The Millions Top Ten: March 2017

April 5, 2017 | 10 books mentioned 2 min read


We spend plenty of time here on The Millions telling all of you what we’ve been reading, but we are also quite interested in hearing about what you’ve been reading. By looking at our Amazon stats, we can see what books Millions readers have been buying, and we decided it would be fun to use those stats to find out what books have been most popular with our readers in recent months. Below you’ll find our Millions Top Ten list for March.

This Month Last Month Title On List
1. 1. cover Norwegian by Night 4 months
2. 3. cover Lincoln in the Bardo 2 months
3. 2. cover The Trespasser 6 months
4. 4. cover Moonglow 5 months
5. 8. cover A Separation 2 months
6. 5. cover The North Water 4 months
7. 6. cover Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living 2 months
8. 10. cover Homesick for Another World 3 months
9. 7. cover Commonwealth 6 months
10. cover Swing Time 2 months


News broke recently that Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad will be adapted for the screen by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, and it’s hard to say what Whitehead’s going to celebrate more: that wonderful development, or the fact that his novel, after a six-month run on our Top Ten list, has at last graduated to our site’s hallowed Hall of Fame. Regardless, it can be said that good news seldom comes alone.

Filling the open spot on our list is Zadie Smith, whose latest novel, Swing Time, returns to our list after a three-month absence. (It first cracked the rankings in December.) At this pace, look for Smith, who’s previously reached our Hall of Fame four years ago with NW, to send her second work there in March 2018.

Elsewhere on the list, several titles swapped positions, and George Saunders’s Lincoln In the Bardo overtook Tana French’s The Trespasser to claim second place. On our site this week, Millions staffer Jacob Lambert penned a simultaneously hysterical and haunting “modern” adaptation of Saunders’s first novel, featuring a lumbering, slovenly beast by now familiar to us all:

Even in the gloom, his skin held an unhealthy rusty glow; his hair, if one might call it that, had an aspect of spun sugar, though it did not appetize.

Meanwhile, Manjula Martin’s Scratch anthology – which chronicles the ways writers do and do not make money from their craft — held fast in the middle of our list. Millions editor Lydia Kiesling caught up with Martin last week to discuss the way the book came to be, the struggles of trying to make a living from writing, and how writers, editors, and publishers alike feel about the same:

On the one hand I’m like yeah, people who do work should be paid. On the other hand…there is a way in which artistic value cannot be quantified. These two things can be true at the same time. But I think where things become far less ambivalent is when it comes to writing for publications and companies that make a lot of money off your work while you’re not making money off your work.

Skulking just beyond our Top Ten ranks this month are two particularly notable titles: Ill Will by Dan Chaon, who was recently interviewed by Edan Lepucki; and Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, which made it to the Championship Round of the Tournament of Books. Will either break into the rankings of our list next time? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

This month’s other near misses included: Here I Am, Version Control, and The Nix. See Also: Last month’s list.

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.