Three Exemplary Fathers in Fiction

Good fathers are too dull for novels. At least that’s the impression the scarcity of exemplary fathers in bestselling fiction gives. I turned up just three interesting men in the bestselling pre-1970 fiction who have a demonstrable, positive impact on their own children. Atticus Finch Of the three, lawyer Atticus Finch in To Kill a […]

Successful Novels Reviewed in 2013 Define Success

In a 1985 introduction to a novel I’m to review here in 2014, John W. Aldridge had this to say about American novels: Until fairly recently in this country it was possible for novels to be both serious and popular without being in any way cheap, titillating, escapist, or, for that matter, depressing. They could […]

My Picks of 1953 Novels Celebrate Heroism of Unheroic Men

Whopping big books with important messages dominate the 1953 bestseller list. Not one of those hefty novels is one  I’d dig out to read a second time. The novels with the most entertainment per pound are among the thinnest of the 1953 novels: Beyond This Place by A. J. Cronin and Time and Time Again […]