‘Tis the Season? 20 New Books Debut This Sunday on the New York Times Best Sellers Lists

Perhaps it’s the flood of good books, or just the flood of books, or everyone’s let’s-buy mood now that the holidays are upon us, but the New York Times best sellers lists appearing Sunday, December 2, include an impressive number of titles making their debut on the lists. Vince Flynn’s The Last Man and James Patterson’s Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, in fiction’s first and second spots, respectively, aren’t surprises.

But it’s nice to see less escapist books like Ian McEwan’s ambitious if sometimes troublesome Sweet Tooth and Alice Munro’s ever-charming Dear Life claiming the fourth and 15th spots. At No. 11, Wm. Paul Young’s FaithWords publication, Cross Roads, about a comatose businessman who encounters the Holy Trinity, seems right for the season.

Nonfiction has a real ribbon-and-bows pile of titles, ranging widely from Jon Meacham’s big, bold politician’s story, Thomas Jefferson (No. 2), to Ray Kurzweil’s brainy (human and machine) How To Create a Mind (No. 5), to Fox News host Greg Gutfeld’s The Joy of Hate (now that’s not in the holiday spirit). 

The serious-minded will also go for Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree, about families dealing with children who are different (No. 9), and Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s The Untold History of America (no. 15). For fun, look at Willie Nelson’s memoir, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die. Will do, Willie!

Fiction eoriginals or ebooks of titles not on the print list include two Raine Miller romances, All In (No. 1) and Naked (No. 8, and how romantic is that?). Then there’s Jeffrey Archer’s Only Time Will Tell (No. 18, and first in a series whose third volume publishes this spring), Deborah Crombie’s scary No Mark Upon Her (No. 19), and National Book Award winner Louise Erdrich’s The Round House (No. 25)—so the award does help sales some.

In nonfiction, Cathy Glass’s Damaged, an account first published in 2007 of a foster mother’s efforts to help an angry eight-year-old whose parents were implicated in a pedophile ring, hit the top espot. Susannah Cahalan’s brave memoir, Brain on Fire, was No. 6; Jake Tapper’s Afghanistan tale, The Outpost, was No. 10; and David McCullough’s The Great Bridge (that’s the Brooklyn Bridge) was No. 21. 

Not sugarplums, exactly, but definitely food for thought.










Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.