Looking back at the 1957 bestsellers from 60 years later, I rank Compulsion by Meyer Levin and On the Beach by Nevil Shute as the best reading of that year’s top ten.Both these novels are top-notch entertainment on topics that remain timely. Compulsion deals with why smart people commit crimes. On the Beach deals with the consequences of poor political choices.I’d give Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged the next slot on my favorites list. I don’t consider it good entertainment; far from it. The book is too long and Rand tells far more than she shows. But Rand’s political and philosophical views are still worth a read today because her ideas are still in the air.
Nothing else on the 1957 list is more than ho-hum reading.
Peyton Place deserves a mention though. The title has become almost synonymous with illicit sex through the novel is tame by today’s standards.
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