Best-Selling Novels of 1896

Suggest and discuss books to read (all languages welcome!)
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Post by ColleenMc » December 30th, 2018, 12:49 pm


1. Tom Grogan by Francis Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915)

Novel. From the Wikipedia description: "Tom Grogan was a stevedore, who died from the effects of an injury. With a family to support, his widow conceals the fact of her husband's death, saying that he is sick in a hospital, that she may assume both his name and business. She is thenceforth known to all as 'Tom Grogan'. A sturdy, cheery, capable Irishwoman, she carries on the business with an increasing success, which arouses the jealous opposition of some rival stevedores and walking delegates of the labor union, which she has refused to join.
The story tells how, with marvelous pluck, Tom meets all the contemptible means which her enemies employ in order to down her, they resorting even to the law, blackmail, arson, and attempted murder."

Smith has 28 works on Project Gutenberg, but only 1 full length book and several short stories/excerpts are on Librivox to date.

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on Francis Hopkinson Smith:
Wikipedia article on Tom Grogan:

2. A Lady of Quality by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Already on Librivox, one version.

3. The Seats of the Mighty by Gilbert Parker

Already on Librivox, one version.

4. A Singular Life by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward (1844-1911)

Religious novel. From the Wikipedia description: "The book was published in a period when Americans were exploring how the teachings of Jesus Christ could be applied to daily life. Several books considering the question were published in 1890s. A Singular Life, in this vein, features a protagonist named Emanuel Bayard who pursues Jesus-inspired humanitarianism by forsaking ties to his orthodox church. Among Bayard's projects is positively influencing a prostitute named Magdalena (or "Lena") to become more respectable and use her talent for singing for a better purpose. When he suggests she pursue a new career, specifically household service, she balks and refuses the stereotypical domestic role and instead works for a gunpowder factory.

Ward's books, including A Singular Life and her previous books like The Story of Avis, depicted attempts at social utopias as she demonstrated a focus on women's needs and a hope that men and women could live together equitably."

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward:
Wikipedia article on A Singular Life:

5. The Damnation of Theron Ware by Harold Frederic

Already on Librivox, one version.

6. A Houseboat on the Styx by John Kendrick Bangs

Already on Librivox, one version.

7. Kate Carnegie by Ian MacLaren (1850-1907) (AKA Kate Carnegie and Those Ministers)

Couldn't find a plot description of this one, but it's MacLaren's third top-ten bestseller between 1895 and 1896!

Text link (Project Gutenberg):
Wikipedia article on MacLaren:

8. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Already on Librivox, two versions.

9. Sentimental Tommy by J.M. Barrie

Already on Librivox, one version.

10. Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush by Ian MacLaren

Book of short stories, was also on the 1895 list.

Text link (Project Gutenberg):


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