What Was the Most Popular Book When You Were Born?

What Was the Most Popular Book When You Were Born?

Get ready for two fun discoveries:

  1. How old I am.

  2. A resource that lets you look up the #1 bestselling book of the year you were born.

    Bring on Wordery, a British online bookshop that has created a tool that will take you back in time to the title that dominated the New York Times Best Seller list the year of your birth. I checked out which book reigned supreme above all others in my birth year, 1966, and much to my amusement and surprise, this appeared:

dolls.jpg

Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls was immediately controversial which guaranteed it becoming a bestseller, dominating book sales for 28 weeks. After all, it’s a seemingly fictional tale of three women, drugs, and sex, set against the backdrop of the New York City entertainment industry. Does it echo the lives of any real stars from back in the day? Some say YES. I imagine if I were in my third trimester of pregnancy like my mother was in ‘66, bloated and sloth-like in the middle of summer, this just might’ve provided the hedonistic fantasy I needed!

Wordery lets you peruse your decade and beyond, so you can explore what people were into then. In the Sixties there was something for everyone, from the sweeping historical fiction of Michener (Hawaii) and Stone (The Agony and the Ecstasy, not about sex and drugs, despite the title, but about Michelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel), to the iconic Cold War spy novel by John le Carré (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold), and the epic tale of Italian-American family ties in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather.

Yep, it’s a lot of testosterone in terms of author and subject! So besides Susann, the only other bestselling title by a female author that decade was by Katherine Anne Porter, author of 1962’s Ship of Fools.

I’ve never read the Valley of the Dolls, but I might check it out now as an escape. What’s your birth year bestseller and would you read it?

Image of Olivia Wilde reading via Flavorwire.

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