We hop back into our “way-back machine” for our twice yearly trip to the past and see what books were selling before I started losing my hair and life was comparatively simple.
January 6, 1985…thirty years ago today, here are the New York Times bestseller lists:
- The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub. (Viking)
- The Sicilian, by Mario Puzo. (Linden Press/ Simon & Schuster)
- Love and War, by John Jakes. (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)
- The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz, by Joan Rivers. (Delacorte)
- So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish, by Douglas Adams. (Harmony)
- Nutcracker, by E. T. A. Hoffmann. (Crown) With illustrations by Maurice Sendak.
- The Fourth Protocol, by Frederick Forsyth. (Viking)
- . . . and Ladies of The Club, by Helen Hooven Santmyer. (Putnam)
- Lincoln, by Gore Vidal. (Random House)
- God Knows, by Joseph Heller. (Knopf)
- Strong Medicine, by Arthur Hailey. (Doubleday)
- Life Its Ownself, by Dan Jenkins. (Simon & Schuster)
- Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins. (Bantam)
- Illusions of Love, by Cynthia Freeman. (Putnam)
- The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss. (Random House)
- Iacocca: An Autobiography, by Lee Iacocca with William Novak. (Bantam)
- Pieces of My Mind, by Andrew A. Rooney. (Atheneum)
- Loving Each Other, by Leo Buscaglia. (Slack/Holt, Rinehart & Winston)
- The Good War, by Studs Terkel. (Pantheon)
- Hey, Wait a Minute, I Wrote a Book! by John Madden with Dave Anderson. (Villard Books)
- Burns’ Prescription For Happiness, by George Burns. (Putnam)
- Moses The Kitten, by James Herriot. (St. Martin’s)
- The Bridge Across Forever, by Richard Bach. (Morrow)
- Heritage, by Abba Eban. (Summit)
- Elvis Is Dead And I Don’t Feel So Good Myself, by Lewis Grizzard. (Peachtree Publishers)
- A Light In The Attic, by Shel Silverstein. (Harper & Row)
- The Brain, by Richard M. Restak. (Bantam)
- Son Of The Morning Star, by Evan S. Connell. (North Point Press)
- The Weaker Vessel, by Antonia Fraser. (Knopf)
- One Writer’s Beginnings, by Eudora Welty. (Harvard)
1984 had its very own book title…George Orwell’s dystopian work first published in 1949 was intriguing in it’s day and a little ahead of it’s time.
Two books published during 1984 were mega-hits over the next 30 years…You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay has sold around 35 million copies and What to Expect When You Are Expecting has sold 20 million.
For the Christian market, here are the January 1985 bestseller lists of Bibles and books in Christian bookstores, courtesy of the Christian Booksellers Association: (Current bestseller lists here http://cbanews.org/category/bestsellers/)
- King James Version (Various Publishers)
- New International Version (Zondervan)
- The Living Bible/The Book (Tyndale)
- The Open Bible (Nelson)
- New American Standard (Moody, Nelson, Riverside, Holman, Cambridge)
- New King James Version (Nelson)
- Thompson, Chain Reference (Kirkbride, Zondervan)
- Good News Bible (Nelson, ABS, Broadman)
- Scofield Reference Bible (Oxford)
- Ryrie Study Bible (Moody)
- Revised Standard Version (Zondervan, Nelson, Oxford, Holman, Riverside)
- Love Must Be Tough, by James Dobson (Word)
- Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, by Charles Swindoll (Multnomah)
- Answers to 200 of Life’s Most Probing Questions, by Pat Robertson, (Thomas Nelson)
- Loving God, by Charles Colson (Zondervan)
- Beyond Reason, by Pat Robertson (William Morrow & Co)
- Improving Your Serve, by Charles Swindoll (Word)
- Strengthening Your Grip, by Charles Swindoll (Word)
- David, by Marie Rothenberg and Mel White (Fleming H. Revell)
- Irregular People, by Joyce Landorf (Word)
- Dropping Your Guard, by Charles Swindoll (Word)
- Free to be Thin, by Neva Coyle and Marie Chapian (Bethany House)
- The Strong Willed Child, by James Dobson (Tyndale House)
- Preparing for Adolescence, by James Dobson (Vision House/ Bantam)
- Dare to Discipline, by James Dobson (Tyndale House/ Bantam)
- The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges (NavPress)
- Act of Marriage, by Tim and Beverly LaHaye (Zondervan)
- Healing for Damage Emotions, by David Seamands (Victor Books)
- Let’s Make a Memory, by Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson (Word)
- Strike the Original Match, by Charles Swindoll (Multnomah)
- Hind’s Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard (Tyndale House)
Any of the above had an impact on your life?
