Monday, February 24, 2014

OBDG’s Greatest Hits (so far)

Most popular posts
Old Books by Dead Guys has been in existence for a little over two years, during which time 325 reviews have been posted. Below is a list of the top ten most visited posts at this blog. Click on the titles to read the full reviews.

For obvious reasons, the older posts have an advantage in terms of total number of hits. It seems art books also have an upper hand, because those posts often contain art which can be found through Google Image searches. Logically, the most obscure books should get the most hits, since there will be less competition from other reviews. A Polish author takes the top spot, followed by three Mexicans. Rounding out the top ten are two books about Kansas (location of the home office of Old Books by Dead Guys).

1. The Peasants by Wladyslaw Reymont
Although Reymont won the Nobel Prize, his works are extremely hard to find in English. His four-volume masterpiece, The Peasants, is one that many eager readers are searching for, but it has been out of print for almost a century. This is by far the most popular post, which proves that this little-known work deserves a new edition. (5 stars)

2. Leopoldo Mendéz: Oficio de Grabar by Francisco Reyes Palma
Mendéz, one of Mexico’s greatest artists, was a master of the woodcut print. This book, published in Spanish, is likely the best volume ever produced on his work. (5 stars)

3. The Burning Plain by Juan Rulfo
A masterful collection of short stories by Mexico’s greatest writer of fiction. I’m a little surprised at its high showing here, because I would have thought this book popular enough to be reviewed on many different sites. (5 stars)

4. Los de Abajo (The Underdogs) by Mariano Azuela
The third Mexican author in the top four spots. This is generally considered the greatest novel of the Mexican Revolution, but I had problems with the English translation. (3 stars)

5. Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street by Herman Melville
Melville is clearly the most famous author in this top ten. Bartleby is one of his best works, though it bears little resemblance to his well-known seafaring novels. (5 stars)

6. Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels, edited by George A. Walker
This collection features four woodcut novels by artists Lynd Ward, Frans Masereel, Laurence Hyde, and Giacomo Patri. The artworks are fantastic; the introductory text, not so much. (4 stars)

7. The Edge of the Knife by H. Beam Piper
This is a very recent post, so it’s surprising to see it rank in the top ten. Piper was a visionary science fiction writer whose tales of time travel graced the pages of the 1950s pulp magazines. (5 stars)

8. The Best of 2013
The best reads of last year, though none of the books were actually published in 2013. It’s gratifying to know that this best-of post got some attention. Hopefully some of today’s readers were turned on to some Old Books by Dead Guys. Unfortunately, I never did a Best of 2012 post. (5 stars)

9. Birger Sandzén: An Illustrated Biography by Emory Lindquist
Swedish-born artist Sandzén is widely regarded as Kansas’s greatest painter. This biography is likely the most thorough examination of his life and works. (4 stars)

10. The Prairie Print Makers by Barbara Thompson O’Neill, et al.
This group of artists, based in Kansas (Birger Sandzén among them), produced some really beautiful artworks in the 1930s and ’40s. Not much has been published on them, however, which might explain the popularity of this post. (4.5 stars)

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