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The Color of Success
Daisy Maryles -- 9/8/97
Angela's Ashes is not the only memoir that's been making its mark on the national charts. As of this week, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother has spent six months on PW's trade paperback list. Extraordinary word of mouth, great reviews, interviews on NPR's Fresh Air and on Dateline NBC have been some of the factors that have kept this uplifting story on the consumers' radar screens. The Riverhead book seems to have cut across racial and religious barriers, as author James McBride packed his readings (during an eight-city tour) with fans from the African American and Jewish communities. An April appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show sent the book to the top of some of the national charts (it was #1 on NYT's paperback general nonfiction list) and a recent re-broadcast put it back in the lead spot again. McBride continues to travel the country doing readings. Clearly, that is a strong factor in the book's success. Riverhead launched the paper edition with a 40,000-copy first printing and now has more than 426,000 books in print after 22 printings.

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