17 November, 2017
READERS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE TELL HEYWOOD HILL THE BOOK THEY WOULD TAKE TO MARS
Heywood Hill’s annual A Year In Books for Life prize draw posed a question; which book and object would you take to Mars? The prize draw closed on 31st October 2017 and over the course of 3 weeks, Heywood Hill, the small but beautiful London bookshop,
We received entries from over 94 countries and from far-flung corners of the world, Nepal, Qatar, Peru, Macau, Vietnam and Costa Rica to Afghanistan, South Korea, Iran, Maldives and New Zealand amongst many other nations.
The entrants have provided a fascinating insight into the favourite books of readers worldwide. From the thousands of entries received, over 2,600 individual books were nominated to read on Mars, many books selected numerous times.
Topping the list of the book to read in space was the Bible, closely followed by J.K Rowling’s universally popular Harry Potter series. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings was the third most popular choice, followed by a topical and no doubt ironic choice, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Classics made it onto the list too with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice providing a popular choice in fifth place, ahead of The Complete Works of Shakespeare in sixth place and Tolstoy’s War and Peace in seventh place. Completing the top ten was Andy Weir’s The Martian, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince and in tenth place, Gabriel García Márquez’s 100 Years of Solitude.
Heywood Hill also invited entrants to nominate one item they would take with them to Mars and the nominations were eclectic, imaginative and often surprising. Eminently practical choices included Swiss Army knives, potato seeds and blankets. Others ranged from the weird to the wonderful including an Aga, weighing scales, a bag of acorns, an ostrich egg and a jar of common bacteria. Many opted to take a crate of their favourite tipple to while away the hours, and a few rather pessimistically opted for a phial of cyanide in case life on Mars proved not to be to their liking. But topping the list of the item most people would take to Mars were photographs of friends and family, closely followed by the popular choices of a notebook, pen or a camera.
During the competition Heywood Hill invited well-known figures to record their own choices. These included Tim Peake, William Boyd, George Saunders, Salman Rushdie, Miranda Hart, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sophie Winkelman, Henry Blofeld, Alexander Armstrong, Tony Adams, Jeremy Vine & Alan Titchmarsh. The videos were viewed over 300,000 times.
From the thousands of entries received this year, the winner selected at random by Clemency Burton-Hill was Matt Pollard from the United Kingdom. He will receive a subscription to Heywood Hill’s A Year In Books an individually hand-picked book sent to him every month for life.
Heywood Hill’s eleven book subscription packages (www.heywoodhill/subscriptions) follow a long-held tradition of informally sending books on a monthly basis to customers around the world, including loyal customers who have been receiving books from Heywood Hill for more than 40 years.