Archive for the ‘Bestsellers’ Category

Finding THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS

Monday, March 20th, 2017

9781101875681_5fe86When he was in his 20s Christopher Thomas Knight became a hermit, living in self-imposed isolation in the Maine woods for close to 30 years. His story, and that of his arrest for a string of robberies, is the subject of the new book The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, Michael Finkel (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

It debuts on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction best seller list at #11 this week, having been both a LibraryReads and an Indie Next pick and is receiving some belated critical attention.

The NYT reviews it, saying it will have “mass appeal … It’s campfire-friendly and thermos-ready, easily drained in one warm, rummy slug. It also raises a variety of profound questions — about the role of solitude, about the value of suffering, about the diversity of human needs.”

The Atlantic says that Knight “avoided humanity with the guile of a samurai … He entered the woods like a suicide, leaving his keys inside the car. He had no destination, nor a map; he carried a tent but had never spent a night in one before. Most of his family members and friends assumed he had died. In one sense they were right.”

USA Today gives it three out of four stars and writes it is an “intriguing account of Knight’s capture and confessions, and while it amasses the inventive details of Knight’s solitary life, it can’t quite explain the man himself. Knight is opaque — more than a loner, hardly a lunatic.”

The 2014 GQ story that launched the book is the magazine’s most-read story ever. They now offer an interview with Finkel.

The Guardian runs an illustrated extract.

Holds vary widely across the systems we checked, with a high of 8:1 and a low below 1:1. However, if the GQ article is any guide, this is the kind of book that grows an audience over time.

Adichie’s Nonfiction Best Seller

Friday, March 17th, 2017

9781524733131_bfaa3The Nigerian-born novelist and feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of the novels Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun, is on the bestseller lists again. Her short nonfiction guide to raising children, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), just landed at #4 on the NYT Nonfiction bestseller list.

The author is profiled by both The New York Times and The Washington Post. She tells the Post that she wrote the book “to help create the world my daughter will love.”

She was recently been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, saying that girls are raised to be likable. forcing them to “mold and shape what [they] do and say based on what [they] imagine the other person wants to hear.”

The Guardian writes “In the new book, Adichie’s advice is not only to provide children with alternatives – to empower boys and girls to understand there is no single way to be – but also to understand that the only universal in this world is difference. In terms of the evolution of feminism, these are not new lessons, but that is rather Adichie’s point. She is not writing for other feminist writers.”

EXIT WEST Hits NYT Bestseller List

Friday, March 17th, 2017

9780735212176_8834cAfter weeks of critical attention, Mohsin Hamid’s newest novel, Exit West (PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) debuts on the NYT Bestseller list at #5.

Coverage is continuing. PBS Newshour and The Wall Street Journal released video interviews. The Seattle Times reviews it, saying the “penetrating, prescient new novel feels like bearing witness to events that are unfolding before us in real time.” The Guardian writes:

Exit West shifts between forms, wriggles free of the straitjackets of social realism and eyewitness reportage, and evokes contemporary refugeedom as a narrative hybrid: at once a fable about deterritorialisation, a newsreel about civil society … and a speculative fiction that fashions new maps of hell.”

Holds are strong across libraries we checked, with the majority showing holds at 5:1 or higher.

Documenting Protest

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

9781419728853_71c28Debuting on the latest NYT Paperback Nonfiction list at #9 is Why I March: Images from the Woman’s March Around the World (Abrams Books), a collection of photos from the global Women’s March held the day after this year’s  inauguration ceremonies. The American marches may have been the largest single-day demonstrations in U.S. history. Websites and newspapers were full of images of the record-setting crowds.

9781579658281_89d6cA related book Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope–Voices from the Women’s March (Workman/Artisan) has also been published, featuring images of the creative and notable signs carried that day.

Royalties from both books will be donated to organizations that deal with some of the issues supported by the marchers.

NYT Bestseller Debuts

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Lincoln in the BardoAlready 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.

9780718090197_e4980On 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:

Saunders a Bestseller, Again

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

9780812995343_73f0aLincoln in the Bardo (PRH/RH; RH Audio/BOT; Overdrive Sample), George Saunders’s first novel, debuts at #9 on the USA Today list. Expect to see it in the top five on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list when it arrives tomorrow.

