True Colors

The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett’s “prodigious follow-up,” our starred review said, to The Mothers, debuts at #6 in hardcover fiction, selling four times as many copies in its first week as did her high-profile 2016 debut. “Bennett renders her characters and their struggles with great compassion,” the review continued, in a novel that “explores a Louisiana family’s navigation of race from the Jim Crow era through the 1980s.” Pre-publication, Bennett celebrated the book on Instagram with a matching manicure; her event schedule since its release has included a virtual discussion on June 4 with A Burning author Megha Majumdar, hosted by Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Heat Rises

Megha Majumdar lands at #18 in hardcover fiction with A Burning, the June Read with Jenna pick and an “audacious debut,” our review said, in which “a politically conscious English tutor who works with an aspiring film actor is wrongfully accused of terrorism.” In a June 8 virtual event hosted by Harvard Book Store, Majumdar and Sue Monk Kidd, whose latest novel is The Book of Longings, discussed their work with Jordan Pavlin, senior v-p and editorial director at Knopf, and Lauren Artiles, the store’s events coordinator.

In Clubland

Breaking with tradition, Reese Witherspoon chose two titles at once as her June and July book club picks. I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown, which pubbed in 2018, “meticulously details the experience of being a black woman in modern American society,” our starred review said. “Explaining that change needs to come from acknowledgement of systemic inequalities, Brown calls on readers to live their professed ideals rather than simply state them.” The book had its best week by far, with sales up 262% compared with the week before. And debuting at #8 in hardcover fiction, The Guest List is a new murder mystery by Lucy Foley with what our review called a “nicely creepy setting”: a remote island off the Irish coast where a massacre once occurred.


Soman Chainani
#3 Children’s Frontlist Fiction
Chainani concludes his School for Good and Evil series, which is being adapted for Netflix, with this sixth installment. “The most rewarding thing [about writing these books] is getting to watch kids fall in love with this world, which is so opposite to the one I clung to as a kid,” Chainani told PW. “So many of us do for a living the thing that heals us and the wounds we had as kids.”

Eric Cervini
#15 Hardcover Nonfiction
“Historian Cervini’s ambitious and exhaustive debut,” our review said, “recounts the life of astronomer and gay rights activist Frank Kameny.” Kameny brought a case against the U.S. government, which had fired him “for allegedly lying about his 1956 arrest for ‘lewd conduct’ in a San Francisco restroom,” and went on to cofound the Washington, D.C., branch of the Mattachine Society and advocate on behalf of others.