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The Best Selling Novels of the 1960s

Updated June 14, 2019 92.1k views96 items

A list of the best selling novels in the US during the 1960's as reported by Publishers Weekly. This list ranges from 1960 through 1969. All types of novels have been included and each of them has made it into the top ten. With the introduction of the Nook, Kindle, and iPad with iBooks, reading is hot again. The best selling novels on this list were the most popular books in the United States during the 60's, so you can be sure they're well written and enjoyable (depending, of course, on your preferred literary genre).

This list is intended to help long-time readers and newcomers alike with discovering (and rediscovering) some of the best selling novels of all time. What were the best selling novels of the 1960s? This list will provide you that answer.
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  • 1

    First Published1962

    SubjectsCold War

    Genres (Book)Political fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1962
    A Shade of Difference is a 1962 political novel written by Allen Drury. It is the first sequel to Advise and Consent, for which Drury was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1960, and is...  more
  • 2

    First Published1968-10

    Genres (Book)Thriller, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1968
    A Small Town in Germany is a 1968 espionage novel by British author John le Carré. It is set in Bonn, the "small town" of the title, against a background of concern that former Nazis were returning...  more
  • 3
    Year in the Top Ten: 1960
  • 4

    Airport

    Arthur Hailey

    First Published1968

    SubjectsLinguistics

    Genres (Book)Suspense, Mystery, Fiction

    Year in the Top Ten: 1968
    Airport is a bestselling 1968 novel by Arthur Hailey about a large metropolitan airport and the personalities of the people who use, rely and suffer from its operation. This book was adapted into a...  more
  • 5

    All in the family

    Edwin O'Connor
    Year in the Top Ten: 1966
    All in the Family is a book written by Edwin O'Connor....
  • 6

    Armageddon

    Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

    First Published2003-04

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1964
    Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages is the 11th novel in the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It was first published in April 2003. It was on The New York Times Best Seller...  more
  • 7

    Candy

    Kevin Brooks

    First Published2005

    Genres (Book)Fiction

    Year in the Top Ten: 1964
    Candy is a book written by Kevin Brooks....  more
  • 8

    Capable of Honor

    Allen Drury

    First Published1966

    SubjectsCold War, United States of America, Political fiction

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Political fiction

    Year in the Top Ten: 1966
    Capable of Honor is a 1966 political novel written by Allen Drury. It is the second sequel to Advise and Consent, for which Drury was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1960. Capable of Honor...  more
  • 9

    Caravans

    James A. Michener

    First Published1963

    SubjectsAfghanistan, Adventure

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Year in the Top Ten: 1963
    Caravans, a novel by James A. Michener, was published in 1963. The story is set in Afghanistan immediately following World War II. The protagonist, Mark Miller, is stationed in Kabul at the American...  more
  • 10

    Christy

    Catherine Marshall

    First Published1967

    SubjectsLiterary, Literature, Classics, Schools, United States of America

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Historical fiction, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Years in the Top Ten: 1967, 1968
    Christy is a historical fiction novel by Christian author Catherine Marshall set in the fictional Appalachian village of Cutter Gap, Tennessee, in 1912. The novel was inspired by the story of the...  more
  • 11

    City of Night

    John Rechy

    First Published1963

    SubjectsGay

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1963
    City of Night is a gay novel written by John Rechy. It was originally published in 1963 in New York by Grove Press. Earlier excerpts had appeared in Evergreen Review, Big Table, Nugget, and The...  more
  • 12

    Convention

    Richard Reeves
    Year in the Top Ten: 1964
  • 13

    Couples

    John Updike

    First Published1968

    SubjectsAdultery

    Year in the Top Ten: 1968
    Couples is a 1968 novel by American author John Updike....  more
  • 14

    daughter of silence

    Edgar Fawcett
    Year in the Top Ten: 1961
  • 15

    Dearly Beloved

    Anne Morrow Lindbergh
    Year in the Top Ten: 1962
  • 16

    First Published1965

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1965
    Don't Stop the Carnival is a 1965 novel by American writer Herman Wouk. It is a comedy about escaping middle-age crisis to the Caribbean, a heaven that quickly turns into a hell for the main...  more
  • 17
    Year in the Top Ten: 1963
  • 18

    Fail-Safe

    Harvey Wheeler, Eugene Burdick

    First Published1962

    SubjectsCold War, International relations, Nuclear warfare, United States of America, Soviet Union

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Thriller, Fiction, Novel, Science Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1962
    Fail-Safe is a best-selling novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. The story was initially serialized in three installments in the Saturday Evening Post on October 13, 20, and 27, 1962, during...  more
  • 19

    Franny and Zooey

    J. D. Salinger

    First Published1961

    SubjectsLiterature, Classics

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novella, Novel, Short story

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Years in the Top Ten: 1961, 1962
    Franny and Zooey is a book by American author J. D. Salinger which comprises his short story "Franny" and novella Zooey. The two works were published together as a book in 1961, having originally...  more
  • 20
    Year in the Top Ten: 1963
  • 21

    Hawaii

    James A. Michener

    First Published1959

    SubjectsHawaii, History

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction

    Year in the Top Ten: 1960
    Hawaii is a novel by James Michener. Written in episodic format like many of Michener's works, the book narrates the story of the original Hawaiians who sailed to the islands from Bora Bora, the...  more
  • 22

    Herzog

    Saul Bellow

    First Published1964

    SubjectsLiterature, Classics, United States of America

    Genres (Book)Fiction

    Years in the Top Ten: 1964, 1965
    Herzog is a 1964 novel by Saul Bellow, composed in large part of letters from the protagonist Moses E. Herzog. It won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and the The Prix International. TIME...  more
  • 23

    Hotel

    Arthur Hailey

    SubjectsLanguage

    Genres (Book)Fiction

    Year in the Top Ten: 1965
    Hotel is a 1965 novel by Arthur Hailey. It is the story of an independent New Orleans hotel, the St. Gregory, and its management's struggle to regain profitability and avoid being assimilated into...  more
  • 24

    Mila 18

    Leon Uris

    SubjectsLiterature, Classics, History

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

    Year in the Top Ten: 1961
    Mila 18 is a novel by Leon Uris set in German-occupied Warsaw, Poland before and during World War II. Mila 18 debuted at #7 on The New York Times Best Seller List and peaked at #2 in August 1961....  more
  • 25

    First Published1968-02

    Genres (Book)Satire, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1968