If I had to guess...
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I can't remember
Norwegian Wood, Huraki Murakami
City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg
Deposed in the last 5 years...
Dark Tower books, Stephen King
House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
There are frequently 5 or 6 books, that people rush out and buy in droves, because their friend / tabloid / some asshole on the internet told them to, and the books sell millions. I'm not saying these books are neccesarily bad, but it's weird how people latch on so strongly to such a small number of books, at any given time. Usually the people who don't read, of course.
How can you say IJ is an IT book of 2016. No one buys it but a minority of gullible, tasteless plebs. Norwegian Wood and the Perks of being a wallflower are old old news.
If you want real IT books:
Brief History of Seven Killings
all the light we cannot see
A little Life
a Franzen book or two
Not that I like or want to read those but be realistic.
Don't people read Infinite Jest a lot, still? Aren't girls still obsessed with the hackery known as Norwegian Wood?
TBQH, I've been out of touch with the literary community, for about 2 years. I still read a lot, but haven't had much contact with readers for a while. Am I wrong? Is Infinite Jest now really unpopular? Do people dislike Norwegian Wood?
I've been hearing about Brief History of Seven Killings, is it that popular? And yeah, Purity.
Because we all dont feel the need to state the obvious. If it didnt win the Man Booker it would still have been a great book, and the Man Booker has gone to terrible books in the past.
2014 winner was The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Flanagan. The only one on the shortlist Ive heard of is The Lives of Others, but thats because there was a movie of the same name.
I had to look that up. Man Booker =/= Popularity or even relevance
I work in a bookstore
The actual IT books of 2016 so far are:
-The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
-Mindfulness Coloring Book (all adult coloring books here as well)
-Between The World and Me
-When Breath Becomes Air
-The Ferrante Series (The Neopolitan novels)
There are a few more but then it becomes less clear
Biref History of Seven Killings is not one. It is already losing its hype from the late 2015 quarter, just like All the Light We Cannot See. Both still sell well but not that well.
It is hard to judge because of the location of my store. 99% of customers are very old white women, so momcore is going to dominate.
That being said we have a staff recommendation table that I oversee and I make sure to get as many good books on there that I can as long as they can sell somewhat.
The only one I can think of that actually sells well compared to the others I listed is Dante's Divine Comedy. I have no fucking clue why but for 2-3 weeks we had 10 or 15 people asking us for it out of nowhere, and some even asking for specific translations. Felt good man.
Classics that sell ok:
-Franny and Zooey
-The Sun Also Rises
-Illiad (the new translation that just came out specifically)
-Man in the High Castle (because of the tv series and I know this isn't really a classic but still)
-Shakespeare (we have a special display for him so he does ok)
That's what I can think of. But honestly, children's book and YA books sell more than these. All there of these don't even compare to fiction that just came out or had some event associated with it. ANYTHING talked about on NPR jumps up.
Gonna need some details, Mr Trips.
Oh no. No. You don't know? You don't know the true horror of modern literature.
People don't buy books anymore anon. No
They buy Adult Coloring Books. MINDFULNESS. HARRY POTTER. GAME OF THRONES. WHATEVER YOU WANT.
"Oh I know this is silly, but at my age why not huehuehue"
"Oh I am so glad this has become a thing huehuehue"
"Well I used to love them as a kid so I thought why note huehue"
"I swear this is my first time huehuehue"
In my store we have an entire column, an entire bookshelf, AND two displays set up for these things.
We moved the children's coloring books into the displays with the adults and no one noticed.
I confess I bought this
The bait is strunk with this one
Honestly coloring books are pretty fun and if you handed me one right now I could imagine myself spending some quality time coloring images will drinking tea and maybe watching something in the background
In The End of the Tour they should have cast pic related as DFW
This one seems kind of shitty in the way it's specifically aimed at grown ups
This seems fun, I would totally color some knights
It says "John Green" though so I wouldn't ever buy it
Generally I don't see myself actively purchasing a coloring book, but if I just happened to find one I really wouldn't mind coloring some knights
Open City by Teju Cole
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
maybe that long thing that came out last year by that Jewish DFW type guy but it looked shitty
there's arguably more "it" nonfiction -
Capital in the 21st Century by Piketty
Debt by David Graeber
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
"City on Fire" was a monumental publishing disaster. Google "City on Fire" and "sales." The publishers paid Hallberg $2 million dollars and the book just sunk in sales. Read the reviews on Amazon. It's now around #5000 in books, horrible. The NY Post called its review "A Steaming Pile of Literary Dung." NY Magazine ripped the author a new asshole. Hallberg can enjoy his $2 million but after this 1000-page bomb, he'll be lucky to get a $40,000 advance for his next book.