Although the 1952 bestseller list featured some famous names from literature and pop culture, none of them has the blend of engaging plot, engaging characters, and timeless theme that that makes it stick in my memory.
My favorites of the year are Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny and Agnes Sligh Turnbull’s The Gown of Glory. Neither of them is Literature with a capital L, but both tales make you believe the characters could have lived and done exactly as their authors depict. By contrast, the big name novelists on the list John Steinbeck, Edna Ferber, and Ernest Hemingway offer novels that skimp on characterization.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from rereading the 1952 bestsellers, it may be that a well-told small story is superior to a adequately told big one.
©Linda Gorton Aragoni