The Millions Top Ten: December 2020

January 20, 2021 | 8 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 December.

This Month Last Month Title On List
1. 1. cover White Ivy 2 months
2. 3. cover Utopia Avenue 6 months
3. 2. cover The Silence 3 months
4. 8. cover What Are You Going Through 3 months
5. 5. cover The Vanishing Half 5 months
6. 9. cover Dune: Book 1
2 months
7. 4. cover Cuyahoga 3 months
8. cover Vesper Flights 1 month
9. 10. cover All My Mother’s Lovers 2 months
10. cover 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love 1 month

For the second month in a row, Susie Yang’s White Ivy tops our list. In the Great Second-Half 2020 Book Preview, Lydia Kiesling called Yang’s debut a “novel about race, class, growing up, and getting by,” and shared a lovely blurb from Lucy Tan. Going back even earlier: in her entry for our 2018 Year in Reading series, Tan wrote that Yang’s book was “a novel remarkable in both scope and substance.” Millions readers were enticed.

Fast forward six months and we’ve now published our Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview, stuffed with 152 titles publishing between now and next summer. (Has there ever been a more anticipated summer than our next?) We’ll likely see books from our Preview make the Top Ten starting next month.

Meanwhile, we big adieu to Kawai Strong Washburn‘s Sharks in the Time of Saviors and Ottessa Moshfegh‘s Death in Her Hands, which both graduated to our site’s Hall of Fame. It’s Moshfegh’s third time in our Hall; she’d previously reached with both Homesick for Another World and My Year of Rest and Relaxation.

For Strong Washburn, though, the route to the Hall of Fame was less direct. Sharks published on March 3, roughly two weeks before California issued its first stay-at-home order related to the pandemic—a move followed by many other jurisdictions across the country soon afterwards. The book hung around the “Near Misses” section of our lists at first, but popped up once or twice before really establishing itself in the past four months. In other words, the book’s been with our list since our way of life really changed, and it’s easy read the timing of its ascendance to the Hall as the demarcation of a new age. I wrote above that next summer is anticipated. I think we all sense better days ahead.

This month’s near misses included: The Office of Historical Corrections, Drinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Apéritifs, and Café Traditions of France, with 160 Recipes, The Cold Millions, Missionaries and Just Like You. 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.

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