Chat about 1916 bestsellers draws Fine Books & Collections readers

Each of the last three years, I’ve had a conversation in January with Nate Pedersen about the novels that celebrated their one hundredth publishing birthdays in the just-ended year.  The conversations have been posted on Fine Books & Collections blog.

My January 2017 conversation with Nate about the 1916 bestselling novels was fifth of 2017’s 10 most popular posts at Fine Books & Collections blog.

I hope the newly posted conversation about 1917 bestselling novels will do as well.

© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Sweet Seventeen captures summer romance

Booth Tarkington’s Seventeen is a frivolous, funny, and forgettable tale about awkward 17-year-old’s first romance.

Willy Baxter looks at himself in mirror
A view of his trousers makes Willy break out in perspiration.

Gawky William Sylvanus Baxter, called Willie by his family and “Silly Billy” by his friends, is smitten with the charms of blue-eyed Miss Pratt, who is visiting the Parchers for the summer.


Seventeen by Booth Tarkington

Arthur William Brown, Illus. Grosset & Dunlap, 1915. 1916 bestseller #1. My grade: C.


Willie  and his pals compete for Miss Pratt’s attentions, congregating on the  porch off Mr. Parcher’s study.

Miss Pratt’s blue eyes are about the only thing in her head. She converses in baby talk through the medium of her lap dog, Flopit,.

Miss Pratt’s baby talk and her serenading suitors offend Mr. Parcher’s ears.

Willie’s younger sister, Jane, accidentally overhears Mr. Parcher telling his wife to rid of the girl and her satellites, especially Willie.

Jane promptly brings the story home to her mother.

Seventeen’s turn of the century setting has a certain charm, but it can’t conceal the triviality of the plot or the shallowness of the characters.

One summer is too short for a teen as dense as Willie to learn anything from his experience.

Willie doesn’t grow up a bit in this novel, and readers are the poorer because of it.

© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni

1916 bestselling novels slated for review here

The list of bestselling novels of 1916 contains names of authors still highly regarded today, as well as names of some scarcely remembered authors who were as well known in their day as J. K. Rowling and Tom Clancy in ours.

In a departure from my routine, since some folks may be looking for a novel to read on their mobile devices while traveling this summer,  I’m going to link the titles to the Project Gutenberg pages where the novels can be downloaded and read for free.

As usual, however, the dates you can expect to see my reviews are in square brackets after the author’s name.
Project Gutenberg

  1. Seventeen by Booth Tarkington [July 23, 2016]
  2. When A Man’s a Man by Harold Bell Wright [July 26, 2016]
  3. Just David by Eleanor H. Porter [July 30, 2016]
  4. Mr. Britling Sees It Through by H. G. Wells [Aug. 2, 2016]
  5. Life and Gabriella: The Story of a Woman’s Courage by Ellen Glasgow [Aug. 6, 2016]
  6. The Real Adventure by Henry Kitchell Webster [Aug. 9, 2016]
  7. Bars of Iron by Ethel J. Dell [Aug. 13, 2016]
  8. Nan of Music Mountain by Frank H. Spearman [Aug. 16, 2016]
  9. Dear Enemy by Jean Webster [Aug. 20, 2016]
  10. The Heart of Rachael by Kathleen Thompson Norris [Aug. 23, 2016]

A poll of your favorites of the 1916 bestselling novels will be posted Aug. 27 and I’ll wrap up my picks of the list Aug. 30.

Happy reading.