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May 2016 Fiction Best Sellers: A Review

May 9, 2016
Would anybody read this if it were set during the Franco-Prussian War instead of World War II?

Would anybody read this if it were set during the Franco-Prussian War instead of World War II?

May is the month before summer begins, and summer means reading lists from just about every book blog and literary website.  The following recent hardcover novels might end up on summer reading lists just because they came out before summer began.  Others have been on the best sellers list for so long that they’ll be on summer reading lists just by default.  And I think a couple of these books will drop like an anvil off the charts before summer even begins.

Below is the best seller list for for hardcover fiction in early May 2016:

  1.  Extreme Prey by John Sandford

This is the 26th Prey book, where all the novels have the word Prey in the title.  With 26 books, the author could have published an alphabet series like Sue Grafton.  At some point, Sandford is going to run out of clever Prey titles.  I’m waiting for Lettuce Prey (with a vegetarian serial killer), but it hasn’t happened yet.

    2.   The Last Mile by David Baldacci

The protagonist detective in this novel has a perfect memory, but a perfect anything is a risk for an author.  All it takes is one nit-picky reader with too much time on his/her hands to find a mistake, and the whole premise is shattered.  I don’t have time (and I’m not nit-picky enough) to find the inconsistencies in the main character’s memory, but I bet if you read this book carefully, this guy’s memory isn’t perfect.

   3.  The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts has written over 200 books, and I haven’t read any of them.  Maybe I’ve read a JD Robb novel.  I think I have, so I guess I’ve read a Nora Roberts book.  If somebody wanted to read all of Nora Roberts’s books, would they have to read all of JD Robb’s books too?  I get obsessed with authors who write tons of books.  I used to be obsessed with James Patterson because of all the books with his name on them.  Maybe I should become obsessed with Nora Roberts too.  Not obsessed enough to get arrested or anything, but just… obsessed.

4.   The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This novel is almost like the Donald Trump of books; nobody I know likes it, but somebody is buying it.  To be fair, I know people who like Donald Trump.  I don’t know anybody who thinks The Girl on the Train is a great book, at least not great enough to be on the best sellers list for so long.

5.   The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

This book’s plot is described as a dysfunctional family squabbling over an inheritance.  I think dysfunctional poor families are more interesting than dysfunctional rich families.  I like the word “dysfunctional,” though.  I don’t know why.

6.  Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld is a woman?  At first, I thought Curtis Sittenfeld was a dude who had written this “modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice.”  That might have been more interesting to me (I don’t mean that in a sexist way, but it probably comes across like that anyway).  Now that I know Curtis is a woman, that’s all I can focus on.  Evelyn Waugh was a guy too.  Sometimes the literary world is crazy.

7.  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Here’s another novel that’s been on the best seller’s list for a long time.  Like a bunch of other recent best sellers (such as All the Light We Cannot See), it’s set during World War II.  Everybody understands World War II.  It’s the go-to war for fiction.  If The Nightingale had been set in France during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, not as many people would want to read about that.  I’m not a history expert, but I think the Franco-Prussian War is underrated as far as influential wars go.

8.  As Time Goes By by Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark is known by some as the “Queen of Suspense.”  That’s a great nickname, if you’re into royalty (and suspense).  I wonder if other female authors who write suspense novels get annoyed that Mary Higgins Clark is the “Queen of Suspense.”  Does Nora Roberts get mad?  I’m sure Nora Roberts has written suspense novels; she’s written over 200 novels, so some of them have to be suspenseful.

9.  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I would call this the To Kill a Mockingbird of books, except that would be comparing a book to another book.  What I mean is that nobody I know dislikes or hates either book.  A lot of people have read (or are reading) All the Light We Cannot See, and I haven’t heard many negative comments about it.  I rarely hear negative comments about To Kill a Mockingbird either.  Other than that (and that Pulitzer Prize for Fiction thing), I don’t think the two books are much alike.

10.  Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

This novel seems to be about a family with secrets in a small town (which maybe has some secrets too), but the blurbs don’t tell me much about the book.  In a way, I’d like to know more about Miller’s Valley, but then again, I complain when the blurbs give away too much.  There are a lot of books out there about families and secrets and small towns and secrets, and I’d like to know what makes this novel different from other novels about families with secrets in small towns.  Maybe Anna Quindlen’s writing is what makes the difference.


What do you think?  Which of these May best sellers do you think will end up on summer reading lists?  Which books are most likely to plummet?  What war (other than World War II) would you set your novel in?


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  1. As a library clerk, I see all of these titles checked in and out of the library all the time. However, I don’t have much interest in fiction (history book nerd here), so I cannot say that I have read any more than the descriptions on the dust jackets or that I can predict how well each title will do this summer.

    Historical war novel…I’m thinking an American diplomat getting tangled up in plots of espionage with Zapatistas during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).

  2. srithabandla permalink

    I guess what you said is true ! No body likes “The girl on the train” probably ! I bought that book because it was on the best sellers list .. Other wise I would never have gone through that particular book ever . It is just not my type! 🙂
    I am more into David Baldacii & Agatha Christie than Paula Hawkins !!

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