‘Tis the season for buying gifts, and books are among the best gifts out there! (So sayeth the book lover). If you go on Amazon (which got its start as an online bookseller back in 1994) and look for best-selling book suggestions, you’ll see something like this:

21st century books

 

But what did readers – and those who loved them – choose from in the 1890s? How did they decide? Obviously, there were no internet recommendations to consult. They relied upon ads in magazines and newspapers, recommendations from friends, or their corner bookshop proprietor. Not so different from today, if you think about it. The ad below gives us an idea of some of the hot books of the time:

1895 chromolithograph, Armstrong & Co, Boston. Image via wikimedia commons.

You’d better know your Latin numerals! 1895 chromolithograph, Armstrong & Co, Boston. Image via wikimedia commons.

 

Famous authors often put out new pieces around the holidays, too. These days, we have Grisham and Patterson. In the late-19th century, readers had Mark Twain:

Cover of the New York World, Christmas 1899. Image via wikimedia commons.

Cover of the New York World, Christmas 1899. Image via wikimedia commons.

Nothing says “Christmas” like “My First Lie and How I Got Out of It.”

 

Perhaps a magazine subscription for the avid reader in your life? But the December 1893 issue of The Strand Magazine is when Doyle kills off the Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Sorry folks, Holmes is dead. Oh well…Merry Christmas!

 

The Strand, December 1893. Image via wikimedia commons.

The Strand, December 1893. Image via wikimedia commons.

Do you give books or magazines as gifts? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

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