In Full Flower

Concrete Rose by The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas provides a coming-of-age story for Maverick Carter, whose daughter is the earlier novel’s protagonist. It’s the #10 book in the country and “a tender love letter to a close Black family and community,” PW’s starred review said, citing Thomas’s “trademark wit, nostalgic love of the 1990s and all things R&B and hip-hop, and her penchant for heartfelt characterization.” In a prepublication interview with PW, the YA author explained her connection to Maverick, a fan favorite. “My father wasn’t in my life, but there were other men who stepped up to the plate and filled the hole along the way,” she said. “Maverick is a symbol of a young Black man who exists in the world and should be treated as a human being like anyone else.”

Sobering Words

Holly Whitaker’s Quit Like a Woman pubbed at the end of 2019 and details how, our review said, she “got sober at 33, quit her job at a healthcare startup, and dedicated herself to starting a recovery program that she sees as an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous.” After its pub month it sold a few hundred per week throughout 2020. On December 30, Chrissy Teigen said in her Instagram stories that the book had prompted her to give up alcohol; sales of the hardcover shot up for the next two weeks and with the January 12 release of the trade paperback edition, the book debuts on our trade paper list at #4.

Doubleplusgood Sales

Historian Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny, published in 2017, is the #4 book in the country. Sales have spiked several times since its release, with the latest bounce coming in the wake of the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. Numerous news outlets consulted Snyder, whose work centers on fascism and political atrocity, for context, and he wrote a widely shared essay in the New York Times titled “The American Abyss.”

The violence at the Capitol also pushed 1984 by George Orwell, the #6 book in the country, back into the spotlight, albeit from a different angle. Sen. Josh Hawley lost his deal with Simon & Schuster because of what the publisher called “his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom”; the senator called the move “Orwellian.” (Regnery later picked up Hawley’s book.) Donald Trump Jr.’s response to his father’s post-siege permanent Twitter ban? “We are living in Orwell’s 1984.A Vox headline summed things up: “The word ‘Orwellian’ has lost all meaning.”


George Saunders
#7 Hardcover Nonfiction
“Saunders offers lessons from his graduate-level seminar on the Russian short story in this superb mix of instruction and literary criticism,” our starred review said, adding that the author’s “teaching style, much like his fiction, is thoughtful with touches of whimsy.”

Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar
#19 Hardcover Nonfiction
“Late Night with Seth Meyers writer Ruffin and her sister, Lamar, recount the racism Lamar has experienced growing up and living in Omaha, Nebr.,” per our starred review, “expertly balancing laugh-out-loud humor and descriptions of deplorable actions.” It’s among several books of essays discussed in our feature “Brief Encounters.”