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July 2016 Fiction Best Sellers: A Review

July 8, 2016
Stephen King could rewrite the phone book, and it would be a best seller, and nobody reads phone books anymore.

Stephen King could rewrite the phone book, and it would be a best seller, even though nobody reads phone books anymore.

There are a lot of good reasons to study best seller lists, even if you’re not going to read the best sellers right away.  For one thing, it’s a good idea to keep up with trends in the publishing industry. Plus, you might find an idea for yourself to write about, as long as you make enough changes to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

On the other hand, you might discover some ideas NOT to write about, since a best selling author has just taken the idea.  Finally, you automatically seem more literate and sophisticated if you know what novels are currently selling well.

Below are the best selling novels for the second week of July 2016, according to the New York Times:

  1. End of Watch by Stephen King

This is the third book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, which also includes Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers.   The problem with trilogies, though, is that the story has to be really compelling for readers to put the time and energy into reading three books, even if they are written by Stephen King.

Stephen King has been writing books since I’ve been in junior high school.  Now my daughters are in junior high school, but they haven’t read any Stephen King books yet.  Maybe I should start them with Carrie.

      2.  The Girls by Emma Cline

A teenage female gets drawn in to a cult in the late 1960s.   It’s supposed to be like a fictional retelling of the Manson story from the viewpoint of one of cult’s followers. Those cult leader dudes like Manson tend to have some character flaws, but they can always attract women.

When I was younger and going through a romantic drought (I was getting turned down by a lot of women), I thought about becoming a cult leader.  I decided against it because things usually get out of control and end badly.

     3.  Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Three women are married to the same man (and I think they know they’re married to the same man), and when he dies they must endure a weekend together.  I don’t understand why a guy has to marry all three women.

I thought the proper thing to do was to marry one woman and then have affairs with the other two.  The title makes it sound like the women will get along by the end of the book.  But at least the married guy wasn’t a cult leader.

     4.  Tom Clancy: Duty and Honor by Grant Blackwood

Tom Clancy has gone from being an author to a title.  It’s not unusual for popular/iconic characters to be written by somebody who is not the original author, but I didn’t know Jack Ryan was an iconic character, and I don’t know if I like the deceased author becoming part of the title.  When somebody who was not Ian Fleming wrote James Bond books, the cover said Ian Fleming’s James Bond in… BOOK TITLE.  I don’t think Ian Fleming ever became the actual book title.

Maybe author Grant Blackwood should write a novel where Tom Clancy is the main character.  Then I wouldn’t mind the name Tom Clancy being in the title.

     5.  The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train remains in the top ten!!

Every month when I review the best seller lists, I marvel at the appearance of The Girl on the Train.  Will it be a best seller in August?  If the author hurries, she can have a sequel out before her book drops out (because I have no idea when it’s going to drop out).

     6.  Foreign Agent by Brad Thor

What does Brad Thor think about a Tom Clancy book written by somebody who is not Tom Clancy?  Thor and Clancy compete for the same kind of readers, so it might irk Thor that he still has to compete with Tom Clancy after Tom Clancy has died.

I’m jealous of Brad Thor for having a cool name, but his books are a lot shorter than Tom Clancy’s, and sometimes contain just as much story.  And Brad Thor hasn’t put himself in the title yet.

     7.  After You by Jojo Moyes

This is the sequel to Me Before You.  Author Jojo Moyes has a lot going on right now.  Me Before You recently came out as a movie, After You is still selling really well, and she has a book of short stories coming out in October.  At least, I think it’s a collection of short stories.  After all, it’s called Paris for One, and Other Stories., so that makes it sound like a collection of stories.  At any rate, that’s a pretty good year.

     8.  The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

One of the main characters is a con man named Nick Fox.  A con man named Fox?  Ugh.

     9.  Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

This was also in June’s best seller list!  I was surprised a book about a mysterious plane crash would stay in the top ten.  Critics are still angry at the television show Lost.  I didn’t even watch Lost, and I’m still angry about it.  It’s not fair to plane crash novels that a television show ruined the premise of the mysterious plane crash, but at least that hasn’t seemed to affect Before the Fall much.

     10.  Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Congratulations to new author Stephanie Danler for her debut novel staying in the top ten for July.  There might have been a lot of pressure on her because of her highly publicized huge advance, but sales of her novel seem to remain strong.  Maybe there are a lot of food fiction fans out there who like titles where compound words are reversed.  Maybe the sequel (if there is one) will be called Taste After.  If it’s After Taste, then it sounds like a Jojo Moyes book.


What do you think?  Is Brad Thor a real name?  Should deceased authors be used in book titles?  When will The Girl on the Train fall out of the top ten?  What should the title of the Sweetbitter sequel be?

  1. re Stephen King teenage girls path: Carrie -> the Shining -> Cujo

    • Yeah, that’s about right. My own trajectory was Salem’s Lot> Carrie>The Shining, then Cujo, but I was an odd kid.

      • I havent read salem’s lot, i shall keep an eye on that next time im at the bookstore

  2. try that, thats what i did anyway.

  3. I think I’ve made this comment before, but I’ll make it again: Whenever I see the name Brad Thor, I think of Phil Hartman’s voice on The Simpson’s going, “I’m actor Troy McClure.” Only the voice is saying, “I’m author Brad Thor.” It’s because of author Brad Thor’s over-the-top photo on his dust jackets. I just can’t look at his dust jacket photos and not hear Phil Hartman going, “I’m author Brad Thor.” And there’s no way Brad Thor is Brad Thor’s real name.

    • Supposedly, Thor is his real last name. I haven’t found any evidence to suggest otherwise.

      But his first name is Bradley. And his middle name is George.

      Bradley George Thor just doesn’t sound the same as… BRAD THOR!!!!!

  4. I’m pretty sure people are not going to think I’m smarter for reading a Stephen King or Tom Clancy book. They might think I’m a bottom feeder, because I’ve noticed that people who read “litch-tra-chur” tend to look down on Stephen King and Tom Clancy books, no matter what book lists they’re on.

    Paradoxically, I’m also a genre snob. I refuse to read anything that’s not a genre book. I avoid general literature. My life is pretty boring, and I like to live vicariously through the characters I read about, which is the best possible way to be in a Stephen King book. (Vicariously.) I don’t want to read about other people’s boring problems in books like Sweetbitter.

    I’m currently reading End of Watch, which is very compelling, but not scary or anything. It’s like Stephen King-lite. Its called a good beach read. I don’t like the beach, wouldn’t be able to concentrate on a book if I was there, but it’s a pretty good book for in my house, with iced tea, and air conditioning. I have no intention of reading any of the other books on the list.

  5. LOL Nick Fox and your anger with “Lost.” Sweetbitter isn’t even a thing. It’s opposite, like pretty ugly. But that just means supes ugly, so maybe she means supes bitter. Or maybe she means bitter soups, like an acrid gazpacho. I’m pretty sure that’s what the book is about. I would only read it if Bobby Flay made me a cocktail and read the book aloud to me. Then the situation would be sweetbitter because 1) Bobby Flay and 2) I would have to leave before midnight. Happysad. BTW, if an author is on the book, it would imply that the author made the words on the paper in his head, not that another head had those thoughts. I’m confused. I already don’t like Tom Clancy, God rest his soul.

  6. 2Bor2B permalink

    Consider the possibility that Grant Blackwood becomes so famous writing Clancy novels, that Fredrick Upshinder, writes Blackwood novels entitled – Grant Blackwood: Tom Clancy: Hunt for the Double Colon by Fredrick Upshinder..

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