We spend plenty of time here on The Millions telling all of you what we’ve been reading, but we are also quite interested in hearing about what you’ve been reading. By looking at our Amazon stats, we can see what books Millions readers have been buying, and we decided it would be fun to use those stats to find out what books have been most popular with our readers in recent months. Below you’ll find our Millions Top Ten list for February.
|This Month||Last Month||Title||On List|
|1.||1.||Ulysses: An Illustrated Edition||2 months|
|2.||2.||The Morning Star||3 months|
|3.||3.||Cloud Cuckoo Land||5 months|
|4.||–||The Socratic Method: A Practitioner’s Handbook
|5.||5.||These Precious Days: Essays||4 months|
|6.||10.||When We Cease to Understand the World||2 months|
|7.||6.||The Penguin Modern Classics Book||2 months|
|8.||4.||The Book of Form and Emptiness||6 months|
|9.||9.||Matrix: A Novel||5 months|
|10.||7.||Beautiful World, Where Are You||5 months|
We joked last month that Ludwig Wittgenstein was on the cusp of reaching our site’s Hall of Fame, if only Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus placed on our Top Ten once more. (It has five months; it needs six.) The book’s been a Millions favorite since Ed Simon described it as “poetry that gestures beyond poetry.” Well, sorry Wittgenstein, but your work is among our “Near Misses,” so the wait continues. After 100 years, what’s another month?
In any event, it’s not surprising to see Ward Farnsworth’s The Socratic Method: A Practitioner’s Handbook on this month’s list. Once again, it’s Ed Simon’s fault. A couple weeks ago, in a piece where he called Socrates a “schmuck,” Simon drew a through-line from the Greek philosopher into Larry David, Twitter, and so much of “what ails the body politic.”
Meanwhile, The Other Press’s illustrated edition of Ulysses, which features art by Eduardo Arroyo, holds the top spot on this month’s list—fitting for the centennial of James Joyce’s original. (Now that I think of it, what is it with Millions readers and works from 1922?)
This month we also saw Benjamín Labutut’s When We Cease to Understand the World rise four spots from 10th to sixth. This book on the relationship between genius, madness, and the observable world is unlike anything I’ve read. It would not shock me, Heisenberg, or Schrödinger, to see it rise more or drop off the list completely—perhaps both at once, if you catch my drift.