Rock ’n’ Roll Never Dies

“Raw,” “unsparing,” “deeply felt” were just some of the cheering Michiko Kakutani allowed herself in her New York Times review of Pete Townshend’s memoir, Who I Am (Harper). Townshend, the self-styled intellectual lead songwriter for the Who, opened up with a strong first week, bettering rock comrade Neil Young by a few thousand in first-week comparisons. Rocker memories, such as they are, are catnip to boomers, it would seem. We plumbed Nielsen BookScan for data on some older titles and how they have done to date, and also compared the first-week performances of this year’s newcomers. Every number tells a story, don’t it? Which reminds us: Rod Stewart’s memoir lands next week, from Crown Archetype. Its title: Rod. —Michael Coffey

Shorts & Teasers From Kim Harrison Find Their Mark

Bestseller Harrison, now 10 novels deep into the Hollows postapocalyptic urban fantasy series (most recently, 2012’s A Perfect Blood), has occasionally written Hollows short stories and novellas for anthologies and teasers. Those shorter works and three new stories are collected in Into the Woods, which debuts at #18 on PW’s Hardcover Fiction list this week. Fans of series protagonist Rachel Morgan will be excited to learn more about her, and other characters, including aloof vampire Ivy Tamwood and mischievous pixy Jenks, also get turns in the spotlight. Stories set in the Hollows world but not directly connected to the novels make this collection particularly accessible to new readers, so expect it to be a popular holiday gift from Harrison’s fans to their friends—and don’t be surprised if those friends head straight for Harrison’s backlist once they’ve gotten a taste of her dark, witchy world.—Rose Fox

Atlas Within Atlas Within…

David Mitchell’s tricky narrative comes to the screen

The movie tie-in edition of David Mitchell’s matryoshka doll of a book, Cloud Atlas, hits #14 this week on the trade paperback bestseller list, with almost 5,500 new sales adding to the quarter-million copies the book has sold since 2004 (at outlets tracked by Nielsen BookScan), but only a small percentage of the 125,000 copies Random House rushed into production after a five-minute movie trailer went online.

Circling the Web lately is an article with this headline: “25 Days to Read ‘Cloud Atlas’ Before Tom Hanks Ruins It Forever.” If Mitchell shares this film-version dread, he’s a damned fine actor. In the New York Times magazine he talked about the process of watching his book become a movie (in which he plays a cameo role). At the table read of the script he pitched in, alongside Tom Tykwer and Lana and Andy Wachowski, who wrote the screenplay and directed the film together, an experience that Mitchell said “will stay with me forever.” Tykwer is best known for his first film, Run Lola Run, a fun firecracker that played as fast and loose with time and narrative as Cloud Atlas. The Wachowskis are best known for three things: their global phenomenon, The Matrix; ruining their global phenomenon, The Matrix, with two more Matrix films (one review of the second film began, “Talk about blowing it”); and the fact that Larry, a man, has become Lana, a woman. I think it’s also worth noting that the short red dreads Lana’s been sporting lately make her a dead ringer for Tykwer’s Lola. Perhaps there’s a sequel in the works, Run Lana Run. But I digress. The PW review called Cloud Atlas “dazzling, pretentious, infuriating” and “audacious,” adjectives that fit Tykwer and the Wachowskis to a T. When the dust settles from the film’s Oct. 26 opening weekend, chances are we’ll be hearing those words again. Along with a few others we can’t print. —Mike Harkvey

From Test-tube to Tabletop

America’s Test Kitchen is literally that—an enormous, 2,500-sq.-ft. kitchen located just outside of Boston where over three dozen food fanatics run recipes ragged, testing each one anywhere from 30 to 70 times. That’s a lot of grub. Christopher Kimball, the host of PBS’s cooking show and founder, publisher, and editor of Cook’s Illustrated, also called America’s Test Kitchen, is out and about in support of his team’s newest publication, The Science of Good Cooking, debuting at #24 on our Hardcover Nonfiction list. With over 5,000 copies sold, this science-minded cookbook will have kitchens around the country doubling as laboratories, as intrepid chefs try their hand at more than 400 recipes keyed to demonstrate “50 core principles” of cooking. In our review, we called it “a comprehensive exploration” of the hows and whys of the kitchen. But how does it compare to its forebears? ATK’s editorial director Jack Bishop acknowledges that Harold McGee’s 2004 On Food and Cooking (with over 200,000 copies sold to date) is more of an attempt “to explain the entirety of food science,” whereas The Science of Good Cooking is focused on “the key concepts that will have the greatest impact on home cooking.”

Kimball and ATK science adviser Guy Crosby are hosting a ticketed event (entry includes a copy of the book) on Oct. 24 at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., followed by several solo appearances by Kimball, including one at Books Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., on Nov. 15, and another at the Book Table in Oak Park, Ill., on Nov. 27. On Dec. 11, you can find the entire cast of the ATK TV show at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., an event sponsored by Harvard Book Store.—Samuel R. Slaton

Heavenly Coattails

Christian publisher Thomas Nelson continues to enjoy heavenly success. Heaven Changes Everything by Todd and Sonja Burpo, a spinoff of the seven-million-copy–selling Heaven Is for Real, debuts at #18 on our Nonfiction Hardcover list. At the heart of the celestial phenomenon is the story of four-year-old Colton Burpo, who told his parents that he took a trip to heaven while he lay unconscious in surgery. The newest iteration of Colton’s journey contains 90% new material in the format of a 40-day devotional. First printing is 240,000, and the book has already gone back to press.—Marcia Z. Nelson