Bestseller Time Capsule

by Lindsey A.

A few months ago I discovered a website (it’s not pretty) that lists past New York Times Best Sellers by week. What this generates is a literary time capsule from the time you were born.

I turn 36 next month, specifically on July 31. I’m an Eighties baby, raised on a diet of Care Bears, My Little Pony, and She-Ra, with the freedom to spend my days exploring the world in the company of other kids.

I haven’t read many books published in the 1980s, though, at least not many bestselling books. Jeffrey Archer’s Prodigal Daughter tops the list, and I recognize many fiction authors still popular today, but among the bestselling nonfiction gems from the week of July 25 are “Jane Fonda‘s Workout Book,” “Richard Simmons‘ Never-Say-Diet Cookbook” (I’m sensing a theme here), and “How to Make Love to a Woman” by Michael Morgenstern (which sounds… awful). The only book I’ve read from this list is A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, which is pretty much required reading for any fourth grader being introduced to poetry. (For the record, Diary of a Wimpy Kid has forever changed my view of Shel.)

When I look at the entire year, 1982 actually brought us some excellent reading, from modern classics like The Color Purple and The House of Spirits to fantasy and historical epics. I guess the year of my birth wasn’t all about Fonda’s leggings and Simmons’ hot pants!

How about you? What were the bestselling books in the week you were born?

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Comments

13 responses to “Bestseller Time Capsule”

  1. Jackie P. says:

    I’m surprised to have some authors who are still big (some albeit dead); The Bourne Identity by Ludlum was number one on the week of my birth in 1980! Also featuring huge authors like Judith Krantz, Belva Plain, Jeffrey Archer, P.D. James, John le Carre, Dick Francis and non-fiction by G. Gordon Liddy, Phil Donahue, Bob Woodward, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Richard Nixon. However, the book I’m most interested in reading off the bestseller list that week is Erma Bombeck‘s Aunt Erma’s Cope Book which is annotated, “How to get from Monday to Friday … in 12 days.” WHICH, astonishingly, Sno-Isle Libraries owns on ebook!

    • Lindsey A. says:

      I just read the description of Aunt Erma’s Cope Book. “One book recommends bringing roleplay into the bedroom, so she dresses up in her son’s football pads.” Oh boy… :’D

  2. Liz K. says:

    You have no idea how oddly happy it makes me to see “Mommie Dearest,” by Christina Crawford on my list. So. Happy. Coincidentally, it is also the only book (other than a much newer addition of “Linda Goodman‘s Love Signs”) on my week’s lists that I’ve read!

  3. Janet Raynor says:

    Ooh, I got some good ones.

    Michael Crichton‘s Andromeda Strain
    Vonnegut‘s Slaughterhouse Five
    and The Godfather

    (I am old)

  4. Julie says:

    This is a really fun website. It’s giving me a lot of gift ideas. My list includes a lot of goodies! Cider House Rules, The Hunt for Red October, and Thinner, on the Fiction side. And My Mother’s Keeper by B.D. Hyman (Bette Davis’ daughter) and A Light in the Attic 🙂

    • Jackie P. says:

      Oh, that’s an interesting take on it, Julie! I hadn’t thought of gifting someone a book from their bestseller week, but it’s a great idea!

    • Lindsey A. says:

      I love that there are memoirs from both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s daughters in these comments. How perfect!

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