The 1969 bestseller list includes several titles and novelists that will be instantly recognized by any reader of twentieth century fiction.
The novelist in 10th place for The House on the Strand, Dame Daphne du Maurier, published nine bestsellers between 1930 and 1969, beginning with Rebecca in 1938. That’s almost a bestseller every third year.
1969 marked the first bestselling novel for Michael Crichton, whose later output would make him the first person to have a book, film, and television series simultaneously on the charts.
Here’s the list of 1969’s bestselling novels, with dates my reviews are to be published.
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth [Aug. 8, 2017]
The Godfather by Mario Puzo [Aug. 12, 2017]
The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann [Aug. 15, 2017]
The Inheritors by Harold Robbins [Aug. 19, 2017]
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton [Aug. 22, 2017]
The Seven Minutes by Irving Wallace [Aug. 26, 2017]
Naked Came the Stranger by Penelope Ashe [Aug. 29, 2017]
The Promise by Chaim Potok [Sept. 2, 2017]
The Pretenders by Gwen Davis [Sept. 5, 2017]
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier [Sept. 9, 2017]
You’ll get a chance September 12 to tell fellow readers which of the 1969 bestsellers you think are still worth reading in the GreatPenformances reader poll.
On September 16, I’ll wrap up with my choices of the 1969 bestsellers that I think hold the most value for today’s readers.
And with that I’ll conclude my reviews of the bestselling novels of the first 70 years of the twentieth century.
For the next few weeks, I’m going to post reviews of novels I hadn’t located back when they should have appeared in my rotation. I’ll be reviewing the eight bestsellers of 1909 that I hadn’t posted earlier.
As usual, if I haven’t already reviewed the novel, I’ve linked to ProjectGutenberg, where you can read the book for free. If I have already read the book, I’ve linked to my review, which should also link to where you can get a free e-version to read.
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
Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter [Jan. 4, 2012]
Dearly Beloved by Anne Morrow Lindberg [Jan. 8, 2012]
A Shade of Difference by Allen Drury [Jan. 11, 2012]
The top novels of 1930 are getting scarce in libraries and used book stores. I was very fortunate to find all but Margaret Ayers Barnes’s novel Years of Grace.
I will review the nine top novels from 1930 I’ve read, starting next week with the #1 bestseller, Edna Ferber’s Cimarron.
Here’s the complete list of the top 10:
Cimarronby Edna Ferber
Exileby Warwick Deeping
The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder
Years of Graceby Margaret Ayers Barnes
Angel Pavement byJ. B. Priestley
The Doorby Mary Roberts Rinehart
Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
Chances by A. Hamilton Gibbs
Young Man of Manhattanby Katherine Brush
Twenty-Four Hours by Louis Bromfield
Perhaps some day I’ll run across the tenth top novel.
This week, I’ll begin looking at the best-selling novels of 1939. Top of the list is a famous novel that became an equally famous film: John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Further down the list is another classic book that became a classic film, The Yearling byMarjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
In the next few weeks, I’ll look at them and the other 8 top-selling novels from 1939 to see what is still good reading for folks in 2009.
Here’s the complete list of books I’ll be reviewing.
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:
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.
We’ve looked at bestsellers of 1958, 1948, and 1938. Now I’m going to turn my attention to bestsellers of 80 years ago.
The top of the 1928 list is a famous novel by a famous writer: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. I remember being required to read the book in high school. All I remembered about it was that it was about a bridge collapse. Next week you can find out if I learned any more by rereading the book.
Some other books on the list might best be described as “interesting.” There is some fine writing, some intriguing plots, some arresting characters — but not many of them all in the same novel.
I haven’t been able to locate a copy of Old Pybus by Warwick Deeping or All Kneeling by Anne Parish. I’ll have to do some more digging
Here’s the list of 1928’s top selling novels. See which ones you can find. Then come back to see how your opinion stacks up against mine.
1. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
2. Wintersmoon by Hugh Walpole
3. Swan Song by John Galsworthy
4. The Greene Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine
5. Bad Girl by Vina Delman
6. Claire Ambler by Booth Tarkington
7. Old Pybus by Warwick Deeping
8. All Kneeling by Anne Parrish
9. Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
10. The Strange Case of Miss Annie Sprague by Louis Bromfield