After seven years, Aerogramme Writers’ Studio is taking a break and it not currently being updated.

Click here to explore some of our most popular posts.

What Were We Reading 40 Years Ago? 1973′s 10 Bestselling Books

Back in October we shared 1983’s 10 Bestselling Books. The article got a great response so we thought we’d take another look back in time, this time at the bestselling novels in the United States in 1973*.


10. The Honorary Consul by Graham Green

The Honorary Consul is said to have been one of Greene’s favourite books to write. A thriller, the story is set in an unnamed city in northern Argentina near the border with Paraguay. In 1983 a film adaptation was released starring Richard Gere and Michael Caine.

9. The Billion Dollar Sure Thing by Paul. E. Erdman

Paul E. Erdman was one of the United States’ leading business and financial writers. Erdman also founded The Salik Bank in Switzerland. When the bank collapsed he was accused of fraud and spent time in jail awaiting trial. It was while jailed that Erdman wrote The Billion Dollar Sure Thing; a novel about a plot to control the world’s monetary assets.

8. The Matlock Paper by Robert Ludlum

Set in at the fictitious Carlyle University in Connecticut, English Professor James Barbour Matlock is recruited by the Department of Justice to investigate a drug smuggling ring. This was Robert Ludlum’s third suspense novel. He wrote 27 in total, selling over 300 million copies around the world.

7. Evening in Byzantium by Irwin Shaw

Evening in Byzantium is set in Cannes during the film festival.  The protagonist, producer Jesse Craig, in there to sort out the personal and creative tangles of his life. Author Irwin Shaw is best known for his novel The Young Lions (1948) about the fate of three soldiers during World War II. This book was made into a film starring Marlon Brando.

6. The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart

The Hollow Hills was the second in a quintet of novels inspired by the Arthurian Legends and told from the first-person perspective of Merlin. This book covers the time from when Arthur Pendragon was conceived to when he was crowned a king. The Hollow Hills is preceded by The Crystal Cave and followed by The Last Enchantment, The Wicked Day and The Prince and the Pilgrim.

5. Burr by Gore Vidal

File:Burr by Gore Vidal - first edition cover.jpg

Burr was the first sequential novel in Gore Vidal’s seven-volume Narratives of Empire series that spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to the post-World War II years. The story is told as a fictional memoir of Aaron Burr, the United States’ third Vice President.

4. The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth

The Odessa File, first published in 1972, is a thriller about a young German reporter attempting to discover the location of a former SS concentration camp commander. It was loosely adapted into a movie of the same name and led the the exposure of the real-life ‘Butcher of Riga’, Eduard Roschmann (Roschmann was identified and denounced by a man who had just watched The Odessa File at the cinema).

3. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Upon publication of this Vonnegut’s eighth novel, the New York Times said “You have to hand it to Kurt Vonnegut Jr . .  . he performs considerable complex magic. He makes pornography seem like any old plumbing, violence like lovemaking, innocence like evil, and guilt like child’s play. He wheels out all the latest fashionable complaints about America–her racism, her gift for destroying language, her technological greed and selfishness–and makes them seem fresh, funny, outrageous, hateful, and lovable, all at the same time.”

2. Once Is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann

Jacqueline Sussan is best known for her cult classic Valley of the Dolls published in 1966. Once Is Not Enough is set in the fast paced world of the entertainment industry. While derided by critics, Once Is Not Enough became Susann’s third consecutive novel to reach the number one spot on the New York Times best-seller list, the first time any author had accomplished this feat. The novel would be Susann’s last great success; the year after its publication the author died of breast cancer.

1. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagul was first publisehd in 1970. Within two years over a million copies were in print. The book, a fable about a seagull learning about life and flight, held the number one stop on the New York Times Bestseller List for 38 weeks and was the bestselling book in the United States in both 1972  and 1973.


* Data Source: Publishers Weekly.


Leave a Reply