The Millions Top Ten: December 2021

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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.

The House on Vesper Sands
6 months

2.
3.

The Book of Form and Emptiness
4 months

3.


The Morning Star
1 month

4.
8.

Cloud Cuckoo Land

3 months

5.
9.

These Precious Days: Essays
2 months

6.
10.

Beautiful World, Where Are You

3 months

7.
6.

Crossroads
3 months

8.
4.

Bewilderment
4 months

9.
7.

Matrix: A Novel
3 months

10.
5.

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
5 months

I need you to hold on. The surge is real, cases are rising, but the vaccines work. It’s decoupled: your likelihood of ending up in the hospital is reduced if you’re vaccinated, which is all along what the vaccines were supposed to do. But, remember: a small percentage of a bigger number can still produce a big number. We aren’t out of the woods.

Oh, right, we were talking about books. In that case, I still need you to hold on, Millions readers. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus remains on our list, but it’s in precarious position. We have the unprecedented chance to put a book from 1921 into the Hall of Fame, but we need two more strong showings from y’all. If you haven’t read Ed Simon’s piece on Ludwig Wittgenstein, you must. Here it is. Here’s a second link to it in case you didn’t click it the first time.

Carrying on. This month we bid farewell to Jonathan Lee’s The Great Mistake, which rode six straight strong showings into our site’s Hall of Famed sunset.

In its place, we welcome newcom—oh, no, wait we’ve seen you before, surely? Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose novel The Morning Star joins our ranks in the third spot. Knausgaard is no stranger to Millions readers but it may surprise you to learn he’s not yet made the Hall of Fame .

Will he this time? We’ll see.

This month’s near misses included: The Magician, A Calling for Charlie Barnes, Intimacies, Harlem Shuffle, and When We Cease to Understand the World. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: November 2021

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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 November.

This Month
Last Month

Title
On List

1.
1.

The House on Vesper Sands
5 months

2.
2.

The Great Mistake
6 months

3.
10.

The Book of Form and Emptiness
3 months

4.
3.

Bewilderment

3 months

5.
4.

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
4 months

6.
7.

Crossroads

2 months

7.


Matrix: A Novel
2 months

8.


Cloud Cuckoo Land
2 months

9.


These Precious Days: Essays
1 month

10.
7.

Beautiful World, Where Are You
2 months

There’s some intrigue this month, as our list is reunited with two novels we last saw in September. Back then, Lauren Groff’s Matrix and Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land held seventh and eighth position, respectively. This month, they once again hold seventh and eighth position, respectively. Plus ça change… At this rate, they might be bound for our Hall of Fame next July.

J. Robert Lennon sent his first book the Hall this month, as Subdivision capped off six months of strong showings. The spot it opened was filled by Ann Patchett’s essay collection These Precious Days—which Millions readers may recognize from its inclusion in our most recent Book Preview.

Meanwhile, two novels dropped off of this month’s list. Who knows? It’s possible that both Joshua Ferris’s A Calling for Charlie Barnes and Colm Tóibín’s The Magician will follow the same pattern as Groff’s and Doerr’s works mentioned above—returning in two months’ time as though nothing happened. We’ll have to wait and see.

One thing’s certain, however. By then, the list may be stuffed with books mentioned in our ongoing Year in Reading series, underway as I write this, and certainly set to inform our Top Tens in December and beyond. Which ones are on your list?

This month’s near misses included: Harlem ShuffleFierce Little Thing, and Nightbitch. See Also: Last month’s list.

A Year in Reading: Nick Moran

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Last year I couldn’t go to bars because of a virus; this year I can’t because of a toddler. The vaccines work. Go get one—or better yet three—so you can safely grab a drink for me.

At home I made do. This was a year of incrementalism. Most nights after bedtime, I had a routine: 25 pages of poetry plus 50 pages of fiction or non. There were periodicals but they weren’t the priority; many nights I took my sieve to Twitter’s stream and I prospected. I lost a lot of time to TikTok.

