Every Wednesday The New York Times’s best-seller lists are published with an array of books that have made the biggest sales in the past week. But how do they work and what are some remarkable books that have made it there this year?
According to an article published in The Times in September 2020, there are eleven weekly lists, each for a different category, compiled by three people who use data and investigative reporting to figure out which books will make it each week. These people receive sales data from bookstores, online retailers, and just about anywhere you can find books in the United States, to report the sales from the previous week. After they get all of this data and have calculated which books will be making it onto the lists, they need to double-check that the titles they have written match with the author and write descriptions for new titles making it on the lists. The eleven lists published weekly are Combined Print and E-Book Fiction, Combined Print and E-Book Nonfiction, Hardcover Fiction, Hardcover Nonfiction, Paperback Trade Fiction, Paperback Nonfiction, Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous, Children’s Middle-Grade Hardcover, Children’s Picture Books, Children’s Series, and Young Adult Hardcover. They each have ten to fifteen books. In the first twelve weeks of 2021, there have been some books that have constantly stayed on the lists and some others that only made a fleeting appearance. Here are the most remarkable books for each list so far this year:
Combined Print & E-Book Fiction
The book that has stayed the most on this list so far has been The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. This book stayed on the #1 spot on this list for 4 consecutive weeks from January 17 to February 7 and is still on the list in a lower spot. Netflix’s Original Series Bridgerton is based on this book, so this is probably the reason for its popularity.
Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction
Barack Obama’s presidential memoir A Promised Land stayed for six consecutive weeks at the #1 spot at the beginning of the year.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was in the #1 spot for Hardcover Fiction for a total of 3 weeks. It is a story about twin sisters who leave the small, Black town they grew up in and how their stories change as one of them returns and the other one continues her life passing as a white person.
In this list we once again have Barack Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land, as the one that stayed the longest at the top.
Paperback Trade Fiction
Home Body by Rupi Kaur stayed at the top of the paperback Trade Fiction list for 5 consecutive weeks. She is the author of Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers. She describes this poetry collection as “a collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself.”
The #1 spot on this list was occupied by The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk for seven weeks total. This is a book about the effects trauma has on the body and methods for recovery.
Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous
Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta occupied the top spot on this list for six consecutive weeks. This is a book on how to keep the mind and brain active.
Children’s Middle Grade Hardcover
The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling occupied the #1 spot on this list for a total of eight weeks. This is her first children’s book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. It is the story of the kingdom of Cornucopia and a monster that threatens it.
Children’s Picture Books
In the Children’s Picture Books list the top spot was occupied by Little Blue Truck’s Valentine by Alice Schertle, Illustrated by Jill McElmurry.
Dog Man by Dav Pilkey remained at the top of this list for nine weeks so far this year.
Young Adult Hardcover
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas was on the #1 spot for five weeks total. She is the author of the acclaimed book The Hate U Give. This book takes place seventeen years before The Hate U Give and it’s the story of Maverick Carter.