The #1 book in the country is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel to the megaselling Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. “A gripping mix of whipsaw plot twists and propulsive writing makes this story’s complex issues—vulnerability and abuse, personal responsibility, and institutionalized power dynamics—vivid and personal,” our review said. The book sold 270K print copies in its first week, enough to make it the ninth-bestselling book for the year to date; per Scholastic, the book has sold more than 500K copies in print, e-book, audio download, and custom editions. Virtual promotions let fans use AR to make the print book cover appear in 3-D, and add a Songbirds TikTok filter to their images.
Hill Without Bill
Curtis Sittenfeld’s previous books include American Wife, about a fictional First Lady inspired by Laura Bush. In Rodham, which debuts at #9 in hardcover fiction, she imagines a Hillary who never marries Bill Clinton. Our review called the novel an “often funny, mostly sympathetic, and always sharp what-if.” In an April interview with PW, the author discussed writing a character whose actions aren’t always laudable. “If I made her never make a questionable decision, the book would have seemed like a preposterous love letter,” she said. “I’m sure to some readers it will seem like a preposterous love letter anyway, but realistically I do not think Hillary Clinton is less moral than average. I actually think she’s probably more moral than average.”
Mr. Iger’s Wild Ride
On May 18, Bill Gates named Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger one of his five summer reading picks, giving it the rare distinction of “a business book I would actually recommend.” It pubbed in 2019, when Iger was CEO of the Walt Disney Company. He stepped down at the end of February, staying on as executive chairman. In mid-April, he resumed running the company to help guide it through the Covid-19 pandemic. Ride returns to our hardcover nonfiction list at #10, with its best sales this year.
NEW & NOTABLE
THE CHIFFON TRENCHES
André Leon Talley
#11 Hardcover Nonfiction
Talley spent four decades as creative director, contributing editor, and editor-at-large at Vogue, where “for so long I was the only person of color in the upper echelons of fashion journalism,” he writes. “I’m aware that a black man still has to work one thousand times harder to live the American dream.”
MY VANISHING COUNTRY
#20 Hardcover Nonfiction
In 2006, at age 22, Sellers, now a CNN political commentator, unseated a 26-year incumbent state representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature. His memoir highlights the lives of working-class African-Americans in the rural South and his family legacy of civil rights activism.