Bestsellers

Bestsellers
John Sutherland

This curious installment in the Oxford Very Short Introduction series begins on a promising note, describing the modern phenomenon of the bestseller and laying out some basic context and terminology. The meat of the book, however, is taken up with mere chronology, in part because Sutherland can’t think of any pattern or meaning to the lists. Perhaps there isn’t any. As always, however, it’s fun to reflect upon the transience of literary fame and fortune. Will anyone care about Dan Brown or J. K. Rowling twenty years from now? Probably not, though I suspect the thought of that doesn’t bother them a bit. Having lost our faith in posterity, the list is all we have left anyway.