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 January.
Ulysses: An Illustrated Edition
The Morning Star
Cloud Cuckoo Land
These Precious Days: Essays
Beautiful World, Where Are You
Matrix: A Novel
When We Cease to Understand the World
Close counts in curling, or so the Winter Olympics announcers say, but close does not count for our site’s Hall of Fame. You need six strong showings to reach the Hall. Alas, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus came up short by one. Ludwig Wittgenstein, if your ghost is reading this, you can take consolation in the fact that Ed Simon’s piece got Millions readers so excited about your work that for five months they dutifully purchased copies of your 100-year-old book. Also, get off the internet. Ghosts have better things to do.
On the other hand, The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell is off to our site’s Hall of Fame this month. It’s the author’s first appearance, and we congratulate them.
These opened spots—plus another vacated by Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads—made way for three titles on this month’s list:
In first position is The Other Press’s illustrated edition of Ulysses, which features 300 color and black-and-white works by Spanish painter Eduardo Arroyo, and which was published this year for the centennial of James Joyce’s original. Last month, Sophia Stewart interviewed publisher Judith Gurewich about Arroyo’s legacy and the development of the illustrated edition. Gurewich explained that “anybody will tremendously enjoy turning the pages—the drawings are at once complex, satirical, and super easy to grasp. No art history course required!”
Henry Eliot’s encyclopedic series on Penguin Modern Classics earned sixth position on this month’s list, demonstrating that Millions readers appreciated art books and books about books in addition to good old fashioned books.
Finally, Benjamín Labutut’s When We Cease to Understand the World joined our list in the 10th space after making last month’s “near misses.” Having recently finished the book myself, I can personally sing its praises—or at least, I would like to sing its praises but I am still reeling from the experience, and words fail. Trust me. It’s great.