Fortunately, incrementalism is another word for progress. Incrementalism was good for 15,000 pages this year—it was a giant killer, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time. Slowly I took down big tomes by Louise Glück (Poems 1962-2012), Paul Celan (Memory Rose into Threshold Speech), Frank Stanford (What About This?), John Dos Passos (U.S.A.), and William Gaddis. (Fitting, that last one: like Wyatt and his original paintings, I haven’t finished The Recognitions, but I’m far enough along to know that Adam Mars-Jones missed the point in his review for The London Review of Books. The length and overstuffing of The Recognitions are features, Adam, not bugs. Saying it should be shorter is like saying Magic Eye illustrators should draw simple sailboats.)

Anyway, I read other books more quickly. At no point in In Patagonia does Bruce Chatwin take his foot off the gas. The closing sentences throughout Amparo Dávila’s The Houseguest are what stories should be. I didn’t read a more satisfying chapter of anything this year than chapter 33 of Jung Yun’s O, Beautiful (“Rules seem so arbitrary here. Just small demonstrations of power by people who have very little, used against people who have even less”), but if we’re talking poetry I have to shout out P. Scott Cunningham’s piece in Islandia, Vol. 1 about love, life, and 2 Fast 2 Furious. I have to shout out Andrew Hemmert for how he described shoveling dead rats in the wall like “strange soft coal” in Sawgrass Sky. Brilliance abounds.

Before this year, I typically read one book at a time. Now I alternate, and I find the trick is to switch from one kind to another: chip away at the long ones while flying through the shorts. The momentum of the latter propels you through the former. It’s just one of those things, like how slicing your sandwich in half makes lunch more filling.

Leaping book to book (or app to book) was also self-preservation, if I’m being honest. One way I cope with intense stress is by minimizing the time I spend thinking about it. They say sharks drown if they stop swimming. If you’re lucky, art can be an escape.

But the bars, right? I miss them. I miss reading in places where a $100 tab would kill a man. I miss guys who rip filters off their cigarettes instead of paying more for unfiltered packs. I don’t miss guys wearing too much cologne but I miss one-eyed bartenders. I miss the way guys trade stories like they’re farts: things their perpetrators appreciate most. So I’ve gone in search of these moments—albeit from my couch.

I began by watching Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets in my living room. What a flick. Great dives insulate customers from the terrors of reality, and especially the reality of capitalism—until they don’t. (Sip whiskey while watching so you know you’ve still got your senses of taste and smell.)

Ever after, I kept track of lines that scratched my itch. What follows is an amalgamation, or a mixtape of drunken hits. Together they shape a scene. As you read, if the line does something for you, click the (number) after it and buy the book. Fair is fair, so remember to tip your bartender.

“I was on a gin-fueled hunt for big asses and music I could cry to.” (1) “Drunk and/ wandering like a dog through the/ supermarkets of the night,” (2) “Thick beads of sweat run like lizards down my chest and armpits.” (3) “[I] arrived at a room full of people who spent their lives in rooms.” (4) “The first thing [I] notice[d] … [was] that it smell[ed] like too many things. Cleaning chemicals, body odor, fryer grease, popcorn, and stale beer.” (5) “For once/ my anonymity made me feel serene./ Amid half-murmured intros, volleyed/ glances, conversation of car keys and shot/ glasses, I knew I liked this place just like I knew// I’d never see my crew in here.” (6) “The days have gone into the ground/ Like rainwater strangers wipe from their eyes/ when they meet again/ in these drinking places.” (7) “God is on a beer run./ Jesus and Mary argue/ about who’s driving/ them home. Eve’s/ phone is dead.” (8) “Who should be pouring drinks there [at the bar] but a young woman whose name I can’t remember. But I remember the way she poured. It was like doubling your money.” (9) “She is sad from sipping the flat beer/ of her own voice.” (10) “I had two doubles and immediately it was as if I’d been dead forever, and was now finally awake.” (11) “[I] shut [my] eyes like [I’m] losing or finding God.” (12) “The whisky was hotsweet in [my] mouth, buzzed like bees in [my] ears.” (13) “Another beer? [I] started to decline, then noticed the mirror behind the bar, and watched [my]self accept.” (14) “I think I’ll stay up late with a few bandits/ of my choice and resist good advice.” (15) “All around [us] men drank alone, staring out of their faces.” (16) “I tried to eavesdrop on other conversations. It was impossible. I could only hear the odd word … words that meant nothing yet conveyed the infinite vulgarity and hopelessness of my compatriots.” (17) “There is a certain type of conversation one hears only when one is drunk and it is like a dream, full of humor and threat and significance, deep significance. And the way one witnesses things when one is drunk is different as well. It is like putting a face mask against the surface of the sea and looking into things, into their baffled and guileless hearts.” (18) “They were enjoying their discussion very much, each finding the other intelligent, witty, in all, a good companion, for neither was listening to what the other was saying.” (19) “Time passed, and some of it became this.” (20) “I walk around carrying [my great grandmother]—a swallow/ of whiskey waiting, holding it// like the water that refuses/ to dissolve on my tongue// because it is my tongue already.” (21) “I drink wine like a city.” (22) “When I drink wine I drink an ocean.” (23) “I swallowed and the wine became a warming stream that trickled down my throat. This warmth spread outward, into my chest—it felt like a warm little bomb splashing in my heart, sending shockwaves through the blood.” (24) “I have built myself/ a safer body, covered the rot with rot.” (25) “These days I raise a glass to make sure it’s empty.” (26) “In those days I took the purest joy in the art of remotion, in acts of singular and simple economy: [drinking] alone, eating alone, reading, walking, and doing these same things day after day.” (27) “There were many moments in [this bar] like that one—where you might think today was yesterday, and yesterday was tomorrow, and so on. Because we all believed we were tragic, and we drank.” (28) “We are a society drinking at our own wake, but … we look good doing it.” (29)
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Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2020,  20192018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

