Already in the top ten on USA Today‘s best seller list, Lincoln in the Bardo (PRH/RH; RH Audio/BOT; Overdrive Sample), debuts at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list, a first for author George Saunders.
Featured in the “Inside the List” column Saunders says that “private grief made Lincoln a better public servant.” and,
“What moved me about Lincoln’s arc during his presidency was the way that the burdens of the office — the floundering war effort, intense public criticism, the mistakes he made that were costing so many lives, the death of his son — beat him down and made him sorrowful, but also, almost causally, seemed to expand the reach of his empathy, so that, by the end, it included soldiers on both sides and the millions of Americans being enslaved by other Americans. It seemed to me that the empathy was somehow a byproduct of the sorrow — a burning-away of his hopes and dreams that resulted in a kind of naked seeing of things as they really were.”
As we have noted, critical praise has been growing.
On the Nonfiction Hardcover list, This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever (Thomas Nelson; Thomas Nelson Audio; OverDrive Sample) debuts at #2, written by Rory Feek, one-half of the Grammy-winning duo Joey+Rory. He gained national attention when his wife, Joey Martin, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The book pays tribute to her and their life together. It is #12 on the USA Today list, doing very well against other formats and categories. Holds are growing at a number of libraries we checked.
Feek appeared on the Today show last week: