The Gold Racket
John Grisham's The Racketeer remains at #1 on the Hardcover Fiction list for a second week. Disgraced Virginia lawyer Malcolm Bannister, who's halfway through a 10-year sentence for money laundering, thinks he can use a federal judge's murder to his advantage. When the high-profile investigation stalls, Bannister tells the feds he can identify the killer—in exchange for a release from prison and the means to start a new life. Eschewing the civics lessons of some of his more recent novels, Grisham is back in top form in this precisely plotted legal thriller.
Major publicity appearances have included the Today Show, CBS This Morning, the Colbert Report, and NPR's On Point. In an interview for the New York Times Book Review's By the Book series, Grisham got the biggest reaction for recommending that President Obama read Fifty Shades of Grey.
For the first time, Doubleday is running a "geocaching" contest, which features a national race to find gold coins that echoes the race to find and hide gold in The Racketeer. Details can be found at www.geocaching.com/johngrisham/. The promotion includes a geocoin photo contest, hosted on Grisham's Facebook page, in which anyone submitting a photo was entered to win a select number of autographed copies or a grand prize of a 1 oz. bar of pure gold. That information is at www.facebook.com/JohnGrisham/app_166013376782265. --By Peter Cannon
Rock bios and autobiographies have been dominating our list for the past couple weeks—Rod Stewart, Neil Young, and Pete Townshend. This week, landing on the list at #11 is Peter Ames Carlin's authorized bio of Bruce Springsteen, simply called Bruce (Touchstone).
"Rock biographer Carlin (Paul McCartney) delivers a straight-on, rockin' and rollin' life of the Jersey youngster who sold his soul to rock and roll the night he saw Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957," PW said in its starred review.
Matthew Benjamin, Touchstone senior editor, says: "Bruce is a story of true publishing alchemy, an impassioned writer connecting with a subject who is at that moment ready to open up; a huge fan base motivated by a year-long sellout tour and hungry for more access and insight into a very private star; an actual fresh take on the rock genre—finally a rock bio whose arc doesn't end in Celebrity Rehab; and just plain and simple beautiful writing and package."
The Boss also happened to be hugely present in a benefit concert in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, not to mention an appearance with President Obama in Wisconsin.
In addition to major review coverage in People, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, USA Today, and more, senior publicist Jessica Roth said, "Touchstone worked closely with major Springsteen fan site Backstreets.com to announce the book's release and share exclusive pre-publication video content."
Carlin's book tour includes stops in New York City, across Springsteen's home state of New Jersey, Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Portland, Ore.
"Carlin gives Springsteen the definitive treatment," our review said, "and this is by far the best of the many books about the rock and roller."—Mark Rotella
NYC food blogger Deb Perelman's popular site becomes a lively cookbook
Having inspired legions of novice chefs via her popular award-winning cooking blog SmittenKitchen.com (which receives eight million views per month), Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook debuts at #6 on the Nonfiction Hardcover list. The self-taught Perelman is the founder, cook, writer, and photographer for the site, which features recipes actualized in her 42-sq.-ft. New York City kitchen. With the same accessible, witty tone as the site and the same pursuit of deliciousness in all endeavors, the book features over 100 new recipes, plus some site favorites, as well as hundreds of photos. Having interacted for the past six years with her readers through the site's very active comments sections, Perelman will now meet fans on a tour that covers retail outlets, bookstores, and libraries including:Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie, Fishs Eddy locations; Washington, D.C.'s Politics & Prose, Chicago's Book Cellar, and the New York Public Library. -Jessamine Chan
Randy Gage ain't picky—according to his Web site, he doesn't care if you call him "a philosopher, a Jedi Knight, or the millionaire messiah." Robert Kiyosaki would probably put up a good fight for that last crown, but one thing's for sure—Gage goes for broke when preaching his gospel of prosperity. In his newest, Risky Is the New Safe, the "thought leader" goes out on many a chancy limb himself, predicting the euro will collapse in two years, the next Hitler will be an exploiter of class warfare, and in the near future, a six-month online degree in asteroid mining will be more lucrative than an M.D. Those are some dramatic declarations, but Gage—a self-described lover of "hot cars, warm beaches and cold Dr. Pepper"—knows that in a market practically buckling under the weight of countless personal finance books, there's real power in "loud ideas," even if their bark is bigger than their bite.
Gage describes his book, which debuts at #6 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list, as a modern-day version of Napoleon Hill's 1937 financial self-help classic, Think and Grow Rich, and a "rock opera in four parts." The idea is that in a world so swiftly changing, success will depend primarily on an individual's ability to translate obstacles into opportunities, master the ego and put it to work, and alchemize selfishness into altruism. Wiley editor Adrianna Johnson reports that Gage has wasted no time in getting his online campaign up and running—since the October 30 pub date, the motivational speaker "has done over two dozen podcasts and video interviews, generating impressive buzz online and spreading the word among his 163,000 Twitter followers." If a PR regimen like that is what it takes to be successful, readers can expect to put in quite a bit of overtime after they put down Risky.—Samuel R. Slaton
Despite an on-sale week book tour canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof (Clarkson Potter) debuts at #1, booting Bill O'Reilly out of top position.
Garten is no stranger to the bestseller list. Her first book, Barefoot Contessa, which was published in 1999, has sold over 700,000 copies (all figures are those tracked by Nielsen); Family Style (2002) has sold 530,000; Barefoot in Paris (2004), 300,000; Back to Basics (2008), more than 800,000; and 2010's How Easy Is That? has sold 554,000. With nearly 66,000 sales that first week, Foolproof is off to a solid start.
Garten, who lives in East Hampton, N.Y., which was hit hard by the hurricane, has "rescheduled all her appearances," according to publicist Carrie Bachman. That includes events in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Annapolis, Md., Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Wis., and Chicago. "She will then head west next week to Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and, Costa Mesa, Calif. She will also appear at an event at an NYC B&N, where she will be interviewed by Melissa Clark.—Mark Rotella
Skippyjon Jones Cirque de Ole is the seventh picture book starring a highly spirited kitten, whose imagination takes him on a host of adventures (this time, to the circus). Author-illustrator Judy Schachner met her editor, Dutton's Lucia Monfried, in 1991; the first Skippyjon Jones book came out in 2003. "It had a very modest first printing," Monfried said. "Barnes & Noble passed on it. That book was made by independent booksellers who loved it and handsold it." The books have gone on to great success; the series has more than five million copies in print. And Skippyjon's popularity sometimes pops up unexpectedly. On her first day back to work after Hurricane Sandy, Monfried found herself on a jammed Manhattan subway platform. "We had to let packed train after train go by," she said. "Two moms with four little kids were getting ready to leave the station. One kid said, ‘Holy Guacamole, it's crowded!' His mom said, ‘Who says that?' ‘Skippyjon Jo-o-o-o-ones!' he shouted for all to hear. It made that morning's trying commute much more pleasant."—Diane Roback