Familiar names on 1969 bestseller list

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.

  1. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth [Aug. 8, 2017]
  2. The Godfather by Mario Puzo [Aug. 12, 2017]
  3. The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann [Aug. 15, 2017]
  4. The Inheritors by Harold Robbins [Aug. 19, 2017]
  5. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton [Aug. 22, 2017]
  6. The Seven Minutes by Irving Wallace [Aug. 26, 2017]
  7. Naked Came the Stranger by Penelope Ashe [Aug. 29, 2017]
  8. The Promise by Chaim Potok [Sept. 2, 2017]
  9. The Pretenders by Gwen Davis [Sept. 5, 2017]
  10. 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.

© Linda Gorton Aragoni

Preview of 1909 novels to be reviewed here

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.Cover of *The Inner Shrine* and quotation from it.

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.

The Inner Shrine by Basil King [Sat. Nov. 7, 2015]
Katrine by Elinor Macartney Lane [Tue. Nov. 10, 2015]
The Silver Horde by Rex Beach [Sat. Nov. 14, 2015]
The Man in Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox Jr.

Goose Girl in traditional costume descends palace stairs.
Truxton King by George Barr McCutcheon [Tue. Nov. 17, 2015]
54-40 or Fight by Emerson Hough [Sat. Nov. 21, 2015]
The Goose Girl by Harold MacGrath [Tue. Nov. 24, 2015]
Peter: A Novel of Which He Is Not the Hero  by F. Hopkinson Smith [Sat. Nov. 28, 2015]
Septimus by William J. Locke [Tue. Dec. 1, 2015]

*The Silver Horde" by Rex Beach superimposed on photograph of spawning salmon
Salmon Spawning at Hood Canal

Poll: Your picks of the 1909 bestsellers [Sat Dec. 5, 2015]
My picks of the 1909 bestsellers [Tue. Dec. 8, 2015]


1952 Bestseller List

Next on the schedule for 2012 is a set of reviews of the bestselling novels of 1952.  I’ll bet that at least half of them are novels you’ve heard of, even if you haven’t read them.

Here, with dates you can expect to read the reviews, is the list:

  1. The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain [Feb. 19,2012]
  2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (second year on the bestseller list)
  3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck [Feb. 26, 2012]
  4. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier [Feb. 29, 2012]
  5. Steamboat Gothic by Frances Parkinson Keyes [Mar. 4, 2012]
  6. Giant by Edna Ferber [Mar. 7, 2012]
  7. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway [Mar. 11, 2012]
  8. The Gown of Glory by Agnes Sligh Turnbull [Mar. 14, 2012]
  9. The Saracen Blade by Frank Yerby [Mar. 18, 2012]
  10. The Houses in Between by Howard Spring [Mar. 21, 2012]
© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Vintage novel reviews slated for 2012

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

  1. Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter [Jan. 4, 2012]
  2.  Dearly Beloved by Anne Morrow Lindberg [Jan. 8, 2012]
  3.  A Shade of Difference by Allen Drury [Jan. 11, 2012]
  4. Youngblood Hawk by Herman Wouk [Jan. 15, 2012]
  5.  Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger  (second year on bestseller list)
  6.  Fail Safe by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler [Jan. 22, 2012]
  7. Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II [Jan. 25, 2012]
  8. The Prize by Irving Wallace [Jan. 29, 2012]
  9. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone (second year on the bestseller list)
  10. The Reivers by William Faulkner [Feb. 5, 2012]

1952 Bestseller List

  1. The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain [Feb. 19,2012]
  2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (second year on the bestseller list)
  3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck [Feb. 26, 2012]
  4. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier [Feb. 29, 2012]
  5. Steamboat Gothic by Frances Parkinson Keyes [Mar. 4, 2012]
  6. Giant by Edna Ferber [Mar. 7, 2012]
  7. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway [Mar. 11, 2012]
  8. The Gown of Glory by Agnes Sligh Turnbull [Mar. 14, 2012]
  9. The Saracen Blade by Frank Yerby [Mar. 18, 2012]
  10. The Houses in Between by Howard Spring [Mar. 21, 2012]

1942 Bestseller List

  1.  The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel
  2. The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
  3. Dragon Seed by Pearl S. Buck
  4. And Now Tomorrow by Rachel Field
  5. Drivin’ Woman by Elizabeth Pickett
  6. Windswept by Mary Ellen Chase (second year on the bestseller list)
  7. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  8. The Sun Is My Undoing by Marguerite Steen (second year on the bestseller list)
  9. King’s Row by Henry Bellamann
  10. The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin (second year on the bestseller list)

