Look back to 1959 bestsellers

I just discovered that I wrote but never posted my list of the books I’d be reviewing this year.

I look back at vintage bestsellers of 50 years ago. Then I skip backward in 10-year intervals to earlier bestselling novels. So this year, my books are the bestsellers of 1959, 1949, 1939, 1929, 1919 and 1909 — at least those I can find.

The first novel I reviewed this year is Exodus by Leon Uris. It was the top seller in 1959.   Other novels on the 1959 list are:

2. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (which was #1 in 1958)

3. Hawaii by James A. Michener

4. Advise and Consent by Allen Drury

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

6. The Ugly American by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick

7. Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell

8. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (which was #3 in 1958)

9. Mrs.’Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

10. Poor No More by Robert Ruark

Novel buyers in 1959 got plenty for their money, at least as far as word count went. Several of these novels are whoppers. Of course, the value of books isn’t their weight in pounds (unless you are using them as doorstops.) I’ll tell you which ones I think are worth rereading.

I’d better get busy. I have finally located a copy of Ruark’s Poor No More. Now I’ve got to read it.

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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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