Archive for the ‘Bestsellers’ Category

TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

9780316403436_e8038Maria Semple appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, to discuss her new book Today Will Be Different (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample). As a result, the book made an impressive jump on Amazon, moving from #1,038 to #381.

Host Terry Gross introduced the conversation by saying “It’s both hilarious and moving to read [main character] Eleanor’s most ungraceful attempts at self-improvement” before turning the actual interview over to Fresh Air producer Sam Briger.

He began by asking Semple about the book’s opening, a funny, kind of heartbreaking, mantra listing the kind of person Eleanor wishes to be. Simple says that when she sat down to begin the book, “I almost wrote that first page word for word. As soon as I finished it, it had this spooky, kind of scary, nauseating energy about it. And I thought wow, I think I’m about to embark on writing a novel that takes place in a single day.”

The interview concludes with a discussion of Semple’s earlier work as a TV writer for shows such as Arrested Development and Mad About You

Holds are strong in libraries, with several reaching 4:1 ratios on high numbers of copies.

Kelly and Sanders
Prove Politics Sells

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9780062494603_df2feThe Fox News host and political touchstone Megyn Kelly lands at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list this week with her memoir Settle for More (HarperCollins/Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

The book got a boost beyond her own built-in audience with the news that she writes about Donald Trump’s bribery attempt to bribe her as well as others in the press. As we have written previously, Vanity Fair‘s headline on the story asserts, that, by holding this information until after the election, Kelly “Blew The Goodwill She’s Built,” as an “improbable feminist icon” and one of the strongest voices standing up to Trump during the election.

Adding to the publicity, USA Today reports that Amazon has deleted “several politically motivated negative reviews … after a flood of one-star ratings drew media attention.” Writing that “This scary phenomenon essentially means that a small, angry, vocal group can flood a space with fringe views that masquerade as majority opinion,” Slate reports that “a whopping 76 percent of the [reviews] were one-star.”

9781250132925_2fc19On Kelly’s heels is the new political call to arms from Bernie Sanders, Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In (Macmillan Thomas Dunne Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample). It debuts at #3.

The Wall Street Journal writes that both books are selling, reporting that “In the first six days on bookstore shelves, Ms. Kelly’s memoir sold 64,000 copies, while former Democratic presidential contender Sen. Sanders’s book sold 45,000 copies.” The article goes on quote Sanders’s publisher as saying “He’s been waiting nearly his entire life to give this message to huge audiences … Happily, they’re buying books.” As for Kelly, one independent book store owner told the paper, “People are interested in her book because she was right in the middle of everything.”

THE SELLOUT Sells

Friday, November 4th, 2016

selloutThe first US author ever to win the Man Booker Prize, Paul Beatty, is seeing a strong uptick in sales as a result. We have already reported that The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample) jumped on Amazon‘s sales rankings, and now it hits the USA Today Best-Selling Books list at #12, its first time on the list.

This is the first time any of Beatty’s books have hit the USA Today list. Before the Man Booker, The Sellout appeared on the IndieBound best seller list, with a high of #19. It was also briefly on the L.A. Times list, where it started off strong but soon dropped.9780316251334_a0111

Another new face to the USA Today list, at least in the top ten, is Brent Weeks who is holding the #10 spot with The Blood Mirror (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), the fourth in his Lightbringer series. Weeks has been on the list before, his previous high was #26, for The Broken Eye (book three in that same series).

Fredrik Backman, Breakout Star

Monday, October 31st, 2016

9781476738017_59bd6The NYT features the author of A Man Called Ove (S&S/Atria, July 2014) and other bestsellers this weekend, highlighting his improbable rise to celebrity status.

Like his character Ove, Fredrik Backman is something of an unlikely star. He was largely ignored by publishers who either rejected his debut novel or simple ignored his query letters. He worked night and weekend shifts as a forklift driver to afford time to write during the day and for a while, it seemed like it would all be for nothing. One publisher told him his work had no “commercial potential.”

Now his debut novel is a feature film and a breakout hit. It has sold over “2.8 million copies worldwide, making the book one of Sweden’s most popular literary exports since Stieg Larsson’s thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” writes the NYT.

The novel’s appeal is global, selling in 38 languages, but its start in the US was, similar to its reception by Swedish publishers, rocky.

Reports the NYT, “it sold steadily but in modest numbers. Then sales surged. It landed on the best-seller list 18 months after it was first published and has remained there for 42 weeks. Demand has been so unrelenting that Atria Books has reprinted the novel 40 times and now has more than a million copies in print.”

The US publisher credits the surge to independent booksellers, “who placed big orders and pressed it on customers. The Book Bin in Northbrook, Ill., has sold around 1,000 copies, largely based on word-of-mouth recommendations.”

The Daily Beast has also examined the novel’s word-of-mouth success.

