Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction
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Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #173)

3.0 of 5 stars 3.00  ·  rating details  ·  48 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Lady Chatterley's Lover. The Blue Lagoon. Portnoy's Complaint. The Da Vinci Code. 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...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published December 3rd 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 25th 2007)
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Not at all what I expected, this terse and dull little book had no lists, no wonderful pile of book titles for me to peruse and, likely, add to my TBRs - the main reason I picked it up. Yes, there were tons of books mentioned in the text but while it attempted to be "chatty" the presentation, to me, only succeeded in being boring! The author writes well, but extremely pedantically, and this wasn't my cuppa. A handy little book to read while you're waiting in a long line, perhaps, but I've got lo...more
Douglas Wilson
Good, informative.
What is a best-seller? In many ways it’s a misnomer. The Pilgrim's Progress has sold many more copies than The Da Vinci Code, but the critical difference is that the latter sold faster during a brief period. Identifying books as noteworthy primarily for selling quickly started out as largely an American phenomenon. Publishers in the US were proponents of stack-em-high-and-sell-em-cheap, with lurid covers and advertising to the public, long before the British joined in — for most of the 20th Cent...more
Rather than an overview of bestselling works throughout the years, this is more of an exploration of what bestseller status means in western culture and how it has changed since the first bestseller lists were created. I thought the most interesting part was the (unfortunately fairly brief) discussion of the difference between British and American reading culture.
The text is often rather witty, but there is only so many lists of historical bestsellers I can handle before my head explodes. I was expecting more discussion and less fact-listing -- I'd recommend this to publishing history buffs, but it may not suit your needs if you want something more focused on the whys of a bestseller.
Quirky and opinionated, but with great information on British and U.S. bestsellers from the nineteenth century through 2009. The conclusion was disappointing, and I wanted more of an overarching argument. Sometimes too cranky, but full of wit. It'll be interested to see what students make of this one!
Sonya Watkins
equal parts interesting and boring. learned some interesting history and facts. I think the book went overboard with lists
Abbi Dion
My favorite of all the Very Short Intros. Delightful and interesting and revealing. Sorry for the bland review. Enjoy.
Amusing and informative, I enjoyed this. It made me laugh out loud more than once. Short and fun.
Rylan McQuade
Broader than I expected, but still good.
Harish Puvvula
Erudite, Educative and Entertaining!
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John Andrew Sutherland is an English lecturer, emeritus professor, newspaper columnist and author.

Now Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, John Sutherland began his academic career after graduating from the University of Leicester as an assistant lecturer in Edinburgh in 1964. He specialises in Victorian fiction, 20th century literature, an...more
More about John Sutherland...
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