Alberta Politics
F. Scott Fitzgerald at the wheel with his wife Zelda in 1920.

The Great Gatsby — yes, that Great Gatsby — was the best-selling work of fiction in Alberta’s independent bookstores last week

Posted on February 22, 2020, 1:13 am
4 mins

Here are the lists of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold by independent booksellers in Alberta during the week ended Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020.

The lists are compiled by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta, and include sales at Audreys Books in Edmonton and Glass Bookshop in Edmonton.

Now, I suppose if this were a list compiled by commercial bookstores, a novel published in 1925 might not be the fiction bestseller, or a self-published book the non-fiction bestseller, but that’s one of the great things about independent bookstores, if you ask me. Who knows, though, in the era of Jason Kenney? Perhaps folks all over our great province are looking for insights into such themes as resistance to change, decadence and excess.

If you want to read the influential novel but don’t have the ready cash on hand, these being tough times in Alberta when we must all cinch in our belts a notch or two, and yet can’t steel yourself to darken the door of a public library, take heart. In less than a year, Fitzgerald’s influential work will enter the public domain in the United States, along with all the other books published in 1925, and you will be Scott free, as it were.

The book still seems to be published by Fitzgerald’s original publisher, which may want to maximize its final year of revenue to make up for 1926, a lousy year for the Great Gatsby, which sold only 20,000 copies.

ALBERTA FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (Scribner)
2. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
3. The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline (Cormorant Books)
4. The Boy, the Horse, the Fox and the Mole – Charlie Mackesy (HarperCollins)
5. Son of a Trickster – Eden Robinson (Knopf Canada)
6. Five Wives – Joan Thomas (HarperCollins)
7. Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club – Megan Gail Coles (House of Anansi Press)
8. Moccasin Square Gardens – Richard Van Camp (Douglas & McIntyre) *
9. American Dirt – Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron Books)
10. Weather – Jenny Offill (Knopf Canada)

ALBERTA NON-FICTION BESTSELLERS

1. Kids These Days – Dr. Jody Carrington (self-published) *
2. Feeding My Mother – Jann Arden (Vintage Canada)
3. One Without the Other – Shelley Moore (Portage & Main Press)
4. Seven Fallen Feathers – Tanya Talaga (House of Anansi Press)
5. Reinvention – Arlene Dickinson (HarperCollins)
6. All Our Relations – Tanya Talaga (House of Anansi Press)
7. Into the Planet – Jill Heinerth (Doubleday Canada)
8. The Right to be Cold – Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Penguin Canada)
9. Making Comics – Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly Publications)
10. From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way – Jesse Thistle (Simon & Schuster)

* Alberta Author + Alberta Publisher

The independent bookstores contributing to the weekly lists are:

Audreys Books, Edmonton
Cafe Books, Canmore
Drawn to Books, Edmonton
Glass Bookshop, Edmonton
Monkeyshines Books, Calgary
Owl’s Nest Books, Calgary
Pages on Kensington, Calgary
Shelf Life Books, Calgary
The Next Page, Calgary
Three Hills Books, Three Hills

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