Saunders made the leap from well-respected short story writer to household name four years ago when the NYT Magazine declared on its cover, “George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year.” That book, the short story collection Tenth of December then landed at #26 on USA Today‘s list.

Glowing reviews continue to mount for Lincoln, adding to those we rounded up two weeks ago. In the Chicago Tribune, author Charles Finch says it is “profound, funny and vital, a meditation on loss and power … The work of a great writer.” It was People’s “Book of the Week. They call it “Devastatingly moving.” Tor.com writes that the book “will still be necessary in three hundred years.” The NPR reviewer says “there are moments that are almost transcendently beautiful, that will come back to you on the edge of sleep.”

Saunders continues to make the talk show rounds as well. Filling in for Charlie Rose, Saunders talks with Seth Meyers on the Charlie Rose show.

Holds are growing and there is pent-up demand for the audio. In libraries we checked, where audio copies have yet to enter into circulation, holds are running as high as 115 to 1.

NORSE MYTHOLOGY A Best Seller

Friday, February 17th, 2017

9780393609097_a8601Neil Gaiman lands at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction bestseller list for his newest work, Norse Mythology (Norton; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). It is also doing very well against other formats and categories, debuting at #2 on the USA Today list.

The strong sales track alongside high demand in libraries and largely glowing reviews. The Guardian says “The halls of Valhalla have been crying out for Neil Gaiman to tell their stories to a new audience. Hopefully this collection will be just the beginning.” Tor.com calls it a must read.”

The book marks something of a full circle for the bestselling author. Last summer he told the NYT that the stories “have accompanied me through pretty much everything I’ve done.”

Gaiman discusses the book with NYT Book Review editor, Pamela Paul, on the “Inside the New York Times Book Review” podcast.

BEHIND HER EYES Getting Looks

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

9781250111173_74e10Positioned as her breakout title Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) has fulfilled expectations by making the author a New York Times best seller for the first time. The book arrives at #15 on this week’s list.

The British author has written over 20 YA and fantasy novels, few of which have been released in the US. Her first foray into the hot genre of domestic thrillers, it was a hot commodity at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair. Reviewing it her most recent NYT BR Crime column. Marilyn Stasio calls it “an eerie thriller calculated to creep you out … [a] terrifying mind game.”

The Guardian reports the much hyped plot twists deliver, “When the first of her twists is revealed, it is fantastically creepy, if not entirely unexpected. The second twist turns the creepy factor up to 11 and is a total wrong-footer. #WTFthatending indeed – the sort that makes you go back to the beginning to check if it all pans out. And it does.”

That hashtag was developed by the publisher to promote the book but has been adopted by others. It was even applied to the outcome of the Super Bowl.

Librarians were early adopters. It was a January LibraryReads pick and a GalleyChat title. Holds are strong in most libraries we checked, with some topping 4:1 ratios.

Word of Mouth Success: GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

9780670026197_2f9f3A sleeper hit from the fall is doing well on multiple bestseller lists, rising as spring titles start to replace many others from 2016.

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles (PRH/Viking; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), is not only still on best seller lists, it is climbing.


With media attention and the largest wave of publisher PR over, it is word of mouth that is propelling the novel upward.

It debuted at #82 on the Sept. 22nd USA Today list. This week, five month later, it rose to #40 . The Indie Bestsellers Lists currently has it at #3 and the novel has never fallen out of their top 11. On the LA Times list it has ranged from a low of #18 to a current high of #2. The NYT list is not as strong but does show a steady rise from outside the top 15 to its current position at #10.

Ron Charles, book reviewer for The Washington Post, and clearly an admirer, wrote upon its publication:

How delightful that in an era as crude as ours this finely composed new novel by Amor Towles stretches out with old-World elegance. [It] offers a chance to sink back into a lost attitude of aristocracy — equal parts urbane and humane … this is a story designed to make you relax, to appreciate your surroundings, to be a person on whom nothing is lost. And don’t worry: There’s some gripping derring-do in the latter parts. (Hollywood: Why haven’t you snapped this up?).”

