books: The 50 Coolest Books Ever, with my annotations

so these folks made a list of their purported 50 Coolest Books Ever.
These things are subjective, but from a book retailer perspective they mostly nailed it- pretty much everything on the list is on our buy instantly, because it will sell instantly list. The kinds of books you make exceptions for- paying cash even though it's not in very good shape, bumping the offer up if they hem and haw because you *know* it will sell.  The kinds of books hipsters of various stripes are forever asking for and which you rarely have in stock.

A couple of exceptions- Less Than Zero is the only Bret Easton Ellis book you want on the shelf, but it's not hard to keep in stock.  If you're going to include graphic novels (which they do, and they chose some good ones) you *must* have Gaiman's Sandman in there somewhere.  Along with  Watchmen it is the #1 requested graphic novel from the Hipsterati.  Banks' Wasp Factory is definitely his most saleable straight fiction novel, but all of his SF titles outshine it in terms of receipts and also interest from the underground.  Bonfire of the Vanities sells, but in the currency of 'cool' Wolfe has one title that completely eclipses the entire rest of his bibliography- The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test.  If you're sticking to fiction, Wolfe should be replaced.  Ginsgburg's Howl is there, so how about either Laurence Ferlinghetti's Coney Island of the Mind, or if you don't want two Beats on the list, any collection of T.S. Eliot that includes The Wasteland

There's one book on the list I've never seen, and never been asked for- The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart.
I'll be keeping an eye out for it now.

As strong as the list is, they made a few head scratching omissions.

There are two legitimate contenders for the #1 spot on any hipster's list of Books to be Caught Reading at the Coffeehouse:  On the Road (represented) and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, which they inexplicably whiffed on.  Leaving Lolita off your Cool Books list is like leaving the Bible off your list of Important Religious Texts, or skipping The Joy of Cooking on your cookbook compilation - indefensible.

By far the hottest 'cool book' of the past few years is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielweski, it deserves a spot.

Also, I'd replace Martin Amis (an excellent writer, but more popular with the leather-patch cardigan academic set than the cool kids) with Paul Auster, who's New York Trilogy is a hipsterati touchstone.

All in all, a good list, and props to whoever chose the covers to feature- there are some neat ones.

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