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Librarians have adopted Backman as their own as well, making Britt-Marie Was Here (S&S/Atria Books) a #1 LibraryReads pick and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (S&S/Atria) a LibraryReads selection. Galleychatters have also followed Backman with great interest.

9781501160486_50211The success of Ove fueled the sales of others of Backman’s quirky novels and has led, as we noted earlier, to more book deals. The first of which hits shelves on on Nov. 1, the novella, And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer (S&S/Atria). Deadline Hollywood reports, that like Ove, it “centers on an elderly man, who struggles to hold on to his memories, face his regrets and help his son and grandson prepare for his death.” It will be issued in a “small-format hardcover,” with illustrations. His next novel will be Beartown (S&S/Atria, May 2, 2017).

In a very Ove take on life, Backman finds fame a problem. “Everyone keeps telling you how great you are and what a great writer you are” he tells the NYT. “They want selfies, and that’s not healthy, because you start liking that … You still have to write like you’re writing for 20 people, or you’re going to freak out.”

GUERNSEY Gets Another Lead

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

9780385340991 Downton Abbey favorite Lily James is set to star as Juliet Ashton in the film adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer (PR/Dial, 2008), reports Deadline Hollywood.

Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Love in the Time of Cholera) will direct the film, re-titled Guernsey.

Don’t  make plans for a popcorn themed book club meeting just yet. This is at least the third set of actors/directors associated with the somewhat troubled adaptation.

In 2013 the BBC reported that a project helmed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Kate Winslet had been tabled with Simon Curits taking over direction and a new, unnamed, actress replacing Winslet.

As we noted in February, the project has had several big names attached with little outcome. Rosamund Pike was reportedly in talks to star at the start of the year.

Filming for this latest attempt has yet to begin. The project currently has a 2018 completion date according to IMDb.

RBG On PBS

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

9781501145247_4fd79There have been several books about the Notorious RBG, also known as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The first book written by her, appropriately titled, My Own Words (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on this week’s hardcover NYT nonfiction best seller list.

She was the focus of the most recent edition of the NewsHour Bookshelf. Gwen Ifill interviews Ginsburg, opening with a question on how she became a cult icon.

Ginsburg says it has been “utterly amazing” and credits a second year law student at NYU who started the Notorious RBG Tumbler blog, posting Ginsburg’s dissent to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act (that post eventually led to a book, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, HarperCollins/Dey Street Books, an unexpected hit last year).

Ifill says her reputation as a “folk hero” also has something to do with the way she writes and takes on her colleagues.

Ginsburg also says that until Jimmy Carter’s presidency it was unrealistic that a woman could ever be appointed to the Supreme Court. When she graduated there was not a single woman on any Federal bench. Carter, although he never got to appoint a Supreme Court Justice, changed that by appointing women to the Federal bench, paving the way for Ginsburg.

As we noted earlier, Ginsburg wears a special collar when she is on the dissenting side. The end of the PBS piece reveals she wears a gold lace one when she is with the majority opinion.

Holds to copies are not huge, but some systems are showing spikes of 5:1 ratios.

Holds Alert: DESIGNING YOUR LIFE

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

9781101875322_3da0eThe book version of the most popular class at Stanford tops the latest NYT‘s Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous list.

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) applies the principles of design thinking to the career planning/self-help movement, teaching readers how to solve problems in creative ways and craft a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

The book has received media attention including coverage in the NYT, WSJ, [subscription maybe required], and Forbes. Fast Company offers the most exhaustive report, highlighting the point of view and processes of Burnett (the executive director of Stanford’s design program) and Evans (who has worked at Apple and is a co-founded Electronic Arts).

The magazine reports the goal is to change higher education, as Evans puts it, of “forming you into the person that will go out into the world, effect change, and be a leader. … [inviting ] people to live intentionally, in a generative, thoughtful way, and we give them a bunch of tools.”

Burnett says that class fits the anxiety of our current times very well, “The thing that’s true about design problems is that you don’t know what the solution is going to look like … You can’t know the future, but you can know what’s available and you can prototype different versions of the you that you might become.”

The class is so difficult to get into and so transformational that Evans says “We’ve had students literally teach the class on the side to their friends who weren’t enrolled.”

The same approach seems to be fueling library demand where holds have skyrocketed in some systems, topping 6:1 ratios.

Below is the book trailer:

But the following discussion gives more insight into the authors’ process and thinking:

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10
Catches a New Wave

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

9781501132933_ed13a

Fall books have replaced most of the summer titles on best seller lists, but one is still going strong. Months after its publication on July 19, Ruth Ware’s second novel,  The Woman in Cabin 10 (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample), continues at #17 on USA Today’s list released today, and is therefore declared “a sleeper hit.”

