Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction

Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback Very Short Introductions

By (author) John Sutherland

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 107mm x 173mm x 10mm | 113g
  • Publication date: 3 December 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199214891
  • ISBN 13: 9780199214891
  • Sales rank: 245,394

Product description

'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.

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Author information

John Sutherland is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, and Professor of Literature at Caltech. He has published many books, including, most recently, So You Think You Know Jane Austen? and So You Think You Know Thomas Hardy?, and has edited 15 volumes in the Oxford World's Classics series (most recently Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians). He writes and reviews widely, including in the TLS and LRB, and writes regular columns in the Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman, and Sunday Telegraph. In 2005, he was chair of the Man-Booker fiction prize committee.

Review quote

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