1932 Bestseller List

  1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (second year in first place)
  2. The Fountain by Charles Morgan
  3. Sons by Pearl S. Buck
  4. Magnolia Street by Louis Golding
  5. The Sheltered Life by Ellen Glasgow
  6. Old Wine and New by Warwick Deeping
  7. Mary’s Neck by Booth Tarkington
  8. Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas
  9. Inheritance by Phyllis Bentley
  10. Three Loves by A. J. Cronin

1922 Bestseller List

  1. If Winter Comes A.S. M. Hutchinson
  2. The Sheik by Edith M. Hull (second year on the bestseller list)
  3. Gentle Julia by Booth Tarkington
  4. The Head of the House of Coombe by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  5. The Breaking Point by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  6.  Simon Called Peter by Robert Keable
  7. This Freedom by A.S. M. Hutchinson
  8. Maria Chapdelain by Louis Hemon
  9. To the Last Man by Zane Grey
  10. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (shared 10th place)
  11. Helen of the Old House by Harold Bell Wright (shared 10th place)

1912 Bestseller List

  1. The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter (second year on the bestseller list)
  2. The Street Called Straight by Basil King
  3. Their Yesterdays by Harold Bell Wright
  4. The Melting of Molly by Maria Thompson Daviess
  5. A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson
  6. The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright (second year on the bestseller list)
  7. The Just and the Unjust by Vaughan Kester
  8. The Net by Rex Beach
  9. Tante by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  10. Fran by J. Breckenridge Ellis

1902 Bestseller List

  1. The Virginian by Owen Wister
  2. Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch by Alice Hegan Rice
  3. Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall by Charles Major
  4. The Mississippi Bubble by Emerson Hough
  5. Audrey by Mary Johnson
  6. The Right of Way by Gilbert Packer
  7. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. The Two Vanrevels by Booth Tarkington
  9. The Blue Flower by Henry van Dyke
  10. Sir Richard Calmady by Lucas Malet

Dust off your library card, load up that book reader you got for Christmas, and prepare to spent winter evenings insides with a good book.

Project Gutenberg

© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni

1930 bestselling novels list

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:

  1. Cimarron by Edna Ferber
  2. Exile by Warwick Deeping
  3. The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder
  4. Years of Grace by Margaret Ayers Barnes
  5. Angel Pavement by J. B. Priestley
  6. The Door by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  7. Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
  8. Chances by A. Hamilton Gibbs
  9. Young Man of Manhattan by Katherine Brush
  10. Twenty-Four Hours by Louis Bromfield

Perhaps some day I’ll run across the tenth top novel.

© 2010 Linda Gorton Aragoni

My top picks from 1950 bestselling novels

The 1950 bestseller list includes several novels that you will enjoy as you read them, but few that you will remember well enough to recall the story a  month later.

My top picks  from the year are:

The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson

The Wall by John Hersey

Joy Street by Frances Parkinson Keyes

Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow

The Disenchanted by Budd Schulberg

Not one of these is great literature, but they are good entertainment with a dollop of originality.

Linda Gorton Aragoni

Great reads among 1939 top novels

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 by Marjorie 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.

  1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  2. All This, and Heaven Too by Rachel Field
  3. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  4. Wickford Point by John P. Marquand
  5. Escape by Ethel Vance
  6. Disputed Passage by Lloyd C. Douglas
  7. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  8. The Tree of Liberty by Elizabeth Page
  9. The Nazarene by Sholem Asch
  10. Kitty Foyle by Christopher Morley

Get your library card ready!


Bestselling novels of 1949

This next week, I’ll begin looking back 60 years to the novels that topped the bestseller list in 1949.  Here’s the list:

  1. The Egyptian by Mika Waltari
  2. The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas, which was #1 in 1948. Use the drop down list at the right to locate my review from last year.
  3. Mary by Sholem Asch
  4. A Rage to Live by John O’Hara
  5. Point of No Return by John P. Marquand
  6. Dinner at Antoine’s by Frances Parkinson Keyes, which was #3 in 1948. Use the drop down list at the right to locate my review from last year.
  7. High Towers by Thomas B. Costain
  8. Cutlass Empire by Van Wyck Mason
  9. Pride’s Castle by Frank Yerby
  10. Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter

A couple of these are quite good. Some are awful. Most I don’t even remember without looking up the review I wrote.

I’ll tell you which novels fall into each of those categories in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Look back to 1959 bestsellers

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:

2. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (which was #1 in 1958)

3. Hawaii by James A. Michener

4. Advise and Consent by Allen Drury

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

6. The Ugly American by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick

7. Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell

8. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (which was #3 in 1958)

9. Mrs.’Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

10. Poor No More by Robert Ruark

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.

1928 Bestselling novels

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

See you next week!