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 April.
|This Month||Last Month||Title||On List|
|1.||1.||Norwegian by Night||5 months|
|2.||2.||Lincoln in the Bardo||3 months|
|4.||5.||A Separation||3 months|
|5.||7.||Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living||3 months|
|6.||6.||The North Water||5 months|
|7.||–||Ill Will||1 month|
|8.||–||American War||1 month|
|9.||8.||Homesick for Another World||4 months|
|10.||10.||Swing Time||3 months|
Spring has sprung but things are not what they seem. Here in Baltimore, watermen welcomed reports that the Chesapeake Bay crab population is the strongest its been in years, and yet simultaneously we got news that efforts to strengthen the Bay are on dire straits. Nationwide, things are not what they seem. Spring has sprung, and yet it snowed in Utah last weekend.
Appearances deceive. On our Top Ten list this month, Otessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World fell one spot — perhaps because Brooks Sterritt disgusted y’all with his review for our site — but at the same time, Moshfegh’s earlier collection, Eileen, got a strong enough boost to make our list of near misses (at the bottom of this post). What is down is also up.
After six months of strong showings, we graduated two titles to The Millions‘s Hall of Fame: Tana French’s The Trespasser and Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth. Both have been there before: French six years ago for Faithful Place, and Patchett a year later for The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life.
Their spots on this month’s list are filled by works from Dan Chaon and Omar El Akkad.
Chaon’s novel, Ill Will, has been described by our own Edan Lepucki as being “about grief, about being unable to accept reality, and about the myriad ways we trick ourselves about our selves.” In a wide-ranging conversation that ran on our site last month, the two discussed, among other things, Chaon’s fascination with characters’ names:
Names are weirdly important to me. … I don’t know if it’s superstition or magic or what, but for me a name somehow breathes life into a puppet, gives shape to an abstraction. The characters often refuse to perform unless they have been properly christened.
El Akkad deploys a subtle critique of torture as not only immoral, but ineffective — and a direct critique of the Bush administration’s embrace of torture and Donald Trump’s lurid flirtation with it.
Next month, we look forward to opening at least one new spot on the list. Which newcomer will come forth? Stay tuned to find out. (And enjoy the Spring as best you can!)