'I rejoice', said Doctor Johnson, 'to concur with the Common Reader.' For the last century, the tastes and preferences of the common reader have been reflected in the American and British bestseller lists, and this Very Short Introduction takes an engaging look through the lists to reveal what we have been reading - and why. John Sutherland shows that bestseller lists monitor one of the strongest pulses in modern literature and are
therefore worthy of serious study. Along the way, he lifts the lid on the bestseller industry, examines what makes a book into a bestseller, and asks what separates bestsellers from canonical fiction.
Exploring the relationship between bestsellers and the fashions, ideologies, and cultural concerns of the day, the book includes short case-studies and lively summaries of bestsellers through the years: from In His Steps - now almost totally forgotten, but the biggest all-time bestseller between 1895 and 1945, to Gone with the Wind and The Andromeda Strain, and The Da Vinci Code. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short
Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective,
new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
His amiable trawl through the history of popular books is frequently entertaining Scott Pack, The Times breezily entertaining Kevin Power, Irish Times (Dublin) Sutherland effectively challenges the assumption that a book's commercial success somehow invalidates either its author's integrity or the critical acumen of its readers. Instead we are offered a plausible vision of the blockbuster or the bodice-ripper as narrative in its purest form. Jonathan Keates, TLS