According to the book’s publicist, quoted by USA Today, the success is due in part to word of mouth and the April release in paperback of Ware’s debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood, which “set the table for Cabin.”

Although it was listed on multiple summer reading lists, it received few reviews in the consumer press, other than a glowing mention in a thriller roundup from the Washington Post comparing it aptly to Alfred Hitchcock’s films.

Librarians were early advocates. Both her novels have been Library Reads picks as well as Galleychat favorites.

Library holds queues are long are growing.

More is coming from Ware. She signed a deal with her British publisher for two more books, to be released in the summers of 2017 and 2018 and Reese Witherspoon acquired the film rights to her first book, In a Dark, Dark Wood.

Best Sellers: Patchett Hits New Highs

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

9780062491794_46ce0Ann Patchett lands at #4 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list, making Commonwealth (Harper; HarperAudio) her highest ever debut.

According to the paper, Bel Canto reached #8 in 2003 but debuted at #70 and State of Wonder hit, and peaked, at #12.

Commonwealth is #1 on the PW Fiction list, making it likely to land on the NYT‘s list at #1 as well when the Oct 2 list comes out later this afternoon.

Library patrons are echoing the sales figures. Holds are strong on all formats at libraries we checked.

It looks like Jonathan Burnham, publisher of HarperCollins’s Harper imprint, was correct when he told The Wall Street Journal “It’s probably the most commercial novel Ann has written yet.”

As we noted earlier, it is a darling of critics. It made most, if not all the fall reading previews. It is also the Indie Next #1 pick for September; Entertainment Weekly gave it a solid A review; The Guardian says it is “outstanding;” and Jennifer Senior reviewed it early for the daily NYT, calling it “exquisite.

Towles Rises; HIDDEN FIGURES Soars

Monday, September 19th, 2016

9780670026197_2f9f39780062363596_b2357On the NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list, half the titles are new this week. J.D. Robb’s Apprentice in Death (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample) lands at #1, followed by Carl Hiaasen’s Razor Girl (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

The number 7, 8, and 10 spots are new as well, filled by Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles (PRH/Viking; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), and Downfall: A Brady Novel of Suspense, J. A. Jance (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

All but Towles are to be expected and that is a significant rise for him. His debut, Rules of Civility, never broke the top ten, rising only as high as #16 and holding that position for just one week. It is also both an Indie Next pick and a Fall Reading favorite. Holds are strong in most libraries we checked.

On the nonfiction side, four new titles appear, including the #1 seller this week, Oprah’s pick Love Warrior: A Memoir, Glennon Doyle Melton (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

New at #7, is Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). As we have written, it is the basis for a forthcoming movie starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe. A tie-in arrives this December.

The paper spotlights the title in “The Story Behind This Week’s Best Sellers” quoting Shetterly on her experience growing up: “I knew so many African-Americans working in science, math and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.”

Dave Barry’s Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland (PRH/G.P. Putnam; OverDrive Sample) debuts at #8 and The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (PRH/Viking; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample) rounds out the new books in the top ten, landing at #10.

Oddly, the J.K. Rowling titles that appeared in the top ten on the USA Today list don’t appear on either the Middle Grade or the YA eBook lists.

Best Sellers: E-Only Debuts

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Cursed ChildAfter holding the #1 spot on the USA Today Best-Selling Book list for six straight weeks Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two falls to #5 this week, ending, says the paper, “the longest run of any book this year.”

Right behind it are three new e-book only shorts  by J.K. Rowling as part of the “Pottermore Presents” series:

 

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106280)

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106273)

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106297).

They are ranked numbers 6, 7, and 8 respectively. Unfortunately, it appears these titles are unavailable to libraries.

61ae8165-1593-4b88-b616-4f066a22a725img400Another e-only title debuting on the list is Blue on Black by Michael Connelly (Hachette/Little, Brown/Mulholland; OverDrive Sample) at #31. It is part of the Strand Originals series, a partnership between Mulholland Books and Strand Magazine to reprint the “best and most popular” short stories from the magazine as e-book and audio digital downloads.

Titles in the series, which are available to libraries, are published in quarterly groups. The first. published last April, included works by Jeffery Deaver, Ian Rankin, Linwood Barclay, Faye Kellerman, and Olen Steinhauer. Click through for the full list for 2016.

More Fall Reading

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

The Wall Street Journal adds to the fall previews with their picks of 32 books to fill the fall with reading. The list mixes fiction and nonfiction and highlights new books tracing the legacy of the Holocaust [subscription may be required].

9781250088277_caef4One of the titles certain to interest librarians, that has not yet appeared on any other preview, is The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel, Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press). It asks if an algorithm can identify the elements of a blockbuster novel and provides answers based on a five-year study.

This approach is not new. FiveThirtyEight data mined blockbuster films to see what they could find as defining features and found 11 commonalities and for years researchers have been looking into what makes a hit song.

