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January 2016 Fiction Best Sellers- A Review

January 28, 2016
This book is everywhere, but I haven't read it yet.

Like Gone Girl a few years ago, this book will not go away.

I’d really like to read a lot more new books, but hardcovers are too expensive and the new books are almost always checked out from my local libraries.  Still, I try to keep up with what’s current, even if I can’t read the books right way.  It’s important for a book blogger to keep up with what’s hot.  Plus, it’s fun to form an opinion about books before I read them.

With that in mind, here are the top ten best selling hardcover books (fiction) so far for January, 2016, according to the New York Times.  The commentary is mine.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

You can’t get away from Star Wars right now.  It’s everywhere, even at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.  I haven’t seen the new Star Wars, but I don’t have to.  I saw the original when it came out (before it was called A New Hope), bought the movie adaptation, had the comic books, movie posters, and 1970’s science fiction magazines with tons of Star Wars photos and articles.  I have pictures of me standing next to storm troopers and R2D2.  I’ve done my Star Wars time.

I’m not sure if the novelization of The Force Awakens is any good, but I know Alan Dean Foster has written some other good science fiction books.

90% chance I watch the movie sometime in my life/ 1% chance I ever read the book.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

It’s supposed to be a lot like Gone Girl, but it’s British, and the plot is different.  Maybe in a couple years, there will be a lot of books that will be referred to as “This year’s Girl on the Train.”  Still, I read Gone Girl and liked it, and making something British usually improves it, so maybe The Girl on the Train will be worth reading later.

50% chance I’ll read The Girl on the Train.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This is one of two books in the top ten set during or around World War II.  If you’re not sure when to set your novel, set it during World War II.  If I ever teach a writing class, that’s what I’ll tell my students.

It’s World War II, so there’s a 20% chance I’ll try the book, but not this year.

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

John Grisham has written another lawyer book, but this time, the lawyer has gone rogue.  I don’t think Grisham has ever written about a lawyer who has gone rogue before.  Good for him.

I’ve already read a bunch of John Grisham books, so there’s less than a  5% chance I’ll read this book.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Another book set in World War II, this time focusing on two sisters.  Again, you can’t go wrong with a book set in World War II.

World War II gives this novel a 20% chance with me, but it’s about sisters and I’m a man (and I’m probably sexist too), so that knocks this book down to less than 10%.

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks book, but I’ve been forced to sit through a couple movies based on his books.  They made me cry, and I don’t like to cry when I read books, especially if I’m reading them in public.  If a man cries while reading a book in public, the likelihood of him getting conked on the head skyrockets.  I don’t like crying in public, and I really hate getting conked on the head.

0%.  I know I will not read this book (but I might have to sit through the movie if it’s made into one).

Cross Justice by James Patterson

It’s an Alex Cross book, and the word Cross is in the title.  I wonder if there’s a character named Justice in the book too.


The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Here’s a collection of short stories, and they’re probably pretty good, if you haven’t read too much Stephen King already.  I’m disappointed King used the word Bad in his book title.  I know alliteration is important, but using Bad is worse than using an –ly adverb.

I always say I won’t read the next Stephen King book, and then I’m wrong half the time.  I can’t help it.  50%

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

This was probably 2015’s most talked about book, and it’s still selling.  I don’t hear many people talking about it anymore, though.  Yet it still sells.

I say I won’t read it on principal, but I can ignore my principals if I get to read it for free. 20%

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

It’s described as a marriage depicted from both points of view.  I’m married, but I’m not sure I want to read a novel about it.  I have kids, and I don’t read novels about child rearing either.

This book is a wildcard.  If I’m in the right mood, I’ll try it.  30%.


What do you think?  Have you read any of the books currently on the top ten best seller list?  If not, which one would you most likely read?  Which book on this list do you know you will never read?


For more insight and wisdom(?), read…

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  1. The Girl on the Train is not as good as Gone Girl. I suppose I get why The Girl on the Train can be compared to Gone Girl but trust me, Gone Girl is 110% better than The Girl on the Train.

    As for The Nightingale, that is based on the strength and courage of women during war time. So, if you want to be emasculated somehow then give it read, haha, just kidding, what men do in war is honourable but what women do is unheard of and I guess that’s one of the reasons why it is a best seller (apart from the writing which is phenomenal). But trust me, it’s actually a pretty awesome read.

    • From what you’ve said, I guess The Nightingale is up to maybe 30% for me, and The Girl on the Train is down to 10%. I mean, the percentages aren’t precise, but they’re somewhere around there. Thank you!

  2. I tried to read Girl on the Train. I had the book on my kindle for a month and only read three chapters. Then I let it auto-return. I have not wondered how it ended. I refuse to read more Alex Cross books. I saw the new Star Wars. I probably won’t bother with anything else on the list either. sigh.

    • From what you and another commenter have said, The Girl on the Train is down to maybe 5%.

      How many Alex Cross books have you read? I’m curious what the breaking point is.

  3. I feel I must spare you… The Girl on the Train wasn’t even close to Gone Girl. In fact, I got suckered and bought it because of that blasted blurb and paid dearly. It was wretched. Not Patterson wretched. But wretchedly deceiving.

    • Now The Girl on the Train is down to under 5%. I’m glad you clarified that it wasn’t Patterson wretched, though. That’s very important.

  4. Is it the book about a girl who passes by a house she once lived in every day? I heard it is pretty good? Should I cross it off my reading list? 🙂

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