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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Forthcoming from The Library of America (Fall 2014)

The staff of The Library of America is putting the finishing touches on the upcoming American Musicals collection, and all remaining Spring–Summer 2014 titles are currently at press.

Even though spring hasn’t yet arrived (and a look out the window tells us it is nowhere in sight), we’re already thinking thoughts of autumn. Below are the titles we have planned for the remainder of 2014.


Elmore Leonard
Four Novels of the 1970s
Gregg Sutter, editor
Fifty-Two Pickup • Swag • Unknown Man No. 89 • The Switch
September 2014
Library of America #255 / ISBN 978-1-59853-305-7

Louisa May Alcott
Work, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Stories & Other Writings
Susan Cheever, editor
September 2014
Library of America #256 / ISBN 978-1-59853-306-4

H. L. Mencken
The Days Trilogy, Expanded Edition
Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, editor
Happy Days • Newspaper Days • Heathen Days“Days Revisited: Unpublished Commentary” (200 pages of never-before-published material embargoed for twenty-five years after Mencken’s death)
October 2014
Library of America #257 / ISBN 978-1-59853-308-8

Virgil Thomson
Music Chronicles 1940–1954
Tim Page, editor
The Musical Scene • The Art of Judging Music • Music Right and Left • Music Reviewed: 1940–1954 uncollected writings
October 2014
Library of America #258 / ISBN 978-1-59853-309-5

Art in America 1945–1970
Writings from the Age of Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Minimalism
Jed Perl, editor
Selections by John Ashbery, James Baldwin, Edwin Denby, Willem de Kooning, Clement Greenberg, Peggy Guggenheim, Hilton Kramer, Dwight Macdonald, Frank O’Hara, Fairfield Porter, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Susan Sontag, Tennessee Williams, and many others • Lavishly illustrated with scores of black-and-white images and two 16-page color inserts
October 2014
Library of America #259 / ISBN 978-1-59853-310-1


Great Writing about the National Sport
John Schulian, editor
Selections by Grantland Rice, W. C. Heinz, Frederick Exley, Jimmy Breslin, George Plimpton, Jennifer Allen, Hunter S. Thompson, Richard Price, Charles P. Pierce, Roy Blount, and many others
August 2014
ISBN 978-1-59853-307-1


The Civil War Told by Those Who Lived It
Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears, and Aaron Sheehan-Dean, editors
All four volumes of the critically acclaimed series chronicling our nation's greatest conflict, now in a collector's boxed set • With full-color poster enlargements of the maps in each volume
September 2014
ISBN 978-1-59853-350-7


Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Introduction by John Stauffer
September 2014
ISBN 978-1-59853-351-4

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Library of America’s Best-Selling Titles (2014 update)

As we did last year, below we present a list of the Library of America series “backlist titles” (i.e., volumes published prior to 2012) selling the most copies in 2013.

There are some noteworthy movements in this year’s list. Perhaps not surprisingly, the debut volume of the LOA edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s collected fiction tops the list in its first year of eligibility. An end-of-the-year Ben Stiller remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty more than tripled sales of the LOA James Thurber edition. Likewise, a screen adaptation of On the Road motivated readers to snap up the Kerouac volume containing the novel; its sales increased by over 30% in 2013. An encore broadcast in August of the American Masters program James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket fueled a similar increase in sales of the collection of Baldwin’s essays.

Just as impressive was the 50% increase in sales for the Ulysses S. Grant volume, probably helped along by commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Somewhat mysterious are the unexpected 30% increases in sales for such stalwart evergreens as John Muir and John Dos Passos's U.S.A.—not that we’re complaining. At #15, sales of the Dos Passos volume were virtually identical to those of Shirley Jackson and Walt Whitman, which also enjoyed modest lifts.

Following each entry are the year the volume was originally published and last year's ranking:
  1. Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories 1963–1973 [2011, —]
  2. The Philip K. Dick Collection [three volumes, 2007–2009; ranked #1 last year]
  3. Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works [1988; #3]
  4. Jack Kerouac: Road Novels 1957–1960 [2007; #7]
  5. Raymond Carver: Collected Stories [2009; #4]
  6. H. P. Lovecraft: Tales [2005; #5] *
  7. Ulysses S. Grant: Memoirs & Selected Letters [1990; #14] *
  8. Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America [2004; #6] *
  9. American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau [2008; #2]
  10. Dashiell Hammett: Complete Novels [1999; #8]
  11. John Muir: Nature Writings [1997; #13] *
  12. James Thurber: Writings and Drawings [1996; —] *
  13. James Baldwin: Collected Essays [1998; —]
  14. The Collected Plays of Tennessee Williams [two volumes, 2000; #11]
  15. John Dos Passos: U.S.A. [1988; —]
    (tie) Shirley Jackson: Novels & Stories [2010; —]
    (tie) Walt Whitman: Poetry & Prose [1982; —]
* Titles indicated by a red asterisk were available this past year as e-books, which contribute a relatively small—but rapidly growing—source of sales for LOA backlist titles. For a complete list of LOA e-books currently available, visit www.loa.org/ebooks.

* * *
This past year also marks a milestone of sorts: with the publication of volume #246 (Susan Sontag: Essays of the 1960s & 70s), the LOA series now contains over a quarter of a million pages.
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