Welcome to what I’m dubbing the Spotlight – a weekly focus on one particular area of our store.  Here I’ll discuss what has moved well in the past for us, what we’ve recently brought into the store, some highlights from the section, and other bits and pieces that relate to it somehow.  I hope it’ll help you discover new areas in our three rooms that you may not have known about!

CLASSIC FICTION

We have a wide array of classic fiction in our store.  In fact, we have found that it’s one of the bestselling sections of the entire store.  So, we are always on the lookout for new additions for it.  Recently, we brought in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Common Sense and other writings by Thomas Paine, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Master and Margarita by Mikhel Bulgukov, The Story of King Arthur and his Knights by Howard Pyle, and the Complete Short Stories of Anton Chekhov, with many more planned to come in in the near future.

Here’s what we’ve sold the most of since we opened:
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen,
2. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller,
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley,
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte,
5. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand,
6. Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston,
7. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger,
8. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck,
9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand,
10. 1984 by George Orwell

Apparently classic dystopic science fiction is quite the draw here, with Rand, Huxley, and Orwell being popular choices.  Otherwise, that’s an interestingly variety of books.  Austen being #1 is not too much of a surprise to me – she has an eternal appeal.  Seeing Heller so close is intriguing, though.  Catch-22 is about 2 copies shy of overtaking Austen!

This summer, we’ve been selling several copies of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I’m sure the 50th anniversary of the book has sparked interest), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (which is in part, I think, to the striking cover Vintage made), The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  Again, a broad scope of titles from different periods and topics.  It’s great that we can feature such diversity!

As I mentioned in my introduction post, I love these books.  For some inexplicable reason, they captivate me.  I’ve read a fair share of what we have, but I do have a long ways to go before I feel satisfied as an “expert” on these, though.

I mentioned that I collect a particular publisher of books before – we happen to have four of those books here.  The publisher is called the Heritage Press, and they made exquisite hardcover renditions of popular classic fiction and non-fiction in the greater part of the twentieth century.  They were the massmarket arm of the Limited Editions Club, whose titles are even more amazing to behold.  They more often than not pulled in the best artists of that age to illustrate their works, including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse (both of which, alas, we do not have, but if we did, we could all retire handsomely, as they go for tens of thousands of dollars!).  Our humble Heritage Press titles are not complete copies (originally, they came with a slipcase and a newsletter called the Sandglass), but are nice looking copies of The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper, The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler, The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France, and A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Housman, and they are a part of our sale, so they are at a rock-bottom price! 

We also have a lot of other excellent used classics, including many books that may not be said author’s definitive work, but would be well worth looking into if you liked something else of theirs.  Some of the highlights we currently have on hand is a two-volume collection of the writings of Marcel Proust, several books by Booth Tarkington that are in phenomenal condition, some hard-to-find non-fiction compilations by Franz Kafka, two first edition Pearl S. Buck books, and many other potential treasures.  We have a good five shelves packed to the brim with these books, waiting to be bought and taken to a good home!

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