Popular Amazon Purchases, July 2010 – Jan 2011

It’s been a while since I rounded up popular Amazon purchases bought through the links on this site, so let’s do one now. The last one I did was July 1, 2010, so I’ll go from that point up to yesterday.

The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

The most popular title purchased was The Last Samurai, and obviously these purchases were made because that was the book I did as an online group read for the fall of 2010. And if you look at what we said about that book, I think we can conclude that this was money well spent.

Interestingly, Your Face Tomorrow was a popular sale through this site during the first half of 2010, when I did an online group read of that book. So it looks like these things result in a slight sales bump for the books involved.

A Naked Singularity

Next up in terms of sales is the self-published novel A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava. These sales obviously go back to a very enthusiastic review/endorsement that we ran in The Quarterly Conversation. Here’s part of Scott Bryan Wilson’s ecstatic praise:

It’s one of those fantastic, big, messy books like Darconville’s Cat or Infinite Jest or Women and Men, though it’s not really like any of those books or those writers. Evan Dara’s The Lost Scrapbook and The Easy Chain are perhaps the most apt comparisons, though the heavy use of dialogue will of course bring William Gaddis to mind as well. (I mean messy as a compliment: books that just fill themselves with facts and stories and subplots and digressions and in doing so create a much richer reading experience than novels which only include the details necessary to move the plot forward.) But see here: I refuse to divulge too much of the plot, because watching it unfold is one of the great joys of the novel.

Zone by Mathias Enard

Next is the notorious one-sentence monster French novel, Zone. As I tend to champion a high modernist/postmodernist aesthetic here, this is a book that clearly strikes a chord with many readers of this site. That contributed to the sale, as well as my interview with the book’s translator, Charlotte Mandell.

The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Avaro Mutis

The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll is a classic title that I love. Being a great book is obviously part of the story here, but the larger part is Damion Searls’ list of his ten favorite NYRB Classics, which I published on the site last fall and of which Maqroll is one.

The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich

I’m not quite sure what the vector was here. I did mention The Orange Eats Creeps when it was published, but I didn’t do something out of the ordinary, as for the above titles. I think this is simply a matter of the book sounding hugely interesting to readers of this site, as well as the intro penned by lauded experimentalist Scott Erickson.

The Rest

There were a bunch more titles with roughly similar sales, all interesting books that I’ve called out on this site in the past six months, though books that I did not go into in particular detail here (though I might have for a good number of them if things had happened differently). Here are some of them: Nox by Anne Carson; The Black Minutes by Martin Solares; All a Novelist Needs: Colm Tóibín on Henry James; “A” by Louis Zukofsky; The House of Ulysses by Julian Rios.

You can see popular purchases in previous roundups at this link.



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