QB VII asks: What would you have done?

Leon Uris’s QB VII tackles antisemitism the way a terrier tackles a rat. Uris introduces readers to Dr. Adam Kelno as he leaves Jadweiga Concentration Camp. Soviet-dominated Warsaw has no place for a Polish Nationalist. Kelno lands in England where he spends two years in Brixton Prison while England decides whether to allow his extradition […]

My picks of the 1969 bestsellers

The three bestsellers of 1969 that retain the most value for 2017 readers each deal in very different ways with family relationships: The Godfather by Mario Puzo, Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth, and The Promise by Chaim Potok. The Godfather is first a father. I suspect  The Godfather is known as a Mafia thriller because […]

1968 bestselling novels not gone, but largely forgotten

The bestsellers of 1968 are notable for being forgettable. In some cases, the title elicits an “Oh, yeah, I think I read that,” but the stories behind the titles shriveled into the ether within weeks after I finished reading them. The few that rise above placebo level are Preserve and Protect by Allen Drury, The […]

My picks of 1967’s bestselling novels

From the 1967 bestsellers, I can recommend two very good novels and one good collection of quotations. The very good novels are The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron and The Chosen by Chaim Potok. The good collection of quotations is The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder. The Confessions of Nat Turner Confessions is […]

Character studies are top 1927 bestseller list novels

Readers will still find entertainment in the 1927 bestsellers, but not much besides entertainment. There’s not one of the novels whose plot I can recall beyond a sentence summary, even though I enjoyed all of them but one of them when I read them. Despite their less than memorable plots, three of the bestsellers are […]

The best of the 1917 bestsellers for 2017 readers

The 1917 bestseller list contains three novels that are definitely read-again novels for 2017:  The Red Planet by William J. Locke, His Family by Ernest Poole, and In the Wilderness by Robert Hichens. The only thing that common thread among my choices is that each is decidedly uncommon. A domestic novel: His Family I’ll start […]

My picks of the 1907 bestselling novels

I’m afraid 1907 wasn’t a great year for bestselling novels. They were lightweights, one and all. The Lady of the Decoration The best of the lot is Frances Little’s The Lady of the Decoration, a sunny epistolary novel purporting to be written by Southern widow working as a nursery school teacher at a mission school […]