It’s been 108 years since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series — an event which occurred in the early hours of this morning. Now we can all relax (as soon as the election is over, anyway). Typically enough the Wikipedia article on the World Series has already been updated.

108 years ago the world was a very different place; in the book world as well. The top ten bestselling books of 1908 were:

  • Mr Crewe’s Career by Winston Churchill
  • The Barrier by Rex Beach
  • The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox, Jr.
  • The Lure of the Mask by Harold MacGrath
  • The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Peter by F. Hopkinson Smith
  • Lewis Rand by Mary Johnston
  • The Black Bag by Louis J. Vance
  • The Man from Brodney’s by George Barr McCutcheon
  • The Weavers by Gilbert Parker
Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

I suspect it’s a safe bet that very few of us have read any of these books — even any book by one of these authors. I have heard of Frances Hodgson Burnett, Gilbert Parker, and Winston Churchill: the latter mainly perhaps because he’s not the Winston Churchill we all know. The one who was the WWII Prime Minister was also a best-selling author: he has 11 entries in the annual best-seller lists as against 13 for the (now) lesser known writer. He didn’t crack the top-ten listing till 1941.

When they have calmed down, maybe bibliophilic Cubs fans can celebrate the passage of 108 years by reading these ten books — they are all available free as e-books on Amazon.

Later: I’m not the only one to think along these lines: here’s The Literary Hub‘s piece.