James McBride’s Deacon King Kong is “a sharply compassionate shaggy dog tale,” our starred review said, “of a heavy drinking Baptist deacon who shoots a drug dealer and becomes a ‘walking dead man.’ ” On June 16, the novel took its place among Oprah’s Book Club picks, and it returns to our hardcover fiction list for the first time since March, at #9, with by far its best weekly sales to date.
Signings of the Times
Elin Hilderbrand’s latest beach read, 28 Summers, takes the #4 spot in the country at the start of a very uneasy summer season. In addition to promoting the new book via Instagram and Zoom chats, Hilderbrand, who typically tours twice a year, is among the first authors to resume in-person bookstore events. She kicked things off in Delaware on June 20 with an appearance at Bethany Beach Books.
The top two titles on our children’s picture book list introduce concepts of race to pre-readers. The #1 picture book, and the #6 book in the country, is We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates, illustrated by Joe Mathieu, a Sesame Street–branded title that pubbed in 1992. After its appearance on several anti-racist children’s book lists, print unit sales shot up from less than 1,000 per week to more than 42K in a single week. The #2 picture book, Antiracist Baby, is a new board book by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky and inspired by themes in Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, the #1 book in the country. In response to demand for the board book, Penguin Young Readers imprint Kokila will also release a picture book edition on July 14.
NEW & NOTABLE
#12 Hardcover Fiction
The World War Z author trades zombies for Sasquatch in a “slow-burning page-turner,” our review said, “told via diary entries, news transcripts, and Brooks’s own research” into the existence of bigfoot. On publication day, Legendary Entertainment acquired screen rights.
THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST
#12 Trade Paperback
“Cleeton finds the right balance of historical detail and suspense,” our review said, in the loosely connected plotlines of three women coping with a devastating 1935 hurricane in the Florida Keys. It’s “a riveting curl-up-on-the-couch affair.”