Midweek @ Musings: Reading from the Week I was Born

Last weekend there was an interesting meme going around LibraryThing, with members comparing the New York Times bestseller lists from the week of their birth.  I couldn’t resist generating my list to see what was popular — at least in the United States — way back when.  It’s also interesting to put the country’s popular reading in a cultural and historic context.  Here’s a snapshot of notable events from February 1962, in the weeks just before and after my birth (thanks, Wikipedia!):

  • February 3: The United States embargo against Cuba is announced.
  • February 4: The Sunday Times in the United Kingdom becomes the first paper to print a colour supplement.
  • February 14: First Lady of the United States Jacqueline Kennedy takes television viewers on a tour of the White House.
  • February 20: While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth, three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes.
  • February 21: Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev first dance together in a Royal Ballet performance of Giselle in London.
  • February 28: The Beatles appear at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, along with Gerry & the Pacemakers and Johnny Sandon and the Searchers

And these are the New York Times Best Sellers for Week Ending 18/02/1962, the week I was born:

Go here to create your own list.  Note that if you were born before 1950, you will get a list for the year, not the week.

FICTION

  1. FRANNY AND ZOOEY J.D. Salinger
  2. THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY Irving Stone
  3. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Harper Lee
  4. A PROLOGUE TO LOVE Taylor Caldwell
  5. DAUGHTER OF SILENCE Morris L. West
  6. LITTLE ME Patrick Dennis
  7. CHAIRMAN OF THE BORED Edward Streeter
  8. THE IVY TREE Mary Stewart
  9. SPIRIT LAKE MacKinlay Kantor
  10. THE CARPETBAGGERS Harold Robbins
  11. CAPTAIN NEWMAN M.D., Leo Calvin Rosten
  12. KIRKLAND REVELS Victoria Holt
  13. TWILIGHT OF HONOR Al Dewlen
  14. THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY Sheila Burnford
  15. THE JUDAS TREE A.J. Cronin
  16. A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME Anthony Powell

NONFICTION

  1. MY LIFE IN COURT Louis Nizer
  2. CALORIES DON’T COUNT Herman Taller
  3. THE MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT 1960 Theodore H. White
  4. LIVING FREE Joy Adamson
  5. THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH William L. Shirer
  6. A NATION OF SHEEP William J. Lederer
  7. MY SABER IS BENT Jack Paar
  8. BEFORE I SLEEP James Monahan
  9. THE GUNS OF AUGUST Barbara W. Tuchman
  10. CIA: THE INSIDE STORY Andrew Tully
  11. THE COMING FURY Bruce Catton
  12. CITIZEN HEARST W.A. Swanberg
  13. THE LAST PLANTAGENETS Thomas B. Costain
  14. PT 109 Robert J. Donovan
  15. I SHOULD HAVE KISSED HER MORE Alexander King

Well. I’ve read one of these:  To Kill a Mockingbird, which has clearly stood the test of time.  Others, less so (anyone read or remember Calories don’t Count?)

On LibraryThing, one of my friends immediately jumped into the discussion, recommending A Dance to the Music of Time so highly, she’s convinced me to read it.  Luckily my library has it, and its sequels.

What else have I missed?  What do you recommend from this list?

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8 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: Reading from the Week I was Born

  1. ‘Calories Don’t Count’ sounds like a cry from the desperate. I am here to tell you that calories do count and if you forget that you will soon be a lot bigger than you were before! I will have to look this up, although in my case I’m going to get a year rather than a week. I think you were rather lucky with your birthdate in as much as living through the Bay of Pigs was no fun, but you missed out on the Beatles’ Years and that is a shame.

  2. That was fun, I put one out, too! I’m jealous, though, because my list only showed 9 fiction and 10 non-fiction titles.

    I’ve only heard of the first three on your fiction list, but I agree that To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern classic.

  3. I was just preparing to enter college that year and was reading a lot because I knew I wouldn’t get to do much for the next four years. I enjoyed “Franny and Zooey”, really liked “Spirit Lake”, and Stone’s book about Michelangelo started me on some measure of art appreciation.

  4. I really enjoyed THE AGONY AND THE ECSTACY. Read it prior to my trip to Florence and it really made Michealangelo come alive. I have Franny and Zooey on my shelf (haven’t read it yet) but have heard it’s good. I think THE MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT won an award (Pulitzer?) and RISE AND FALL OF THE 3RD REICH is a notable one (not that I’ve read it or want to).

    Anyway, this is fun. The No1 bestseller fiction my week was THE COVENANT by Michener. On the nonfiction list was the Betty Crocker cookbook, which I have a copy of…(at least, a reprint lol)

    • Thanks Rebecca. I might just have to read the Irving Stone someday. And I think I received that Betty Crocker Cookbook as a wedding gift in 1983!

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