A Century of America’s Favorite Books
by Robert McParland
As readers of this blog undoubtedly know, I love to read. Given the many distractions (and fears) that surround us these days, settling into the world of a book can offer a welcome respite. If you’ve ever wondered how a book becomes a best seller, this book will be of interest. Along the way, readers will find lots of suggestions for their TBR piles.
This title shows what readers were spending their book time exploring during different time periods. Interestingly, the author notes that the bestseller was born in the 1890s. From this beginning the author looks at what was being read in the decades up to the 2010s.
For example, the chapter on the 1970s is called The Age of Narcissism. McParland notes that this was a complex time in the country, in part because of the Vietnamese war. What did readers turn to? A few of the books mentioned include The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Love Story, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex (but Were Afraid to Ask), and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. There is information and context for each title.
If this kind of exploration appeals, this book will offer some real pleasure. I enjoyed it and now have even more books to think about!
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
McParland serves a sumptuous feast for booklovers in this unfailingly lively, perceptive, and informative look at 118 years of best-selling books in America. ― Booklist
McParland discusses U.S. reading habits from the 1890s to the present through a review of titles on various best seller lists . . . Admirably, he discusses both literary works and those considered “lowbrow,” formulaic productions, providing summaries of certain books and biographical details of writers. ― Library Journal