Non-fiction this week is an interesting example of how the world outside of publishing effects what goes on within it. The economic, political, and actual climate are all causing changes to the charts.
This week in the bestselling non-fiction charts, it is very clear that summer has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere. A significant proportion of the places in the charts are filled with books on outside cooking and how-to books for outside hobbies. Weber’s New Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance and The Complete Book of Fishing Knots, Leaders, and Lines, by Lindsey Philpott, are the highest ranking examples of each and both tell a story about the hopes of those reading them for a good summer.
Often the genres of Memoir and History overlap, these Historical Memoirs are more often written by historians than the people themselves. An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew, written by Annejet van der Zijl, and The Duchess by Amanda Foreman, are good examples of such books. Not to be out done, however, are the biographies of US President Harry S. Truman, A. J. Baime’s The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World, and Ron Chernow’s, Alexander Hamilton. Interestingly, both The Duchess and Alexander Hamilton reference the works based on them on their covers, showing that even some years on Keira Knightly and Lin Manuel Miranda have selling power for these books.
There are also a lot of Contemporary Memoirs, focusing on modern day icons such as Elon Musk, Michelle Obama, and the Dalai Lama. This latter book, My Spiritual Journey, by the Dalai Lama and his translator Sofia Stril-Rever, benefits not only from the fame and respect the world has for its author, but also the spiritual education which it carries with it. There is also a biography of five women involved in the early years of aviation, Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History, by Keith O’Brien.
History books not devoted to a single person or distinct group of people are also popular this week, with a focus on World War 2 very evident, as well as early United States History. Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch’s book, The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, is an example of the latter, while the former has the history of World War 2 spying, The Spies Who Never Were: The True Story of the Nazi Spies Who Were Actually Allied Double Agents, by Hervie Haufler. Meanwhile, Donnie Eichar’s, Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, blends history with something close to both True Crime and Horror.
The next genre fills most of the Non-Fiction chart by itself this week, self-help books, focusing on mental health and wealth. And often they are seen as combining the tow, from Timothy Ferriss’ Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, and Stephen R. Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, the reader is encouraged to match their lifestyles to those of the wealthiest and most successful people in the world in the hopes of also matching their achievements. In comparison, there are more concrete advisories in the book, Living Trusts for Everyone: Why a Will Is Not the Way to Avoid Probate, Protect Heirs, and Settle Estates (Second Edition), by Ronald Farrington Sharp.
There are also some political books, ones warning the reader about the state of the modern world and what people can do to change it, or at least survive it and help others do the same. Miachael Eric Dyson’s, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, and Mark R. Levin’s, Unfreedom of the Press, are high ranking examples of these types of books.
Fiction has also managed to make it’s way onto the Non-Fiction Chart, and while it is arguably in the right place for some, other books are clearly in the wrong place. Fairy tales are one of the few pieces of very clear fiction that can usually make it’s way in some form onto the Non-Fiction Charts. Kate Forrester’s, Celtic Tales: Fairy Tales and Stories of Enchantment from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales, is a good example of why this happens, since it also contains plenty of history and analysis of the places and times the stories come from the case could be argued that one of it’s subcategories is History, or perhaps Literary Criticism. The inclusion, however, of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel, by Gail Honeyman is a bit of a head scratcher, given that it even has the phrase “A Novel” in the title, but somehow it is still managing to hit fairly high on the Non-Fiction charts.
An interesting variety of books doing well this week, anyone seeing something they did not expect? Or maybe there is something missing that you were sure should be there, leave a comment and we will see you next time!