The Novel’s the Thing

Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet, which our starred review called “an outstanding masterpiece of Shakespearean apocrypha,” pubbed in July. Sales hummed along respectably for several months; meanwhile, the accolades piled up. O’Farrell won the Women’s Prize for Fiction; the novel was named one of the top 10 books of the year by the New York Times and the Washington Post, and it’s the Waterstones book of the year. This week, it lands on our hardcover fiction list for the first time, at #18.

A Day in the Life

The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson, written with Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge, debuts at #5 in hardcover nonfiction. The true crime account pubbed just before the 40th anniversary of the musician’s assassination, a day the author remembers well. “I was living on the Upper West Side when he was murdered outside his building in the neighborhood,” Patterson told PW in July. “I was in the crowd when people gathered in Central Park after his death, and hanging in my office is a photo Harry Benson took at the event, with people holding a banner that said a single word: ‘Why?’ ”

Triple Crown

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and journalist and TV producer Michael Yarvitz have the #9 book in the country with Bag Man. Based on the authors’ podcast of the same name, it’s a “rollicking study of the 1973 resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew,” our review said. “Maddow’s fans will enjoy this entertaining and well-researched recap of Agnew’s comeuppance and its barely-veiled yearning for prosecutors to haul Trump into court.” Its debut caps a strong couple of months for its imprint: the top three books on our hardcover nonfiction list—A Promised Land, Greenlights, and Bag Man—are Crown titles.


Colleen Hoover
#7 Trade Paperback
“Hoover explores the power of love in the face of tragedy in this engaging contemporary romance with a supernatural twist,” our review said. “Surprising and emotionally tense, this paranormal romance is sure to entertain.”

#20 Trade Paperback
Coloring books may no longer dominate the charts as in years past, but the sentiment of this title, which was released on March 24, is a whole mood for 2020. Here’s to its planned obsolescence.