Naturalist and H Is for Hawk author Helen Macdonald alights at #13 in hardcover nonfiction with Vesper Flights, “an inviting collection of 41 new and previously published essays that are infused with wonder, nostalgia, and melancholy,” our review said. “The message throughout is clear: the world humans enjoy today may not be around tomorrow, so it should not be taken for granted.” Macdonald told PW in a prepublication interview that the success of H Is for Hawk gave her permission to take a more activist stance.“Some of the more political aspects of Vesper Flights, some of the ways in which I try to talk about class, about privilege, about climate change—I think I would have been too scared to have done that a few years ago,” she said.
Leading by Example
Presidential biographer and former Random House executive Jon Meacham profiles civil rights icon John Lewis in His Truth Is Marching On, the #2 book in the country and a “gripping work [that] is deeply relevant to America’s current turmoil over racial injustice,” our review said. Lewis, who died July 17, contributed the book’s afterword, in which he discussed this ongoing struggle. “The war for justice, the war to make America both great and good, goes on,” he wrote. “We’ve come too far, we’ve made too much progress as a people, to stand still or to slip back.”
Carl Hiaasen’s Squeeze Me, #3 in hardcover fiction, is a “heavy-handed satire,” our review said, offering “light distraction from current events.” The book kicks off with the disappearance of a socialite belonging to, in the author’s words, “a group of Palm Beach women who proclaimed brassy loyalty to the new, crude-spoken commander-in-chief.” Reptiles, literal and metaphorical, abound. If all politics are local, so too is publishing—33% of the Floridian story’s sales were in the South Atlantic region.
NEW & NOTABLE
THICK AS THIEVES
#1 Hardcover Fiction
Brown follows up 2019’s Outfox, which debuted at #1 in mass market last week, with a novel our review praised for its “good pacing, smooth prose, inventive action scenes, and a touch of hot romance.”
#6 Hardcover Nonfiction, #9 overall
Though “close observers of the news will be familiar with Stelter’s larger points,” our review said, “this is a copious and alarming catalogue of the damage the ‘Trump-Fox merger’ has done to American journalism and politics.”
Christina Baker Kline
#12 Hardcover Fiction
The Orphan Train author’s account of three women in 19th-century colonial Australia is “filled with surprising twists, empathetic prose, and revealing historical details,” our review said. “Kline’s resonant, powerful story will please any historical fiction fan.”