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Archive for January, 2013

Out of Print Lists

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

To continue my fetish for book lists with a rather unusual entry …

The folks at BookFinder have come up with a decidedly offbeat list for you — it’s the 100 most searched-for out-of-print books. Yes, this is a compilation of the most popular books that you can’t easy locate that people nonetheless are trying to find. When you see the entire list, you may be forgiven for wondering why anyone would want to waste time trying to find one of these books under any circumstances, but then let us remember that we all have our own fetishes.

The number one most searched-for title — betcha’ won’t guess this, either — is Madonna’s “Sex.” Yep, that mostly picture book that most bookstores kept under wraps a few years ago. Apparently while it may have gone out of print it has never gone out of the mind of a lot of people. Number two on the list is the Stephen King/Richard Bachman book “Rage” followed by Nora Roberts’ “My Pretty Pony.” I’m guessing you didn’t guess those two titles either, right?

I don’t have the space or the inclination to publish the complete list (you can find it at BookFinder), but it includes the steamy slavery era novel “Mandingo” by Kyle Onstott, Johnny Cash’s “Man inBlack,” the largely indecipherable “Codex Seraphinianus” by the Italian artist/visionary Luigi Serafini, “The Jerusalem Bible” illustrated by Salvador Dali, “Collector’s Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols,” a steamy slavery era novel by Kyle Onstott “Drum,” “102 Favorite Paintings” by Norman Rockwell, “Sisters,” the erotic novel by Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, “Murmurs of Earth” by Carl Sagan, “Practical Gunsmithing,” “Basic Medical Laboratory Subjects” and finally a steamy slavery era novel by Kyle Onstott, “The Black Sun.”

See any patterns there?

Well, maybe you’re wondering who the heck Kyle Onstott is? Actually, it’s WAS. He died at the age of 79 in 1966, nine years after “Mandingo” was published. He was originally a dog breeder whose later books — that is, the posthumously published ones — were mostly written by somebody else but which apparently still resonate with some readers.

If you have a chance, check out the entire list. It might have something you’d care about in it.

2012 Bestsellers

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Even occasional readers of this slog … er, blog … will hardly have failed to notice that I am fond of lists. And the sillier the list the better. So what could possibly be goofier than a list of what books Americans bought most often in the year 2012? I’m not sure much could, frankly, and when you see the list you might concur.

As reported by BookScan, about half of the top 20 bestselling books last year were either — drum roll, please — Fifty Shades of Gray titles or Hunger Games titles. Meaning, I think, that Americans are totally absorbed with softly sadomasochistic, post-apocalyptic worlds. And did anyone mention vampires?

This revelation undoubtedly says something about this country, but I think I’m afraid to ask exactly what that might be. But on the theory that reading something is better than reading nothing, I’ll let it drop.

While neither Suzanne Collins nor E.L. James, both of whom seem to be quite pleasant people, is going to enter the pantheon of great writers on the basis of their books so far, it is instructive and almost amusing to look at the other half of the top 20 list of bestselling books, none of whose authors would particularly seem destined for greatness either.

Bill O’Reilly, the TV commentator, is represented with two books, “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy,” of which there are a lot of jakes to be made. Feel free to make up your own. I haven’t read either since I defer to real historians when it comes to reading history, but I’m clearly in the minority. John Grisham’s “The Racketeer” is on the list, and so is J.K. Rowling’s post-Harry Potter grown-up novel, “The Casual Vacancy.”

The rest of the list that isn’t Fifty Shades of Gray or Hunger Games includes, in no particular order, “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn and Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney. I wonder if there’s someone out there who has actually read all of those books? If so, I’d be delighted to award you the gift of Bill O’Reilly’s next book, ‘Killing Fillmore.”

But we’re in a new year filled with new hope, so whatever your reading desires, may you find and devour whatever tastes good.