What were they reading?: Bestsellers from 1930-2000

Here's a sampling of No. 1 bestsellers from the past eight decades – all worthy additions to this summer's reading list.

2. From 1940: "How Green Was My Valley" by Richard Llewellyn


Later adapted as a popular movie directed by John Ford, with a breakout performance by a young Roddy McDowall, this winning novel portrays life in a Welsh mining community before environmental abuses darken the landscape beyond repair. Llewellyn’s tone alternates beautifully between the lyrical and elegiac, with the book’s title, rendered notably in the past tense, as a reminder that some gifts of nature, once abused, can never return.

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