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Written by Jimmie Epling   

A New Reason to Lie About Your Age?

The Most Popular Books by Year


When I ran across this list of the most popular books by year, it asked what was the most popular book the year you were born.  As 2016 draws to a close, the Darlington County Library System will again need to determine the most popular book of the year so that we may have it on our shelves or online for you to read.  What will be the most popular book of 2016?  In the running are "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," "Killing the Rising Sun," "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” and “A Man Called Ove.”  Would you want the most popular book the year you were born to be one of these?      


This got me curious…what was the most popular book the year I was born?  I looked.  Oh…a soap opera.  Not a book I care to read.  Maybe I should fudge a bit about my age so I can claim the most popular book the year I was born is now considered a significant piece of literature.  Looking at the list, there are stories by well-known authors that are now considered classics, so I have plenty from which to choose.  There are a few works I will not consider, such as Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel, “You Only Live Twice.”  I do extend sympathies to those of you born after 1970 as your “good literature” choices appear a bit more limited than mine.  Not pointing any fingers (well one, “Twilight”, as sparkling vampires is just wrong to me), but….


If you don’t want to acknowledge the most popular book the year you were born, what about the year you graduated high school?  What about the year you were married or when your son or daughter was born?  You could select the most significant events in your life and see what was popular in those years?  There are many ways you can have fun with this list of the most popular books by year.  If you don’t like the book for your year, feel free to fudge a bit on your age as we will never tell! 


Below is the list of the most popular books by year and those available within the Darlington County Library (indicated by “*”).     


1930: Cimarron by Edna Ferber

1931: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck*

1932: The Fountain by Charles Morgan

1933: Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen

1934: Goodbye Mr. Chips! by James Hilton*

1935: Green Light by Lloyd C. Douglas*

1936: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell*

1937: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck*

1938: The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings*

1939: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

1940: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn*

1941: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway*

1942: The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel

1943: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith*

1944: Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith

1945: Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor

1946: The King's General by Daphne du Maurier*

1947: The Miracle of the Bells by Russell Janney*

1948: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank*

1949: The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer*

1950: The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson

1951: From Here to Eternity by James Jones*

1952: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger*

1953: The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas*

1954: Not as a Stranger by Morton Thompson

1955: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson

1956: Eloise by Kay Thompson*

1957: Peyton Place by Grace Metalious*

1958: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov*

1959: Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak*

1960: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee*

1961: Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller*

1962: Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger*

1963: The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris West*

1964: You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming

1965: Herzog by Saul Bellow*

1966: Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann*

1967: Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin*

1968: Couples by John Updike

1969: Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth*

1970: Love Story by Erich Segal

1971: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty*

1972: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach*

1973: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut*

1974: Jaws by Peter Benchley*

1975: Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow*

1976: Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie*

1977: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough*

1978: Fools Die by Mario Puzo*

1979: Sophie's Choice by William Styron*

1980: The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum*

1981: Cujo by Stephen King*

1982: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial by William Kotzwinkle

1983: The Color Purple by Alice Walker*

1984: The Sicilian by Mario Puzo*

1985: Secrets by Danielle Steel*

1986: The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy*

1987: Patriot Games by Tom Clancy*

1988: The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice*

1989: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie*

1990: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

1991: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien*

1992: Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan*

1993: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller*

1994: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt*

1995: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

1996: The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard*

1997: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier*

1998: Paradise by Toni Morrison*

1999: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling*

2000: The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks*

2001: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen*

2002: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold*

2003: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown*

2004: The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom*

2005: The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd*

2006: Marley & Me by John Grogan*

2007: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling*

2008: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer*

2009: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult*

2010: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson*

2011: The Help by Kathryn Stockett*

2012: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James*

2013: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn*

2014: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green*

2015: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins*

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 November 2016 )

Word of the Week

Lambent (adjective) Dealing lightly and gracefully with a subject.  Brilliantly playful.  Exhibiting lightness or brilliance of wit.  Clever or witty without unkindness.  There are many lambent stories to be found at the Library!


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