WSJ profiles the authors, who studied over 5,000 novels and claim their method can “pick out a future New York Times-list best seller with 80% accuracy.”

Their process focuses on “2,800 features including points of theme, style, vocabulary and punctuation … [and has found] subject, not genre, has a much greater impact on driving a best seller.”

Archer and Jockers have also found less is more, “Bestselling novels tend to have one or two topics which often feed off each other such as ‘children and guns’ or ‘love and vampires’ that together make up nearly a third of the novel whereas novels that fail to hit often try to cram too many topics in.” John Grisham and Danielle Steel have proven that fact, they say, staying on point within their individual niches.

The book has touched a nerve with some acquisitions editors, making them wonder if their jobs are on the line. We suspect plenty of readers and authors will also read the book with a wary, if interested, eye.

Riding High

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

9780345544803_79f84Elizabeth Letts’s The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis (Random House/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) has landed at #17 on the NYT extended hardcover nonfiction list.

The NYT highlights Lett’s in the “Inside the List” feature, noting that while WWII is a perennially popular subject, recently it seems books on the “quirky corners of the war” are particularly gaining ground. Like The Monuments Men before it, Lett’s book recounts a little-known mission during the waning days of the war, to save prized Lipizzaner stallions. The Nazis had abducted the horses, stockpiling them as part of a plan to create a super breed. With the war ending, supplies short, and the Russian army closing in, the horses were in danger of being slaughtered for food. No less a figure than General Patton ordered the rescue.

Letts is the author of a previous best seller about a horse, The Eighty-Dollar Champion (2011).

Check your holds. Several libraries show spikes on modest ordering.

More Backman On The Way

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

The author of the long-running trade paperback best seller, A Man Called Ove, and two LibraryReads picksBritt-Marie Was Here and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, (also currently a best seller in trade paperback), Fredrik Backman, has signed a deal to publish three new novels and a novella with S&S/Atria. Significantly, the news is reported by Deadline Hollywood, indicating the author has caught the attention of the U.S. movie business.

9781501160486_26853Coming first, on Nov. 1, is the novella,  And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer (S&S/Atria; ISBN 9781501160486). Deadline says, like Ove, it “centers on an elderly man, who struggles to hold on to his memories, face his regrets and help his son and grandson prepare for his death.” It will be issued in a “small-format hardcover,” with illustrations.

The first of the three novels will be titled Beartown (S&S/Atria, May 2, 2017; ISBN 9781501160769). Deadline says “It concerns a depressed town whose hopes for a brighter future rest on its junior ice hockey team as it goes after the national title.”

MV5BMjE0NDUyOTc2MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk2NzU3OTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,679,1000_AL_Meanwhile, the Swedish-language film adaptation of A Man Called Ove will open in limited release on Sept. 30 (some sources list it for release at the end of this month, but Sept. 30 now seems to be official).

Variety reviewed it when it was shown at the Goteborg Film Festival in February, calling the subtitled film “irresistible” and “A touching comic crowdpleaser,” commenting on the “terrific” cast and cinematography that makes it “a pleasure to watch.”

Cinema Scandinavia reports that in Sweden, where it was released late last year, Ove was a hit, topping the box office there and winning awards, including Best Actor for lead Rolf Lassgård.

Variety notes that Music Box Films won US distribution rights. They have previously brought to the U.S. such Swedish imports as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

TRULY MADLY GUILTY
A Best-Seller

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Truly Madly GuiltyLiane Moriarty’s latest Truly Madly Guilty (Macmillan/Flatiron; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), which, as we reported, has been showing large holds lists, hits the USA Today‘s best seller list at #2, the highest debut Morality has ever achieved reports the paper, right behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The buzz has also powered her 2012 novel The Hypnotist’s Love Story onto the list at No. 47.

Her publisher is delighted, telling USA Today, “We are thrilled that Liane has debuted the highest she ever has … And if we can’t be No. 1, I can’t think of anyone we’d rather be behind than the boy wizard.”

According to USA Today, Moriarty first made their best-seller list in “2013 with The Husband’s Secret, entering the list at 32 and rising as high as No. 3. She followed that up the next year with a No. 3 debut for Big Little Lies in 2014. This year, her earlier books The Last Anniversary rose to No. 15 and What Alice Forgot peaked at No. 27.”

Reviews for Truly Madly, however, have been uneven. USA Today gave it 2.5 stars out of a possible 4, calling it “a summer bummer” and The New York Times gave it a less than stellar early review. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B, saying “it begins to feel like a very special, very frustrating episode of CSI: BBQ … [but] what sets Moriarty’s writing apart in the genre generally dismissed as chick lit has as much to do with her canny insights into human nature as her clever plotting … for Moriarty’s many fans, that should be truly, madly good enough.” The Washington Post has the most positive take.