Best-selling books

I am utterly fascinated by this list. I’m not sure why, but I’ve been poring over it for hours.

I’m quite surprised that Don Quixote is the best selling work of fiction in the world, although it is considered to be one of the first novels so it has had a lot of time to get to the top. (I’m graciously allowing religious tracts a category outside of fiction, the Bible and the Koran are both quasi-historical, quasi-fictional in my mind.)

The Pilgrim’s Progress is the second fictional work, and again a very early one so perhaps it has simply had more time to be printed and sold. Not so The Count of Monte Cristo, which takes third place despite being a relative upstart from the 19th century.

The Harry Potter entries are quite interesting as they don’t correlate with the order in which they were published. I would expect, especially given the Cervantes argument, that the Philosopher’s Stone would come highest, followed by the Chamber of Secrets – so far, so good.

But then it falls apart. Instead of coming third, the Prisoner of Azkaban is only fifth best-selling of the series, while the Half-blood Prince jumps from sixth published to fourth best-selling.

Does this mean, assuming numbers sold correlate with numbers read, that some people read the first two then thought ‘oh screw it, I don’t really care what happens’ until having a change of heart four books later? Strange, indeed.

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2 Comments»

  Grill wrote @

The discussion pages on these things are always fascinating – the paragraphs on the Qu’orn / Bibul are especially fun, with NPOV agnostics and atheists having to deal with religious types insisting the author of Bible is God himself, but he had several (holy) ghost writers. The fact that Muhammed was illiterate and had to dictate what had been dictated to him by the archangel gibreel which presumably had been dictated to him by God, makes this sound like a wonderful mish-mash of Chinese whispers where Entropy has to be listed as co-author…

  elle wrote @

I’m reading the Satanic Verses at the moment. I’m enjoying it, but finding it a bit hard to concentrate on for long periods so I’m interspersing it with comic books (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen atm) and a history of the growth and structure of the English language.

The net effect is somewhat dizzying.


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