One of the most frequently-asked questions we get at the Library is, “How do you choose your books?” It’s a great question!!!
The answer is both simple and complicated. To the simple part: aside from Henry’s books, of course, we tend to order books that we personally like. We then take the logical leap to assume that you, dear customers, will enjoy the books too. More often than not, that logic works.
As to the complicated part, it isn’t a conscious thing, but we’d like to think that most of the books here in the Library can be traced back to Henry’s tastes and aesthetics. For example, Henry liked French surrealism and viola! We have a French surrealist section. Henry influenced the Beats and Kerouac, and so we have a section on the Beats and Kerouac.
Henry despited politics and so we don’t have a section on political science, Camelot, and Watergate. (That said, we have some newer nonfiction that deals with political issues, but more often than not, these do so through the lens of, say, modern philosophy “Plato at the Gogolplex” or cool history (“Rad American Women.“)
Now, let’s get back to our first point, the idea that we carry certain books because we like them or think customers will like them. We’ve taken this post as an occasion to anecdotally consider the best-selling at the Library. Here they are!
Best-selling books at the Henry Miller Library
1. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
2. Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, by Henry Miller
3. Big Sur, by Jack Kerouac
4. Moon Divas Guide Book: Spirited Self-Care for Women in Transition, written and illustrated by Lara Vesta and co-created by Deva Munay,
5. Fire Monks, by Colleen Morton Busch
6 Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck
7. The Book, by Alan Watts
8. Catching the Reel Big Fish, by David Lynch
9. Just Kids, by Patti Smith
10. The Air Conditioned Nightmare, by Henry Miller
Runners-up (that is, seemingly “random” books that sell well): Innocent When You Dream, A Tom Waits Reader; Book of Imaginary Things, Jorge Luis Borges; Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong; Big Sur Coloring Book.
Then there are the books we order cuz we like’em, regardless of Henry Miller’s tastes. We go rogue. Magnus like stuff like Two Years Before the Mast and Barbarian Days and Unlearning Liberty. Mike’s hip to Sometimes a Great Notion and Tree of Smoke (which no one seems to want to buy) and Emily Dickinson.
Actually, if there are any titles you think we should get, let us know!
What’s it all mean? Discuss! Any titles you think we should carry, let us know!