Picture it: five of the world’s most dynamic, jet-setting couples (who bear striking resemblances to real-life celebrities) are aboard the exclusive yacht of Russian billionaire Aleksander Kasianenko, anchored just off the coast of Cabo San Lucas (of course). But among the high-profile guests aboard The Bianca—so named for Kasianenko’s gorgeous model girlfriend—is a master pirate, with plans to bring aboard a crew of Somali pirates.
If you guessed this was the latest Jackie Collins opus, you’d be right on, as her current salacious escapade, The Power Trip, lands in sixth place on our Hardcover Fiction list. Noted for her behind-the scenes glam of the (very) rich and (very) famous, Jackie, in her 29th novel, once again turns up the heat, making pulses race and pages burn as she showcases how easily the world of celebrity, money, and politics intersect.
In typical Collins fashion, Jackie’s shipboard couples are those whom observant readers might recognize as real-life celebrities, including Cliff Baxter, a never-married, classically handsome, leading man film star, and his pretty ex-waitress girlfriend, Lori; Luca Perez, a Latin singing sensation and pop star, and his much-older English boyfriend, Jeromy; Taye Sherwin, a famous U.K. footballer and his designer wife, Ashley; and Hammond Patterson, a driven senator on the rise, and his beautiful but unhappy wife, Sierra.
Jackie’s extensive promotion started in May 2012 with The Power Trip UK Tour (England, Scotland, and Australia); the U.S. version extended from Feb. 12 to 26. In the midst of the author’s New York stint (Today Show, Leonard Lopate, Joy Behar, Anderson Live, The Talk, etc.) we couldn’t help chuckling at one gig that seemed tailor-made for Ms. Collins: WLNY’s Live from the Couch. While in Manhattan, the author hosted 50+ bloggers in a game of pop culture trivia—and beat them all! (Jackie’s a pop culture junkie, with four Tivos in her bedroom.) In keeping with the new novel’s yacht setting, the event took place in the Yotel, a trendy Manhattan hotel that refers to its accommodations as “cabins” and suggests nautical design touches.—Dick Donahue
Karen Russell on the Run
Karen Russell returns to our Hardcover Fiction list, this time at #18, with Vampires in the Lemon Grove, a new collection that illustrates this universally lauded, still-young writer’s undiminished mastery at building “whole landscapes and lifetimes of strangeness within the confines of the short story” (PW). I spoke with Russell by phone the other morning. Having finished an event the night before (“Winter with the Writer” at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.), she was about to head south to another event. Both of us were a little sleepy. I’d locked myself away in the bathroom so as not to wake my wife; Russell was loading up her Sentra. “Having been in New York so long, all my driving skills have atrophied,” she said, worried (a little) about what awaited her at the end of our interview: “I have to drive myself to Vero Beach on the world’s sleepiest two-way highway. I’ll try to be especially eloquent, just in case, you know?” Without trying, even first thing in the morning, Russell sparkles, but the exact tilt of her literary mind is perhaps best illustrated by what she said when I asked if her vast range of subject had made her an expert at everything. “I don’t really have that archivist intelligence that some people have,” she said. “Whatever setup I’ve got I think it’s just a vortex where papers are swirling around and occasionally a brave intern will run in there and snatch one, in kind of Watson-and-Crick –style structure, holding a lot of the facts together.” In case you missed it, Russell, off the top of her head, standing in the Florida sun before breakfast, name-checked the founders of DNA. As you do. When you’re Karen Russell.—Mike Harvkey
The Last from Maeve
Maeve Binchy lays posthumous claim to the top of this week’s Hardcover Fiction list with her final book, A Week in Winter, selling nearly 30,000 copies its first week. The novel, a feel-good story in the classic Binchy mold, revolves around a group of lodgers at a bed-and-breakfast in a small village on Ireland’s west coast. The prolific Irish novelist, who died last July at age 72, completed work on the book just days before she death. Her husband, children’s author Gordon Snell, agreed to go ahead with publication. In her lifetime she published 16 novels, four short story collections, a play, and a novella, beginning with the 1978 collection Central Line. Binchy had ceased touring to support her novels in 2000, with seemingly little effect on her name recognition or sales. Many fellow writers and other notable figures, including Irish President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, publicly mourned her passing.—Alex Crowley
A Favorite Real Housewife Tells All
Proving that too much information is never enough when it comes to the potent mix of reality television, Hollywood, adultery, divorce, and social media catfights, Brandi Glanville’s memoir, Drinking & Tweeting: And Other Brandi Blunders, written with Leslie Bruce, enters the Nonfiction Hardcover list at #12. A quick catch-up for the uninitiated: Glanville, the charismatic and outspoken former model who joined the cast of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in season three, is the ex-wife of actor Eddie Cibrian, with whom she has two sons, Mason and Jake. For better or worse, Glanville is best known to the tabloid-reading public as a woman wronged due to Cibrian’s extramarital affair with, and subsequent marriage to, country singer LeAnn Rimes. The Cibrian-Rimes marriage and Glanville-Rimes animosity are extensively documented on Twitter. Here, Glanville promises to tell her side of the story, and given the Feb. 11 US Weekly excerpt that discussed her post-divorce vaginal rejuvenation surgery (charged to Cibrian’s credit card), readers can expect plenty of her signature over-sharing. Besides the divorce, the book covers Glanville’s childhood and modeling career, life as a Hollywood trophy wife, postdivorce DUI, and one-night stands. In the first two weeks since the book’s Feb. 12 pub date, Glanville has appeared on the Today Show, Access Hollywood, Access Hollywood Live, EXTRA, and Joy Behar. She also cohosted The View and Anderson Live, and chatted with Howard Stern on his Sirius XM radio show. The March issue of Glamour includes an article with Glanville, and she recently appeared for signings at Bookends in Ridgewood, N.J., and the Grove Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles. With continued strong sales numbers, perhaps Glanville will have the last laugh.—Jessamine Chan
Though Dr. Seuss appears regularly on our Picture Book bestseller list, this month is more Seussian than ever, with his books snagging 14 of the top 25 slots. Why the surge in appeal? Random House recently launched a yearlong marketing campaign, inspired by the 75th anniversary of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. On Feb. 4, 281 people—mostly children—showed up on the steps of the main branch of the New York Public Library in a successful attempt to set the world record for the most people wearing Cat in the Hat hats. Inside, the library unveiled a display of about a dozen hats from Geisel’s private collection; the exhibit will travel to 16 cities around the country. According to Random House, Seuss sales at the register are up 50% so far this year, after a record 2012 in which register sales were up 40% from the prior year. Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel, died in 1991 at the age of 87; more than 600 million Seuss books have been sold in 30 languages and 95 countries.—Diane Roback