Monday, March 28, 2016

Bestselling Books from 1970 to 1989

Here we go with Part 5 of 6.

I have read 48 of the books on these lists, my personal best. Part of this is because I was in college during the early 1980s when I apparently had much more time for reading and because the tastes of the time more closely matched my own. (This is not generally the case in the most recent decades, as we'll see in the final installment.)

We have the first appearances of Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, Anne Rice, Danielle Steele, Tom Clancy and several others.

The most common categories seem to be spy thrillers, historical fiction, romance novels, and potboilers.

Westerns made a comeback with the works of Louis L'Amour.  Romances of various styles were covered by Jacqueline Susann, Belva Plain, Danielle Steel, Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins. I think Sidney Sheldon's novels are also romances of a sort. Love them or hate them, these romances were eminently readable as opposed to the cookie cutter Harlequin-style books.

Spy thrillers come into their own in the 1970s, mainly due to the success of Ian Fleming and his James Bond novels along with the success of Robert Ludlum. My husband is a big Tom Clancy fan but I only ever read The Hunt for Red October which was the first of his books and didn't make the bestseller lists. You also have Graham Greene, Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, Martin Cruz Smith and John le Carre to satisfy the spy thriller urge.

I am not generally a fan of spy thrillers but I did read and love the Bourne series. I probably read the first book because the TV miniseries was great, starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. Good times.

In fact the 1970s saw the rise of TV miniseries and several made it to air: "QB VII", "Rich Man, Poor Man", "The Winds of War", "Captains and the Kings", "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", "The Moneychangers", "Shogun", "The Thorn Birds", "War and Remembrance", "Scruples", "I'll Take Manhattan", "Princess Daisy", "Noble House", "Space", "Mistral's Daughter", "Master of the Game", "North & South", "Hollywood Wives", and "The Pillars of the Earth". It helped that Judith Krantz wrote some decent potboilers and that her husband was a Hollywood producer. The biggest of the miniseries was "Roots" and that was a bestseller on the non-fiction lists.

And, as always, several books were made into movies too.

Only one book won a Pulitzer! Here are some Pulitzer-winning novels that didn't make the top 10 lists: A Confederacy of Dunces, Rabbit is Rich, The Color Purple, Ironweed, Lonesome Dove, and Beloved!

As I look through the lists there are only a few names (and their books) I don't recognize at all: Helen MacInnes, Tom Tryon, Marjorie Holmes, Paul Erdman, Margaret Craven, Jack Higgins, John Hackett, Kit Williams, Lawrence Sanders, Cynthia Freeman and Stephen Donaldson. Anyone else remember them?

I know I read a book by Belva Plain at some point but I don't remember which one. I have only read one Danielle Steel book in my life. It was called The Ring and had something to do with the Olympics in 1936 (I think) and it was perfectly fine but I was never a big fan of her style of romance. I love me some potboilers however and read most of the Judith Krantz oeuvre with glee.

I read and loved pretty much everything Stephen King wrote until I read The Tommyknockers, which I hated. Then I took a break from his novels for most of the 1990s.

One of my all-time favorite authors is Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I discovered a couple of his books in my high school library when I was 16 or 17 and though they shocked me I adored them. Seriously, I was a sheltered young lady, raised as a Catholic and fed on a diet of things like "Bewitched" and "Brady Bunch". Breakfast of Champions had simple line drawings of "beavers". Oh my, I got the vapors at age 16...! But Vonnegut was profane and funny. It's probably time for a re-read of some of them.

I still read some of the books on the list even today. For instance I re-read "...And Ladies of the Club" at least once every 10 years because I love it so much.

How many have you read?

Next time: the big finale featuring 1990 through today.

