Perlstein’s Latest Is Hardly ‘Invisible’

With the 40th anniversary of Watergate, and a whiff of some manufactured controversy, Rick Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan hits this week’s Hardcover Nonfiction list at #10. It’s the third installment of Perlstein’s history of the rise of “Movement Conservatism” in the U.S., following Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of American Consensus and Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. The Invisible Bridge sold more than 4,000 copies its first week—not bad for an 880-page behemoth about two political behemoths—and if its predecessors are any indication (Before the Storm’s total print sales have topped 13,000, while Nixonland has sold nearly 50,000), this one could remain on the bestseller list for some time.

PW profiled Perlstein (June 23 issue) and gave the new book a starred review, noting how the author has captured “the tragic, the infuriating, and the darkly funny” moments of the period from 1973 to 1976. But we’re not the only ones who have lauded it. Frank Rich, in his New York Times review, called it “both enjoyable as kaleidoscopic popular history... and telling about our own historical moment.” It also made the front page of the New York Times Book Review and was reviewed in every major U.S. news publication. Perlstein has also done the TV and radio rounds, appearing on NPR’s Fresh Air, Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg Radio, and WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show, among a host of others.

Perlstein received extra attention, in what was seen by many as a political attack, after right-wing public relations consultant Craig Shirley leveled accusations of plagiarism against him. The author and his publisher countered that Perlstein had cited Shirley’s biography of Ronald Reagan 125 times in the online endnotes; Perlstein even thanked Shirley in his acknowledgments in the book. Perhaps most telling, and what Perlstein has tapped into, is how the cultural divides of the mid-1970s still resonate 40 years later.—Alex Crowley

A Successful ‘Land’ing for the Close of the Magician Trilogy

Ten years after Lev Grossman began writing The Magicians, the first book in an adult trilogy that has been compared to the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series, the final volume, The Magician’s Land, debuts at #8 on our Hardcover Fiction list with 8,381 copies sold. The new book has garnered praise in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today, among others, and NPR interviewed Grossman during his promotional trip to Comic-Con at San Diego. The author is drawing additional buzz from the announcement that the SyFy channel is developing a TV series based on The Magicians; that book pubbed in 2009 and has since sold more than 200,000 copies in hardcover and paper combined. The sequel, The Magician King, has sold nearly 60,000 copies in print formats since its 2011 pub.

Grossman is Time’s book critic and its lead technology writer, as well as a lifelong fan of fantasy novels. In the spring, he told PW that he was inspired to write The Magicians after reading Susannah Clarke’s 2004 release, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell. “This was fantasy,” he recalled of Clarke’s book. “But she did things with it that I never knew you could do.” As for Grossman’s series, though he pays homage to the children’s fantasies that came before, he decided to “leave in all the things that YA writers leave out.” Thus, he told PW, protagonist Quentin Coldwater and his friends and enemies “drink, smoke, swear, have sex, [and] get depressed,” activities that readers can expect to continue in the final installment.

An Amish Beach Read

The Healing Quilt by Amish romance specialist Wanda Brunstetter debuts at #12 on our Paperback Trade list. The book is third in the Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club series centered on Amish newlyweds Emma and Lamar Miller, who are now spending the winter in Florida, where Emma will lead yet another quilting class with yet another unlikely group of students. Brunstetter incorporates non-Amish story lines and characters into her novels, which allows her to break out of the staid Amish romance universe and typical readership into the larger audience of romance readers. In 2013, she won the RT Career Achievement Award in the inspirational category, and like other Christian/inspirational romance queens such as Karen Kingsbury, Brunstetter assiduously cultivates her readers, who, according to Barbour Publishing, have bought more than seven million copies of her 60-plus books. She will tour Pennsylvania and Ohio to support her newest title, and also maintains an online presence; her Facebook page has more than 18,000 likes. “She spends a significant amount of time interacting with fans both online and in person, which we feel has turned casual readers into devoted fans,” said Shalyn Sattler, director of trade marketing at Barbour. “And we’ve seen that reflected in her sales numbers.” The Half-Stitched series is gathering steam, with the second novel selling more copies than the first, according to outlets reporting to Nielsen BookScan. Readers aren’t the only ones singing Brunstetter’s praises—the series has even inspired a musical. —Marcia Z. Nelson

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint Units
1 Four Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 47,228
2 If I Stay Gayle Forman Penguin/Speak 40,893
3 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin/Speak 38,687
4 King and Maxwell David Baldacci Grand Central 27,361
5 Unbroken Laura Hillenbr and Random House 26,791
6 W Is for Wasted Sue Grafton Berkley 25,902
7 If I Stay (movie tie-in) Gayle Forman Penguin/Speak 25,882
8 Gone Girl Gillian Flynn Broadway 24,151
9 Insurgent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 22,591
10 Deserves to Die Lisa Jackson Kensington/Zebra 22,241