15 March 2013

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Top 5 Bestselling Novels Of All Time

When it comes to the top bestselling novels of all time, the British have the edge with three out of the five novels selling 100 million copies or more. It's clear from looking over the list what the public loves: big sprawling stories with large casts of characters, fantasy and whodunits. Read on for descriptions of the books that still outsell even J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown today.

2011_12_260052_2h The Hobbit

When it comes to the top bestselling novels of all time, the British have the edge with three out of the five novels selling 100 million copies or more. It's clear from looking over the list what the public loves: big sprawling stories with large casts of characters, fantasy and whodunits. Read on for descriptions of the books that still outsell even J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown today.

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)
Taken as a series rather than individual books, Tolkien's wildly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy outsells the stand-alone prequel, but "The Hobbit" has sold more copies individually than any one book in the trilogy. This is another beloved classic, a fantasy about a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who is fetched from his home in the peaceful Shire by the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves to steal gold from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo has a series of adventures that make him realize that as much as he loves the comforts of home, he also adores the open road. The book also sets in motion the events that lead to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens (1859)
Dickens may be studied in schools and universities today, but he was the consummate populist storyteller during his lifetime in the 19th century with most of his novels running as magazine serials that the public eagerly followed in the same way they devour popular television shows today. "A Tale of Two Cities" is the story of a former French aristocrat, Charles Darnay, and an English barrister, Sydney Carton, and their lives leading up to and during the French revolution.

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)
The Little Prince is a French classic but translated into hundreds of languages and beloved throughout the world. Written by a pilot who vanished on a mission during World War II shortly after the novel's publication, "The Little Prince" is the story of an aviator stranded in the Sahara desert who meets a little prince who goes on to tell the remarkable story of his life. Born on an asteroid, the little prince traveled from planet to planet having a series of adventures that he shares throughout the following days as the pilot attempts to repair his plane. The novel is a delightful allegorical fable for readers of all ages.

Dream of the Red Chamber, by Cao Xeuqin (18th century)
Though it's far less familiar to Western readers than the other novels on this list, Dream of the Red Chamber is a classic of Chinese literature. It's a semi-autobiographical sprawling saga about the Chia family and the Qing dynasty with a huge cast of characters. Much praised for its acute psychological insights and portrait of the intricacies of Chinese social structures, it is also sometimes known as The Story of the Stone.

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie (1939)
While neither Hercule Poirot nor the shrewd Miss Marple make an appearance in this novel by the queen of crime fiction, this is nevertheless her most popular novel. It's a dark tale of ten people invited to a weekend at an island where they are induced to reveal their deepest secrets and then killed off one by one.

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About Today's Guest Writer:
Library assistant Donna Gant has loved books since she was able to read the words on the page. She enjoys writing about her favorite authors as well as best sellers in different genres. Donna has also contributed to How Do I Become a Library Assistant? for others who may want to turn their love of books into a career.

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