1970
  1. Love Story by Erich Segal
  2. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
  3. Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway
  4. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
  5. Great Lion of God by Taylor Caldwell
  6. QB VII by Leon Uris
  7. The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight by Jimmy Breslin
  8. The Secret Woman by Victoria Holt
  9. Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
  10. Rich Man, Poor Man by Irwin Shaw
1971
  1. Wheels by Arthur Hailey
  2. The Exorcist by William P. Blatty
  3. The Passions of the Mind by Irving Stone
  4. The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
  5. The Betsy by Harold Robbins
  6. Message from Malaga by Helen MacInnes
  7. The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
  8. The Drifters by James A. Michener
  9. The Other by Tom Tryon
  10. Rabbit Redux by John Updike
1972
  1. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  2. August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  3. The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth
  4. The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
  5. The Word by Irving Wallace
  6. The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
  7. Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell
  8. Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes
  9. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
  10. Semi-Tough by Dan Jenkins
1973
  1. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  2. Once Is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann
  3. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
  4. The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth
  5. Burr by Gore Vidal
  6. The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart
  7. Evening in Byzantium by Irwin Shaw
  8. The Matlock Paper by Robert Ludlum
  9. The Billion Dollar Sure Thing by Paul E. Erdman
  10. The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
1974
  1. Centennial by James A. Michener
  2. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  3. Jaws by Peter Benchley
  4. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
  5. Something Happened by Joseph Heller
  6. The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth
  7. The Pirate by Harold Robbins
  8. I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
  9. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
  10. The Fan Club by Irving Wallace
1975
  1. Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow
  2. The Moneychangers by Arthur Hailey
  3. Curtain by Agatha Christie
  4. Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner
  5. The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh
  6. The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins
  7. The Greek Treasure by Irving Stone
  8. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
  9. Shōgun by James Clavell
  10. Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow (Pulitzer)
1976
  1. Trinity by Leon Uris
  2. Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  3. Dolores by Jacqueline Susann
  4. Storm Warning by Jack Higgins
  5. The Deep by Peter Benchley
  6. 1876 by Gore Vidal
  7. Slapstick or Lonesome No More! by Kurt Vonnegut
  8. The Lonely Lady by Harold Robbins
  9. Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart
  10. A Stranger in the Mirror by Sidney Sheldon
1977
  1. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien
  2. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
  3. Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach
  4. The Honourable Schoolboy by John le Carré
  5. Oliver's Story by Erich Segal
  6. Dreams Die First by Harold Robbins
  7. Beggarman, Thief by Irwin Shaw
  8. How to Save Your Own Life by Erica Jong
  9. Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin
  10. Daniel Martin by John Fowles
1978
  1. Chesapeake by James A. Michener
  2. War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
  3. Fools Die by Mario Puzo
  4. Bloodline by Sidney Sheldon
  5. Scruples by Judith Krantz
  6. Evergreen by Belva Plain
  7. Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach
  8. The Holcroft Covenant by Robert Ludlum
  9. Second Generation by Howard Fast
  10. Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
1979
  1. The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum
  2. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  3. Overload by Arthur Hailey
  4. Memories of Another Day by Harold Robbins
  5. Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
  6. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  7. The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart
  8. The Establishment by Howard Fast
  9. The Third World War: August 1985 by John Hackett
  10. Smiley's People by John le Carré
1980
  1. The Covenant by James A. Michener
  2. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
  3. Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon
  4. Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz
  5. Firestarter by Stephen King
  6. The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett
  7. Random Winds by Belva Plain
  8. The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
  9. The Fifth Horseman by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre
  10. The Spike by Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss
1981
  1. Noble House by James Clavell
  2. The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
  3. Cujo by Stephen King
  4. An Indecent Obsession by Colleen McCullough
  5. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
  6. Masquerade by Kit Williams
  7. Goodbye, Janette by Harold Robbins
  8. The Third Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders
  9. The Glitter Dome by Joseph Wambaugh
  10. No Time for Tears by Cynthia Freeman
1982
  1. E.T., The Extraterrestrial by William Kotzwinkle
  2. Space by James A. Michener
  3. The Parsifal Mosaic by Robert Ludlum
  4. Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon
  5. Mistral's Daughter by Judith Krantz
  6. The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel
  7. Different Seasons by Stephen King
  8. North and South by John Jakes
  9. 2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke
  10. The Man from St. Petersburg by Ken Follett
1983
  1. Return of the Jedi by James Kahn
  2. Poland by James A. Michener
  3. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
  4. The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré
  5. Christine by Stephen King
  6. Changes by Jim Butcher
  7. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  8. White Gold Wielder by Stephen R. Donaldson
  9. Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins
  10. The Lonesome Gods by Louis L'Amour
1984
  1. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
  2. The Aquitaine Progression by Robert Ludlum
  3. The Sicilian by Mario Puzo
  4. Love and War by John Jakes
  5. The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
  6. "...And Ladies of the Club" by Helen Hooven Santmyer
  7. The Fourth Protocol by Frederick Forsyth
  8. Full Circle by Danielle Steel
  9. The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz by Joan Rivers
  10. Lincoln by Gore Vidal
1985
  1. Texas by James A. Michener
  2. The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel
  3. Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor
  4. If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon
  5. Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
  6. Secrets by Danielle Steel
  7. Contact by Carl Sagan
  8. Lucky by Jackie Collins
  9. Family Album by Danielle Steel
  10. The Class by Erich Segal
1986
  1. It by Stephen King
  2. Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy
  3. Whirlwind by James Clavell
  4. The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum
  5. Hollywood Husbands by Jackie Collins
  6. Wanderlust by Danielle Steel
  7. I'll Take Manhattan by Judith Krantz
  8. Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour
  9. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
  10. A Perfect Spy by John le Carré
1987
  1. The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
  2. Patriot Games by Tom Clancy
  3. Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel
  4. Misery by Stephen King
  5. Leaving Home by Garrison Keillor
  6. Windmills of the Gods by Sidney Sheldon
  7. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
  8. Fine Things by Danielle Steel
  9. Heaven and Hell by John Jakes
  10. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
1988
  1. The Cardinal of the Kremlin by Tom Clancy
  2. The Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon
  3. Zoya by Danielle Steel
  4. The Icarus Agenda by Robert Ludlum
  5. Alaska by James A. Michener
  6. Till We Meet Again by Judith Krantz
  7. The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
  8. To Be the Best by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  9. One by Richard Bach
  10. Mitla Pass by Leon Uris
1989
  1. Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy
  2. The Dark Half by Stephen King
  3. Daddy by Danielle Steel
  4. Star by Danielle Steel
  5. Caribbean by James A. Michener
  6. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  7. The Russia House by John le Carré
  8. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  9. California Gold by John Jakes
  10. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Non-Fiction Book Quickies

I like to read non-fiction books and I noticed a dearth on my TBR (to be read) list. I went through the new releases list on Amazon and was able to get a handful of them from the library.

Here are four books I've finished in March:


BOOK ONE
  • THE BOOK
    • Hair: A Human History by Kurt Stenn
    • Published February 15, 2016


  • THE TOPIC/WHAT I LEARNED
    • Hair, hair, hair! An overview of the history of human hair and humans' use of animal hair. All the facts you need to impress people at cocktails parties with your erudite knowledge!
    • Grab a cocktail! 
    • I now know how to make felt WITH MY OWN HAIR. I will NEVER actually do this but I COULD and that's really what matters here.
    • People used to make memorial jewelry and art out of hair but that died out as photography came in. You don't need locks of hair to remember someone when you have a photograph of them.
    • Since hair absorbs oil, blankets made of hair are used to sop up oil spills.
    • Wool is a renewable source of hair with which to make thread, fabric (including felt) and clothes. Beaver pelts were all the rage in hats for the last several hundred years. Beaver hats fell out of favor in the 1800s and beavers are grateful, having been mostly wiped out in Europe before the New World beavers were decimated by fur trappers.
    • The author is a scientist whose specialty is hair. You will learn about the growth cycle of hair follicles and so many other things of a science-y nature.
    • The science was fine but I most enjoyed about the book was stories about the many ways hair is utilized by humans: paint brushes and wigs are the most obvious items.
    • The book has 224 pages and the notes take up about 54 pages of that. All the listings say it should have 368 pages. The book seems complete so either there was a data-entry mistake or a bunch of arcane hair knowledge was cut from the book.
      • I noticed this because I keep track of my reading on Good Reads and even though I was almost done with the book it said I was only 1/3 finished. Just a weird quirk.
    • I have never been invited to a cocktail party. Do people still have them? Or is this a relic of the past?

BOOK TWO
  •  THE BOOK
    • The Shakespeare Encyclopedia: The Complete Guide to the Man and His Works by A.D. Cousins
    • Published: September 2009

  • THE TOPIC/WHAT I LEARNED
    • Umm, the topic is Shakespeare?
    • The plays and the poems are discussed in a glossy coffee table-style book (though my copy is a large paperback) with lots of photos and illustrations.
    • For each play there's a plot synopsis, a cast list and a discussion of the work. The author also talks about noted performances of the play on stage and film. 
    • There are plenty of photographs of noted performers in various roles and plenty of illustrations of the pre-photography era people.
    • The names that pop up often as producers and performers of Shakespeare include Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Orson Welles, Kenneth Brannagh and Judi Dench.
    • Actors performed in blackface for the title role in "Othello" because of the whole black man/white woman thing that used to be verboten. Now it would be almost unthinkable for that to happen.
    • This is an interesting book to read if you just want to learn about Shakespeare's plays without having to read them! I have only read or seen 13 out of 36. That seems a sad amount!
    • I own a copy of the book and it has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I think I will keep it as a good general reference to the plays. I also have an amazing book called Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare which explains every reference in the plays. These two books should keep me educated about Shakespeare quite well.


