Today is a look back twenty-five years and the books selling well in 1997. Often, this type of exercise puts the present and future in perspective. You can draw your own conclusions about what any of this means.
First, the July 13, 1997 New York Times Bestseller List:
- PLUM ISLAND, by Nelson DeMille (Warner)
- SPECIAL DELIVERY, by Danielle Steel (Delacorte)
- FAT TUESDAY, by Sandra Brown (Warner)
- THE PARTNER, by John Grisham (Doubleday)
- UP ISLAND, by Anne Rivers Siddons (HarperCollins)
- CHASING CEZANNE, by Peter Mayle (Knopf)
- LONDON, by Edward Rutherfurd (Crown)
- THE NOTEBOOK, by Nicholas Sparks (Warner) – film adaptation in 2004
- THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER, by Jack Higgins (Putnam)
- PRETEND YOU DON’T SEE HER, by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster)
- OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! by Dr. Seuss (Random House) – 161st week on list
- THE TENTH JUSTICE, by Brad Meltzer (Weisbach/ Morrow)
- COLD MOUNTAIN, by Charles Frazier (Atlantic Monthly) – film adaptation in 2003
- SNOW IN AUGUST, by Pete Hamill (Little, Brown) – film adaptation in 2001
- LOS ALAMOS, by Joseph Kanon (Broadway)
- ANGELA’S ASHES, by Frank McCourt (Scribner) – 43rd week on list, film adaptation in 1999
- INTO THIN AIR, by Jon Krakauer (Villard) – television movie adaptation in 1997
- THE BIBLE CODE, by Michael Drosnin (Simon & Schuster)
- THE PERFECT STORM, by Sebastian Junger (Norton) – film adaptation in 2000
- BRAIN DROPPINGS, by George Carlin (Hyperion)
- THE GIFT OF FEAR, by Gavin de Becker (Little, Brown)
- MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL, by John Berendt (Random House) – 156th week on list, film adaptation in 1997
- JUST AS I AM, by Billy Graham (HarperSanFrancisco/Zondervan)
- THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko (Longstreet)
- CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD: Book 1, by Neale Donald Walsch (Putnam) – film adaptation in 2006
- INTO THE STORM, by Tom Clancy with Fred Franks Jr. (Putnam)
- WITHOUT A DOUBT, by Marcia Clark with Teresa Carpenter (Viking)
- THE DILBERT FUTURE, by Scott Adams (Harper Business)
- UNDERBOSS, by Peter Maas (HarperCollins)
- CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD: Book 2, by Neale Donald Walsch (Hampton Roads)
Christian titles released in 1997 include:
STRENGTH FOR TODAY, by John MacArthur (Crossway)
THE SACRED ROMANCE, by Brent Curtis & John Eldredge (Thomas Nelson)
WON BY LOVE, by Norma McCorvey (Thomas Nelson)
FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE, by Jim Cymbala & Dean Merrill (Zondervan)
WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE? by Philip Yancey (Zondervan)
YOU ARE SPECIAL, by Max Lucado (Crossway)
NICOLAE, by Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye (Tyndale House)
THE TENDER YEARS, by Janette Oke (Bethany House)
ONLY THE RIVER RUNS FREE, by Bodie and Brock Thoene (Thomas Nelson)
THE ATONEMENT CHILD, by Francine Rivers (Tyndale House)
THE SHUNNING, by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House) – film adaptation in 2011
[Arguably the first bestselling Amish fiction release.]
In the fiction and non-fiction lists, it’s interesting to see who are the publishers were and that not all of them are around anymore. But all the Christian publishers are still here today.
I believe all the general market publishers are still around, just absorbed by other entities. See this enormous list of imprints under the Penguin Random House banner…
Warner Books was sold by TimeWarner in 2006 and renamed Grand Central Publishing.
Fun to see I had two on your lists: Just As I Am and Nicolae. And would you believe Nelson DeMille was once the ONLY attendee to my worst book signing ever? His then wife ran a bookstore on Long Island (the day before 9/11) and NO ONE showed up. I heard her pleading with him on the phone to come. And he did.
Wow! Fascinating exercise Mr. Balow. Thank you for taking the time to do this. A snapshot of history concisely packaged all in one place. For aspiring writers, or I suppose any writer for that matter, your list of real books, published books, simultaneously suggest challenge, inspiration, and opportunity – a captivating motivational juxtaposition.
You Sir, just made my morning and my weekend, though my wallet may turn up with a dent in it after benefiting book sellers.
I always find these lists interesting. They provide a chance to see different worldviews. And fun to find the books I have read. To be reminded a book can change my world and the world at large.
Thank you, Dan, for you work on our behalf.
If you are into all things espionage, fact or fiction, then you have probably heard of and read Robert Baer’s compelling novel The Fourth Man by now. It’s bound to become an espionage classic and is of the same quality as Bill Fairclough’s Beyond Enkription or Ben Macintyre’s The Spy and The Traitor which John le Carré described as “the best true spy story I have ever read”. The Fourth Man is about a Russian mole in the CIA. In real life Baer was a CIA case officer. The Spy and The Traitor is about Oleg Gordievsky, the infamous KGB double agent. Need we say more! Beyond Enkription (misspelt intentionally) is a must read for espionage cognoscenti and a fact-based thriller about the first year of a real secret agent’s life working for MI6 and the CIA. The secret agent was of course Bill Fairclough, aka Edward Burlington in The Burlington Files series of stand-alone autobiographical spy novels. No matter whose side you’re on you had best read all three to stay alive!
Wow! They’re amazing book lists. Well, I think I have more books to read now. Thank you, Dan.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Love What’s So Amazing About Grace!!!