All month, as part of our Get Pop-Cultured celebration, we’re hosting special Throwback Thursday (#TBT) events. On July 9, the theme is #TBT 1960s. Come on in to your local Barnes & Noble to revisit one of the most momentous, memorable, and plain old fun decades in American history. Join us for special giveaways, offers, and events—in stores only!
With each Little Golden Book you buy, get a FREE Little Golden Books 18-month calendar (limited time only, while supplies last).
Pick up a FREE copy of Remind magazine, all about life in the 1960s (limited time only, while supplies last).
From July 9-12, pick up a Barnes & Noble exclusive: Slaughterhouse-Five, featuring the original cover art, for 50% off the list price (limited time only, while supplies last).
From July 9-12, we’re also offering A Wrinkle In Time at 50% off the list price (limited time only, while supplies last).
NOOK’s eBook Deal of the Decade!
For a limited time only, get the NOOK ebook edidtion of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut for just $1.99. Available in stores, on BN.com, NOOK devices, or the FREE NOOK Reading™ App.
We’re going to have more fun than a barrel full of monkeys playing Barrel of Monkeys together. This game, which debuted in 1966, involves trying to hook 12 monkeys together by their S-shaped arms. Sounds simple, but it takes some time—and a lot of laughter—to master. Adults and kids alike will enjoy this fun activity.
- Other events may include 1960s trivia, a literary matching game, a lip synching tournament, a Name That Tune contest, and exhibition dances (remember the Twist and the Monster Mash?). Call your local B&N for details.
- Explore the dynamic influence that books, toys, games, music, movies, TV, and fashion had on society by viewing our Throwback Thursday Display Wall.
- Break out your tie dye, hot pants, and bell bottoms and celebrate the fashion of the 1960s! While you’re in the store, be sure to enter our costume contest. For complete details and official rules, click here.
To get in the spirit of the event, check out these classic books, films, and toys from the era. Then head over to B&N to #TBT with us!
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Winner of the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this classic novel is beloved by readers, many of whom longed for its author to publish a second book. Their dreams came true this year, when Lee agreed to publish a second novel, Go Set a Watchman (out on July 14). To Kill a Mockingird is the story of Scout Finch, a young girl in a small Alabama town who, through her father, the justice-seeking lawyer Atticus Finch, is caught up in the drama surrounding a black man accused of raping a white woman. Set in the 1930s in the Deep South, the novel gives us several immortal characters, including Boo Radley and both Scout and Atticus, and remains one of the most accomplished and celebrated books of the modern era. It also inspired one of the most iconic performances in film: Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus, which won him the Oscar for Best Actor.
Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann
A surprisingly deft and subtle book considering its sensational subject matter—drug abuse, self-destruction, and abortion—both the novel and the film shocked the country in the late 1960s for their frank portrayal of the seamy underside of Hollywood and the entertainment industry (complete with casting couches and a generally abusive attitude toward young women), as well as profanity and slurs that were very unusual for the time. The story of three women who seek fame and fortune but find drugs and tragedy instead, the novel stands today as one of the clearest accounts of the curdling of the “love generation” and the darkening of the 1960s vibe of personal freedom and social revolution.
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut’s most famous novel for a reason, Slaughterhouse-Five begins with the epically genius line, “All this happened, more or less,” then sprints into what remains a startlingly modern novel, mixing reality with fantasy in ways that had never been done before—and has rarely been done successfully since. Vonnegut inserts himself and his own experiences in World War II into this story of a soldier who survives capture and the bombing of Dresden (as Vonnegut himself did, and with Vonnegut the character there in the scene with him), then becomes “unstuck in time,” moving freely along his own personal timeline to re-experience his past and visit his future. A classic novel of both the 1960s and literary history, this is one of those rare books that seems to become even fresher and more of the moment as time goes by.
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
The 1960s were an explosive decade for literature as well as pop music, fashion, and social progress—and few literary innovations were more disruptive than Capote’s invention of an all-new genre, the “nonfiction novel.” To tell the true and gripping story of two murderers who left a family of four dead in 1959, Capote (with assistance from his friend Harper Lee) spent six years researching the book, interviewing people (including the killers themselves), and immersing himself in the small Kansas town where the crime occurred. A monumental bestseller that remains one of our most important written works, it solidified Capote’s celebrity, ultimately making him as much a 1960s icon as a writer.
Abbey Road, by the Beatles
It’s easy to forget how revolutionary the Beatles were. Whether you love them or not, their impact on music over the last 50 years has been immeasurable, from their songwriting innovation to their revolutionary approach to studio work—an approach that reached its peak with Abbey Road, their penultimate release. From all-time classic songs such as “Here Comes the Sun” or “Come Together,” to the genre-bending medley that closes the album (and includes Ringo Starr’s influential—and only—drum solo), this is an album that serves as a fitting farewell to a decade that saw American culture transform in ways we’re still grappling with today.
Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, by Bob Dylan
Featuring one of the most iconic album covers ever created, this album was Dylan’s second, but his first to feature all-original songs, including what many consider to be the anthem of the 1960s, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” In the staid and placid music scene of the late 1950s and early ’60s, the idea of personal, political songs that were also inventively poetic was a bombshell, and this album made Dylan an instant superstar not just in the folk scene, but worldwide. It established Dylan as both a performer and a songwriter, like Lennon and McCartney in the Beatles. Wildly transcending his first, self-titled album, comprised primarily of covers, Freewheelin‘ informed the world that a timeless talent had arrived.
Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock
From a modern perspective, Psycho may seem almost quaint, avoiding as it does serious gore and the modern use of the “jump scare.” But the film was one of the most subversive ever made by a major studio and A-list director, and remains a classic to this day. Alfred Hitchcock brilliantly plays with audience expectation, from the “Macguffin” of the initial story of an affair and a theft to the shocking revelation of Mrs. Bates and her seemingly meek son’s insanity. There’s a reason someone remade the film shot-for-shot 40 years after its release: its use of the camera as stand-in for the viewer is unparalleled. The iconic shower scene remains powerful, influential, and mimicked for a reason. After admiring Janet Leigh’s beauty and form throughout the entire opening sequence of the film, the audience members become accessories to a horrific, profane crime during that scene. The 1960s would never be the same.
The Sound of Music, by Robert Wise
In a decade roiled by racial violence, warfare, assassination, and social upheaval, along came a sunny musical with a dark center, based on the true story of the Von Trapp Family and their escape from the Nazis after Germany annexed Austria just before World War II. Taking a few dramatic liberties with the story, the film was instantly iconic, featuring several Rodgers and Hammerstein songs that remain part of the popular culture to this day, performed by Julie Andrews and the rest of the cast with an energy and sincerity that conquer even the most cynical heart. One of the few Hollywood musicals of the time to remain vibrant and well-known in the modern day, it has a soundtrack most can sing along to even now.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
If you were born after 1969, chances are very good you’ll remember this classic children’s book, which follows a baby caterpillar from birth through its pupation into a beautiful butterfly, eating all the way (a diet that eventually includes sausages and cupcakes). Revolutionary for its collage style and three-dimensional book design (with “eaten” holes punched in several pages, and pages shaped differently to correspond to the food being consumed), it remains the gold standard for effortlessly educational children’s books, teaching fundamental counting and other early skills in an entertaining and compelling way that captures kids’ attention. So universally loved Google honored it in 2009 with a special homepage graphic, this is a book that defined millions of childhoods.
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
A classic young adult novel before the term existed, A Wrinkle in Time was quietly revolutionary when it appeared in 1963. Featuring a young female protagonist when the “Mad Men” era was still in full swing, the story is a complex fantasy involving time travel based on actual physics concepts; benevolent aliens; and a war against darkness and the Black Thing, subtly based on L’Engle’s Christian faith in a manner similar to C.S. Lewis and his The Chronicles of Narnia. Still in print fifty years later, this is a book entire generations of kids have grown up reading— despite its inexplicable appearance on lists of books people have tried to ban.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
One of the most well-known and well-loved stories of all time, and the inspiration for the classic 1971 film starring Gene Wilder (and a 2005 version starring Johnny Depp), this tale of a poor boy who wins a Golden Ticket and receives a tour of the mysterious titular chocolate factory is, surprisingly, based on Dahl’s own childhood memories of warring candy makers. What makes this 1964 novel such a mainstay of pop culture is the surprising amount of implied darkness, as all the ticket-winning children aside from Charlie succumb one by one to their flaws and weaknesses and are literally consumed by the factory (only to be rescued later, it should be noted). Iconic and influential, the book ultimately inspired a real-life brand of candy, which underscores its continuing influence on kids and adults alike.
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
In this timeless picture book, Sendak’s genius lies in his complete and uncanny understanding of the mind of a child. After donning a wolf costume and misbehaving so badly he’s sent to bed without supper, Max is transported to the land of the Wild Things, terrible beasts Max manages to impress and intimidate until he is named their King. After playing at being wild with the Wild Things, Max disappoints his subjects by choosing to return home, where he finds a hot supper waiting for him. Affecting and imaginative, the literal depiction of negative emotions serves as a guide for children to explore their dark side (anger, disobedience, wildness) in a playful and ultimately constructive manner—but the simply beautiful prose and gorgeous illustrations make this book affecting and beautiful even if no lessons are taken from it.
Barrel of Monkeys
The greatest children’s toys and games are deceptively simple, and nothing describes Barrel of Monkeys better than “deceptively simple.” A barrel filled with 12 to 24 plastic monkeys, the game involves dumping them onto a table, then picking up one monkey and hooking its arms with another, and another, until you have a chain. When you drop a money, your turn is over. That’s it—but it takes surprising skill to create lengthy chains, and that simple challenge has entranced children for 50 years, since the toy’s debut in 1965. One of the most iconic games of the decade, it still stars in pop culture references ranging from Toy Story to Iron Man 3.
Whenever someone wants to quickly evoke the 1960s, they invariably include a photo or depiction of Warhol, one of the most influential artists in American history. The man who painted the Campbell’s soup can and coined the phrase “Fifteen Minutes of Fame,” Warhol explored the relationship between art and commerce in ways that were so meta many people missed the point. A leader of the Pop Art movement, Warhol was also an influential and oft-quoted observer of and commentator on the modern world, leaving behind an indelible impression that made him part of the visual identity of an entire decade.