The Publishing Post
Shuffling of the Shelves - March Part 2
By Jenn Shelton, Hannah Moore and Holly Watson
Let’s take a look at the books getting attention and perhaps being gifted for Mother’s Day! From bestselling Japanese authors to self-help books, we’re seeing a variety of genres in the charts in the second half of March.
There has been a re-shuffling of the shelves in the Waterstones bestsellers list! The ever-popular Matt Haig has been on the bestsellers list for weeks with The Midnight Library – which is now sitting at number seventeen on the list. Shortlisted for the British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year 2021, this unique novel about regret, hope and forgiveness is guaranteed to make you cry and is a fan favourite. A pre-order bestseller, Novelist as a Vocation by famed author Haruki Murakami, is at number twelve. Japanese authors are making their way to the Western world but none of them has had the impact that Murkami has; it's no surprise that a novel about “...his musings on the peculiar profession of the novelist…” (Waterstones) is already a bestseller. Another Japanese novel, Klara and the Sun by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro, which sits at number three was shortlisted for British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year 2021 and longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021.
There has been lots of movement in Amazon’s non-fiction charts. Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything has climbed to fifth place. Bryson’s book is described as an “accessible” science book, as he challenges himself to explain the most difficult topics to non-scientists like himself (Amazon). Bessel van der Kolk’s, The Body Keeps The Score is at fifteen and has risen two spots this month. Dr. van der Kolk’s work has been described as “the trauma Bible” as they look at the devastating effects of trauma and how one seeks to overcome it (Amazon). Along similar lines, we have Eckhart Tolle’s, The Power of Now, at seventeen. This book puts forth the message of “living in the now” and provides a simplistic way of understanding ‘the self’ in order to find happiness (Amazon). It is understandable why these books have shot up in the charts, with the current climate and the atrocities we have seen on the news.
WH Smith’s chart is dominated by romance and thrillers, with Lesley Pearse’s Suspects currently sitting at number four. This gripping tale follows the aftermath of a murder and a couple unable to trust their new neighbours. Taking the fifth spot is The Rose Queen by Katie Flynn, a historical romance set in the 1930s that deals with themes of war and community. The main character leaves her mining town after war is declared, but her new romance is threatened when Aled joins the Royal Air Force (RAF) – perfect for anyone interested in the Second World War. The second novel in Ann Cleeves’ Two Rivers series, The Heron’s Cry, sits at sixth place and follows a detective investigating a murder that could involve his own family. Danielle Steel is at number ten with Finding Ashley after it recently came out in paperback. Set in Ireland, this story reunites two sisters once divided so that Melissa can find the child she was forced to give up when she was a teenager.
Our noteworthy book this week is Maybe Baby, by Kate Lawler. Published just a week before Mother’s Day, Maybe Baby now sits at number four on the Sunday Times bestsellers list and twelfth in the Amazon book charts. Lawler covers many topics surrounding motherhood: including doubts about having kids, early motherhood and the “ups and downs of pregnancy” (Hachette.co.uk). Maybe Baby is a “beautifully honest” book described by fellow mum and author Giovanna Fletcher. Tt delves into topics such as post-natal depression which Fletcher suggests “will help open up important conversations” for readers going through similar situations (Giovanna, Instagram). With Lawler being a popular DJ on Virgin Radio, having a huge following on social media and with it being Mother’s Day on the 27th of March, it is understandable why this book has shot up in the charts.
Our author of the month is Olivie Blake, who has taken the book world by storm. Her big break came in the form of her BookTok sensation, The Atlas Six. Self-published in 2020, it sparked a seven-way bidding war before being picked up by Tor for six figures. A newly revised and edited version with new illustrations was released in eBook, hardback and audiobook on 1 March 2022. The sequel is due to be released in October 2022. It was announced that Amazon has acquired the small-screen rights to the novel and is producing the project as a series along with Follmuth and Brightstar. Olivie Blake is the pseudonym of Alexene Farol Follmuth. Under her own name, Follmuth is releasing My Mechanical Romance in May 2022. She has written several Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF) stories including a webtoon called, Clara and the Devil, with illustrator Little Chmura.