Horan Finds Success Again in Genre She Started: After ‘Loving Frank,’ Loving Robert Louis Stevenson

Under the Wide and Starry Sky, which explores the relationship between Fanny van de Grift Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson, is the latest offering in a literary genre whose popularity shows no signs of abating: historical fiction delving into the lives of women who’ve been obscured by the famous artists or writers with whom they are linked. Horan’s novel, her second after the 2007 bestseller Loving Frank, which some believe launched this genre, has catapulted to bestsellerdom: the day after its January 21 release with a 100,000+ copy first printing, it was named the Today Show Book Club’s third pick; this week, it debuts at #12 on our Hardcover Fiction list. Under the Wide and Starry Sky opens with Osbourne fleeing from the U.S. to Europe with her three children to escape her philandering first husband. Stevenson, who meets her in France, falls desperately in love and follows her to California after she returns to her husband. He woos Osbourne away from her husband (the two married in 1880); they spend the next 14 years traveling the globe, searching for a climate that will suit Stevenson’s delicate constitution.

Horan says that she “stumbled upon” Stevenson during a trip to Monterey, Calif. The adobe house Stevenson rented there in 1879 is now part of the California State Parks system. Curiosity spurred her on, Horan recalls; when she discovered that he’d traveled first by ship and overland by train from Europe in pursuit of Osbourne, Horan figured that the two lovers would make for “good company” during the time it would take her to write a story that contains so many of the elements that had drawn her a decade ago to Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney.—Claire Kirch

I Will Survive (and Sell Books)

What the blog world’s MoneySavingMom has done with money, she’s now ready to do with time. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life by Crystal Paine (Nelson Books) debuts at #16 on our Nonfiction Hardcover list. Paine is the blogger behind MoneySavingMom.com. Founded in 2007, it now gets 1.5 million unique visitors a month. Paine’s book, however, is not just a personal finance how-to; it’s about escaping “the hamster wheel of life” that causes women to stress out from demands on time, energy, and emotion. Paine draws on her own experience as well as the stories of women who read her blog or hear her speak. She says this book is an outgrowth of what she came to realize from her personal finance blog: women were too overcommitted, tired, and to-do’ed out to have enough energy to save money. Marketing for the book has included an extensive blog tour, launch week giveaways (among them, a washer and dryer), and a 1,000-person launch team. Nelson Books recruits book “ambassadors” from an author’s followers and fans, using an online space where launch-team members are equipped to spread the word. “Crystal’s launch team was one of our largest,” said publicist Emily Lineberger. Nielsen reports sales of 4,634 in its first week.—Marcia Z. Nelson

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: ‘My Age of Anxiety’ Moves Up the Nonfiction List

In its third week on our Nonfiction Hardcover list, My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind by Scott Stossel, editor of the Atlantic, jumps from #39 to #18. The book, praised as “unsparing,” “darkly funny,” and “hopeful” by PW, sets a frank account of Stossel’s lifelong struggle with anxiety against his journalistic exploration of a condition that affects an estimated 40 million adults in the U.S. As PW noted, “Stossel’s quest to find relief is unfinished, but his book relays a masterful understanding of the condition.” In press materials, Stossel says that he was attracted to “the intellectual richness of the topic,” especially how it encompassed “science, philosophy, culture, [and] intellectual history.” The book has been excerpted as a cover story in the Jan./Feb. issue of the Atlantic, and Stossel’s national interviews have included the New York Times, NPR’s Fresh Air and Science Friday, the Colbert Report (on which the author discussed his fear of cheese), Charlie Rose, Morning Joe, and Fox & Friends. In January, Stossel appeared at New York’s McNally Jackson bookstore, Washington, D.C.’s Sixth & I, and at the Goethe Institut in Los Angeles, as well as making stops in Cambridge, Mass., and Seattle, Wash.—Jessamine Chan

What’s in Your Tool Kit? Alan C. Fox’s Mix of Business and Interpersonal Advice Catches On

Debuting in the #5 spot on our Trade Paperback list is People Tools by Alan C. Fox, an all-around guide for “building relationships, creating joy, and embracing prosperity.” In 54 concise chapters of advice and anecdotes, Fox champions his quirky and well-refined rules for success. Knowing yourself is key, so more important is knowing how to help yourself: “Just like hammering in a nail, thriving in life requires that you find and apply the best tool for each job. The more tools you have, and the better you understand the tools you use, the more quickly and effectively you will achieve success.”

Fox, CEO of the billion dollar ACF Property Management, philanthropist, and founder of Rattle literary magazine, presents years of hard-fought wisdom pulled from a diversity of interests and ambitions. A hybrid of memoir, business book, and self-help tome, People Tools adds to a growing list of strong titles in these areas from New York–based Select Books, founded in 2001 by Kenzi Sugihara. The passionate message and Fox’s strong network of support has generated early buzz, including an endorsement from Bill Cosby. Confident and effusive, Fox was recently interviewed on the January 23 episode of radio show Something You Should Know: Wisdom and Advice for Life (broadcast on more that 160 stations), and followed up with a sold-out event at Book Passage in San Francisco on January 26. After just two weeks in print, Fox’s book seems to be catching on. A feature on the author will appear in the February issue of Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine and Fox will be doing numerous bookstore appearances in the Los Angeles area over the next few months, including Bank of Books in Malibu on February 22, Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica on February 28, and Vroman’s in Pasadena on March 14.—Seth Satterlee

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint This Week Units
1 Duty Robert M. Gates Knopf 39,480
Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 6,266
3 Insurgent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 23,875
4 Hollow City Ransom Riggs Quirk 23,424
5 Allegiant Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 22,779
6 Hard Luck Jeff Kinney Abrams/Amulet 22,192
7 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Dutton 20,897
8 The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd Viking 19,496
9 Silencing Eve Iris Johansen St. Martin’s 18,617
10 Super Shred Ian K. Smith St. Martin’s 16,713