Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century's Biggest Bestsellers

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Random House Publishing Group, Apr 10, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 336 pages
4 Reviews

DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF WHAT MAKES A MEGA-BESTSELLER IN THIS ENTERTAINING, REVELATORY GUIDE
 
What do Michael Corleone, Jack Ryan, and Scout Finch have in common? Creative writing professor and thriller writer James W. Hall knows. Now, in this entertaining, revelatory book, he reveals how bestsellers work, using twelve twentieth-century blockbusters as case studies—including The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jaws. From tempting glimpses inside secret societies, such as submariners in The Hunt for Red October, and Opus Dei in The Da Vinci Code, to vivid representations of the American Dream and its opposite—the American Nightmare—in novels like The Firm and The Dead Zone, Hall identifies the common features of mega-bestsellers. Including fascinating and little-known facts about some of the most beloved books of the last century, Hit Lit is a must-read for fiction lovers and aspiring writers alike, and makes us think anew about why we love the books we love.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lritchie1150 - LibraryThing

James Hall's review of best-selling American fiction managed to reinvigorate my desire to read bestsellers and understand their common elements. His enthusiasm is catchy and his advice to writers is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cecilturtle - LibraryThing

I thoroughly enjoyed this critical but unpretentious look at popular fiction. Easy to read and to follow, Hall deconstructs some twelve books written in the last 70 years, choosing from different eras ... Read full review

Contents

An Offer You Cant Refuse
3
Hot Buttons
25
The Big Picture
40
The Golden Country
53
Nothing but the Facts Maam
73
Secret Societies
82
Bumpkins Versus Slickers
100
God Is Great or Is He?
120
American DreamAmerican Nightmare
135
A Dozen Mavericks
154
Once Again Quickly
221
Acknowledgments
231
Plot Summaries
239
Index
269
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About the author (2012)

James W. Hall is the author of seventeen novels, four books of poetry, two short-story collections, and a book of essays. He’s also the winner of the Edgar and Shamus awards.

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