BOOK THREE
  •  THE BOOK
    • Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War by Pamela D. Toler
    • Published February 16, 2016
    • Other works by the author: The War of 1812, The Everything Guide to Understanding Socialism, Mankind: The Story of All of Us, and Matt Damon. I'm guessing Matt Damon pays for her time on all the other books! (Or else it is attributed to her incorrectly?)


  • THE TOPIC/WHAT I LEARNED
    • I'm not sure which came first: this book or the PBS miniseries that ran last month, also called "Mercy Street". Probably the book.
    • At the time of the Civil War nursing was NOT a profession. Some nuns whose orders ran hospitals did nursing as part of their work but there was nothing like the nurse we know today. 
    • When the war broke out even the doctors were overwhelmed with the diseases and damage to limbs and bodies. In those days doctors didn't even need to go to medical school. The germ theory of disease was as yet unknown or unaccepted. Pain relief was limited to the very addictive opioids (laudanum, heroin and the like).
    • Nursing was done at home, almost exclusively by women, for sick family members. Women were considered too delicate: too weak to move patients as needed or too womanly to view male anatomy. 
    • When the war started and the men eagerly signed up for war the women wished to help too. The army wanted nothing to do with them, having convalescent soldiers or contraband slaves perform the nursing. But because women generally did the family nursing the men were not very helpful. Women were also used to cleaning, making beds, cooking and so forth because those tasks were in their sphere at that time.
    • Using letters, diaries and other sources the author introduces us to several women who became nurses in spite of the difficulties. And names like Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale appear too.
    • Nurses learned how to dress wounds and wash naked bodies. They realized that different patients needed different diets depending on their situation (doctors fighting them all the way).
    • The PBS series, which I really enjoyed, is completely fiction even though a few of the character names, situations and locations are based on reality from this book.
    • After the war nursing was recognized as a real profession and was dominated by women for many decades. My grandmother went to nursing school and became a registered nurse about 1930. She benefited by the change in the medical profession that made her work possible.



BOOK FOUR
  • THE BOOK
    • Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden
    • Published December 1, 2015
    • The author's first book.


  • THE TOPIC/WHAT I LEARNED
    • This was a fun read. If you enjoy this type of history book, here are some other titles:
      • Hair (see entry at top)
      • Salt or Cod (both by Mark Kurlansky)
      • A History of the World in 6 Glasses or An Edible History of Humanity (Tom Standage)
      • 97 Orchard Street (Linda Granfield)
      • The Disappearing Spoon, The Dueling Neurosurgeons, The Violinist's Thumb (all by Sam Kean)
      • Gulp or Stiff (Mary Roach)
      • At Home (Bill Bryson)
      • The Emperor of Maladies (Siddhartha Mukherjee)
    • These are known as a "micro-histories": a study of human history through a smaller lens. For example, 97 Orchard Street was a history of the several immigrant tenants who lived in a New York City tenement over the course of several decades. Each group of tenants had their own foodstuffs and ways of cooking. You learn a lot about their cultures and the impact of those cultures on the American palate in the book.
    • This book was about how various gemstones and pieces of jewelry changed and affected history.
    • Topics include pearls (cultured pearls are real and considered more perfect than natural pearls), emeralds (green means money and "go"), diamonds, wristwatches (World War I made this timepiece essential war gear), Faberge' eggs (bye-bye Romanovs), and the necklace that helped bring down Marie Antoinette (they made a movie called "The Affair of the Necklace" about it starring Hilary Swank).
    • Diamonds are so numerous that they are really "worth" very little but the marketing combined with the decades-long monopoly by the DeBeers company controlling the supply have created a world where people think they ARE valuable.
      • I know this personally from when I had some jewelry appraised during the height of the most recent gold price rise. The gold was worth something (gold is a more finite resource than diamonds) but they said the diamonds weren't worth anything! (I didn't sell anything though.)
      • Diamonds are NOT forever (you can pulverize one with a hammer) and they DO NOT hold their value. You'd be better off buying cubic zirconia.
    • It took forever to get through the Faberge' eggs chapter because I kept stopping to look them up online to see what they looked like: stunningly beautiful works of art.
    • Bottom line: a really good micro-history. I will definitely be on the lookout for any other book by this author.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Bestselling Books from 1950 to 1969

And now, Part 4 of a 6-part series. Prior entries can be found here: 1895-1909, 1910-1929, and 1930-1949.

Since I am copying these lists from Wikipedia but I check it against the Publisher's Weekly site, I noticed that a couple of titles were added by random editors. Catcher in the Rye was added to 1952. This book has sold a zillion copies since but it was apparently not a bestseller at its release. And someone added To Kill a Mockingbird to 1960 even though it didn't make the top 10 list until 1961 when the movie came out. Books aren't always "classics" right out of the gate. And editing something into a Wikipedia article does not make it so!

I've read 15 of the titles in these two decades (marked in red below). Many of these have been made into films. From Here to Eternity came out in 1951 and made the top ten and then reappeared in 1953, the year of the film's release. The Robe, a huge seller during World War II, made a reappearance when the film came out in 1953.

Pulitzer prize winners are noted below and the Nobel laureates include William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Boris Pasternak, John Steinbeck, and Saul Bellow.

Authors with multiple titles include Daphne du Maurier, Herman Wouk, James Michener, Ernest Hemingway, Frances Parkinson Keyes, John Steinbeck, Irving Wallace, John O'Hara, Kay Thompson, Ian Fleming, Taylor Caldwell, JD Salinger, Nevil Shute, Mary Stewart, Jacqueline Susann, Harold Robbins, Chaim Potok, Leon Uris, Arthur Hailey and a few others.

It looks like the most popular types of books are historical fiction, potboilers, WWII stories, and religious stories. I notice an appearance of more Jewish writers, no doubt a direct result of the founding of Israel in the late 1940s.

I was wondering where Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (1966) was because I know it was a huge bestseller. It was, however, non-fiction (called a "non-fiction novel" by Capote) and in 3rd place on that list, right after How to Avoid Probate and Masters' and Johnson's Human Sexual Response! No doubt the probate book was a real page-turner!

We have the first appearances of Michael Crichton and James Clavell on the lists near the end of the 1960s. They will also be seen on the lists of future decades.

Next up: Part 5 and the 1970s and 1980s.

