What’s Past Is Prologue

The #2 book in the country is On Tyranny by Yale University historian Timothy Snyder, whose work centers on authoritarianism and threats to democratic government. Recent events in Portland, Ore., and President Trump’s tweet proposing postponing the presidential election have sparked renewed interest in the title, Snyder’s publisher said, with interviews in the New York Times and on the Rachel Maddow Show and 11th Hour with Brian Williams leading to a significant sales spike. The book has sold 490K print copies since its 2017 release.

Mourning Glory

Natasha Trethewey, 2012–2014 U.S. Poet Laureate, lands at #17 in hardcover nonfiction with Memorial Drive, her “beautifully composed, achingly sad memoir,” our review said, which “addresses the 1985 murder of her mother, Gwendolyn, at age 40, at the hands of her ex-husband, the author’s former stepfather.” Virtual events in support of the book have included a discussion hosted by Lemuria Books in Jackson, Miss., between Trethewey and a fellow Mississippi native, novelist and memoirist Kiese Laymon.

Walk the Talk

Intimations, Zadie Smith’s slim book of six timely essays, debuts at #3 in trade paper. Smith began working on the book at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and finished shortly after George Floyd’s killing.“In this incisive and insightful collection,” our starred review said, the author “ruminates on the pandemic, racial injustice, and the writer’s role in a time of social upheaval.” Royalties will be donated to the Equal Justice Initiative and the Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund for New York.


R.A. Salvatore
#14 Hardcover Fiction
“The exhilarating conclusion to Salvatore’s Generations trilogy
illustrates the power of family, both born and chosen,” our starred review said. “Amid epic sword and sorcery clashes, Salvatore makes a powerful case for love and compassion conquering even the strongest of evils.”

Kim Johnson
#23 Children’s Fiction
“Weaving together a gripping murder mystery and a heartfelt narrative about a girl trying to save her family,” our starred review said, “Johnson explores the systemic, generational effects of police brutality, mass incarceration, and racism on the Black community.”