Woman on Top

Copping the bestseller slots… easily

By Louisa Ermelino

With the current wisdom holding that women are taking over, wearing the pants, and bringing home the bacon (even if they are no longer cooking it), we’re excited to note that this week six new titles hit our Hardcover Fiction list, three of them in the top five and every one of them written by a woman. In fact, for the first time this year, the top seven slots are all filled by women, and these are women who have been knocking out the numbers consistently. And we all know how difficult it is to stay on top. PW Pick Gillian Flynn has been holding the #1 slot with Gone Girl, her thriller of a missing wife, that after 13 weeks on the list is still going strong, selling 27,000 copies this past week, according to Nielsen BookScan. Right behind her is the first of the new six, Tess Gerritsen, with Last to Die, her 10th book featuring Boston detective Jane Rizzoli, which racked up 14,000 in sales. Gerritsen once told PW about a close family friend who came to her house when she was 12 after murdering his sister-in-law. Obviously a prescient event. The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny scores the #3 position. Based in Quebec, Penny’s detective, Armand Gamache, is based on her husband, a retired pediatric hematologist, she has told PW. The #5 title belongs to Kathy Reichs with Bones Are Forever, the 15th installment in the series featuring forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan. Susan Wiggs takes #15 with the romance Return to Willow Lake, and at #18 there’s Christie Golden’s fantasy, World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore. And forever favorite Anne Perry, whose historical detective mysteries have been selling since the first one appeared in 1979, sits at #19 with A Sunless Sea. Women rule. What else is new?

Boldly Unflinching: Christopher Hitchens

“Diagnosed with the esophageal cancer to which he eventually succumbed in December 2011,” PW said in its review of Mortality, “cultural critic Christopher Hitchens found himself a finalist in the race of life, and in his typically unflinching and bold manner, he candidly shares his thoughts about his suffering, the etiquette of illness and wellness, and religion in this stark and powerful memoir.”

That memoir debuts at #12 on this week’s Nonfiction list. “The reviews have been plentiful and prominent,” says Brian McLendon, associate publisher at Twelve. Hitchens’s widow, Carol Blue, “will be doing publicity on behalf of the book,” he adds. Blue has already appeared on Bob Edwards’s SiriusXM show, as well as CBS This Morning. On Sept. 12 she will be a guest on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. In November, Blue and Twelve editor-in-chief Cary Goldstein will speak at the Miami Book Fair.

PW’s review closed by saying, “Hitchens’s powerful voice compels us to consider carefully the small measures by which we live every day and to cherish them.” —Mark Rotella

Latest Prophecies from John Hagee Debut at #2

Texas pastor John Hagee is well-known for his bestselling titles on biblical prophecy—a popular topic among some evangelicals—and his newest, The Power of the Prophetic Blessing (Worthy), debuts this week in the #2 spot on our Nonfiction Hardcover list. Hagee has authored four previous bestsellers on prophecy, including The Beginning of the End (1996); Day of Deception (1997); Final Dawn over Jerusalem (1998); and Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are the Terminal Generation (2010). The Power of the Prophetic Blessing carries a 75,000 first printing.

Hagee is the founder and senior pastor of the 20,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Tex. He is an ardent supporter of the state of Israel—in 2006 he founded Christians United for Israel, a national association with more than one million members; he serves as chairman of the organization. His John Hagee Ministries broadcasts radio and television teachings nationwide and in 249 other countries.

Worthy Publishing is the latest venture of Christian publishing veteran Byron Williamson, president; its first list launched this fall. Said Williamson, “From the many positive comments about The Power of the Prophetic Blessing, it’s clear John Hagee’s book is resonating.”—Lynn Garrett

Max on DFW

Debuting at #10 on the Nonfiction Hardcover list this week is D.T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story (Viking), the first biography of the late David Foster Wallace. The book is an overview of the writer’s troubled life, beginning with his childhood in Illinois and ending with his suicide in 2008. Along the way, Max includes details of Wallace’s highs (his marriage to Karen Green) and lows (his string of breakdowns that began in college), and his correspondences with his family and friends, including the likes of Don DeLillo and Jonathan Franzen.

The book has benefited from expansive news coverage, including an excerpt in the New Yorker (where Max first profiled Wallace after his death), countless reviews, as well as stories on details that emerge in Max’s reporting—in the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and on NPR.

In 2010, Broadway published David Lipsky’s Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. Another Wallace book—a collection of his essays called Both Flesh and Not—will be published in November by Little, Brown.—Gabe Habash

Pretty in Pink

Ian Falconer’s headstrong Olivia may be a piglet, but she is decidedly not pink. Falconer’s new picture book, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses, reveals Olivia’s girlhood bête noire (or bête rose, as the case may be). Readers of the previous Olivia books, and admirers of Falconer’s satiric images for the New Yorker and other publications, will detect the sharp wit underlying Olivia’s fairy princess troubles. Asked why he chose to take on the pink princess crowd in his new picture book, Falconer told PW, “I live in the Village in New York City, and it has become radically gentrified in the past 15 years. All of these little girls walk around with their wands and their tutus. There are squads of them roving the streets. And Olivia would want none of that.”

The character of Olivia is famously based on Falconer’s niece; his other sister, he says, has twin boys, “so she’s always been jealous that Olivia got all this attention.” Now he’s working on an adventure story, starring two dachshunds and two boys. And how does the “real” Olivia feel about pink these days? She’s now a sophomore in college; when Falconer posed our question to her, she replied, “Well, it depends on the occasion!” —Nathalie op de Beeck