Time at the Top

Prior to 1950, it wasn’t uncommon for an author to have a book on the bestseller list for several years at a time. Of the ten 1938 bestselling novels, there are three that also were on the 1937 list: The Citadel by A. J. Cronin, The Rains Came by Louis Bromfield, and Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts.

(I won’t be reposting my reviews of those novels. You can check the archives to see my recommendations.)

Even more startling, perhaps, are novels that topped the list two years running. Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen was #1 in 1933 and 1934; Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was #1 in 1936 and 1937.

Years ago, readers might see two novels by the same author on a year’s bestseller list as well. For example, in 1933, Lloyd C. Douglas had two bestsellers: Magnificent Obsession and Forgive Us Our Trespasses among the top ten.

How many of the novels have you read?

How many of those titles and authors do you even recognize?

Styles in reading come and go. Big names drop from popularity.

But good stories endure.

Next week I’ll review a story that’s been almost forgotten, except, perhaps, by dedicated Masterpiece Theatre fans: Howard Spring’s My Son, My Son.

Until then,

Happy reading.

Linda

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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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