I am not a book nerd. But I recently chanced upon some book-nerdy information. I discovered the most popular book from the year I was born. It showed up in a slideshow called, appropriately, The Most Popular Book the Year You Were Born. It doesn’t say where the info comes from but, hey it’s on Good Housekeeping’s site.
Chuffed to discover the most popular book of my birth year is a literary masterpiece written by a Nobel Laureate. Seems I was born in a golden age – the books the year before and the year after my birth are also two of the brightest gems of literature with themes controversial, difficult, and downright dangerous. Were these books popular because they punched a big hole in public consciousness?
The most popular book the year I was born is… *drum roll*
Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak took an epoch-changing event, the Russian Revolution, and examined it via the lens of a love triangle. And he did it as a Russian writer, based in the Soviet Union, at the height of the Cold War.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita was the most popular book in the year before I was born. Controversial doesn’t begin to cover it. Nabokov’s subject explores an age-old taboo. The term ‘unreliable narrator’ was coined two years after Lolita was published and though Humbert Humbert was not the first, he is certainly the most infamous.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The year after my birth, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-prizing winning novel hit the bestseller lists. Hypocrisy, racism and justice, or the lack of, are the themes; the story is told through the eyes of a child and the memories of the woman who was that child – pure genius.
Yes, I’ve read all three. And no, I haven’t included the actual years. If you want to know my age, you can look them up. But I have a feeling you’ll want to figure out which book was the most popular the year you were born.
Go on, dazzle your fellow book nerds, or not, as the case may be.
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