The Publishing Post
Shuffling of the Shelves – March 2023, Part 1
By Hannah Moore, Lucy Shardlow and Melissa Tran
Spring is fast approaching and there are already so many fresh and exciting titles out there just waiting for you to sink your teeth into. So, here are our top favourite titles across the charts to see in this new season…
Two celebrity books take the top spots in the WHSmith book chart this month. The first is Kevin Sinfield’s The Extra Mile. Described as a rugby icon, Sinfield has had an incredible career as a legend of Leeds Rhinos, to coaching for Leicester Tigers. Not only has he been an inspirational figure within sports, but in recent years has gone above and beyond to raise funds for Motor Neuron Disease (MND) after his best friend and fellow rugby player, Rob Burrow was diagnosed with the condition, recently running seven miles in seven days for the cause and raising over £5 million. Secondly, we have reality TV star Charlotte Crosby’s book Me, Myself and Mini Me. As a Sunday Times bestselling author with previous memoirs Me, Me, Me and Brand New Me, it is no wonder her current book is doing so well. This memoir contains inside information on her relationship, her pregnancy journey and how she's navigating life as a new mum.
In the Waterstones charts this week is Strong Female Character by Fern Brady, which topped the entertainment chart in the first week of its release. Fern tells her story that explores sexism, neurodiversity and navigating ambition in a funny and witty memoir. Number two in the Waterstones fiction chart is Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass, an 18th century thriller that follows Laurence Jago aboard the Tankerville mail ship… With a murderer. Not one to be missed, Nattrass combines politics and mystery to create a gripping story full of tension. Further down the chart is Damascus Station by David McCloskey, another spy thriller, which follows a CIA agent who gets into trouble in Assad’s Syria. Published by Swift Press, Damascus Station is a story of love, loss and betrayal.
Turning over to the Movers and Shakers chart over on Amazon. At number one we have social media star Sophie McCartney with her hilarious fiction debut Mother Hens. Cara Carmichael cannot wait to swap the school run for old skool club classics for her bestie’s hen do in Ibiza. A mini-break filled with sun, sea and those sexy spanks! But it turns out these women have bitten off a lot more than they can chew as a twist of fate causes a huge spark. Four friends, three nights and a suitcase full of secrets… What could possibly go wrong? At number two we have You Don't Know What War Is by Yeva Skalietska. One year on since the start of the devastating war in Ukraine, this book remains even more prevalent today. This is a gripping diary which follows the twelve days where young Ukrainian refugee Yeva's life changed forever. A powerful and moving insight into what conflict is truly like through the eyes of a child.
With prices hiking up due to the cost of living crisis, we’ve noticed a lot of BookTokers recommending affordable reads that can be picked up in shops like The Works. Amy Lea’s Exes and O’s is one book you can pick up for just a fiver! This story follows a romance novel-obsessed social media influencer who revisits one of her exes in the pursuit of true love. Another affordable read is Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. Hibbert writes the perfect romantic-comedy, featuring a chronically-ill protagonist who decides to write a list of things to help her ‘get a life’. First on her list is to move out of her family’s mansion, but she also wants to experience a drunken night out, a ride on a motorcycle and meaningless sex – perhaps her mysterious next door neighbour Redford ‘Red’ Morgan can help her with some of her big ideas…
Roald Dahl’s books are always high up in the book charts – especially around World Book Day. Recently, his books have gained attention because his publisher Puffin (an imprint of Penguin Random House) made the decision to hire sensitivity readers to rewrite his books so that they “can continue to be enjoyed by all today” (The Guardian). Words like “enormous” and “ugly” are scattered throughout Dahl’s books and have been criticised as being harmful language in children's literature. Author Philip Pullman is one who believes we should let Dahl’s work “die out” to be replaced by modern authors. Some members of the public have been outraged that Dahl’s original work could be changed – even the prime minister has weighed in on the debate, commenting: “I think it’s important that works of literature and works of fiction are preserved and not airbrushed” (The Guardian). Whatever the public and critics believe, Puffin has decided to publish both an updated version, with the controversial words taken out, as well as the original edition – so that readers decide which version they give to their children.