What fiction we have been reading in the last hundred years? Who are the most popular authors and what are the most popular books and the most important genres? Such straightforward questions raise intriguing literary, cultural, social and intellectual responses which often require much detective work in the annals of lost literature.
What unites best-selling authors as diverse as Catherine Cookson and Stephen king, Jilly Cooper and J.R.R. Tolkien? Their fame is not the result of accident but of art, commerce and mass-reading habits which have also elevated writers whose million-sellers are now long forgotten and whose own fictional heroes are nostalgic memories.
The new study and reference work is the essential guide to best-selling books, authors and genres over the past one hundred years, providing a unique insight into a century of publishing and reading. From Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Bestsellers takes us on a journey into the heart of the British imagination.
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'Clive Bloom delves incisively into the literary history of twentieth-century bestsellers, reminding us of the role popular authors...have played in sustaining not only the economic fortunes of British publishing, but also the social habits of a British mass reading public...impressively researched, thoughtfully argued and immensely readable.'
-David Finkelstein, Head of Media and Communication, Queen Margaret University College