I think anyone who follows this blog with any regularity knows that A Naked Singularity, just released by the University of Chicago Press, began its trip from self-published book to local bestseller thanks to Scott Bryan Wilson’s TQC review.
Local bestseller? you say. Correct. I’ve now learned that the novel has debuted as the sixth bestselling title at Chicago independent bookstore The Book Table. And given that it takes sixth place behind soft-core pornography for suburban housewives and two prestige titles from large New York presses—i.e. titles it’ll be all-but-impossible to beat—I’m essentially calling this the number one slot. In any event, softcore porn and Yiyun Li—esteemed company indeed!—Sergio De La Pava must feel as though he’s made it.
That’s pretty impressive for a book that was an Xlibris title not too long ago. It wil be fun watching just how high this book can climb. And it’s an interesting illustration of how much a solid review and a stellar press can matter in this brave new age of ebooks and rampant experimentation with self-publishing. Having a good press behind you definitely does matter. Make no mistake, this book never would have reached the audience it’s reaching without the hard work of the very savvy people at U of C.
All that said, I suppose now is the fitting time to tell everyone that I’ve decided to make A Naked Singularity the Big Read for the summer. If you recall back to the Life A User’s Manual Read, Naked Singularity came very close to being the big read for that slot. I’ve long thought it would make a great title for this kind of a group read, and, given the book’s mounting success and this site’s involvement in it, now is the obvious time. The read will start in June. Schedule, etc to come soon.