Romantic tales are regional favourites

WHILE wizards, aliens and other planets may capture the imaginations of people in other areas, readers in East Anglia have more classical tastes.A survey of booksellers has revealed that the region prefers the romantic tales of Jane Austen rather than flights of fantasy and science fiction.

WHILE wizards, aliens and other planets may capture the imaginations of people in other areas, readers in East Anglia have more classical tastes.

A survey of booksellers has revealed that the region prefers the romantic tales of Jane Austen rather than flights of fantasy and science fiction.

And manager of Waterstone's in Ipswich, Steve Allard, revealed that the classical section in the store is growing with more titles added as sales of the genre boom.

Waterstone's conducted a poll of its 3,500 booksellers asking them to nominate their favourite books.


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While Phillip Pullman was voted into first place nationally for his award-winning His Dark Materials series, in East Anglia he was knocked off the top spot by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Other books that reached the ten highly rated books in the region included Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell.

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But a couple of fantastical favourites also reached the list, such as Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien and The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis.

Claire Millen, a bookseller at the Ipswich branch, nominated Bleak House by Charles Dickens as her favourite with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte coming a close second.

Mr Allard said that the sales of the classics had soared in-store, with some of them having such resurgence in popularity that they are close to reaching the bestseller list again.

"I am not sure why that is regionally but looking at us in Ipswich, people have responded well to things like The Big Read on television; it seems to have caught the public imagination," he said.

"I cannot point to a lot of books that are set around here. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens have no real local collection, although we know Dickens visited The Great White Horse Hotel."

He added that it was not only older readers that were buying the classics but also the younger book-lovers.

George Orwell and John Irving, were revealed as East Anglia's favourite authors, with each receiving three nominations.

As part of the survey 150 of the booksellers' most popular reads will feature in Bookseller's Choice - a two-month campaign that will offer three books for the price of two.

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