Daniel Immerwahr has compiled a remarkable list of the bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and historically significant or critically acclaimed books published each year in the United States in the twentieth century.
from Michael Korda, Making the List: A Cultural History of the American Bestseller, 1900–1999:
The bestseller list […] presents us with a kind of corrective reality. It tells us what we’re actually reading (or, at least what we’re actually buying) as opposed to what we think we ought to be reading, or would like other people to believe we’re buying. Like stepping on the scales, it tells us the truth, however unflattering, and is therefore, taken over the long haul, a pretty good way of assessing our culture and of judging how, if any, we have changed.