100 Years, 94 Books: Blogger to Read and Review Bestsellers Since 1913

Blogger Mark Khan to read & review bestselling books since 1913

There have been some notable online projects in the recent past, like the Julie/Julia project, where the author cooked every recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There are also more daily photo projects than I can mention (or remember) here.

Now, a new project with a literary bent is in the cards: Mark Khan has decided to read the bestselling book of the year for the past 100 years and then post the reviews on his blog. This means “every novel to reach the number one spot on Publishers Weekly annual bestsellers list, starting in 1913.”

I decided to undertake this endeavor as a mission to read books I never would have otherwise read, discover authors who have been lost to obscurity, and to see how what's popular has changed over the last one hundred years.  I plan to post a new review every Monday, with links, short essays, and the like between review posts.

There are only 94 books on the list, because several novels made the list more than once. I think the fact Publishers Weekly wouldn’t make the Harry Potter books its bestseller of the year says something about the publication (Order of the Pheonix was the bestselling book in 2003, and Deathly Hallows was the bestselling book of 2007). As a result, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code was the top book two years in a row (2003 and 2004).

Glancing through the list, it’s interesting to see how many titles I don’t know, often by authors that are more well-known for other books — and how many of them I would never think of reading (does that make me small-minded? Don’t answer that). What about you? Any there any you feel inclined to read, or would you take up the challenge of reading them all?

You can see the full list here.

Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 14, 2013 - 4:43pm

This is a great project, though I mourn for anyone who has to drudge throuh that many Grisham books. Looking at the list, it seems that popular tastes really haven't changed all that much.

Carol Schwartz Kahn's picture
Carol Schwartz Kahn February 15, 2013 - 11:42am

FYI - The blogger is Matthew Kahn.  Any chance of correcting your post?  Thanks.