1950
  1. The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson
  2. Joy Street by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  3. Across the River and into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway
  4. The Wall by John Hersey
  5. Star Money by Kathleen Winsor
  6. The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier
  7. Floodtide by Frank Yerby
  8. Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow
  9. The Adventurer by Mika Waltari
  10. The Disenchanted by Budd Schulberg
1951
  1. From Here to Eternity by James Jones
  2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (Pulitzer)
  3. Moses by Sholem Asch
  4. The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson
  5. A Woman Called Fancy by Frank Yerby
  6. The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat
  7. Melville Goodwin, U.S.A. by John P. Marquand
  8. Return to Paradise by James A. Michener
  9. The Foundling by Cardinal Spellman
  10. The Wanderer by Mika Waltari
1952
  1. The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain
  2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
  3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  4. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
  5. Steamboat Gothic by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  6. Giant by Edna Ferber
  7. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Pulitzer)
  8. The Gown of Glory by Agnes Sligh Turnbull
  9. The Saracen Blade by Frank Yerby
  10. The Houses in Between by Howard Spring
1953
  1. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  2. The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain
  3. Desirée by Annemarie Selinko
  4. Battle Cry by Leon M. Uris
  5. From Here to Eternity by James Jones
  6. The High and the Mighty by Ernest K. Gann
  7. Beyond This Place by A. J. Cronin
  8. Time and Time Again by James Hilton
  9. Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger
  10. The Unconquered by Ben Ames Williams
1954
  1. Not as a Stranger by Morton Thompson
  2. Mary Anne by Daphne du Maurier
  3. Love Is Eternal by Irving Stone
  4. The Royal Box by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  5. The Egyptian by Mika Waltari
  6. No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman
  7. Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
  8. The View from Pompey's Head by Hamilton Basso
  9. Never Victorious, Never Defeated by Taylor Caldwell
  10. Benton's Row by Frank Yerby
1955
  1. Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk
  2. Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
  3. Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor (Pulitzer)
  4. Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
  5. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson
  6. Something of Value by Robert Ruark
  7. Not as a Stranger by Morton Thompson
  8. No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman
  9. The Tontine by Thomas B. Costain
  10. Ten North Frederick by John O'Hara
1956
  1. Don't Go Near the Water by William Brinkley
  2. The Last Hurrah by Edwin O'Connor
  3. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  4. Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
  5. Eloise by Kay Thompson
  6. Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
  7. A Certain Smile by Françoise Sagan
  8. The Tribe That Lost Its Head by Nicholas Monsarrat
  9. The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir
  10. Boon Island by Kenneth Roberts
1957
  1. By Love Possessed by James Gould Cozzens
  2. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  3. Compulsion by Meyer Levin
  4. Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! by Max Shulman
  5. Blue Camellia by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  6. Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson
  7. The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier
  8. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
  9. Below the Salt by Thomas B. Costain
  10. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
1958
  1. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  2. Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver
  3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  4. Around the World with Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
  5. From the Terrace by John O'Hara
  6. Eloise at Christmastime by Kay Thompson
  7. Ice Palace by Edna Ferber
  8. The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton
  9. The Enemy Camp by Jerome Weidman
  10. Victorine by Frances Parkinson Keyes
1959
  1. Exodus by Leon Uris
  2. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  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 Eugene L. Burdick
  7. Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell
  8. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  9. Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico
  10. Poor No More by Robert Ruark

1960
  1. Advise and Consent by Allen Drury (Pulitzer)
  2. Hawaii by James A. Michener
  3. The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  4. The Chapman Report by Irving Wallace
  5. Ourselves to Know by John O'Hara
  6. The Constant Image by Marcia Davenport
  7. The Lovely Ambition by Mary Ellen Chase
  8. The Listener by Taylor Caldwell
  9. Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute
  10. Sermons and Soda-Water by John O'Hara
1961
  1. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
  2. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Pulitzer)
  4. Mila 18 by Leon Uris
  5. The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins
  6. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  7. Winnie Ille Pu by Alexander Lenard (translation of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne)
  8. Daughter of Silence by Morris West
  9. The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor (Pulitzer)
  10. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
1962
  1. Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
  2. Dearly Beloved by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  3. A Shade of Difference by Allen Drury
  4. Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk
  5. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  6. Fail-Safe by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
  7. Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II
  8. The Prize by Irving Wallace
  9. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
  10. The Reivers by William Faulkner (Pulitzer)
1963
  1. The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris West
  2. The Group by Mary McCarthy (only read a few chapters)
  3. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour by J.D. Salinger
  4. Caravans by James A. Michener
  5. Elizabeth Appleton by John O'Hara
  6. Grandmother and the Priests by Taylor Caldwell
  7. City of Night by John Rechy
  8. The Glass-Blowers by Daphne du Maurier
  9. The Sand Pebbles by Richard McKenna
  10. The Battle of the Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden
1964
  1. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
  2. Candy by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg
  3. Herzog by Saul Bellow
  4. Armageddon by Leon Uris
  5. The Man by Irving Wallace
  6. The Rector of Justin by Louis Auchincloss
  7. The Martyred by Richard E. Kim
  8. You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming
  9. This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
  10. Convention by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II
1965
  1. The Source by James A. Michener
  2. Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman
  3. Herzog by Saul Bellow
  4. The Looking Glass War by John le Carré
  5. The Green Berets by Robin Moore
  6. Those Who Love by Irving Stone
  7. The Man with the Golden Gun by Ian Fleming
  8. Hotel by Arthur Hailey
  9. The Ambassador by Morris West
  10. Don't Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk
1966
  1. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  2. The Adventurers by Harold Robbins
  3. The Secret of Santa Vittoria by Robert Crichton
  4. Capable of Honor by Allen Drury
  5. The Double Image by Helen MacInnes
  6. The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (Pulitzer)
  7. Tell No Man by Adela Rogers St. Johns
  8. Tai-Pan by James Clavell
  9. The Embezzler by Louis Auchincloss
  10. All in the Family by Edwin O'Connor
1967
  1. The Arrangement by Elia Kazan
  2. The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron (Pulitzer)
  3. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  4. Topaz by Leon Uris
  5. Christy by Catherine Marshall
  6. The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder
  7. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
  8. The Plot by Irving Wallace
  9. The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart
  10. The Exhibitionist by Henry Sutton
1968
  1. Airport by Arthur Hailey
  2. Couples by John Updike
  3. The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes
  4. A Small Town in Germany by John le Carré
  5. Testimony of Two Men by Taylor Caldwell
  6. Preserve and Protect by Allen Drury
  7. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal
  8. Vanished by Fletcher Knebel
  9. Christy by Catherine Marshall
  10. The Tower of Babel by Morris L. West
1969
  1. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth
  2. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
  3. The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann
  4. The Inheritors by Harold Robbins
  5. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
  6. The Seven Minutes by Irving Wallace
  7. Naked Came the Stranger by Penelope Ashe
  8. The Promise by Chaim Potok
  9. The Pretenders by Gwen Davis
  10. The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Comedians by Kliph Nesteroff

  • THE BOOK
    • The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy by Kliph Nesteroff
    • Published November 3, 2015
    • The author's first and only book thus far.

