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Which Best Selling Novel Should You Read? April 2016

April 11, 2016
If your book title is Fool Me Once, you might not get a second chance with readers.

If your book title is Fool Me Once, you might not get a second chance with readers.

It’s tough to keep track of the novels on best sellers lists because the books can change so quickly.  Most novels don’t stay on the best sellers lists very long, so  you can drive yourself crazy or become obsessive if you check them every day.  Still, it’s good to review the best seller lists about once a month to see what’s selling and to keep track of what you might want to read in a few months when the books are more affordable.

Below is a list of the top ten best selling novels for April so far (according to the New York Times):

  1.   Fool Me Once, by Harlan Coben

You have to have guts to title your book Fool Me Once.  If somebody has read a previous Harlan Coben book and didn’t like it, the reader can say: “You already fooled me once.”  Anyway, Harlan Coben has written several best sellers, so he’s had the chance to fool his readers numerous times already, and his books still become best sellers.  With a Harlan Coben book, you pretty much know what you’re going to get.

       2.  The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I had never heard of this author before, and it’s always good to see an unfamiliar author on a best seller’s list.  According to the book cover, Amy Poehler thinks this book is “intoxicating.”  If you like Amy Poehler, then maybe you’ll like this book.  Then again, you may not give a flip whether or not Amy Poehler likes this book, even if you like Amy Poehler.  I like Stephen King a lot, but I learned to distrust his book recommendations, so I’m not sure I’ll trust Amy Poehler’s recommendations either.

       3.   Private Paris, by James Patterson and MARK SULLIVAN

MARK SULLIVAN gets all-caps because James Patterson gets larger letters on the book cover, and I’m certain MARK SULLIVAN did most of the writing.  I’m not sure who came up with the title, though.  Private Paris is a lousy title for a book.  Yeah, it’s a best seller, and I have no business bad mouthing a best seller when I’ve never written one, but the author who is not MARK SULLIVAN can put anything out there with his name on it and it will sell, so I’m pretty sure titling his book Private Paris is his way of showing off.

      4.   Journey To Munich, by Jacqueline Winspear

Here’s a spy novel set just before World War II.  Every best sellers list seems to have at least one novel set during or around World War II.  Putting Munich in the title hints at Germany, and if a novel takes place in Germany, it’s most likely going to be set during World War II.  The cover says it’s a Maisie Dobbs novel.  I’ve never heard of Maisie Dobbs, but if it’s a Maisie Dobbs novel, then there must be other spy novels set during/around World War II.

      5.   The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

Here’s another novel set during World War II, this time in Paris as two sisters have to deal with the war around them.  Though this book has been out for just over a year, it still hovers around on best sellers lists with a very high star rating on Amazon.  A lot of readers call it “epic,” but probably not in the way people say “epic” when they’re trying to sound cool.  I think they mean The Nightingale is kind of deep with a lot of stuff going on.

      6.   All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Here’s the third World War II novel in a row on this list, plus, it’s a best seller AND a Pulitzer Prize winner.  A lot of people have read it, and I don’t know anybody who hates it.  A couple people says it’s too long or overrated, but nobody says it sucks.  If that many people have read a book and none of them says it absolutely sucks, then it has to be pretty good.

       7.  The Summer Before the War, by Helen Simonson

I worry about this novel.  If you’re going to set your book during a world war, it’s supposed to be World War II.  Instead, The Summer Before the War is set before World War I.  I didn’t know the publishing world allowed this.  World War I was a dumb war.  I mean, most wars are dumb, but when it comes to stupidity, World War I takes the cake.

Maybe readers need more novels set before/during World War I just to remind us how stupid this particular war was.  I’m not saying The Summer Before the War is a stupid book just because it’s set before World War I.  I’m only saying that World War I was a really stupid war.

       8.  The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

This book somehow remains on best sellers lists.  I keep expecting backlash to knock this book off the charts, but it has real staying power.  Even though this book keeps getting a lot of negative reviews, it won’t stop selling!!

      9.  Property of a Noblewoman, by Danielle Steel

Danielle Steel is still writing books?

I know Danielle Steel hates it when men ask her if she’s still writing books, but she’s been writing books since I was a kid, and that was a long time ago.  Hopefully, when my daughters are my age, they can still ask, “Danielle Steel is still writing books?”

      10.  Brush of Wings, by Karen Kingsbury

This is four books in a row with a prepositional phrase in the title.  A prepositional phrase gives a title gravitas.  The title Brush of Wings sounds metaphorical.  I’m not sure what Brush of Wings is really about, but I bet it’s not really about wings or brushes.  It’s probably deep.  Maybe James Patterson could add a prepositional phrase to  Private Paris and make his book sound more dramatic.  Maybe it could be… The Private Parts of Paris.

The Private Parts of Paris??   Ha ha ha… ha!!

So much for gravitas.


What do you think?  Which best selling books from April are you most likely to read?  How many novels about World War II do you think will be on next month’s list?  Why does a prepositional phrase in a title (usually) give it more gravitas?

  1. I am, very proudly, stating that I have absolutely no intention of reading a single one of these books. I have my own tastes and don’t need the NY Times to tell me what I’m interested in reading. So there!
    (Plus, I already have a list of books to read, and couldn’t add anymore anyway.)😶

  2. happyfreeconfusedlonelyatthesametime permalink

    That books only take place in Germany when they’re about WW II sucks big time. We happen to have more history than that and surprisingly even a present

    • Must be terrifically frustrating for the world to see a country – and such a successful one too – be boiled down to one era. Are you a writer? Perhaps you could redress that balance yourself one day 🙂

      • happyfreeconfusedlonelyatthesametime permalink

        There is a balance. The books are out there. People from outside of Germany just need to read them 😀

  3. I truly thought Private Paris WAS Private Parts for a second. Terrible, terrible title. I’m waiting for the day ‘the other author’ publishes a scribbled on napkin / tissue he’s blown his nose into and it hits the NY Times bestseller list. The man is a publishes juggernaut.

  4. I actually like WWI fiction better than WWII. WWII fiction is a dime a dozen, and I’m generally more interested in the First World War, because it changed the world overnight! Great list, and a great post!

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