Good morning Dan! Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane.
I lived in Georgia thirty years ago and loved Lewis Grizzard. He always made me laugh. (And sometimes gasp, too.)
I didn’t know David Seamands then, but when I moved to Wilmore, KY we became friends. He was such a kind and wonderful man. His legacy lives on with his amazing family.
Thanks for sharing, and I hope you have a great day!
Just had an impact. Makes me wonder if I should take on a pseudonym like Charles, James, etc. Hmmmm….
Wow, I counted 13 on the Christian books list that I still have on my shelf and have had some impact on my life. So thankful for those who have built into my life through their writing and ministries. Thanks
Irregular People impacted me deeply. As an abandoned daughter, I continually sought emotionally unavailable men to fill the gaps my dad left. I didn’t have a relationship with Christ then and I didn’t know it was considered a Christian book. It’s a blessing to read the list today and see how God was loving me 30 years ago!
Hinds Feet on High Places had and still has a profound effect on my life. Especially the parts about altar building and surrender…
I was certainly influenced by Bach’s work; my writing shows some definite forensic reminders, and I am not unhappy with that.
It’s interesting to note that “The Bridge Across Forever” marked something of a watershed in Bach’s writing. The subsequent books were very different in feel and character, and I think it would be instructive for anyone who’s interested in the individual evolution of style to read his books in chronological order.
In 1985 I wasn’t yet a believer. That wouldn’t happen until late the following year. So most of the names on the CBA lists were unknown to me, although I would eventually read some of them (Swindoll, Dobson) later on, as I learned how to walk this new path on wobbly legs.
I do remember reading “…And Ladies of the Club” and “Jitterbug Perfume” on the train to and from my job in downtown Chicago. And I read “One Writer’s Beginnings” even though THIS writer wouldn’t “begin” for another twenty years or so.
Thanks for the memories!
Sandy Faye Mauck
Oh, yes big impacts. Dare to Discipline, Hind’s Feet, Irregular people were powerful in my life. And Free to be Thin actually worked!! Of course the only one we really need, that brought me life is the Bible (KJV) Thompson Chain.
I loved this post, Dan. And reading a number of familiar titles. I wasn’t aware of them the year they came out (I didn’t need parenting books back then, and I wasn’t aware of Chuck Swindoll yet), but I’ve read most of them since then, and have a number of these titles on our book shelves.
The Bible has had the biggest impact on my life. I began reading the NIV around that time. Hinds Feet had a huge impact for me. Realizing that it’s a choice to be a living sacrifice, and that life would be peaks and valleys as I walked with Jesus? It all made sense when I read that book. I still think on the visual of crawling off the altar. Or choosing not to. 🙂
I loved this walk down memory lane. 🙂
Wow, hard to believe it’s been thirty years since some of those titles debuted. I remember my mom going on and on about Jitterbug Perfume. My husband and I were fairly new in our Christian walk about then, but we bought a Thompson Chain Reference Bible, and it remains our most marked up, color-coded, note deluged Bible to this day. I have several of the other titles still on our shelves, but that Bible had the biggest impact.
This list brings back some great memories! I still have my collection of Hannah Hurnard’s books. (I am thinking I need to go back and re-read them!) I still prefer King James or New King James because that is what I grew up reading, even though I use others for reference for more difficult passages.
I didn’t read Shel Silverstein’s books in 1984, but they became very beloved in my daughters’ libraries several years later.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
LOL, the only one I read was Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.
That was back when I was a Vonnegut fan too.