  • THE PREMISE
    • Specifically, this is an overview of the history of American stand-up comedy.
      • In an Amazon review someone criticized the fact that Lucille Ball is barely mentioned (in conjunction with the Red scare of the 1950s and her presence at a Friar's Club "roast") but as she was never a stand-up comedian she was lucky to merit a mention at all!
    • It covers the history from the Vaudeville era, which began in the 1880s, to today.

  • THE CONTENT
    • Chapters cover Vaudeville, radio, nightclubs, television, late night shows, Las Vegas and more.
    • Apparently the term "stand-up" was a Mob term. It referred to a fight where you'd want a "stand up guy", one who would literally stand up and fight by your side. Or a stand up fighter who would punch, punch, punch. A stand up comedian would punch jokes, one right after the other.
    • Some types of stand-up went away as new methods of presenting comedy came in.
      • Radio killed Vaudeville and then television killed radio.
    • General comedy is very much of its time: what was funny in the past is not generally funny now (with many exceptions of course).
    • When Vaudeville and its theaters faded away comedians began appearing at clubs that opened throughout the country. The end of Prohibition coincided with that end and thus the Mob controlled most of those clubs. They already ran a bunch of speakeasies during Prohibition and had the infrastructure already in place.
      • First Miami Beach was a comedy hub and once the government started coming after them --- specifically Senator Estes Kefauver who fought organized crime --- they moved to Las Vegas where the laws were more advantageous to them.
    • By the time I came along in the 1960s many of the early comedians were already old men whom I watched when they made appearances on various variety and talk shows. Some of the newer crowd --- middle-aged but old by my childhood lights! --- had their own TV shows.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I found this book to be extremely interesting but it is a subject that would probably take an encyclopedia to cover in full. As an overview it was fairly comprehensive but 100 years of stand-up comedy in about 350 pages there are bound to be some omissions.
    • Comedians apparently stole from each other quite often! And many of them were utter assholes, fun to read about but probably not fun to know them in real life.
    • There was a fascinating section on African-American comedians. They really had it tough: lower pay, segregation, having to whitewash --- figuratively speaking --- the content of their acts in order to perform for whites. This changed in the 1960s as civil rights created new opportunities for black comedians.
      • Redd Foxx was especially beloved by comedians and helped out many a man. I was also amazed to learn that his real last name was Sanford and that his dad's was Fred Sanford!
    • There is a story of a comedian who performed in women's clothing and was arrested for lewdness even though Milton Berle would become a huge TV star in a couple of years doing the same thing. (And we also get some anecdotes on the size of Mr. Berle's penis. It was HUGE. He was known to show it to people. There are some things I just don't need to know and this is one of them. I felt I must share this nugget. You're welcome, readers.)
    • One of the most constant comments in the book is the phrase "long forgotten". In almost all cases there are no recordings of stand-up acts so the jokes are all lost to time. I remembered a lot of the names --- thanks to all the TV watching I did in my youth!
      • I wish there could have been lots of examples of the comedians' work but space did not allow. This would make an awesome documentary series, Ken Burns!
    • Recommended! 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bestselling Books From 1930 to 1949

Another exciting installment of my six-part series! Find the last two entries here: 1895-1909 and 1910-1929.

Here are the top ten books sold in the United States according to Publisher's Weekly for 1930 through 1949.

I have read 7 books from the 1930s and 7 from the 1940s (marked in red below). Many of the titles are familiar because so many were made into movies.

The biggest author during these two decades seems to be Lloyd C. Douglas. I have never heard of him but I definitely recognize the titles of a couple of his books: The Robe and Magnificent Obsession (I haven't seen the films of either). The Robe was on the Top Ten list for FOUR YEARS, 1942 to 1945, and will also reappear in 1953, the year of the film version's release.

The story is a fictional account of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Douglas was a Lutheran minister and began writing moralistic novels when he retired. I'm guessing the war years had to do with the popularity of The Robe?

But despite the popularity of his books for two decades he is completely forgotten today. The movie is still remembered but mainly because it starred Richard Burton.

Other popular authors with multiple bestsellers include John Steinbeck, Edna Ferber, A.J. Cronin, Sholem Asch, and James Hilton.

Some of the books won Pulitzer Prizes as noted below and Peal S. Buck was a Nobel Prize winner in literature in 1938. Apparently a Pulitzer Award doesn't necessarily coincide with the bestseller lists.

Nobel Prize winners on the list are Sinclair Lewis, John Galsworthy, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and Pearl S. Buck.

How many have you read? Next up: The 1950s and 1960s!

