Friday, January 21, 2005

Ghosts of best-sellers past ...

One final thought regarding Hugh Hewitt's Blog. In it Hewitt proposes that someone start a blog for the publishing industry. That someone won't be me, but one of the things Hewitt suggests such a blog should feature -- links to all the best-seller lists available online -- is something I have been looking into. While looking, I came upon this link, which posts a century of Publishers Weekly's best-seller lists:
http://www.caderbooks.com/bestintro.html

The first two decades of the last century have some familiar names -- H.G. Wells, Frances Hodgson Burnett -- but one only sounds familiar. The Winston Churchill who appears regularly is not the British statesman (who did win the Nobel prize for literature), but an American historical novelist. During the first of those two decades, George Barr McCutcheon made the list seven times. Who reads him now? A lot more familar names when you get to the 1930s, and the nonfiction list for 1931 says something about changing tastes: Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy, H.G. Wells's The Outline of History, Andre Maurois's Byron, and Charles and Mary Beard's The Rise of American Civilization all made it.

1 comment:

  1. I recently read a book by George Barr McCutcheon that I found in my Great Grandfather's books, "The Inn of the Hawk and Raven". I enjoyed it so much, I had to read the first books on Graustark.

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