We’re all familiar with the term “one hit wonder” and how it’s generally employed; we know it’s used to signify a song (or a band) whose rise to prominence is often meteoric, yet fails to last longer than a single, bright flame in the annals of cultural history. We understand one hit wonders as things like Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” or Len’s “Steal My Sunshine,” but can we take that paradigm and apply it to other mediums? What about literature? We know we’re damn well going to try, which is why we here at Goliath have rounded up 10 beloved authors and their respective novels, all of whom were “one and done” when it came to their big hits (although as we will see, there’s most definitely some leeway in this discussion. Just look at #10…).
10. Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Had this article been written last year, Harper Lee would’ve almost certainly clocked in at #1. Her novel To Kill a Mockingbird (published in 1960) is one of the most ubiquitous novels in the history of American literature; it’s taught in classrooms worldwide, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and its universal themes of acceptance and morality are translatable both through culture and through time, giving it incredible staying power. The novel also had the distinction of being the only one ever published by Lee, until this year’s curious publication of Go Set a Watchman, a supposed sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird that is so starkly different from the original that many questioned whether Lee was sound of mind when the text was published. We’re putting Lee at #10 on this list because we feel like even though she has now technically published two novels, the debate surrounding this extremely unorthodox publication has been too captivating not to address.