Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 8- An unpopular book you believe should be a Best-Seller

I've been struggling with this category off and on all morning. In between phone calls and reports and checking emails and machines, I've stewed about what book have I read that would meet this qualification. This was hard.

First, I had to define, for myself, both "unpopular" and "Best-Seller". I decided that, for me, a book that wouldn't be sitting on the "Best-Seller" table at a chain bookstore, nor one that would be under the "Best-Sellers, 15% off every day", would be one quality. Now to define "unpopular".

Generally speaking, an "unpopular" book is one that gets bad press. It could still wind up in the best seller bin simply because of the author or the subject. I have two examples. John Travolta wrote a book in 1997, just in time for the Christmas season. Propeller One-Way Night Coach was a small volume and was a story about a kid and his mom who flew in the early years of flight. It was bad; very bad; really, really bad. But, it was a best seller simply because of who the author was.

Another example is Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Regan. Although the author was granted complete access to Regan, his style of writing and the topics he covered caused most to roundly pan the book. When it was released, it was already a best seller. As more people read it, however, it quickly sank.

I never read either of those books but I was working in a bookstore at the time they were released. I remember the press about how bad each of them was and how this was surely the end of modern civilization when an author or a subject caused a book to get to best seller status instead of good writing. I could insert a snarky remark on fame here, but I won't.

So I decided to use as the definition of "unpopular" a weird book, something I enjoyed but is definitely not what could be considered for the average reader. Having defined "unpopular" in that way, I found several in my journal that could fit. I will list the contenders before the book I picked. The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey; Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw; Spam: A Biography by Carol Wyman, and This is Not a Novel by David Markson were all considered. I decided on The Inkdrinker by Eric Sanvoisin.

First of all, this is a book for young people, I think 3rd grade and up. It is delightfully creepy with really interesting and image-filled line drawings accompanying the text. What I loved about this book is that it takes place in a bookstore and the premise, as revealed about two-thirds of the way through the book, made me think about my reading and how I experience books. Yes, it is a very fast read, probably an hour or 90 minutes for an adult, but I would defy you not to come away with a sense of wonder.

In searching for the photo to accompany this post, I discovered there are a few more in this series. I don't need any more books, but I liked this first one so well, I'm tempted to get the next 3 just to see where the author took his premise.

If you like your books a bit on the bizarre, I think you'll like this one. Don't everyone rush out and get it. Sometimes the appeal of a book is not that it's a best-seller. Sometimes the appeal is that it's a rare find, something everyone should read, but no one does.

Beverage:  Scottish Blend tea


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