Alex Michaelides has the #3 book in the country with The Maidens, a “stunning psychological thriller,” our starred review said, propelled by the murder of a female student at Cambridge University. “The intelligent, cerebral plot finds contemporary parallels in Euripides’s tragedies, Jacobean dramas such as The Duchess of Malfi, and Tennyson’s poetry.” First-week print unit sales are more than double those of the author’s blockbuster debut, The Silent Patient. That book has sold 777K print copies since its 2019 publication; the May paperback reprint is #3 on our trade paper list.
On June 15, Oprah announced her latest book club pick, Nathan Harris’s The Sweetness of Water, which lands at #19 in hardcover fiction. “Harris’s ambitious debut explores the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation in rural Georgia,” our starred review said. The author “writes in intelligent, down-to-earth prose and shows a keen understanding of his characters,” the review continued, “and while the plot leads to several tragic events, there’s a tinge of hope at the end.” In a prepub interview with PW, Harris discussed the novel’s roots. “I was influenced by classic sweeping epic books,” he said. “These were the books that moved me, that feeling when you’re a kid and you turn that last page. So one morning I sat down and gave it a try.”
The Way We Live Now
Two new books present different perspectives on the Covid-19 pandemic, one personal and one policy-focused. In Live Your Life, the #10 book in the country, celebrity fitness trainer Amanda Kloots pays tribute to her husband, Broadway actor Nick Cordero, who died in July 2020 after contracting the coronavirus. She documented his three months in the ICU on Instagram, and the outpouring of support they received suffuses her narrative.
Debuting at #20 in hardcover nonfiction, Preventable by Andy Slavitt is an “informative and often enraging account” of the government response to the pandemic, our review said. The author’s “frequent attacks on Trump give the book a partisan flavor, but he offers critical insights for mitigating the next public health crisis.” In June, Slavitt stepped down from his temporary position as senior adviser to President Biden’s Covid-19 pandemic response team.
NEW & NOTABLE
WHAT IS GOD LIKE?
Rachel Held Evans and Matthew Paul Turner, illus. by Ying Hui Tan
#1 Picture Books, #9 overall
Turner, whose previous books for children include When God Made You, completed this new title based on a manuscript by fellow progressive Christian author Evans (A Year of Biblical Womanhood and others), who died in 2019 at age 37.
HOW TO COOK THAT: CRAZY SWEET CREATIONS
#7 Hardcover Nonfiction
“Edible engineering meets wow-factor whimsy in this debut dessert guide,” our review said, by an Aussie YouTube baker with a food science background. “The lessons and engaging spirit of this work are as much a treat as their results.”
THE BOX IN THE WOODS
#9 Children’s Fiction
“Sardonic sleuth Stevie Bell returns in this engaging stand-alone sleepaway camp thriller, a follow-up to Johnson’s Truly Devious trilogy,” our review said, praising the “winning crew of returning characters.”