Thursday, October 25, 2012

Things I Find Fascinating: The 10 Top-Selling Novels The Year I Was Born (1978)

A few weeks ago, I posted a list of the most popular movies the year I was born.  So I thought it only appropriate to make a list of the most popular books that year as well. Included with each title is a picture of the book's cover (the original, whenever available), and below it the opening paragraph from the book.

How many of these have you read? How many have you heard of? I'd heard of five of these before posting this list, but I haven't read a single one of them. Might be an interesting long-term project to read them, huh? I'll get back to you on that if I decide to. Enjoy...

1)  Chesapeake by James A. Michener

"For some time now they had been suspicious of him. Spies had monitored his movements, reporting to the priests, and in the tribal councils his advice against going to war with those beyond the bend had been ignored. Even more predictive, the family of the girl he had chosen to replace his dead wife had refused to accept the three lengths of roanoke he had offered as her purchase price."

2)  War And Remembrance by Herman Wouk

"A Liberty boat full of sleepy hung-over sailors came clanging alongside the U.S.S. Northampton, and a stocky captain in dress whites jumped out to the accommodation ladder. The heavy cruiser, its gray hull and long guns dusted pink by the rising sun, swung to a buoy in Pearl Harbor on the incoming tide. As the boat thrummed off toward the destroyer nests in West Loch, the captain trotted up the steep ladder and saluted the colors and the quarterdeck."

3)  Fools Die by Mario Puzo

"Listen to me. I will tell you the truth about a man's life. I will tell you the truth about his love for women. That he never hates them. Already you think I'm on the wrong track. Stay with me. Really – I'm a master of magic."

4)  Bloodline by Sidney Sheldon

"He was seated in the dark, alone, behind the desk of Hajib Kafir, staring unseeingly out of the dusty office window at the timeless minarets of Istanbul. He was a man who was at home in a dozen capitals of the world, but Istanbul was one of his favorite cities. Not the tourist Istanbul of Beyoglu Street, or the gaudy Lalezab Bar of the Hilton, but the out-of-the-way places that only the Moslems knew: the yalis, and the small markets behind the souks, and the Telli Baba, the cemetery where only one person was buried, and the people came to pray to him."

5)  Scruples by Judith Krantz

"In Beverly Hills only the infirm and the senile do not drive their own cars. The local police are accustomed to odd combinations of vehicle and driver: the stately, nearsighted retired banker making an illegal left-hand turn in his Dino Ferrari, the teen-ager speeding to a tennis lesson in a fifty-five-thousand-dollar Rolls-Royce Corniche, the matronly civic leader blithely parking her bright red Jaguar at a bus stop."

6)  Evergreen by Belva Plain

"In the beginning there was a warm room with a table, a black iron stove and old red-flowered wallpaper. The child lay on a cot feeling the good heat while the mother moved peacefully from the table to the stove. When the mother sang her small voice quavered over the lulling nonsense-words; the song was meant to be gay but the child felt sadness in it."

7)  Illusions: The Adventures Of A Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach

"There was a Master come unto the earth, born in the holy land of Indiana, raised in the mystical hills east of Fort Wayne."

8)  The Holcroft Covenant by Robert Ludlum

"The hull of the submarine was lashed to the huge pilings, a behemoth strapped in silhouette, the sweeping lines of its bow arcing into the light of the North Sea dawn."

9)  Second Generation by Howard Fast

"Pete Lomas' mackerel drifter was an old, converted, coal-fired steam tug of a hundred and twenty-two tons, purchased as war surplus in 1919. It cost him so little then that he was able to sell its oversized engine for scrap and replace it with a modern, oil-burning plant. He named it Golden Gate, packed his wife and kids and household goods into it, and sailed from San Francisco Baby down to San Pedro. There he rented a berth for the tug and went into the mackerel business. His wife suffered from asthma, and her doctor determined that the San Francisco area was too damp. Lomas then decided to to make the move to Los Angeles County, and he bought a house in Downey."

10)  Eye Of The Needle by Ken Follett

"It was the coldest winter for forty-five years. Villages in the English countryside were cut off by the snow and the Thames froze over. One day in January the Glasgow-London train arrived at Euston twenty-four hours late. The snow and the blackout combined to make motoring perilous; road accidents doubled, and people told jokes about how it was more risky to drive an Austin Seven along Piccadilly at night than to take a tank across the Siegfried Line."

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