Wednesday, August 10, 2011

If You Had A Bookshop, What's the First Book You'd Order for the Bookshelves?

On Saturday I asked this question on Twitter (we have a twitter accout @biggreenbooks)
"if you owned a bookshop, what's the first book you would order for the shelves"

I asked this because, being a small bookshop we rarely stock more than 1 or 2 copies of any one title, so we often sell out of things, and it's cringworthy when someone comes in and asks if we have (for example) Animal Farm having sold it earlier in the day, and we have to say we've sold out.

The response was brilliant and very interesting (I think so anyway), so I thought I would share it with you.

I've marked all the kids books in red (because I felt like it)

1984 (four times)
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
Little Prince by Saint Exupery
Crime and Punishment (twice)
All the Discworld Novels
Room on a Broom by Julia Donaldson
Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis
Metamorphosis by kafka
The Non-League Football Directory (chosen by Enfield Town FC)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Love Monkey by Edward Monkton
To Kill a Mockingbird (twice)
Vampire L'Estat by Anne Rice
The novels of Rex Stout
Count of Monte Cristo
Complete Oscar Wilde
Dharma Bums by Kerouac (twice)
My Cat Like to Hide in Boxes (twice)
Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre
Peggy Larkins Way by Trevor Forest (chosen by Trevor Forest)
The Complete Saki
Mortdeai Trilogy by Bonfiglioli
Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries
The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman
Complete Sherlock Holmes
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre
Carter Beats the Devil
Winnie the Pooh
Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche
The Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Like water for Chocolate by Esquivel
Good Omens by Terry pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Faust by Goethe
The Harry Potter novels (twice)
Cyteen by CJ Cherryh
Alice in Wonderland
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric carle (Four times)
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Hienlein
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller (twice)
Ulysses by james Joyce
Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Euginides
Pride and Prejudice
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers
Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
Girlfriend In a Coma by Douglas Coupland (twice)
Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (twice)
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Bend Sinister by Nabokov
The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Chabon
Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (twice)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (twice)
The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
Wuthering Heights
Cement Garden by Ian mcEwan
Atonement by Ian mcEwan
The Bible
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Tressell
Yes Man by Danny Wallace
All the Tea in China by Bonfiglioni
Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
Birdsong by Faulks
Memoirs of a Sword Swallower by Dan Mannix
Master and Margerita by Bulgakov
As I walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
Couples by John Updike
Jane Eyre (twice)
Archy and Mehitbel series
Mt Vertigo by Paul Auster
Catcher in the Rye by J D Sallinger
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
The Haunted Bookshop by Morley
Perfume by Suskind
The Book Thief by Zusak
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (twice)
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
The Thomas Covenant Chronicles
The Phantom Tollbooth
Little, Big by Crowley
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh
Witch's Gold by M Elliot
Bridget Jones Diary
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Ash by mary Gentle
The Magus by John Fowles
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Tomorrow Insha' Allah by Tina Johnston (chosen by their publisher)
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Thousand Splendid Suns by Hosseni
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Complete Works of Shakespeare
Hamlet 'if I had to choose one' (twice)
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
Macbeth
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Howl's Moving Castle by D Wynne Jones
Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien
Great Gatsby
Tom Jones by Fielding
Harriet the Spy by Fitzhugh
Reclaim the State by Hilary Wainwright
Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
Can't Wait to get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane
War and Peace
Anna Karenina
Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
All A S Byatt's Short Stories
The Guttenburg Bible ( mmm..   )
House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier
Small is Beautiful by Schumacher
Clockwork Orange
In The Cut by Daniel Blythe
Tommy's Tale by Alan Cummings
Idiot by Dostoyevsky
Vodka by Boris Starling
Awaydays by Kevin Sampson
Jennie by Paul Gallico
History of Mr Polly by HG Wells
Violins of St Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Eating Animals by Jonathan Saffron Foer
Crow Road by Iain Banks
Secret History by Donna Tartt
A good dictionary
The Ancient Future by Traci Harding
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Alexandrian Quartet by Durrell
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

This is an ever growing list and i'll add to it as and when more suggestions are given to me. Perhaps this will become a perfect list of books for anyone thinking of opening a bookshop. Perhaps, however, this would be a total disaster and you should completely ignore it. There are a few titles on the list we don't stock and have since ordered, so I'd appreciate any further suggestions.

30 comments:

Richard Bates said...

Great list... I would add You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers

Cabmerlot said...

The Secret History Donna Tartt

Tim said...

