Vintage novel reviews slated for 2012

During 2012, I’ll be reviewing novels celebrating their ascent to the bestseller list 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90, 100 and 110 years ago.

I’ve found 69 of those 70 novels either in print or in digital format at Project Gutenberg, the first producer of free ebooks. Among them are some famous titles, such as The Good Earth that was the number one top selling novel two years in a row, and famous authors, such as Hemingway and Faulkner.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find some great reading by authors you’ve never heard of as well as some novels that are, in my view, better than those for which the novelist is justly famous.

I haven’t found Three Loves by A. J. Cronin from the 1932 list. The Great Depression was hard on books: people wore rags instead of turning them into paper. Thus many books published between 1930 and World War II have crumbled into dust; some ’30s novels are more rare than novels of the 1800’s.

1962 Bestseller List

  1. Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter [Jan. 4, 2012]
  2.  Dearly Beloved by Anne Morrow Lindberg [Jan. 8, 2012]
  3.  A Shade of Difference by Allen Drury [Jan. 11, 2012]
  4. Youngblood Hawk by Herman Wouk [Jan. 15, 2012]
  5.  Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger  (second year on bestseller list)
  6.  Fail Safe by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler [Jan. 22, 2012]
  7. Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II [Jan. 25, 2012]
  8. The Prize by Irving Wallace [Jan. 29, 2012]
  9. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone (second year on the bestseller list)
  10. The Reivers by William Faulkner [Feb. 5, 2012]

1952 Bestseller List

  1. The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain [Feb. 19,2012]
  2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (second year on the bestseller list)
  3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck [Feb. 26, 2012]
  4. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier [Feb. 29, 2012]
  5. Steamboat Gothic by Frances Parkinson Keyes [Mar. 4, 2012]
  6. Giant by Edna Ferber [Mar. 7, 2012]
  7. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway [Mar. 11, 2012]
  8. The Gown of Glory by Agnes Sligh Turnbull [Mar. 14, 2012]
  9. The Saracen Blade by Frank Yerby [Mar. 18, 2012]
  10. The Houses in Between by Howard Spring [Mar. 21, 2012]

1942 Bestseller List

  1.  The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel
  2. The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
  3. Dragon Seed by Pearl S. Buck
  4. And Now Tomorrow by Rachel Field
  5. Drivin’ Woman by Elizabeth Pickett
  6. Windswept by Mary Ellen Chase (second year on the bestseller list)
  7. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  8. The Sun Is My Undoing by Marguerite Steen (second year on the bestseller list)
  9. King’s Row by Henry Bellamann
  10. The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin (second year on the bestseller list)

1932 Bestseller List

  1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (second year in first place)
  2. The Fountain by Charles Morgan
  3. Sons by Pearl S. Buck
  4. Magnolia Street by Louis Golding
  5. The Sheltered Life by Ellen Glasgow
  6. Old Wine and New by Warwick Deeping
  7. Mary’s Neck by Booth Tarkington
  8. Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas
  9. Inheritance by Phyllis Bentley
  10. Three Loves by A. J. Cronin

1922 Bestseller List

  1. If Winter Comes A.S. M. Hutchinson
  2. The Sheik by Edith M. Hull (second year on the bestseller list)
  3. Gentle Julia by Booth Tarkington
  4. The Head of the House of Coombe by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  5. The Breaking Point by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  6.  Simon Called Peter by Robert Keable
  7. This Freedom by A.S. M. Hutchinson
  8. Maria Chapdelain by Louis Hemon
  9. To the Last Man by Zane Grey
  10. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (shared 10th place)
  11. Helen of the Old House by Harold Bell Wright (shared 10th place)

1912 Bestseller List

  1. The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter (second year on the bestseller list)
  2. The Street Called Straight by Basil King
  3. Their Yesterdays by Harold Bell Wright
  4. The Melting of Molly by Maria Thompson Daviess
  5. A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson
  6. The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright (second year on the bestseller list)
  7. The Just and the Unjust by Vaughan Kester
  8. The Net by Rex Beach
  9. Tante by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  10. Fran by J. Breckenridge Ellis

1902 Bestseller List

  1. The Virginian by Owen Wister
  2. Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch by Alice Hegan Rice
  3. Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall by Charles Major
  4. The Mississippi Bubble by Emerson Hough
  5. Audrey by Mary Johnson
  6. The Right of Way by Gilbert Packer
  7. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. The Two Vanrevels by Booth Tarkington
  9. The Blue Flower by Henry van Dyke
  10. Sir Richard Calmady by Lucas Malet

Dust off your library card, load up that book reader you got for Christmas, and prepare to spent winter evenings insides with a good book.

Project Gutenberg

© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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