A Circus Headliner

Under the Big Tent

By Dick Donahue

"Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love set in a turn of the 20th-century circus." So said PW's starred review of The Night Circus, which, following its Sept. 2011 publication as an Amazon Best Book of the Month, sold 166,478 hardcover copies in its 18-week run on our Fiction list, according to Nielsen BookScan. Among the novel's myriad rave notices was that voiced by Summit Entertainment president Erik Feig, whose company has secured film rights: "The Night Circus sets a spell on the reader from its very first page and we cannot wait to find the right filmmaker and cast to make the world come as inordinately alive as it does in the mind's eye." (Already on board the Circus is screenwriter Moira Buffini, who penned the script for last year's Jane Eyre.) With 10,559 YTD trade paper copies sold according to Nielsen BookScan, the publisher will ensure the merriment's continuation, with Morgenstern making appearances through the fall at bookstores, literary festivals, libraries, and "one book one city" promotions. Her paperback schedule kicked off July 3 with a Night Circus costume and concert party at the Brookline Booksmith in conjunction with the Huffington Post's Book Page. Of special note is the author's July 30 live Skype event with Goodreads.com—an opportunity for readers and book club members from around the country to meet Morgenstern. The author will be recording an original essay for NPR's All Things Considered; other events include a July 18 appearance with Lev Grossman at New York's McNally Jackson Booksellers, along with various fall book festivals.

The Gold Standard

In its bestselling trade paper edition, Chris Cleave's previous novel, Little Bee, enjoyed a 63-week run on our list, racking up sales, per Nielsen BookScan, of 1,163,767. With a 125,000-copy first printing, his Gold is off with a rush (3,184 units sold in the first week), having just been selected for the inaugural Newsweek/Daily Beast Book Club, as well as the Martha Stewart Living Book Club. And speaking of a rush: over the course of two trips to the U.S. from his native England (one in July, another in October), Cleave is scheduled for 34 events in 28 markets coast to coast. Also, he conducted substantial research into Olympic-level cycling prior to writing the book, since the two main characters are Olympic cyclists. That research, Cleave reports, turned into more than just a passing interest—he's become an avid cyclist, and ranked at the second-highest elite level in the amateur category. On June 21–23 he competed in the London–Paris bike race, which was recently named one of the world's top 25 participation events, alongside the New York and London marathons. Among Gold's many rave reviews, the Washington Post's comment seems particularly à propos: "Cleave kick-starts his stories from the first breath and never takes his feet off the pedals." He raised more than over £100,000 in support of leukemia and lymphoma research, which became major causes to him after creating the character of Sophie, the eight-year-old who in the new novel battles leukemia.—D.D.

Casey at the Bat

Though Rielle Hunter's What Really Happened dropped off our Nonfiction list this week, publisher BenBella has moved in on another headline-worthy topic with Presumed Guilty, which lands at #16 with 2,985 YTD copies sold. This new current affairs saga picks up when two-year-old Caylee Anthony went missing in Orlando, Fla., in July 2008. As the dramatic doings unfolded, the public spent the next three years following the high-profile investigation and six-week trial of Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony. Now defense attorney Jose Baez's tell-all arrives on the one-year anniversary of the shocking verdict, a major upset in American legal history. As with the Hunter book, BenBella has mounted a media campaign, with Baez making the media rounds beginning with a July 5 GMA interview and Fox & Friends stint the following day. Features in AP and GQ followed, plus Piers Morgan, The View, Geraldo at Large, et al.—D.D.

The Next Best Cupcakes

Not only are Jennifer Weiner's bestselling novels noted for their wry witticisms, but even her Web site is chockfull of one-liners. In her FAQ section, for example, she's asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" Her answer: "Target. They have everything at Target." And evidently believing the way to her fans' hearts is through their tummies, the author's become famous for bringing food—read cupcakes—to her signings. In her current 12-city junket, not only are cupcakes on the menu, but they're baker-identified: at Vroman's in L.A., cupcakes by Sweet Lady Jane; in Houston's Blue Willow Bookshop, by Mabis Patisserie; etc. The author's latest, The Next Best Thing, is about a young writer with big Hollywood dreams, and Weiner knows that territory—not only was she the co-creator and executive producer of the ABC Family sitcom State of Georgia, which ran during the summer of 2011, but her 2002 novel, In Her Shoes, was made into a film starring Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine. Per Nielsen BookScan, Best Thing has shipped 11,757 copies—an auspicious first week.

An American Son

With 17 weeks until the presidential election, it's no surprise that political tomes are hitting the bestseller lists—Klein's The Amateur, with eight weeks on our list; Limbaugh's The Great Destroyer (five), Beck's Cowards (four), and Maraniss's Barack Obama (three). In An American Son, Marco Rubio, the junior U.S. senator from Florida, writes of his growing up in Cuba and his political career. (He's served since January 2011—having previously been Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009.) Time recently named Rubio one of the most influential people in the world—a rare honor for a first-term senator. In the headlines constantly, he's widely considered one of the most effectual leaders in the Republican Party. His major national TV appearances have included CBS Sunday Morning, Meet the Press, The View, Charlie Rose, Hannity, and The Daily Show. He's also been featured in numerous major publications, including a front-page USA Today interview. Said Jeb Bush on Time's selection of Rubio, "I knew there was something special about Marco Rubio when I first met him as a young Republican city commissioner. Bilingual and bicultural, he represents the best of the emerging second generation of Cuban immigrants." Units sold year to date per Nielsen BookScan, 21,541.—D.D.

Kids' Books: "Heavenly" Sales

A series about a fallen angel casts worldwide spell

In just two and a half years, Lauren Kate has become an international sensation. Rapture, the final volume in her Fallen series, came out last month; her books have been translated into more than 30 languages, and more than 800,000 Fallen books have been sold through BookScan. Beverly Horowitz, v-p and publisher of Bantam Delacorte, says the acquisition and publication of Kate's series was one of publishing's "heavenly moments"—no pun intended, she says, for a quartet of books about a fallen angel. "We fell in love with it, we pre-empted it, we got it in April and we published it in December. The whole thing was very quick. There was instant clicking."

In addition to the four books in the series (Fallen, Torment, Passion, and Rapture), a volume of four stories starring Fallen characters, Fallen in Love, pubbed this past January, and in April Random House released a free e-book introduction to the series. Disney has optioned film rights.

Kate is currently at work on her next project for Delacorte (unrelated to Fallen). "What's been fascinating," Horowitz says, "is that just about every part of the world wanted her to come visit. Her fans are so devoted not only to her and her books, but also to the characters and the choices they have to make. We loved it internally and it's so exciting to see that the whole world loved it too." —D.R.