This year marks the 90th anniversary of Central Library! To celebrate, our librarians created a list of a book, song, and movie for every year the library has offered service. To see the complete list, click here. To search for a book in our catalog, simply type in the item's Bib ID. Below, we offer you highlights from the list, with songs and eBooks for each decade.
Listen to our complete playlist of songs from the 1930s to the present day, available on Freegal. Log in to your free account first to hear the playlist.
We hope you enjoy these snapshots of each decade!
Wodehouse, P.G. Right-ho, Jeeves
In this, the second novel in P.G. Wodehouse's delightful Jeeves series, the family fumbles through a comedy of errors that is set in motion by a marriage proposal and a downward spiral of miscommunication and crossed wires. This hilarious novel contains many of the most beloved scenes and set pieces from the series. A must-read for Wodehouse fans and lovers of top-notch humor writing.
"Autumn In New York" / Vernon Duke
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God
One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years due largely to initial audiences' rejection of its strong black female protagonist, since its 1978 reissue Hurston's classic has become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African American literature.
"They Can’t Take That Away From Me" / George and Ira Gershwin
Wright, Richard. Native Son
Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
"I Could Write a Book" / Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Orwell, George. 1984
In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.
"Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend" / Jule Styne and Leo Robin
Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita
Awe and exhiliration along with heartbreak and mordant wit abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love: love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
"Unchained Melody" / Alex North and Hy Zaret
MacDonald, John D. Cape Fear (originally published as The Executioners)
Sam Bowden has it all: a successful law career, a devoted wife, and three children. But a terrifying figure from Bowden's past looms in the shadows, waiting to shatter his pristine existence. Fourteen years ago, Bowden's testimony put Max Cady behind bars. Ever since, the convicted rapist has been nursing a grudge into an unrelenting passion for revenge. Cady has been counting the days until he is set free, desperate to destroy the man he blames for all his troubles. Now that time has come.
"Do You Want to Dance?" / Bobby Freedman
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird
A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father, a crusading local lawyer, risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
"Never on Sunday" / Manos Hatzidakis
Herbert, Frank. Dune
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the "spice" melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for. When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul's family sets the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.
"On a Clear Day" / Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye
Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife.
"What’s Goin’ On?" / Marvin Gaye
King, Stephen. Salem’s Lot
Stephen King's second novel, the classic vampire bestseller Salem's Lot, tells the story of evil in small town America. For the first time in a major trade edition, this terrifying novel is accompanied by previously unpublished material from King's archive, two short stories, and eerie photographs that bring King's fictional darkness and evil to vivid life.
"Say Goodbye to Hollywood" / Billy Joel