1930
  1. Cimarron by Edna Ferber
  2. Exile by Warwick Deeping
  3. The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder
  4. Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes (Pulitzer)
  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 Katharine Brush
  10. Twenty-Four Hours by Louis Bromfield
1931
  1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (Pulitzer)
  2. Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
  3. A White Bird Flying by Bess Streeter Aldrich
  4. Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
  5. Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes
  6. The Road Back by Erich Maria Remarque
  7. The Bridge of Desire by Warwick Deeping
  8. Back Street by Fannie Hurst
  9. Finch's Fortune by Mazo de la Roche
  10. Maid in Waiting by John Galsworthy
1932
  1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  2. The Fountain by Charles Langbridge 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
1933
  1. Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen
  2. As the Earth Turns by Gladys Hasty Carroll
  3. Ann Vickers by Sinclair Lewis
  4. Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas
  5. One More River by John Galsworthy
  6. Forgive Us Our Trespassers by Lloyd C. Douglas
  7. The Master of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
  8. Miss Bishop by Bess Streeter Aldrich
  9. The Farm by Louis Bromfield
  10. Little Man, What Now? by Hans Fallada
1934
  1. Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen
  2. Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller (Pulitzer)
  3. So Red the Rose by Stark Young
  4. Good-bye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
  5. Within This Present by Margaret Ayer Barnes
  6. Work of Art by Sinclair Lewis
  7. Private Worlds by Phyllis Bottome
  8. Mary Peters by Mary Ellen Chase
  9. Oil for the Lamps of China by Alice Tisdale Hobart
  10. Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen
1935
  1. Green Light by Lloyd C. Douglas
  2. Vein of Iron by Ellen Glasgow
  3. Of Time and the River by Thomas Wolfe
  4. Time Out of Mind by Rachel Field
  5. Good-bye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
  6. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh by Franz Werfel
  7. Heaven's My Destination by Thornton Wilder
  8. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  9. Come and Get It by Edna Ferber
  10. Europa by Robert Briffault
1936
  1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Pulitzer)
  2. The Last Puritan by George Santayana
  3. Sparkenbroke by Charles Langbridge Morgan
  4. Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds
  5. It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
  6. White Banners by Lloyd C. Douglas
  7. The Hurricane by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
  8. The Thinking Reed by Rebecca West
  9. The Doctor by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  10. Eyeless in Gaza by Aldous Huxley
1937
  1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  2. Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts
  3. The Citadel by A. J. Cronin
  4. And So—Victoria by Vaughan Wilkins
  5. Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds
  6. The Years by Virginia Woolf
  7. Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  9. The Rains Came by Louis Bromfield
  10. We Are Not Alone by James Hilton
1938
  1. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  2. The Citadel by A. J. Cronin
  3. My Son, My Son! by Howard Spring
  4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  5. Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts
  6. All This, and Heaven Too by Rachel Field
  7. The Rains Came by Louis Bromfield
  8. And Tell of Time by Laura Krey
  9. The Mortal Storm by Phyllis Bottome
  10. Action at Aquila by Hervey Allen
1939
  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 (Pulitzer)
  8. The Tree of Liberty by Elizabeth Page
  9. The Nazarene by Sholem Asch
  10. Kitty Foyle by Christopher Morley
1940
  1. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
  2. Kitty Foyle by Christopher Morley
  3. Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther
  4. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (Pulitzer)
  5. The Nazarene by Sholem Asch
  6. Stars on the Sea by F. van Wyck Mason
  7. Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts
  8. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Pulitzer)
  9. Night in Bombay by Louis Bromfield
  10. The Family by Nina Fedorova
1941
  1. The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin
  2. Random Harvest by James Hilton
  3. This Above All by Eric Knight
  4. The Sun Is My Undoing by Marguerite Steen
  5. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  6. Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts
  7. H.M. Pulham, Esquire by John P. Marquand
  8. Mr. and Mrs. Cugat by Isabel Scott Rorick
  9. Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber
  10. Windswept by Mary Ellen Chase
1942
  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
  7. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  8. The Sun Is My Undoing by Marguerite Steen
  9. King's Row by Henry Bellamann
  10. The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin
1943
  1. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  2. The Valley of Decision by Marcia Davenport
  3. So Little Time by John P. Marquand
  4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  5. The Human Comedy by William Saroyan
  6. Mrs. Parkington by Louis Bromfield
  7. The Apostle by Sholem Asch
  8. Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier
  9. The Forest and the Fort by Hervey Allen
  10. The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel
1944
  1. Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith
  2. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  4. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor
  5. The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
  6. The Green Years by A. J. Cronin
  7. Leave Her to Heaven by Ben Ames Williams
  8. Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge
  9. A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
  10. The Apostle by Sholem Asch
1945
  1. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor
  2. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  3. The Black Rose by Thomas B. Costain
  4. The White Tower by James Ramsey Ullman
  5. Cass Timberlane by Sinclair Lewis
  6. A Lion Is in the Streets by Adria Locke Langley
  7. So Well Remembered by James Hilton
  8. Captain from Castile by Samuel Shellabarger
  9. Earth and High Heaven by Gwethalyn Graham
  10. Immortal Wife by Irving Stone
1946
  1. The King's General by Daphne du Maurier
  2. This Side of Innocence by Taylor Caldwell
  3. The River Road by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  4. The Miracle of the Bells by Russell Janney
  5. The Hucksters by Frederic Wakeman, Sr.
  6. The Foxes of Harrow by Frank Yerby
  7. Arch of Triumph by Erich Maria Remarque
  8. The Black Rose by Thomas B. Costain
  9. B.F.'s Daughter by John P. Marquand
  10. The Snake Pit by Mary Jane Ward
1947
  1. The Miracle of the Bells by Russell Janney
  2. The Moneyman by Thomas B. Costain
  3. Gentleman's Agreement by Laura Z. Hobson
  4. Lydia Bailey by Kenneth Roberts
  5. The Vixens by Frank Yerby
  6. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck
  7. House Divided by Ben Ames Williams
  8. Kingsblood Royal by Sinclair Lewis
  9. East Side, West Side by Marcia Davenport
  10. Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger
1948
  1. The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas
  2. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  3. Dinner at Antoine's by Frances Parkinson Keyes
  4. The Bishop's Mantle by Agnes Sligh Turnbull
  5. Tomorrow Will Be Better by Betty Smith
  6. The Golden Hawk by Frank Yerby
  7. Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr.
  8. Shannon's Way by A. J. Cronin
  9. Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge
  10. The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
1949
  1. The Egyptian by Mika Waltari
  2. The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas
  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
  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

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold

  • THE BOOK
    • A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold
    • Published on February 15, 2016

  • THE PREMISE
    • Sue's son Dylan was one of the two killers in the Columbine High School massacre. Many people blamed the Klebold's parenting (or lack thereof) for the killings.
    • Her memoir talks about their utterly ordinary life before the massacre, their hands-on parenting of their two sons, and how she coped after the tragedy.

  • THE DETAILS
    • Sue points out that, while her son is definitely responsible for the murders, he also committed suicide that day. Dylan suffered from undiagnosed depression, a condition he successfully hid from his family and friends.
      • How many times do you read articles about suicides where the family left behind had NO IDEA that their loved one was suicidal? And in many cases they never know WHY.
      • Even serial killers have been able to hide their crimes from their spouses.
      • It seems obvious that Dylan Klebold also hid his suicidal intent from his parents and friends.
    • She recounts their lives after the massacre: 
      • They couldn't stay in their home at first.
      • They couldn't stay at a hotel because they would have had to use a credit card with their distinctive name to register, making it too easy for the press to find them.
      • They were blamed for the massacre and were receiving death threats.
      • Sue, on advise of lawyers, couldn't join any support groups for parents of suicides because then the lawyers of the people who sued them could subpoena the members of the group for testimony.
      • She talks about watching the "Basement Tapes" (unreleased to the public to keep copycats from emulating the killers) which featured the two killers outlining their plans and their vitriol for others, and a son she didn't recognize because he did not act that way in front of his parents.
    • Sue Klebold has become an advocate for what she calls "brain health" and "brain illness" feeling that the terms "mental health" and "mental illness" are fraught and stigmatizing.
      • All proceeds of the book go to research and charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.
    • She talks about how many parents miss the signs of depression and other serious mental health problems, especially in teenagers.
      • We almost expect our teens to waver between rude or surly and sweet or loving. How do you know when it could be a more serious indicator of trouble?

