Michelle Obama’s Becoming is a global hit, especially in Europe, where her memoir topped the nonfiction lists in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden in December. It was also among the top three nonfiction bestsellers in France, where it was bested only by The Flap by Philippe Lançon, and Spain.

In France, Michel Houellebecq was back on top of the fiction bestseller list with Serotonin, the latest in his line of provocative novels about troubled middle-aged men. An instant hit, it offers a timely, scathing critique of the E.U.. Houellebecq, who is one of the country’s most renowned novelists; Serotonin will be published in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux next year.

The Dutch have been charmed by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s latest novel, The Grand Hotel Europe, which tells the story of a melancholic writer who moves into an old hotel to dwell over lost love, all the while observing how Europe is declining into nostalgia. The book was #2 on the combined list for the Netherlands in December. Pfeijffer has previously been published in English by Open Letter Books and Deep Vellum.

The novel I, Julia by Santiago Posteguillo Gómez sat atop Spain’s fiction list last month. The novel, which won the 2018 Planeta Prize, worth $700,000, depicts the rise of Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus and “the most powerful empress in Rome” circa 200 CE.


Rank Title Author Imprint
1 Sérotonine (Serotonin) Michel Houellebecq Flammarion
2 Leurs enfants après eux (The Children Who Came After Them) Nicolas Mathieu Actes Sud
3 Cupidon a des ailes en carton (Cupid’s Wings Are Made of Paper) Raphaëlle Giordano Plon
1 Le lambeau (The Flap) Philippe Lançon Gallimard
2 Devenir (Becoming) Michelle Obama Fayard
3 Un hosanna sans fin (An Endless Hosanna) Jean d’ Ormesson Héloïse d’Ormesson

For the week ended Jan. 6, 2019; used by arrangement with GFK/Livres Hebdo


Rank Title Author Imprint
1 Mijn verhaal (Becoming) Michelle Obama Hollands Diep
2 Grand Hotel Europa (Grand Hotel Europe) Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer De Arbeiderspers
3 De zeven zussen (The Seven Sisters) Lucinda Riley Xander Uitgevers
4 Taal voor de leuk (Dutch: A Funny Language) Paulien Cornelisse Uitgeverij Cornelisse
5 De antwoorden op de grote vragen (Brief Answers to the Big Questions) Stephen Hawking Spectrum
6 Simpel (Simpel) Yotam Ottolenghi Fontaine

For the week ended Jan. 6, 2019; used by arrangement with CPNB


Rank Title Author Imprint
1 Yo, Julia (I, Julia) Santiago Posteguillo Gómez Planeta
2 Tú no matarás (You Will Not Kill) Julia Navarro Plaza & Janes
3 Reina roja (Red Queen) Juan Gómez-Jurado Ediciones B
1 Sapiens. De animales a dioses (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind) Yuval Noah Harari Debate
2 1000 recetas de oro: 50 años de Carrera (1000 Gold Recipes: 50 Years of Career) Karlos Arguiñano Planeta
3 Mi historia (Becoming) Michelle Obama Plaza & Janés

For the week ended Jan. 2, 2019; used by arrangement with El Cultural