State of the Union

The #1 book in the country, Come Sundown by Nora Roberts, also dominates regional lists across much of the heartland and the South. Chelsea Clinton’s new picture book, She Persisted, illus. by Alexandra Boiger, is the top pick in the Northeast and on the West Coast. And the junior senator from Minnesota gets the blue ribbon in his region for Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.

(See all of this week's bestselling books.)

Gates of Heaven

On May 15, as part of a series of tweets addressed to college grads, Bill Gates recommended The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker, originally published in 2011. “If I could give each of you a graduation present,” he wrote, “it would be this—the most inspiring book I’ve ever read.” Ever since, sales of the 2012 trade paperback edition have been brisk. Penguin Books sent the title back to press, and, in one week, it sold better than it did in any given year since publication. A publicity blitz, including a satellite radio tour, and Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram campaigns, aims to continue the upward trajectory.

New & Notable

Theft by Finding
David Sedaris
#3 Hardcover Nonfiction, #6 overall
The humorist shares what our starred review called “scintillating excerpts” from the journals he kept between 1977 and 2002, which are the source of his autobiographical essays.

Beren and Lúthien
J.R.R. Tolkien
#7 Hardcover Fiction
Christopher Tolkien, the author’s son, presents various versions of a story his father retells in several of his works. It’s said to be J.R.R.’s most personal tale, inspired his relationship with his wife.

Written Out of History
Mike Lee
#13 Hardcover Nonfiction
Lee, the junior senator from Utah, pays tribute to “the forgotten founders who fought big government,” in the words of the subtitle, among them Aaron Burr—who, Lee writes, “believed deeply in checks and balances that would strictly limit the [national] government’s power.”

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint Units
1 Come Sundown Nora Roberts St. Martin’s 42,521
2 She Persisted Clinton/Boiger Philomel 41,983
3 Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Dr. Seuss Random House 36,232
4 Al Franken, Giant of the Senate Al Franken Twelve 32,678
5 Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Neil deGrasse Tyson Norton 26,650
6 Theft by Finding David Sedaris Little, Brown 25,200
7 Into the Water Paula Hawkins Riverhead 23,328
8 Everything, Everything Nicola Yoon Ember 21,589
9 Shadow Reaper Christine Feehan Berkley 20,995
10 Night School Lee Child Dell 20,327

All unit sales per Nielsen BookScan except where noted.