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New #1 in Nonfiction

What does it take to dislodge Cheryl Strayed’s Wild from the top spot in nonfiction? Ever since Oprah resuscitated her book club by picking Wild in mid-July, Strayed’s memoir has been either at the #1 spot or endured a week where it was bumped off by some newcomer, only to return the next week. Glenn Beck, Ed Klein, Geoff Smart, and Tom Fitton have surged to the top only to fade. All four of those authors are either politically conservative or writing about leadership. This week, it is a business book about entrepreneurship that has moved to the top—Hearts, Smarts, Guts, and Luck: What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur and Build a Great Business, written by a trio of experts: Anthony K. Tjan, Richard J. Harrington, and Tsun-yan Hsieh. The publisher, Harvard Business School Press, must know something about how to build a bestseller. With the help of a public relations firm (Fortier PR), the authors have been booked on Morning Joe and Fox Business Network, done loads of radio, and have been written about on countless business Web sites, from Forbes, to Fast Company, to BusinessWeek. There was even an excerpt in the Toronto Globe and Mail. In addition, there was en extensive marketing plan leveraging Harvard Business Review’s subscriber base and social media outreach via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Tjan, the lead author, writes popular blog posts on the HBR Web site. According to Justin Fox, editorial director at Harvard Business Review Group, “Tony’s smart, entertaining blog posts about leadership and entrepreneurship have been a hugely popular for years. He’s also written articles for Harvard Business Review, so doing a book with him and two great colleagues he introduced—Dick Harrington with his Fortune 500 experience and Tsun-yan Hsieh with his leadership development experience—was a natural next step, and a great example of our multiplatform approach to publishing. We know that entrepreneurs need this kind of guide to build strong businesses that will not only sustain them but help boost the economy.” There might also be something for publishers to learn as well.

The End is Near

Stephen White introduced Boulder, Colo., psychologist Alan Gregory in the thriller Privileged Information (Viking, 1991). The 19th and penultimate book in the series, Line of Fire (Dutton), of which PW said, “Longtime fans and newcomers alike will enjoy spending time in the company of the always hospitable Gregory,” lands at #24 on this week’s Fiction Hardcover list. In an author’s note, White explains why he will be ending the series with the 20th installment: “The honest answer is that it’s a good time to do so; I prefer to end the series too soon rather than to extend it too long. The complicated answer, also honest, is that publishing is changing in ways that are as unpredictable as they are exciting and revolutionary. The uncertain dynamics of the modern book world have the potential to interfere with something I have long taken for granted—the ability to publish an eventual conclusion to the series in any and all current formats: paperback, hardcover, digital display and audio. … I had a choice to make. I could continue to write the next book(s) in the series while ignoring the variables in publishing’s evolving calculus, or I could embrace a fine opportunity that few writers of long series are given: the chance to plan an ending on my terms. After consideration, and with the support of my long-time publishers, Dutton, I chose to write the conclusion to the saga of Alan Gregory and friends.”—P.C.

Knopf Celebrates Julia Child's 100th Birthday with Book Publication

Knopf planned to publish its biography of Julia Child to coincide with what would have been her 100th birthday. Landing on the charts at #7—the week after Child’s birthday—Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child paid off for the publisher. Bob Spitz, known for his biographies of Bob Dylan and the Beatles, including the acclaimed Beatles: A Biography (Little, Brown, 2004), here lands another solid narrative in what PW called an “affectionate and entertaining tribute to the witty, down-to-earth, bumptious, and passionate host of The French Chef.”

In the book, “Spitz exhaustively chronicles Child’s life and career from her childhood in California through her social butterfly flitting at Smith and her work for a Pasadena department store to her stint in government service, her marriage to Paul Child, and her rise to become America’s food darling with the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her many television shows.” Dearie has received nice reviews in several magazines and newspapers, and, according Knopf publicist Sara Eagle, Spitz’s readings are already in play: “Bob kicked off his book tour by lecturing at the Smithsonian last week to a rapt crowd of 450 people. In early September he’ll hit the road to Pasadena [Julia Child’s hometown], Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Milwaukee.” On Child’s actual birthday, August 15, Spitz appeared on Good Morning America and NPR’s Diane Rehm Show. —M.R.

Garwood’s latest concoction

Julie Garwood combines law and finance with action and love in Sweet Talk, which PW called an “intrigue-laden, passion-filled romantic thriller” that boasts “a great plot with strong characters and red-hot romance.” Debuting at #6 on this week’s Fiction Hardcover list, Garwood demonstrates once again her knack for balancing the many volatile ingredients that go into the alchemical concoction called romantic suspense. Garwood launched Sweet Talk with interviews on, Huffington, and a big feature in her hometown newspaper, the Kansas City Star. On the book’s release day, hundreds of fans (some from other cities and states) lined up in 105-degree heat outside a Kansas City chocolate shop, André’s Confiserie Suisse, to meet the author and have a book signed at a launch party hosted jointly by local independent bookstore Rainy Day Books.—R.F.

And Chewie Makes Three

Tom Angleberger is currently on tour for the third book in his Origami Yoda series, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, which went on sale August 7. The books are narrated by a group of Star Wars–loving middle-school students, who seek the wisdom of origami finger puppets in their daily lives (in the new book, Chewbacca’s fortunes are along the lines “MMGGGGHHHRRRRR,” requiring translation from another origami puppet, called Han Foldo). The books combine two of Angleberger’s longtime loves—Star Wars and origami—and he estimates he’s taught thousands of people how to fold Origami Yoda (star of the first book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda) at book events over the years. In addition to Angleberger’s August tour, which is taking him to bookstores in Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia (where he lives with his wife, author/illustrator Cece Bell), he plans to attend the Star Wars Celebration convention in Orlando later this month, an event that makes it very clear what a phenomenon Star Wars continues to be, decades after the 1977 film. “Everybody has their own ways of appreciating Star Wars,” says Angleberger. “For one guy, it’s building a life-size R2-D2 that works. For someone else, it’s dressing up as a stormtrooper. And for someone else, it’s collecting Star Wars Christmas ornaments. How much more different could you get? Yet we’re all hooked into the same thing, and we can all talk to each other about it.” As of press time, 350,000 Origami Yoda books had been sold through outlets tracked by Nielsen BookScan. —J.S.