It is no surprise that some books have cemented their reputation as iconic literary masterpieces. Throughout the 1980s, dozens of books were written and published globally. The crucial point is that only a few such books deserved their titles of being called the best novels of the 80s. This article details some of our favourites that we would place in this category. But of course there are many. In case you’ve not read any of the authors listed below, hopefully this may inspire you to pick up one of the books. You see, the 80s wasn’t just all about movie novelisations. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best books of the 80s.

In the science fiction genre of William Gibson, this novel transformed the usual understanding of human-AI relationships. Gibson really did revolutionize this area in thousands of readers’ eyes and sparked a whole new genre of cyberpunk stories. This story’s background and plot take on a futuristic setting, where a brain-washed Henry Case is hired for a job. As this plot progresses, readers know that this job will be the last one for Case since his computer hacking skills would be used against a dreadful AI. Readers soon discover Case’s efforts to combat a powerful AI resolve.

What stands out the most in Neuromancer is its cultural significance. Those who’ve watched The Matrix should be aware that the mere term and definition of the “matrix” was derived from Gibson’s novel. It is no surprise that other writers of the same genre endorsed Gibson’s writing style, alongside complementing setting and character development. In case you’re up for a futuristic read, Neuromancer is one of those books you should definitely consider.

The Joy Luck Club
For most readers interested in unique storytelling approaches, The Joy Luck Club is one of those stories worthy of re-reading and recommending. It is a magnificent novel written by Amy Tan that managed to revolutionize the genre by framing a narrative in a unique way. The story focuses on four Chinese American families of immigrants. As the readers dive into the novel’s plot, they find out that these families, residing in San Francisco, start their club.

As one can understand from the novel’s name, that club is named The Joy Luck Club, where families play a mahjong game while enjoying plenty of palatable meals. It should be mentioned that the uniqueness and relevance of this story relied upon its structure. The storytelling is composed similarly to mahjong rules, with mothers and daughters sharing their insights in the vignette-like speeches. Such a form and significance of expressed themes make The Joy Luck Club such a remarkable novel of the decade.

It is no surprise that Stephen King would appear on this list since his writing career has already lasted a few decades. One novel of his authorship from the start of the decade that, perhaps is not one of the more spoken about books, but is still very worth a read is Firestarter, quite a unique story compared to his other books. In Firestarter, King tells the story of Charlie, who is not your average kid. Charlie got her exceptional skills after a secretive government experiment, eventually giving her pyrokinesis forces.

As King masterfully plays with all the threads of the plot, Charlie realizes that she has to run from the people who ‘gifted’ her the powers. In her plight to stay alive, Charlie has to use her pyrokinesis skills with the mere intention of overcoming all upcoming difficulties. If you’re up for embarking on reading King’s literary legacy, Firestarter is one of those books you should definitely consider reading. It has his unique writing style, accompanied by a worthy story and distinctive vibes of that decade.

The Handmaid’s Tale
In case you’re up for dystopian books, Margaret Atwood’s piece is one of the greatest literary works of the 80s. As indicated by the New York Times, this novel has everything to become referred to while discussing gender relations and patriarchy themes. The novel’s setting is Gilead, an imagined New-England quasi-Christian state with stringent patriarchal elements. In this story, an entire US government is overthrown by the country.

The main character is a woman named Offred. Her so-called “role” within the Gilead society is to produce children to the so-called “commanders.” These commanders are the ruling class of men, whereas Offred is one of the “handmaids” with narrowly expressed responsibilities. As a whole, the Handmaid’s Tale is a story of individual forces striving to break the patriarchal chains. If you want to read something about the subjugated women in such societies, there is no better reading than Atwood’s novel. This has obviously been made into a successful TV show, but as ever the novel often is even more immersive.

The Cider House Rules
Another excellent example of how a single book can change an entire epoch is this book written by John Irving. This story revolves around a young man named Homer Walls, who grows up in an orphanage. In that place, Walls is growing under the patronage of Dr. Wilbur Larch, who is an abortionist and obstetrician. For casual readers, the story of The Cider House Rules is all about horrific medical crimes. In reality, this story tells a tragic narrative of both the pre- and post-World War II era. It detailedly expresses the horrors of living in an orphanage, coming of age difficulties, and ordinary workers’ struggles.

Another addition to the list of 80s books that deserves your attention is Beloved by Toni Morrison. This novel focuses on the post-American Civil War environment, eventually telling the story of a family of former slaves. These individuals, residing in Cincinnati, are haunted by a spirit living in their apartments. The truth is that in Beloved novel, much of the details are documentary, which is perfectly combined with fictional accounts on ghosts and hauntings. This interesting combination is one of the things that makes this book stand out. Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 with this book, eventually cementing her name in this era’s literary history.

Regardless of whether you’ve read lots of books from the 80s or not, the ones mentioned above are all examples of great writing. It is no surprise that Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, and others are all well recognized, especially after reading all those magnificent stories. Even though many books might be popular temporarily, these books can all be enjoyed just as much today. If you’re up for getting quite a unique experience with this time frame, give one of the books mentioned here a shot.