Book Biz Burns

Just as Hollywood loves a film about the movies, so too does New York love a novel about the book business. The latest to hit our hardcover fiction list is R.F. Kuang’s Yellowface, at #7, an “excellent satire” that “provides a sharp analysis of publishing’s blind spots,” according to our starred review. The book is fantasy writer Kuang’s fifth, and it joins the ranks of two other recent, much-anticipated novels that skewer the industry for its faults, and especially its handling of issues related to race: Zakiya Dalila Harris’s The Other Black Girl and Raven Leilani’s Luster, both debuts.

Alternate History

Two books recontextualizing American history hit our hardcover nonfiction list; both look at long-sanctified figures and institutions with a new eye. Jonathan Eig’s new biography King: A Life highlights how Martin Luther King Jr. “went beyond meek nonviolence into far-reaching radicalism,” per our starred review, casting him as a “revolutionary” advocating for such progressive causes as integrationism and reparations for slavery—while not overlooking King’s “plagiarism and womanizing.” Stephen Vladeck’s searing study of the Supreme Court, The Shadow Docket, probes the unsigned, unexplained, and “obscure procedural orders” its current conservative majority employs to, as Vladeck writes, “shift American jurisprudence definitively to the right.”

Science Friction

Christopher Paolini wasn’t old enough to drink legally when PW reviewed his first novel, the YA fantasy Eragon, self-published in 2001 and republished with Knopf in 2003. His latest, Fractal Noise, a prequel to his 2020 space opera To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, is #13 on our hardcover fiction list. The book “breathes new life into the classic first encounter narrative through a sophisticated examination of the grieving narrator’s psyche,” per our starred review. It’s the first of two books out this year from Paolini; Murtagh, a sequel of sorts to Eragon, hits shelves in November.

New & Notable

Jack Carr
#2 Hardcover Fiction,
#3 Overall
Navy SEAL James Reece returns in the sixth installment of Carr’s Terminal List series, in which the world is on the brink of war and a weakened U.S. faces a host of issues ripped from the headlines.

Danielle Brown
#2 Hardcover Nonfiction
The vegan influencer behind the @healthygirlkitchen Instagram handle (3.8 million followers) debuts with a collection of more than 100 refined sugar- and flour-free plant-based recipes.