Library patrons are also interested. Holds remain above a 3:1 ratio in most systems we checked.

As we noted earlier, this marks a significant leap for Towles. His debut, Rules of Civility, did not break into the NYT top ten, rising only as high as #16 and holding that position for just one week. Beyond its continued success on bestseller lists, Gentleman was both an Indie Next pick and a Fall Reading favorite from Entertainment Weekly.

Best Seller Debut: THE GIRL BEFORE

Monday, February 6th, 2017

The Girl BeforeThere’s a new girl in town. Landing at #5 on the NYT‘s hardcover fiction list is JP Delaney’s psychological thriller, The Girl Before (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Interviewed in the NYT‘s “Behind the Best Sellers” column, Delaney connects his novel to a nonfiction sensation, saying “he wanted to explore the ‘weird and deeply obsessive’ psychology of minimalism, evident in the fad for [Marie] Kondo” author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

“On the face of it,” he tells the paper, it “is baffling — all that focus on folding and possessions. But I think it speaks to something that runs deep in all of us: the desire to live a more perfect, beautiful life, and the belief that a method, or a place, or even a diet, is going to help us achieve that …But my book is about what happens when people follow it too far. As one of my characters says, you can tidy all you like, but you can’t run away from the mess in your own head.”

The book is cleaning up in libraries, showing heavy holds that have increased over the last several weeks. Demand is likely to grow stronger as word spreads about its appearance on lists. It is currently #15 on the USA Today list.

Librarians predicted the book’s success. It is the #1 LibraryReads pick for January 2017 with the following annotation:

“A page turner that is sure to be a hit. Each chapter alternates between two time periods. Back “then,” there is Emma, looking for the perfect flat. Her agent suggests One Folgate Street, built by architect Edward Monkford. In present day, Jane, a single thirty-something also ends up on Folgate Street. Both women learn the sinister history of the property and readers won’t know who to trust as Delaney’s debut clutches you by the throat and won’t let you go.” — Kara Kohn, Plainfield Public Library District, Plainfield, IL

It was a hit with our GalleyChatters as well. Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library (NJ) described it as “a high speed ride through a tale of obsessions with twists and turns that don’t stop until after the final page is turned.”

The Trump Bump

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

9780399594496_ac64d 1984-01 9780805242256

Few would have predicted that Donald Trump’s presidency would give a boost to book sales. Even fewer would have predicted that it would bring back into vogue several classic titles. 

There have been many news stories on the phenomenon, as we reported earlier, after several older books, including George Orwell’s 65-year-old title, 1984 began rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, Today, the USA Today best seller list confirms that these books are selling well across all outlets, and Orwell’s dystopian novel is #1.

A spokesman for mass market publisher Signet puts that into perspective, telling USA Today, “we have printed in one week more copies of 1984 than we sell in a typical year.” 

Several other titles are also getting boosts. At #25 is Hannah Arendt’s 1951 examination of the rise of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

On the other hand, somewhat further down the list at #38 is Trump’s own book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, (PRH/Ballantine). 

Last night, Trump helped to fuel sales of the upcoming Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos (S&S/Threshold, March), currently at #5 on Amazon’s rankings, by jumping into the controversy that surrounds that book. The author, a senior editor at the right wing site Breitbart, who has been accused of hate speech, was set to speak at  at UC Berkeley, but that appearance was cancelled due to violent protests. Trump tweeted the threat, “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”

NYT Makes Cuts To Bestseller Lists

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Several NYT best seller list are no longer being updated. With little advance notice, the NYT announced that it is eliminating “a number of their print and online bestseller lists,” starting with this week’s lists, dated Feb. 5.

PW reports the lists for “graphic novels and manga, as well as the lists for mass market paperbacks, middle-grade e-books, teen e-books have been eliminated.” Entertainment Weekly says those books will be eligible for the remaining fiction lists.

The comic world is outraged. Eric Reynolds, an editor at Fantagraphics Books, told the New York Magazine “Good comics have forever had to scratch and claw for legitimacy and resist marginalization, and this feels like a step backwards.”

