Shuffling of the Shelves - March Part 1
By Jenn Shelton, Hannah Moore and Holly Watson
The beginning of March has been a busy one in the world of literature. World Book Day took place on the third and celebrated twenty-five years of “passionately promoting the joy of reading” (Waterstones). It was also International Women’s Day on the eighth with many book shops and social media platforms showcasing powerful, female voices that we should be paying attention to.
World Book Day and International Women's Day being days apart is reflected in Waterstones' bestsellers list for the beginning of March. Louie Stowell's Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good was number one on the list for three weeks and was Waterstones' February Book of the Month. Now fallen to number twenty, Stowell’s been overtaken by the beautiful exclusive edition of The Last Firefox by Lee Newbery (author) and Laura Catalan (illustrator) which has shot up to the coveted third spot. It is also the March Book of the Month. At number one is Still Life by Sarah Winman, which touches on the relevant themes of war, art, love, family and fate. In addition, due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it's no surprise to find Catherine Belton's Sunday Times bestseller Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West sitting at number seven on the list.
There are a handful of new entries to the Amazon charts this month. Susan Lewis, Kristin Hannah and Lee Child have novels that have shot to the top of the most sold fiction charts, knocking off Marian Keyes' Again, Rachel, from the top spot. LJ Ross has climbed into the most read charts with the fourth instalment of her well-loved Alexander Gregory thrillers. Mania is seventeenth this month and follows Dr Alexander Gregory as he investigates the murder of a famous west-end actor. T. M. Logan’s The Holiday takes the coveted twentieth spot and has been adapted into a Channel 5 drama, which was released at the start of the month and follows a similar plot-line to Logan’s novel.
Many new releases are hitting the charts in The Times this month. At number four, we have Rosie Goodwin’s A Daughter’s Destiny, which is set in 1875 and follows the difficult new lives of a family that has lost its fortune, with two sisters ending up trying to survive in Soho, London. The first book in a new fantasy trilogy, The Justice of Kings, by Richard Swan is currently sitting at number five, in which the protagonist’s role is to uphold the law but they must choose whether to break it in order to save the empire when a conspiracy is unearthed. Just behind this in sixth place is Katie Forde’s A Wedding in Provence, a feel-good romance set in a French chateau in 1963.
#Bookstagram is pure heaven for book lovers. Two of the most popular books this month are The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune. Both books are rated nearly five stars on Goodreads and special editions of Under the Whispering Door were released by Waterstones and Forbidden Planet, making for stunning photo material. Both books deal with heavy themes but are written in Klune's quirky, unique style which positively represents the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, feeds have been inundated with photos of special editions from FairyLoot and The Bookish Box of Only a Monster by Vanessa Len – perfect for fans of romance and dark fantasy.
The LGBTQ+ graphic novel series, Heartstopper, is making the rounds on TikTok. Possibly because a new addition – The Heartstopper Yearbook – is set to come out this year. Following two schoolboys that fall in love, we see them deal with friendship, loyalty and mental health. Matt Haig’s bestseller, The Midnight Library, is also making a comeback as a well-loved book with a fantastical setting and a focus on mental illness. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams is popular too, a romance story that focuses on two writers who reconnect after having spent a romantic week together years ago.
Tom Burgis’ Kleptopia: How Dirty Money Is Conquering the World is our noteworthy book this month. Burgis is a reporter for the Financial Times and a Sunday Times bestseller, at number two in the non-fiction charts this month. Kleptopia was published in 2020, shedding light on the effects of corrupt practices such as money laundering. His novel made news this month after winning a case against Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation who took Burgis and HarperCollins to court for “defaming the corporation.” (BBC.co.uk) Burgis’ novel is interesting as it is written like fiction and draws on true crime tropes to talk about current and worrying political matters. Burgis took to Twitter this week to discuss the conflict in Ukraine and how this is one example of “a kleptocrat’s war”as Putin and his “cabal” are taking everything from Ukraine in order to “fortify their power.” (Twitter) Burgis’ novel is clearly more relevant now than ever before.