August was a big month for Lifeway and affiliated publisher B&H. First, one of their most popular speakers and authors of Christian living titles, Jackie Hill Perry, leads the August religion bestseller list with her new book, Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him.
Right behind at #2 is the Elijah-Bible Study Book: Faith and Fire by Priscilla Shirer. Her 23rd title with Lifeway, it was published in February and went straight to the Religion Top 10 lists for March and April. Its return to the list paralleled the mid-August release on YouTube of the trailer for an upcoming film, Journey with Jesus, where Shirer tours the Christian sites in the Holy Land with her father, popular pastor and author Anthony Evans, and her sister, speaker and author Chrystal Hurst. The film will be released in a limited engagement in movie theaters in November. Shirer also joins her father, sister, and two brothers as co-authors for an upcoming book being promoted in August. In Divine Disruption (B&H Nov.), they share the lessons learned about grief and God following the family matriarch’s death and the loss of other close family and friends.
Christian Living is always a big seller so it’s no surprise that the only other new-to-the-list title is also one offering faithful advice. At #4 is Holy Hot Mess: Finding God in the Details of This Wonderful Life (Worthy) by Mary Katherine Backstrom. She built her audience as a blogger, author (Mom Babble: The Messy Truth About Motherhood), and speaker and kicked off her book tour, centered in the evangelical southeast, in August.
Filling out the list are all the favorites of summer 2021: #3 Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Thomas Nelson) by Sarah Young; #5 Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts (WaterBrook) by Jennie Allen; #6 Forgiving What You Can’t Forget (Thomas Nelson) by Lisa TerKeurst; #7 The Women of the Bible Speak (Broadside) by Shannon Bream; #8 Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Crossway) Dane C. Ortlund; #9 Boundaries: Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No (Zondervan) by Henry Cloud; and #10 Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life (Zondervan) by Craig Groeschel.
Fiction readers, however, were ready for a change last month. Four of August’s top 10 bestsellers were new books by reliably popular authors. Wanda E. Brunstetter, possibly the most prolific author of Amish country titles, leads the list with The Walnut Creek Wish. Billed as volume one in her new Creektown Discoveries series, the book centers on an antique store run by an Amish couple with a talent for advice to heal broken hearts, according to the publisher. Also new and selling in the top 10 at #7 is John Gray’s Chasing Manhattan (Paraclete), followed by #8, Lynette Eason’s Hostile Intent (Revell), and #9, Paulo Coelho’s The Valkyries (HarperOne).
The ending of summer brings no end to longstanding favorites, top listed for many months, if not years. The #2 title Love Bears All Things, also by an Amish fiction specialist, Beth Wiseman, was originally released in 2016. But this past July, Zondervan released a new mass-market edition prompting a fresh round of sales. The Top 10 also includes: #3 Malka Adler’s The Brothers of Auschwitz (One More Chapter); #5 C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce (HarperOne); #6 William P. Young’s The Shack (Windblown Media). Jonathan Cahn holds two spots with his 2012 novel The Harbinger (Charisma House) at #10 and the 2020 sequel, The Harbinger II: The Return (Frontline) at #6.