The Oprah Bounce, 2.0

An article in Time magazine once called Oprah's Book Club "the greatest force in publishing today, with the power to raise authors from the dead... or crucify them on the national stage... a ruthlessly influential marketing vehicle, with the power to fundamentally alter best-seller lists...." (PW copy editors would have flagged that "power to" repetition.) Today, with the book club in a new, show-less iteration, this still holds true. Oprah's second pick for OBC 2.0 was The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by author Ayana Mathis, a "remarkable debut [that] traces the life of Hattie Shepherd through the eyes of her offspring, depicting a family whose members are distant, fiercely proud, and desperate for connection with their mother" (wrote PW). The book begins with Hattie, a teenage bride, giving birth to twins who only live a few days, two events—birth and death—that combine in devastation to set Hattie's life on a bitter path, with profound effects on the many children she goes on to have who will survive—if not exactly thrive. The novel unfolds with an unusual structure: each chapter focuses on one or more of Hattie's children, none of whom is doing well, and covers a specific time. The first chapter is set in 1925; by the novel's end Hattie's family has extended into the '80s, allowing Mathis to chronicle a changing century through the eyes of one fractured American family. When we spoke to Mathis, she talked about the impact that Marilynne Robinson had on her. Before starting what would become Hattie, Mathis took a memoir "into my first [Iowa Writers'] workshop and it was sort of panned. I felt really terrible and tragic and went home and cried. [Robinson] was very fair; she wasn't mean, but she was like, ‘No.' " Originally scheduled for a January release, Knopf moved the date to Dec. 6 after Oprah's announcement on Dec. 5. Knopf also increased the print run from 50,000 to 125,000. The novel sold 4,702 copies in its first four days (at outlets tracked by Nielsen BookScan). But the next week, its first full week of sales, that number jumped 278% to 18,180, for a two-week total of 22,882. This year, for Ayana Mathis, Christmas came early—20 days early. —Mike Harkvey

Going to the Dogs—Wet

Everybody in the pool! Every canine, that is, all of whom make a big splash in Seth Casteel's Underwater Dogs—more than 80 pooch portraits by photographer Casteel present a chaotic ballet of bared teeth and bubbles, paddling paws, fur and ears billowing in the currents. Water is where the personalities of these four-legged creatures—whether leaping lab or diving dachshund—shine. Every image in this fetching work bubbles with life, reminding the reader that even in the most lovable and domesticated dog, there may be more primal forces at work. Back in February, Casteel's photos stormed the Internet, taking over Facebook and Twitter for a combined 150 million views on social media sites. News outlets from National Geographic and the Huffington Post to the Guardian and more have featured Casteel's work. As an established member of the animal rescue community, he's been recognized by Time magazine and the U.S. Humane Society for his efforts. Following Little, Brown's Oct. 23 pub date—with an initial printing of 31,000 copies—Underwater marks its sixth week on PW's Hardcover Nonfiction list, with Nielsen BookScan reporting sales of 36,267 copies to date. Casteel's dog photos have been featured in the New York Times, on Animal Planet, and other outlets. He's the proud dad to Nala the mini-labradoodle and Fritz the Norwich terrier. —Dick Donahue