Lots of Love for the Mad Diva

Joan Rivers is irreverent and acerbic and her fans love her for it, as evidenced by her newest memoir, Diary of a Mad Diva, which debuts at #19 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list. It’s off to a strong start after her previous bestseller, I Hate Everyone... Starting with Me, out in 2012 with sales of about 55,00 copies in hardcover and paperback, according to Nielsen BookScan.

The Mad Diva certainly can’t gripe about her publicity—she’s given talks on NPR and Sirius, and did a 20-station radio tour on June 27. She appeared on a 23-station TV-satellite tour and stopped in on The View, Fox & Friends, The Talk, Entertainment Tonight, and nearly a dozen other shows. She got lots of press when she walked out of a CNN interview with Fredricka Whitfield (apparently not a stunt), and had the tables turned on The Late Show with David Letterman, when the host walked out on her as she was making fun of 1940s actress June Allyson.—Mark Rotella

All in the Family

Inspirational novelist Karen Kingsbury lands at #7 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list with a changeup. Her newest, The Family of Jesus, isn’t a novel; it’s a series of six stories about biblical figures close to Jesus, including his mother, Mary. Kingsbury uses storytelling to dramatize Christian scripture; the book is intended for discussion or Bible study and includes questions, directed readings, and “homework” tasks. A major marketing campaign includes an online party on July 15 with Lifeway Christian Stores and extensive cross-promotion through them, including sampler distribution to 30,000 church leaders.

Kingsbury has her own radio show, which airs five days a week on Salem Radio Network in 39 markets. A “Lifechange Moments” radio campaign will air through July on 1,800 stations that reach nine million listeners. The book will also be promoted on social media outlets, including Kingsbury’s Facebook fan page, which has more than 300,000 likes, and her Twitter feed, with more than 46,000 followers. A “launch team” of 250 people received promotional material to help spread the word on social media.—Marcia Z. Nelson

Doescher’s Bard Doth Return

All’s well that ends well with Ian Doescher’s irreverent mashups of Star Wars and William Shakespeare: the last in his William Shakespeare’s Star Wars trilogy, The Jedi Doth Return, lands at #12 on PW’s Hardcover Fiction list with more than 5,000 copies sold of a 100,000-copy first print run. The first two volumes in the series, Star Wars and The Empire Striketh Back, have sold to date a combined total of about 166,000 print copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, and another 9,000 in e-book formats, according to publisher Quirk.

Written in iambic pentameter, The Jedi Doth Return’s opening line, “Once more unto the Death Star, dear friends,” immediately sets the tone for Doescher’s Shakespearean twist on the story of Luke Skywalker and his band’s quest to destroy the new Imperial Dark Star in a galaxy far, far away. It’s a tale of family secrets, star-crossed lovers, brave new worlds, and duels—with lightsabers, of course. There’s even some Elizabethan gangsta rap.

Doescher, who is in the midst of a 12-city national tour, explains that the inspiration for “Tis Well to be a Gangster” was Jabba the Hut’s in-house “jizz-wailers,” the Max Rebo band. The scene from The Return of the Jedi where the alien pop musicians perform “Lapti Nek” (“Work It Out”) was always one of his favorites.

“I remembered that Jabba was referred to frequently as a gangster. Song? Gangster? The 1990s-era rap ‘Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta’ sprang to mind immediately. It’s just too ridiculous not to do it,” he says. Verily.—Claire Kirch

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint This Week Units
1 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin/Speak 75,327
2 The Fault in Our Stars (movie tie-in) John Green Penguin/Speak 44,714
3 Invisible Patterson/Ellis Little, Brown 35,777
4 Top Secret Twenty-One Janet Evanovich Bantam 30,888
5 Looking for Alaska John Green Penguin/Speak 28,408
6 Takedown Twenty Janet Evanovich Bantam 26,552
7 The Promise Robyn Carr Mira 23,836
8 Gone Girl Gillian Flynn Broadway 21,866
9 Bombshell Catherine Coulter Jove 21,690
10 If I Stay Gayle Forman Penguin/Speak 21,687