  • MY COMMENTS
    • It is SO EASY to judge other people, isn't it?
    • There are certain things I could not make my son do no matter what we tried. Here's one small example:
      • He would NOT bring a jacket on almost any boy scout outings no matter the weather, including snow camping. I felt like such a terrible parent and assumed they must be judging me: a mother who doesn't even make sure her son packs a decent winter coat in his backpack! I finally approached the scoutmaster and apologized, telling him I tried to get my son to pack his jacket and he said don't worry, we know it's his way. I felt relieved that I wasn't blamed. And I stopped buying my son jackets. He's 22 now and still rarely wears jackets. It's definitely his way.
      • But WHAT could I have done differently? He was packing his own camping gear. There was no room for me to sneak it in. Some form of punishment? Some sort of loss of privileges? Yelling? Bribery? None of this worked! Even the scoutmaster couldn't make it happen!
    • My son also has had bouts of depression and I didn't realize it for a while because I was concurrently dealing with my own health issues. Once I was well again I was right on top of it. I hope I was able to help him by detailing my own issues with depression and to let him know he is not alone.
      • But we in 2016 are so much more aware of depression in teens than parents were in 1999, right?
    • You really feel for Sue and her family. They lost a child, every parent's worst nightmare, and their child was a murderer, compounding the nightmare fourfold.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bestselling Books from 1910 to 1929


I have read only one of these books (noted in red type below) and parts of at least one other (All Quiet on the Western Front).

Some of the authors had multiple titles on the lists: Gene Stratton Porter (whose Girl of the Limberlost is the only one of her books I've read), Frances Hodgson Burnett, Booth Tarkington, Zane Grey, Sinclair Lewis, and Edith Wharton. Some less famous names are Warwick Deeping, Anne Douglas Sedgwick, Rafael Sabatini, Anne Parrish, and Mary Roberts Rinehart.

Many were made into films: "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" and "The Sheik" were both Rudolph Valentino movies. Others include "The Winning of Barbara Worth" (Gary Cooper's first big film role), "Pollyanna", "The Sea Hawk", "So Big", "The Constant Nymph", "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (published the year before Marilyn Monroe was born!), "Beau Geste", "Show Boat", "Elmer Gantry", "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", "Dodsworth" and so many more. Several made it to Broadway as well.

Other names still-famous today on the bestseller lists are Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells, Edna Ferber, Anita Loos, Erich Maria Remarque, John Galsworthy, and Thornton Wilder.

Sinclair Lewis and John Galsworthy both won Nobel Prizes in Literature. Pulitzer Prize winners (which began in 1917) include Booth Tarkington, Edith Wharton, Edna Ferber, Sinclair Lewis, Thornton Wilder, and Julia Peterkin.

The Julia Peterkin book is called Scarlet Sister Mary and from the title sounds intriguing! A hussy nun, do you think? Here's what the Wikipedia article has to say: "Mary is torn between her desire to be a member in good standing in the church and a desire to live a life of sin and pleasure." Oooooh! It takes place among the Gullah people of South Carolina so the heroine is of African-American descent. FUN FACT, especially pertinent given the recent "Oscars So White" criticisms: Ethel Barrymore bought the rights to the book and mounted a Broadway production, playing the lead role herself. In BLACKFACE. (Julia Peterkin was white.)

Note: Some titles repeat if they were popular over the course of two years.

Next time: the 1930s and 1940s!

