The best of the 1925 bestsellers are none too good for contemporary readers. Although some are well-written, they are all museum pieces: They take readers to times and mindsets light years away from contemporary culture.
Aside from The Little French Girl and Arrowsmith, there aren’t any novels on the 1925 list whose plot I could remember a month after I finished the book. (The Little French Girl spent two years on the bestseller list. I reviewed it along with the 1924 bestsellers and it was my top pick for 1924 as well as one of my picks for the best of 2014 anniversary-year novels.)
In all honesty, I’m not sure I’d have remembered Arrowsmith if I hadn’t seen the film version, which, unfortunately, does justice to Sinclair Lewis’s novel.
With that discouraging introduction, I’ll suggest these may be worth a look:
- The Perennial Bachelor by Anne Parrish is fascinating—but depressing—glimpse into the nineteenth century culture in which not only did men expect their female kinfolk to serve them, but the women expected it, too.
- The Green Hat by Michael Arden is interesting today primarily for its technique. Neither plot nor characters are strong enough to be remembered for long.
- The Constant Nymph by Margaret Kennedy has to be my third choice. It’s not a book I liked, but Kennedy’s writing is good.
My next blog post will preview the bestselling novels of 100 years ago where, I hope, we’ll find a wider selection of enduring novels.