Brilliant list! Two favourites of mine that aren't on there are John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces and C.D. Payne's Youth in Revolt. Both amazingly funny and ultimately very touching books.

Also Mark Poirier's Modern Ranch Living. And The Hernandez Brothers' Love and Rockets series if you were after graphic novels. I'll stop there or else I'll go on all day!

Anonymous said...

Any (preferably all!) of the Jeeves and Wooster series by P G Wodehouse. Or any of his other books.

Bear Faced Lady said...

A Capote Reader. Amazing collection from Truman Capote you can dip in and and out of: novellas, reportage, interviews short stories...has kept me going for years, never gets old.

Anonymous said...

How about the Mortal Engines quartet by Philip Reeve? Ostensibly for children, utterly compulsive for adults too. If I can have another choice I'd pick an author rather than a specific book - Ursula K LeGuin. I'd have to have quite a few of hers.

Anonymous said...

Frank Herbert-Dune (all 6 books)

londonhistorians said...

Very strong fiction bias there, so I'd recommend A Little History of the World (for grownups and kids alike) and The Story of Art, both by EH Gombrich. Good luck!

Meike Ziervogel said...

Hello Bookgreen Bookshop,

what a wonderful question. And what a great list already.
I'd like to add Peirene's Series of The Man - three books by leading Euorpean writers, German Matthias Politycki (Next World Novella), Dutch Jan van Mersbergen (Tomorrow Pamplona) and Austrian Alois Hotschnig (Maybe This Time). I am biased of course, since I am the publisher of these great writers who are now all for the first time available in English.
Best wishes Meike

Meike Ziervogel said...

me again... just seen the comment above re non-fiction titles and books on art in particular. Gombrich is excellent choice. I like to add Fantastic Reality by Mignon Nixon on Modern Art and Louise Bourgeois - excellent book

MorningAJ said...

Poetry. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. And a general anthology of some sort. Dragon Book of Verse if it's still available.

And the Wind in the Willows.

Oops - that's three books Is that allowed?

Deborah Smith said...

Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg, and The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears.

Anonymous said...

If I'm only allowed one choice, then it would be Post Office by Charles Bukowski, Asterix in Spain or Corsica by Goscinny & Uderzo, or A confederacy of dunces by John Kennedy Toole. NB. I am rubbish at maths. And grammar.

Laura said...

Fantastic list, a memory jogger for some I should read again and some more I ought to buy. Unless I missed it, there should be a dictionary on the list too. One of my favourite books.

coughingbear said...

Probably I'd order Jane Austen first really, but since she's already on the list I will pick Sybille Bedford's Legacy, a wonderful novel that I've given away many times.

And in history, Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy by Nicholas Rodger. I would also have picked Death, Dissection and the Destitute by Ruth Richardson, but sadly it seems to be out of print.

Peter Gilbert said...

My favourite book of all time is "Lord of the Rings". If I were to add a new one to your list it would be "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco.

Lioness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lioness said...

There should be some children's poetry there as well, preferably by Michael Rosen but he has written too many for me to pick one.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Eggers, A Heartbreaking work of Staggering Genius is great. Is it on there? It's an awesome long list.

Anonymous said...

I'll Show You Mine by Wrenna Robertson

Can of Worms said...

The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot has to be on the list.

Rachel Elizabeth said...

A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Anonymous said...

The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart

Anonymous said...

The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the previous double comment above, but the dice told me that if I rolled a 2 I had to repeat the post and then apologise for it.

Thanks.

Rachella said...

Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Asher Jacobsberg said...

Well, top of my list was top of your list ('1984'), but then reading through the list I though 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' as I think it's a great book to offer someone who 'doesn't like reading much' to get them entranced.
I then noticed the Bible and thought, actually Kosoff's Bible Stories. Despite my not being religious, I think these are timeless stories told in such an engaging way for a young reader.

Lara said...

Really good list!
I'd add 'Le Petit Prince' by Antoine Saint-Exupery (though if you mark it as a children's book I'll be thoroughly disappointed,) and also 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' by Milan Kundera, and 'Master and Margarita' by Mikhail Bulgakov. You already have 'Anna Karenina,' so I'll leave it at that! :P

andrea said...

I've got The Little Prince in my shop (that's children's then!)
I agree with most of the children's ones, but I've never been asked for a copy of Harriet the Spy.
The very first book I would order is The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon.
It's a collection of short stories, and the title story should be an example to everyone who loves books. :)

Nicholas said...

Les Miserables...my all favourite read.