1910
  1. The Rosary by Florence L. Barclay
  2. A Modern Chronicle by Winston Churchill
  3. The Wild Olive by Basil King
  4. Max by Katherine Cecil Thurston
  5. The Kingdom of Slender Swords by Hallie Erminie Rives
  6. Simon the Jester by William J. Locke
  7. Lord Loveland Discovers America by C.N. Williamson and A.M. Williamson
  8. The Window at the White Cat by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  9. Molly Make-Believe by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
  10. When a Man Marries by Mary Roberts Rinehart
1911
  1. The Broad Highway by Jeffrey Farnol
  2. The Prodigal Judge by Vaughan Kester
  3. The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright
  4. Queed by Henry Sydnor Harrison
  5. The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter
  6. The Iron Woman by Margaret Deland
  7. The Long Roll by Mary Johnston
  8. Molly Make-Believe by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
  9. The Rosary by Florence L. Barclay
  10. The Common Law by Robert W. Chambers
1912
  1. The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter
  2. The Street Called Straight by Basil King
  3. Their Yesterdays by Harold Bell Wright
  4. The Melting of Molly by Maria Thompson Davies
  5. A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson
  6. The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright
  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
1913
  1. The Inside of the Cup by Winston Churchill
  2. V.V.'s Eyes by Henry Sydnor Harrison
  3. Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter
  4. The Judgment House by Gilbert Parker
  5. Heart of the Hills by John Fox, Jr.
  6. The Amateur Gentleman by Jeffrey Farnol
  7. The Woman Thou Gavest Me by Hall Caine
  8. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
  9. The Valiants of Virginia by Hallie Erminie Rives
  10. T. Tembarom by Frances Hodgson Burnett
1914
  1. The Eyes of the World by Harold Bell Wright
  2. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
  3. The Inside of the Cup by Winston Churchill
  4. The Salamander by Owen Johnson
  5. The Fortunate Youth by William J. Locke
  6. T. Tembarom by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  7. Penrod by Booth Tarkington
  8. Diane of the Green Van by Leona Dalrymple
  9. The Devil's Garden by W. B. Maxwell
  10. The Prince of Graustark by George Barr McCutcheon
1915
  1. The Turmoil by Booth Tarkington
  2. A Far Country by Winston Churchill
  3. Michael O'Halloran by Gene Stratton Porter
  4. Pollyanna Grows Up by Eleanor H. Porter
  5. K by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  6. Jaffery by William J. Locke
  7. Felix O'Day by F. Hopkinson Smith
  8. The Harbor by Ernest Poole
  9. The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Grey
  10. Angela's Business by Henry Sydnor Harrison
1916
  1. Seventeen by Booth Tarkington
  2. When a Man's a Man by Harold Bell Wright
  3. Just David by Eleanor H. Porter
  4. Mr. Britling Sees It Through by H. G. Wells
  5. Life and Gabriella by Ellen Glasgow
  6. The Real Adventure by Henry Kitchell Webster
  7. Bars of Iron by Ethel M. Dell
  8. Nan of Music Mountain by Frank H. Spearman
  9. Dear Enemy by Jean Webster
  10. The Heart of Rachael by Kathleen Norris
1917
  1. Mr. Britling Sees It Through by H. G. Wells
  2. The Light in the Clearing by Irving Bacheller
  3. The Red Planet by William J. Locke
  4. The Road to Understanding by Eleanor H. Porter
  5. Wildfire by Zane Grey
  6. Christine by Alice Cholmondeley
  7. In the Wilderness by Robert S. Hichens
  8. His Family by Ernest Poole
  9. The Definite Object by Jeffrey Farnol
  10. The Hundredth Chance by Ethel M. Dell
1918
  1. The U.P. Trail by Zane Grey
  2. The Tree of Heaven by May Sinclair
  3. The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  4. Dere Mable by Edward Streeter
  5. Oh, Money! Money! by Eleanor H. Porter
  6. Greatheart by Ethel M. Dell
  7. The Major by Ralph Connor
  8. The Pawns Count by E. Phillips Oppenheim
  9. A Daughter of the Land by Gene Stratton Porter
  10. Sonia by Stephen McKenna
1919
  1. The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
  2. The Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad
  3. The Desert of Wheat by Zane Grey
  4. Dangerous Days by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  5. The Sky Pilot in No Man's Land by Ralph Connor
  6. The Re-Creation of Brian Kent by Harold Bell Wright
  7. Dawn by Eleanor H. Porter
  8. The Tin Soldier by Temple Bailey
  9. Christopher and Columbus by Elizabeth von Arnim
  10. In Secret by Robert W. Chambers
1920
  1. The Man of the Forest by Zane Grey
  2. Kindred of the Dust by Peter B. Kyne
  3. The Re-Creation of Brian Kent by Harold Bell Wright
  4. The River's End by James Oliver Curwood
  5. A Man for the Ages by Irving Bacheller
  6. Mary-Marie by Eleanor H. Porter
  7. The Portygee by Joseph C. Lincoln
  8. The Great Impersonation by E. Phillips Oppenheim
  9. The Lamp in the Desert by Ethel M. Dell
  10. Harriet and the Piper by Kathleen Norris
1921
  1. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  2. The Brimming Cup by Dorothy Canfield
  3. The Mysterious Rider by Zane Grey
  4. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  5. The Valley of Silent Men by James Oliver Curwood
  6. The Sheik by Edith M. Hull
  7. A Poor Wise Man by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  8. Her Father's Daughter by Gene Stratton-Porter
  9. The Sisters-in-Law by Gertrude Atherton
  10. The Kingdom Round the Corner by Coningsby Dawson
1922
  1. If Winter Comes by A. S. M. Hutchinson
  2. The Sheik by Edith M. Hull
  3. Gentle Julia by Booth Tarkington
  4. The Head of the House of Coombe by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  5. Simon Called Peter by Robert Keable
  6. The Breaking Point by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  7. This Freedom by A. S. M. Hutchinson
  8. Maria Chapdelaine by Louis Hémon
  9. To the Last Man by Zane Grey
  10. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
  11. Helen of the Old House by Harold Bell Wright
1923
  1. Black Oxen by Gertrude Atherton
  2. His Children's Children by Arthur Train
  3. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  4. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
  5. The Dim Lantern by Temple Bailey
  6. This Freedom by A. S. M. Hutchinson
  7. The Mine with the Iron Door by Harold Bell Wright
  8. Wanderer of the Wasteland by Zane Grey
  9. The Sea Hawk by Rafael Sabatini
  10. The Breaking Point by Mary Roberts Rinehart
1924
  1. So Big by Edna Ferber
  2. The Plastic Age by Percy Marks
  3. The Little French Girl by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  4. The Heirs Apparent by Philip Gibbs
  5. A Gentleman of Courage by James Oliver Curwood
  6. The Call of the Canyon by Zane Grey
  7. The Midlander by Booth Tarkington
  8. The Coast of Folly by Coningsby Dawson
  9. Mistress Wilding by Rafael Sabatini
  10. The Homemaker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
1925
  1. Soundings by A. Hamilton Gibbs
  2. The Constant Nymph by Margaret Kennedy
  3. The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter
  4. Glorious Apollo by E. Barrington
  5. The Green Hat by Michael Arlen
  6. The Little French Girl by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  7. Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
  8. The Perennial Bachelor by Anne Parrish
  9. The Carolinian by Rafael Sabatini
  10. One Increasing Purpose by A. S. M. Hutchinson
1926
  1. The Private Life of Helen of Troy by John Erskine
  2. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
  3. Sorrell and Son by Warwick Deeping
  4. The Hounds of Spring by Sylvia Thompson
  5. Beau Sabreur by P. C. Wren
  6. The Silver Spoons by John Galsworthy
  7. Beau Geste by P. C. Wren
  8. Show Boat by Edna Ferber
  9. After Noon by Susan Ertz
  10. The Blue Window by Temple Bailey
1927
  1. Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
  2. The Plutocrat by Booth Tarkington
  3. Doomsday by Warwick Deeping
  4. Sorrell and Son by Warwick Deeping
  5. Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
  6. Lost Ecstasy by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  7. Twilight Sleep by Edith Wharton
  8. Tomorrow Morning by Anne Parrish
  9. The Old Countess by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  10. A Good Woman by Louis Bromfield
1928
  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 Viña Delmar
  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 Spragg by Louis Bromfield
1929
  1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  2. Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis
  3. Dark Hester by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  4. The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine
  5. Roper's Row by Warwick Deeping
  6. Peder Victorious by O. E. Rolvaag
  7. Mamba's Daughters by DuBose Heyward
  8. The Galaxy by Susan Ertz
  9. Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin
  10. Joseph and His Brethren by H. W. Freeman

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Photo Freedom by Stacy Julian

  • THE BOOK
    • Photo Freedom by Stacy Julian
    • Published February 26, 2008
 
  • THE PREMISE
    • Stacy Julian was a writer for two scrapbook magazines I liked: Creating Keepsakes and Simple Scrapbooks. She also made appearances on scrapbook TV shows called "Scrapbook Soup" and "Scrapbook Memories".
    • She advocates a "big picture" method of scrapbooking. This means your scrapbooks should be about the stories rather than documenting EVERYthing. I don't document everything anymore but I am definitely all about the stories that go with the pictures.
    • This book has details to create a photo organization system to allow you to make story connections, things you won't see if you scrap chronologically.
      • Her example is that by storing pictures by each family member and then by categories within each member, you will see things differently.
        • You may find that your son loves popsicles because you have several different years of photos with him eating a popsicle filed under Son->Summer->Food. Now you can make a scrapbook page about his love of popsicles!

  • MY COMMENTS
    • Yeah, no. Not for me.
    • I bought this book years ago (probably in 2008) and it has been sitting on my shelf since then.
    • I am sure this method works for many people, at least according to the reviews on Amazon and Good Reads so obviously it's a useful system.
    • My way of scrapbooking has changed over the years. In the early days it was FANCY. My methodology is so much simpler now (see this entry of my regular blog to see what I mean: Scrapbooking Like a Bookkeeper).
    • I don't feel the need to start again and re-categorize my photos in a more abstract way. My sorting is chronological and that works well for my analytical mind.
    • The reality is that no one will want 50 volumes of scrapbooks once you're dead! Now I am working more on overview albums in a smaller range: vacations, pets, wedding, and the like.
    • I really like Stacy though. She's definitely a "don't sweat the small stuff" personality and I think we all need that reminder from time to time!