How bestsellers reveal American
Whats scandalous in one
generation is commonplace in the next (and sometimes vice versa).
And for readers, novels always bring back personal memories as
well, said John Unsworth, co-curator of the Rave Reviews
exhibit and director of the Institute for Advanced Technology
in the Humanities.
often mirror American culture, showcasing societys longings,
values and morals. Bestsellers can also bring about change in
thought, social practices and deals. This exhibition, Rave
Reviews: Bestselling Fiction in America, explores American
reading habits and chronicles the development of the bestseller.
books and other period objects are on display through June 10
in Alderman Librarys McGregor Room. Most of the items are
from the librarys Lillian Gary Taylor Collection of Popular
American Fiction from 1752 through 1950.
the highlights is the first book to sell over 1 million copies
in a short time, Margaret Mitchells Gone With the Wind (1936),
displayed with the first American bestseller, Harriet Beecher
Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin (1852). Works from contemporary
authors Jan Karon, Stephen King and John Grisham represent current
online exhibition, at www.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/rave_reviews,
encourages readers to post their memories and thoughts on popular
fiction and its impact on them.