote The Rescuers) and loved it.

Date Posted: 1/2/2008 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2007
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Maeve Binchy wrote several set in that time period: Echoes, The Glass Lake, and Circle of Friends. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 1:18 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
Posts: 7,886
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I was going to say Maeve Binchey also.  Great books.

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 1:40 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,502
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Excellent Women by Barbara Pym was written during that time period and about that time period.  It's a simple story set in England.  I enjoyed it very much.

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 7:48 AM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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If you like mysteries, a very good book of Agatha Christie's is "At Bertram's Hotel."  It was written in that time frame and it addresses changing fashions and standards in England during that time frame, so there is a lot of atmosphere that might suit your interest.

Also on the mystery front, Margery Allingham wrote some mysteries in the 1940s and 1950s that have a lot of the cultural atmosphere of the time in them, and, while they are not about women, the Rex Stout mysteries featuring Nero Wolfe that were written in the 1950s really evoke New York City in that time period.  Just make sure to look at the publication date for Allingham or Stout because they began writing in the 1930s.



Last Edited on: 1/4/08 7:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/13/2008 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2007
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it tends to be on a romantic slant, but dorothy garlock writes some wonderful books set in  the 30s, 40s, and 50s. 

Date Posted: 1/13/2008 2:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Have you read Peyton Place? I think of it as the ultimate 50s novel.

Annie Dunne by Stebastian Barry - takes place in Ireland in the 1950s - Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Annie-Dunne-Sebastian-Barry/dp/0571216447/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200252721&sr=1-1

The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry http://www.amazon.com/Last-Picture-Show-Larry-McMurtry/dp/0752837214/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200252902&sr=1-1

Les

ETA: Here's a whole page of books written in or set in the 50s. Should be something there to interest you. :-) http://www.kanawha.lib.wv.us/britton/1950s.html



Last Edited on: 1/13/08 2:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/13/2008 5:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
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Barbara Pym! I read all of her stuff years ago and loved it even though I was only in my early teens. I happened upon a box of the entire Pym library at a book sale about a year ago and snagged it for five bucks. I highly recommend Barbara Pym. You might also check A. S. Byatt. She wrote a quartet (I think) of books about the same family in England in the 1950 and 60s. Good stuff.
Date Posted: 1/14/2008 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2007
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Coree, check out the post "if you like authors from the UK", some of the authors wrote books from the time period you are looking for. It's worth it do a google search for that time period and place also. Fantasticfiction.com has lots and lots of good authors.

Date Posted: 1/15/2008 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,197
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Speaking of Peyton Place...how about Mildred Savage's "Parrish?"  I read that book over and over as a teen.  Perhaps you know the movie, with Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens, Diane McBain, etc.

 

Date Posted: 1/15/2008 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
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Oh oh oh, My all-time favorite author fits what you want! Mary Stewart. A few titles to look for: My Brother Michael, Nine Coaches Waiting, Moonspinners. She also wrote a fantastic Arthur/Merlin series.

Sharon

 

Date Posted: 1/15/2008 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
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Someone mentioned Dorothy Garlock.  I have a ton of her books on my shelf.

Date Posted: 1/15/2008 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2007
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The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio was a very good book. It's on my keeper shelf.
Date Posted: 1/15/2008 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Oh my gosh, Bonnie, Parrish. I'd forgotten all about that one. Great memory.

Les

Date Posted: 1/30/2008 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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On the recommandation of several PBS readers, I picked up EXCELLENT WOMEN.  What a wonderful GEM!  Offers great insight into a woman's life in the 1950's in England.



Last Edited on: 1/30/08 3:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/30/2008 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,197
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Les, thanks, but I do find the memory slipping on a daily basis.  I've been trying since my last post to recall a book, Candace Bergin was in the movie, and I was determined to remember without looking it up.  So here I am more than a week later.  It was the mention of Mary Stewart, even though it may have been Mary McCarthy who wrote it, that instantly brought the title to mind.

The Group.  A bunch of college coeds who we follow through time.  A thick, meaty story, very advanced for its time, if you know what I mean.

And, The Prize Winner was a great book, and we really enjoyed the movie.  I recommend it.

ETA: Oh, how could I forget one of my favorite authors of the past!  William Goldman.  You would be surprised to see all the books he's written, and scripts for movies, and you never knew.  The man is a genius.  His books hook you and just don't let go for years.  Another I read as a teen that was set in that time frame is :Boys and Girls Together.  That book was big, and I read it over and over...until it fell apart.  Years later I found another copy and read it again and again until it fell apart...



Last Edited on: 1/30/08 1:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/30/2008 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Oh, gosh, Bonnie, The Group. Yes, quite hot for the time, I do recall. Mercy, yes. I haven't re-read it, just read it the one time when it was published, golly, 1960? I'll have to look it up. I wonder how well it's stood up to the test of time. As I recall, McCarthy's tongue was sharp as a razor, don't know you've been cut until you see the blood.

IIRC Goldman wrote the screenplay for All the President's Men, a movie that should be required viewing. Wonderful work. You're right, genius is the word.

Les

Date Posted: 1/30/2008 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,197
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He also wrote, believe it or not, The Princess Bride!  Another great, light movie was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Those, Les, from a man who wrote Marathon Man.  I read somewhere that that movie did for dentists what Psycho did for showers!

Truly, Les, if you enjoyed The Group, and even Parrish which was much lighter, you would love Boys and Girls Together.  I tried to order it here but it didn't come up... I will try amazon a bit later.

BTW, I just clicked on that link you posted above and it took me to the Kanawha County Library.  Les, are you in that area?

 

Date Posted: 1/30/2008 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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No, I'm in Des Moines, Iowa. The link was the result of a Google search.

LOL re doing for dentists what Psycho did for showers. After seeing Psycho, DW #2 wouldn't shower unless I was home. This went on for months. I was one of the people who swore I'd seen the knifing - until I saw the movie again several years ago, and you don't see it, Hitch just made you believe you saw it.

::off to see if library has Boys and Girls together:: Thanks!

Date Posted: 1/31/2008 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,197
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Yes, Les, I recall there used to be a big debate on whether we actually saw the knifing.  I can't recall what I thought, but just recently saw Psycho again and definitely didn't see it.  Hitchcock was a genius.

Now, were you able to get B&GT???

Date Posted: 1/31/2008 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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The Group is in my TBR.  I'm going to have to give it a try!

And I agree that All the President's Men should be required viewing.  (The book is excellent, too.)  There is a scene of Robert Redford talking on the phone that goes on for about five minutes in a single take (no cut aways).  I wonder if actors would be able to to such a long take today.  Wonderful!



Last Edited on: 1/31/08 7:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2008 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2008
Posts: 389
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I was sitting here wracking my brain..."The Prize Winner of What Ohio?"  I just couldn't come up with Defiance!  Glad someone did!  I loved it...the book and the movie.

Excellent Women sounds interesting...

 

Date Posted: 2/6/2008 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2007
Posts: 76
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One of my favorites is Anne Rivers Siddons who has several books set  in that era including Nora, Nora,   Heartbreak hotel, and Peachtree Road

Most of her books are set in the South and are easy reads and re-reads!



Last Edited on: 2/6/08 11:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2008 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 145
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Another really good one--it just came out last summer--is called Keeping the House by Ellen Baker.  It's set in the 1950's, and is a great family saga that goes all the way back to the early 1900's.  I just loved it.

 

 

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,197
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Judy, I just looked up Keeping the House and it sounds intriging!  I wishlisted it.  544 pages!  I love the big ones.

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