You Oughta Be in Pictures

Actor Matthew McConaughey makes his picture book debut with Just Because, illustrated by Renée Kurilla. In it, he “offers up some folksy wisdom about life’s often contradictory nature,” according to our review. “The homespun homilies effectively communicate that everyone’s a complex being trying their best, that things move on—and that life can be alright, alright, alright.” McConaughey’s not doing so bad himself: in addition to having the #7 book in the country, his 2020 memoir, Greenlights, has sold 1.3 million print copies.

Wild at Heart

Lauren Groff’s The Vaster Wilds makes its foray onto our hardcover fiction list at #8. Per our starred review, “Groff’s extraordinary latest tracks the life of an adolescent servant girl who flees a Jamestownesque settlement in colonial America and sets out across the wilderness.” Before the author’s appearance at the 2023 U.S. Book Show, she told PW about some of the inspirations behind the novel, including Robinson Crusoe: “It’s interesting to look into the long history of these stories and find how closely related they are to feelings of spirituality external to any institution or church,” she said. “I wanted to tell that story from a woman’s point of view.”

In Clubland

Reese’s Book Club tapped Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon as its September selection. “Three women bond while investigating a homicide,” our review said of the author’s “spirited debut,” which lands at #15 on our hardcover fiction list. “Simon stocks her layered plot with plausibly motivated suspects and convincing red herrings, but it’s her indomitable female characters and their nuanced relationships that give this mystery its spark.”


Walter Isaacson
#1 Hardcover Nonfiction, #1 overall
“Reckless ambition, ruthless drive, and psychic demons swaddle the soul of a wounded child in this sweeping biography of the celebrated industrialist,” our review said. “Isaacson shadowed Musk for two years and conjures a richly detailed, evocative portrait that nails his impulsive personality.”

Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey
#2 Hardcover Nonfiction, #2 overall
Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School professor Brooks (From Strength to Strength), who writes the “How to Build a Life” column at the Atlantic, teams up with needs-no-introduction Winfrey for a self-help title on “the art and science of getting happier.”

All print unit sales per circana bookscan except where noted.