Hit Lit by James Hall

58%

13 Critic Reviews

Hall's attempts to reason out why we love what we love (and why it sells) often seem to merit an adjective more usually lobbed at the fiction he writes about--superficial.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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.

 

About James Hall

See more books from this Author
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.
 
Published April 10, 2012 by Random House. 336 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Education & Reference, History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Bookmark Counts:
2
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Hit Lit
All: 13 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Mar 15 2012

Referential and cleverly elucidated, the book raises many good points about the precise methodology of bestselling novels—Hall’s own work included.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by PW on May 28 2012

Hall's attempts to reason out why we love what we love (and why it sells) often seem to merit an adjective more usually lobbed at the fiction he writes about--superficial.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Wall Street Journal

Below average
Reviewed by Dave Shiflett on Apr 13 2012

Mr. Hall, who writes with a light, amused touch, doesn't pay much attention to the literary quality of the books in his survey, and he can sound dismissive of writers who vastly outshine the multimillionaire club.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit | See more reviews from Wall Street Journal

NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Weinman on Apr 17 2012

What Metalious and her kin in best-sellerdom really possess, as Hall explains so well in Hit Lit, is the power to connect with readers through their hearts and guts as much as, if not more than, their minds.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit | See more reviews from NPR

Devourer of Books

Good
Reviewed by Jen on Apr 23 2012

Hit Lit is an endlessly fascinating look at some of the bestselling books of the last century, and how they got that way. Highly recommended

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

Night Owl Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Night Owl on May 03 2012

All I can say is James W. Hall “gets” it and has been generous enough to share it with us.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

Story Treasury

Below average
Reviewed by Story Treasury on Apr 11 2012

A writer’s research should be good, but it’s hard to believe facts are a factor in bestsellers. They add details and they are important. But people don’t read novels to learn.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

Nicki Markus

Below average
Reviewed by Nicki Markus on Mar 25 2012

There was nothing wrong with it as such, but it really didn't inspire me in anyway

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

The Book Garden

Above average
on Mar 17 2012

...I would have loved a broader approach to the topic and not just the focus on American bestsellers, then again maybe such a book is already on the author's to-do list. I certainly wouldn't mind! In short: Revelatory journey into the world of bestsellers!

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

George Kelley

Good
Reviewed by George Kelley on Apr 30 2012

If you’re interested in books and authors who climb to the top of the best sellers’ lists, Hit Lit has plenty of analysis and interesting facts to illustrate how the process works.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

Word Up Nerd Up

Good
Reviewed by Word Nerd on Mar 27 2012

Virtually a book club in a book, Hall’s warm style feels like you are discussing the latest read with your best friend.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

Bonalibro

Above average
on Aug 09 2013

I particularly enjoyed his enlightening opening chapter, in which he writes about the novel’s historical function as a form of popular entertainment.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

Word Nerds

Below average
Reviewed by Stevie Godson on Apr 10 2012

Sometimes fascinating, often predictable, Hit Lit is unfortunately tediously drawn out.

Read Full Review of Hit Lit

Reader Rating for Hit Lit
85%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 24 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

Faye Farrah

Faye Farrah 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Erin Kramer

Erin Kramer 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

×