Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This is just the beginning...

For the past three or four weeks I have been involved in what has become, quite easily, the most rewarding and fun overall experience of my bookselling career. It began with a customer asking me for ten of my Top 100 books. And oh how I wish I knew her name or how to contact her now and let her know what that not so simple question has led to.

Her question made me think about how my list would differ/be similar to other booksellers across this fine land. So I began to call and e-mail them not knowing what the general response would be. In summary I was shocked to hear from person after person that they were willing, and happy, to contribute. I ended each call or message with the question: "Give me one other person I should talk to." I proceeded from there. So, beginning right now, I will be posting one of the 50 lists each business day.

My question was to list either a Top 50 or 50 favorite books to handsell. Out of print, new, all manner of genres, etc. Everything was fair game. Some booksellers/stores placed their own restrictions and I will list them as appropriate. Also noted is the fact that most people chose to list the books alphabetically by author and not do a ranking. I've done my best to compile them as nearest as possible to the way in which they were sent to me either by e-mail or handwritten letter(bless you, Mr. Joseph DeSalvo). I will also link to the bookstore website or blog whenever possible.

Before I give my own list I need to say that this is not a list of lists of omission. If there is a bookseller out there that would like to join this you can contact me and I will continue this project until its very end. Being involved in this has been the highest honor possible. As of right now I have 20 lists(with a total of 1,000 books) coming from all ages and at least 17 different states. From now on I will be posting them in the order that they arrived. At the very end I will compile the titles mentioned by the most people.

Hans Weyandt: Micawber's Books. St. Paul, MN 55108

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books--Fernando Baez
The Ninemile Wolves--Rick Bass
You Can't Win--Jack Black
Postville--Stephen G. Bloom
On the Yard--Malcolm Braly
Running After Antelope--Scott Carrier
My Antonia--Willa Cather
George and Rue--George Elliott Clarke
Open City--Teju Cole
Newjack--Ted Conover
The Brothers K--David James Duncan
Geek Love--Katherine Dunn
The Farther Shore--Matthew Eck
The Solace of Open Spaces--Gretel Ehrlich
Every Man Dies Alone--Hans Fallada
Going Blind--Mara Faulkner, OSB
Bury Me Standing--Isabel Fonseca
Hell at the Breech--Tom Franklin
Great Plains--Ian Frazier
The Last American Man--Elizabeth Gilbert
We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families--Philip Gourevitch
A Writer at War--Vasily Grossman
Reasons To Live--Amy Hempel
What The Living Do--Marie Howe
Seek--Denis Johnson
A Walker in the City--Alfred Kazin
Garden, Ashes--Danilo Kiš
Miniatures--Norah Labiner
The Boat--Nam Le
With Borges--Alberto Manguel
So Long, See You Tomorrow--William Maxwell
Letter to an Imaginary Friend--Thomas McGrath
The Headmaster--John McPhee
Up in the Old Hotel--Joseph Mitchell
All the Living--C.E. Morgan
The Things They Carried--Tim O'Brien
Mystery and Manners--Flannery O'Connor
In the Skin of a Lion--Michael Ondaatje
The Time of Our Singing--Richard Powers
Down in My Heart--William Stafford
Jesse James--T.J. Stiles
The Gangster We Are All Looking For--lé thi diem thúy
The Tummy Trilogy--Calvin Trillin
Maps of the Imagination--Peter Turchi
The Tiger--John Vaillant
The Book of Fathers--Miklós Vámos
A Book of Reasons--John Vernon
Lone Wolf--MaryAnne Vollers
The Essays of E.B. White--E.B. White
In the American Grain--William Carlos Williams


  1. This is great! Can I urge you to ask indie booksellers abroad as well?

  2. Wow! what a wonderful idea and endeavor . . . Makes me smile.

  3. What a wonderful idea and thank you for not only sharing the concept, but working to make it real and relatable.

  4. This is awesome, Hans. I can't wait to see the rest of the lists.