By Jenn Shelton, Hannah Moore and Holly Watson
The past two weeks have seen the charts dominated by adventure novels and thrillers - perhaps fast-paced reads are becoming more popular as we get into summer. Adaptations are also having a resurgence in popularity for certain books, particularly contemporary literature.
Surprisingly, there has not been much shuffling of the Waterstones shelves in the latter half of May, with Alice Oseman still taking the top spots. However, rounding out the bottom twenty we have Waterstones’ Non-Fiction Book of the Month for May 2022 Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain by Amy Jeffs, and Waterstones’ Children’s Book of the Month for May 2022 Noah’s Gold by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Storyland (sitting at number twelve) is a new illustrated mythology of Britain looking at myths starting from the Creation all the way through to the Vikings. Perfect for anyone interested in history and magic. Noah’s Gold then comes in at number seventeen. This delightfully witty novel from the multi-award winning author, illustrated in black and white by Steven Lenton, is perfect for older children who love treasure maps and adventure.
At number two in the WH Smith fiction chart is Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss, which comedically and insightfully deals with mental illness as it is manifested in a middle-aged woman. Happily married and seemingly perfect to everyone around her, Martha still finds herself despairing, and we are taken on a journey with her as she attempts to find the source of her depression. Satirising the dysfunction of familial relations, How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie is at number five with its black comedy and charismatic murderess protagonist. It will be impossible to put this book down as our anti-hero confesses to how she murdered six family members without remorse. Magpie by Elizabeth Day currently sits at number nine, and is a thrilling tale of motherhood, obsession and jealousy that recounts the measures the main character will go to if it means protecting her relationship and the baby she is planning to have.
The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas is climbing the Amazon charts at number twelve. Douglas’ book is described as “a tender, heartbreaking, page-turning read” and is a Richard and Judy bestseller (Amazon). JD Kirk’s City of Scars is the only newcomer to the chart this week at number fourteen. It is the fourteenth book in the extremely popular DCI Logan Thrillers and is said to be perfect for those who are fans of “Ian Rankin, LJ Ross, and Stuart MacBride” (Amazon). On Amazon’s most-sold chart, Miranda Cowley Heller’s The Paper Palace takes the number one spot. It has also made it to the number one spot in The New York Times. The Impulse Purchase by Veronica Henry sits at number four this month. Described as a “heart-warming and uplifting read for 2022,” Henry’s novel will be an essential for holiday goers or those just wanting a light read.
Bookstagram has had some really fun books becoming popular this month! The extremely popular YA author Holly Black has recently dipped her toe in the new adult pool with Book of Night. Black is well-known for her YA series The Folk of the Air, and Book of Night has already gained popularity thanks to an amazing marketing campaign and book tours. Many exclusive editions have also been released by the big-name book stores both in America and the UK. Also, East-Asian inspired stories are rapidly taking over bookstagram with new releases like Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho and Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin. Lin’s debut novel was a Tandem Collective UK read-along where several bookstagrammers received free proofs, shared their daily reading updates and tried to engage with the other readers and the bookstagram community. This is an amazing and highly effective way for new authors and books to reach a wide variety of readers.
Sally Rooney is no stranger to the charts since her bestselling novel Normal People hit the bookshelves in 2018. Rooney is our noteworthy author this month due to her debut novel Conversations with Friends recently hitting television screens with a BBC adaptation. Sadly, the TV adaptation is receiving mostly negative reviews, with major newspapers like The Guardian writing that “Sally Rooney’s second TV adaptation is an aggressively uneventful affair.” Rotten Tomatoes gives a similar review: “the characters are unevenly compelling and the overlong plotting makes these Conversations often go in circles.” Many find that it does not do the book justice and that characters they once felt represented by are portrayed as boring on screen. On a more positive note, those who love the book will be excited by the beautiful Faber edition of Conversations with Friends, which was released this month and is exclusive for Faber Members.