The Death of a President: Bill O'Reilly (and Martin Dugard) deliver again
By Jessamine Chan
The follow-up to the bestseller Killing Lincoln (1.2 million hardcover copies sold), Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, debuts at #1 with 171,000 copies sold, knocking the much-discussed Mark Owen off the top spot. O'Reilly, the syndicated newspaper columnist and controversial host of The O'Reilly Factor, revisits JFK's assassination in his trademark dramatic style. O'Reilly has appeared on Fox & Friends, the Today Show, and the Daily Show in support of the book. Killing Kennedy, it should be noted, sold nearly three times as many copies in its first week as Killing Lincoln did in September 2011, which bodes well for just how far O'Reilly's latest will go.
Last summer, Stephen Colbert opened his show proudly "wearing a new hat": that of children's book author. He joked about how his I Am a Pole (And So Can You) was being taken very seriously—by PW—as proven by his book's appearance on our Nonfiction bestseller list. "Nonfiction! Nonfiction! That means everything in this book actually happened," crowed Colbert. PW responded in kind by declaring in a follow-up that I Am a Pole had "just the requisite amount of truthiness to confirm its place on our nonfiction list, right there with the work of Colbert's Papa Bear, Bill O'Reilly." Indeed, Colbert joins O'Reilly once again in the realm of Nonfiction with America Again, which debuts at #6 this week, but far behind O'Reilly in sales. Perhaps Colbert could line himself up for the O'Reilly bump with an appearance on the Factor.—Michael Coffey
Publishing Vet on Death and Books
Landing on PW's Hardcover Nonfiction list at #14 is The End of Your Life Book Club, a truly heartwarming read by Will Schwalbe about sharing books with his mother upon hearing of her diagnosis of cancer at age 73. "Books showed us that we didn't need to retreat or cocoon," he writes.
Schwalbe, no stranger to the book publishing world as a former senior v-p and editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books, is the founder and CEO of Cookstr.com.
"The book has been championed by booksellers across the U.S as the #1 IndieBound pick for October, the Spotlight Selection of Amazon's Best of the Month, and a Barnes & Noble Discover pick," says Erinn Hartman, associate director of publicity at Knopf. She notes that there have already been "a slew of great pre-reviews [including a starred, boxed review from PW], the book has been featured on Salon.com and in Entertainment Weekly." Schwalbe will be interviewed in USA Today, and on NPR's Here and Now later this week.
"With a refreshing forthrightness, and an excellent list of books included," said the PW review, "this is an astonishing, pertinent, and wonderfully welcome work." —Mark Rotella
Here Comes Winter: Another Nordic Thriller
From Knopf, the house that started the Nordic mystery invasion, comes Jo Nesbø's Phantom, debuting this week at #9. The publicity's been heavy for the latest installment of the adventures of Norwegian detective Harry Hole (pronounced Heu-leh). Dark and exciting, with drugs, murder and a Hole who's barred from police work and working independently on a case that's uncomfortably personal, Phantom, with a first printing of 150,000, will be disappearing from shelves quickly (only to reappear, one hopes). According to Nielsen BookScan numbers, Nesbø's sales for the Hole series have been hovering around the 100,000 mark per book, starting with his English translation debut, The Redbreast in 2006. With a first week of almost 10,000 for Phantom and a heightened profile, Nesbø is poised for big future numbers. He's hanging with Scorsese in L.A. for the next few months working on a screen adaptation of The Snowman along with doing some rock climbing and making an eight-city tour.
Life and Death in Ybor City
Live by Night, Dennis Lehane's Prohibition-era crime novel, debuts at #7 on the Hardcover Fiction list. The lead character, Joe Coughlin, originated in the author's previous novel, The Given Day (Morrow, 2008), about the 1919 Boston police strike and the post-WWI flu pandemic. The son of a Boston police captain, Coughlin considers himself an outlaw rather than a gangster as he embarks on a career of petty theft that leads him inexorably into the upper echelons of organized crime and to the fate foreshadowed in the book's arresting opening sentence: "Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin's feet were put in a tub of cement."
Some years earlier, Coughlin lands in prison, where he falls under the protection of an Italian mobster. On release, he heads to Florida to establish a bootlegging operation on the mobster's behalf. Much of the action takes place in Tampa, Fla., then the narcotics capital of America and home to a thriving trade in rum and illegal immigrants. Lehane, who grew up in Massachusetts but spent his college years in St. Petersburg, across the bay, retains a fondness for Tampa and its Latin neighborhood, Ybor City, as mystery author Stephen Anable reveals in a PW profile, "A Bootlegger's Story," which can be found at publishersweekly.com.—Peter Cannon
Erdrich Enters Round 3 with the NBA
New novel earns another nomination
William Least Heat-Moon. Sherman Alexie. Gerald Vizenor. The cadre of Native American writers familiar to the average reader is a small but influential one, and many counted among what some have called a Native American literary renaissance have remarkably diverse oeuvres; Louise Erdrich is no exception—she's written a story collection, seven children's books, three volumes of poetry, several works of nonfiction, and numerous critically acclaimed novels, including 2008's Pulitzer Prize–nominated The Plague of Doves and 2001's National Book Award–nominated The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. Her newest, The Round House, which tracks the legal, emotional, and familial repercussions of a horrific act of violence on an Ojibwe community in North Dakota in 1988, debuts at #20 on our Hardcover Fiction list, and was announced just last week as a finalist for the National Book Award, alongside heavyweights like Junot Díaz and Dave Eggers. PW reviews director Louisa Ermelino is putting her money on Erdrich (whom she describes as "slow and steady, close to a national treasure") to take the final prize.
But Erdrich isn't waiting with bated breath to find out whether she'll win on her third time up for an NBA (1999's The Birchbark House was a finalist in the Young People's Literature category); starting earlier this month with an interview on NPR's All Things Considered, the prolific author embarked on a nine-city, coast-to-coast tour, including a stop at Seattle's Town Hall cultural center, an October 18 appearance at the Oak Park Public Library outside of Chicago, and wrapping up at an Upper West Side Barnes & Noble in New York City on October 24.
Harper publicist Jane Beirn reports that The Round House is in its third printing, with 50,000 copies already bound and ready for readers. Depending on the NBA winner announcements next month, they may be just warming up.—Samuel R. Slaton