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Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century's Biggest Bestsellers - James W. Hall Loved it, just loved it. Although this book is not for everyone, it was right down my alley.

When I find a writer I enjoy, even before the end of the book, I'm looking up who he/she is, where they're from, their education and background, other books they've written and anything else I can find out about them.

Knowing this is a personal defect of mine due to my background in newspaper/radio and communications, I enjoy reading about the writer and all the sidebars and backstories I can locate. So this book into that territory as a backstory of sorts on bestsellers.

I can say, too, that I simply love Dr. James W. Hall's writing. It's clear, concise, entertaining and from time to time humorous. I've read everything he's written, including his poetry and I'm much lacking in that area. However, it was written by Hall, so I read it.

Hit Lit is the culmination of classes he's taught on bestsellers at Florida International University in Miami. He's given credit to his students for a lot of the work and effort they've made in coming up with the list and the 'common threads' that weave through the list of the 12 bestsellers named. Hall is anything but an egotist, he gives credit where credit's due to his students, his friend and fellow author Les Standiford and a number of others notes in the book.

It was so interesting to me to see those commonalities in the 12 books, although some were, in my mind, somewhat of a stretch. The one book that seems to be highlighted more than the others was Gone With the Wind, which I read just last summer so it was fresh on my mind.

He clearly described why he chose the 12 books he called 'best sellers on steroids.' Because of their publication date, readers today probably never heard of some of them nor read them. And a couple even surprised me as bestsellers. Who would have thought Jaws would be on the list and have something in common with Gone With the Wind? Or Stephen King's, The Dead Zone? Or The Exorcist?

While reading, I was thinking about this review and underlined many passages and quotes that I was going to use. But in the end, glancing through the book, the review would have been made up of nothing but quotes.

One of his past students, Christine Kling, a published writer (just finished her first book) was quoted about Hall's bestseller class: "I kept quiet about the books I really loved---the guilty-pleasure books by Stephen King, John D. MacDonald, Hammond Innes, and the like. They were books to be gobbled up, not savored. I recognized that the books I loved transported me to other worlds in ways that good literature often did not. In the "good reads," the proscenium of the physical book disappeared and the "I" ceased to exist. Losing myself in the story like that was pure incomprehensible magic." Much like I feel when I'm reading some of my favorite writers.

I've got many of these bestsellers on my shelf now, waiting for the moment when I want to read some great literature...and one or two I need to re-read.

This book will make me a far better reader and has indeed taken away that feeling of guilt that I have when I pick up a book of mystery, my favorite genre, which never cracked the bestseller list. Well worth a read from the norm for me.

I was so looking forward to reading this book and enjoyed reading the forward so much, that I purposely jumped the gun and wrote about it before I was even 1/8 through the book. Leaving this as a reminder to me of how much I was looking forward to reading Hit Lit by Dr. James W. Hall, one of my favorite authors.

Yahoo! Just got it in the mail and read the first part of the foreward. It's going to be great...and had to share a couple of comments from Dr. Hall's forward:

"While books are savored alone, they grant you membership into the most facinating club I know: fellow readers. Fellow voyagers into the vast uncharted water of imaginative literature."

And "robust characters who magically migrated from the page and took up residence inside me, who became as real and gut-wrenching as any humans I'd ever met."

I'm going to enjoy, really enjoy this one! Always enjoyed Jim Hall's writing, too. He's really special. Read preface but started today, May 25.