A spokesperson for the NYT told New York magazine that “The discontinued lists did not reach or resonate with many readers … This change allows us to expand our coverage of these books in ways that we think will better serve readers and attract new audiences to the genres … [the change] allows us to devote more space and resources to our coverage beyond the best-seller lists.”

“Comics need to be measured against themselves, not the larger whole of books,” Charles Kochman, editorial director of Abrams ComicArts, the graphic novel imprint of Abrams, told PW.

The comics site The Beat reports that the decision came from New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul, who took to Twitter to say, across three tweets:

“Quick note to fellow comics/graphic novel fans: The Times is not cutting back on coverage of these genres/formats but rather expanding on coverage in ways that reach more readers than the lists did. To wit: new graphic reviews by comic artists, more reviews and more news and features about then [sic] genre and it’s [sic] creators. We are big fans, and want to recognize growing readership. Stay tuned.”

On the mass market side, PW quotes Steven Zacharius, CEO of Kensington Publishing, saying cuts were “enormously troubling … [it] effects sales, and not having this list will hurt authors tremendously.”

Click here for the NYT‘s full statement.

Back to the Future

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

1484156264-atwood1-1484154644UPDATE: Another older title experiencing a sudden boost is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1985). As the NYT reports, several signs spotted at the recent Women’s Marches made reference to the book. In addition, producers of the upcoming Hulu TV adaptation, which debuts April 26 starring Elizabeth Moss, say it  intentionally parallels the current political atmosphere.

1984-01George Orwell’s 1949 classic dystopian novel, 1984 (PRH/Berkley; Blackstone Audio; PRH/Signet mass market) is making headlines and is the bestselling book on Amazon.

Its popularity has brought a 75,000 copy reprint from Penguin USA, and a possible additional printing.

The NYT reports that demand for the novel rose on Sunday, after Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, used the phrase “alternative facts” during a contentious interview on Meet the Press about White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s first press briefing.

Entertainment Weekly reports “The connection between ‘alternative facts’ and Orwell’s dystopian novel was made on CNN’s Reliable Sources, where Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty said, “Alternative facts is a George Orwell phrase.’ ”

The Guardian writes that readers and reporters were quick to make comparisons to the novel’s “fictional language that aims at eliminating personal thought.”

Outside of the United States interest is strong for the novel as well. The NYT reports that this January “sales have risen by 20 percent in Britain and Australia compared to the same period a year ago.”

happen-hereAs we posted earlier, 1984 is not the only classic getting increased attention since the election. Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here (PRH/Signet; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), is also selling well, both in the US and the UK. Penguin re-printed it in Britain last Friday for the first time since its original publication date and adds that they are “already on to our third printing.”

The NYT published a new essay on Lewis’s novel, which Jon Meacham also mentioned in his newly launched book essay series for the paper,”The Long View.”

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Other dark political classics doing well on Amazon include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (HC/Harper Perennial; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (S&S; Tantor; OverDrive Sample), and Orwell’s Animal Farm (PRH/Berkley; Blackstone Audio).

Oprah’s Cookbook is a Bestseller

Friday, January 13th, 2017

9781250126535_8f394Oprah’s first cookbook and the first book under her new imprint with Flatiron, Food, Health and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life (Macmillan/Flatiron; OverDrive Sampledebuts on the new USA Today best seller list at #4.

USA Today says it is “not an official Weight Watchers cookbook” although Winfrey is “a Weight Watchers investor and spokesperson who has been appearing in the program’s commercials.”

Winfrey has been made appearances on several shows to promote the book, including CBS This Morning, Rachel Ray, Dr. Oz, and Stephen Colbert. Many media outlets, such as Parade, are featuring recipes. Eater features it as well, linking it to other celebrity cookbooks.

UPDATE: Oprah is featured on the cover of the new issue of People magazine. The story (not currently available online) focuses on Weight Watchers, but also features her cookbook.

Libraries generally bought in large numbers and holds are hovering at 3:1 ratios or below.

Librarians might remember that the first cookbook associated with Oprah did very well. USA Today points out that In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah’s Favorite Recipes, by her personal chef Rosie Daley, “was No. 1 on USA TODAY’s list for a remarkable 16 straight weeks.”

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.