The Millions Top Ten: October 2021

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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 October.

This Month
Last Month

Title
On List

1.
10.

The House on Vesper Sands
4 months

2.
1.

The Great Mistake
5 months

3.
5.

Bewilderment
2 months

4.
6.

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
3 months

5.
2.

Beautiful World, Where Are You
2 months

6.
3.

The Magician

2 months

7.


Crossroads
1 month

8.
9.

Subdivision
6 months

9.


A Calling for Charlie Barnes
1 month

10.
4.

The Book of Form and Emptiness
2 months

Can lists… listen? For months I’ve exclaimed our Top Ten’s consistency. The titles and their order have resisted change. Newcomers are as sporadic as they are welcome.

Well, no more. Like the goo in Ghostbusters 2, which animates in proportion to how much it’s heckled, our Top Ten converted months of my jibes into total metamorphosis. First place this month belongs to Paraic O’Donnell’s The House on Vesper Sands, which last month held… last. Down is up, which means up is also down. Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness moved from fourth to 10th. In between, two of last month’s top-three books—Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World… and Colm Tóibín’s The Magician—shifted into the middle this month.

If not my digs, then what shuffled the deck? If I possessed such unknowable answers, I’d be doing something else.

Some things held steady, though. Millions readers were so lathered up by Ed Simon’s piece about Ludwig Wittgenstein’s work that Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus rocketed onto our list, and three months later it’s not just hanging on; it’s climbing. Likewise, Millions readers welcomed Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel Crossroads onto this month’s list, which is fitting since Franzen’s made it to our site’s Hall of Fame three times. There’s comfort in stability, is there not?

Lastly, Joshua Ferris’s A Calling for Charlies Barnes entered our list in ninth position this month, after hovering in the “Near Misses” for a time. On our site last August, David Aaron wrote that “if this is not quite Ferris’s silliest work, it feels like his most personal.” Evidently, Millions readers were intrigued.

This month’s near misses included: Harlem Shuffle, Craft in the Real World, and Fierce Little Thing. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: September 2021

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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 September.

This Month
Last Month

Title
On List

1.
3.

The Great Mistake
4 months

2.


Beautiful World, Where Are You
1 month

3.


The Magician
1 month

4.


The Book of Form and Emptiness
1 month

5.


Bewilderment
1 month

6.
5.

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

2 months

7.


Matrix
1 month

8.


Cloud Cuckoo Land
1 month

9.
4.

Subdivision
5 months

10.
10.

The House on Vesper Sands
3 months

Hall of Famers alone do not explain why newcomers make up 60 percent of this month’s list. Only two spots opened because Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun and Tove Ditlevsen’s The Copenhagen Trilogy ascended to our site’s hallowed hall—Ishiguro’s second entry and Ditlevsen’s first.

Six newcomers may be a record for our site. Certainly it is since the start of 2020. We’ve averaged 2.45 new books each month over that span, only once welcoming four.

To reshape the list with six, then, means something else is happening. No doubt the popularity of these new books’ authors has something to do with it. Sally Rooney is in second position, Colm Tóibín holds third, Lauren Groff claims sixth, and this is not to make slouches out of Ruth Ozeki, Richard Powers, and Anthony Doerr, either.

Perhaps it’s seasonal. As the leaves drop through crisp air, do wallets open to purchase new books? Evidently so, and The Millions was on it. All six newcomers were on our Great Second-Half 2021 Book Preview.

Will next month’s list bring as much change to our list? Unlikely, but there’s only one way to find out.

This month’s near misses included: A Calling for Charlie Barnes, The Morning Star, Harlem Shuffle, Nightbitch, and Intimacies. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: August 2021

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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 August.

This Month
Last Month

Title
On List

1.
1.

Klara and the Sun
6 months

2.
3.

The Copenhagen Trilogy
6 months

3.
4.

The Great Mistake
3 months

4.
5.

Subdivision
4 months

5.


Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
1 month

6.
6.

Outlawed

5 months

7.


The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
1 month

8.


Ghost Forest
1 month

9.
7.

Women and Other Monsters
4 months

10.
9.

The House on Vesper Sands
2 months

Our own Ed Simon wrote that “the idiosyncratic contours” of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s mind were on full display in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The work, “scribbl[ed] away as incendiary explosions echoed across the Polish countryside and mustard gas wafted over fields of corpses,” Simon continues, “is less the greatest philosophical work of the 20th century than it is one of the most immaculate volumes of modernist poetry written in the past hundred years.”

It’s also the newest addition to our site’s Top Ten, because if there’s one thing Millions readers evidently love, it’s “one of the oddest books in the history of logic.” This month, the fifth spot belongs to all of you.

Elsewhere on our list, we opened three spots because Lauren Oyler’s Fake Accounts graduated to our Hall of Fame while Matthew Salesses’s Craft in the Real World and Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Committed both dropped out.

After Wittgenstein, those spots are presently occupied by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois and Pik-Shuen Fung’s Ghost Forest. The two novels, published in August and July, respectively, were featured in our Great Second-Half 2021 Book Preview, where Jianan Qian wrote previews for both.

Writing of Love Songs, Qian wrote:
In her ambitious fiction debut, the 2020 National Book Award-nominated poet meditates on African-American history from the colonial slave trade to our current, turbulent age.
…and of Ghost Forest:
This is a fascinating epic of a Chinese-Canadian family, heartbreaking, daring, and relieving.
Solid picks, both. Stay tuned next month to see at least two newcomers, and to find out whether Wittgenstein endures.

This month’s near misses included: Nightbitch, Something New Under the Sun, and Intimacies. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: July 2021

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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 July.

This Month
Last Month

Title
On List

1.
2.

Klara and the Sun
5 months

2.
3.

Fake Accounts
6 months

3.
4.

The Copenhagen Trilogy
5 months

4.
8.

The Great Mistake
2 months

5.
10.

Subdivision
3 months

6.
7.

Outlawed

4 months

7.
9.

Women and Other Monsters
3 months

8.


Craft and the Real World
2 months

9.


The House on Vesper Sands
1 month

10.


The Committed
1 month

Three books head to our Hall of Fame this month, and several books swapped places. Basically, our Top Ten did the Cha-Cha Slide. (“Slide to the left / slide to the right / criss-cross!”)

Before we welcome the new additions, let’s take it back now, y’all. After six months of strong showings, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, No One Is Talking About This, and Detransition, Baby have each graduated. It’s the first time for Patricia Lockwood and Torrey Peters, but it’s the fourth book George Saunders has sent to our Hall: Tenth of December made it in ’13, Fox 8 in ’14, and Lincoln in the Bardo in ’17. (“Everybody clap your hands!”)

The new books on this month’s list are The Committed, The House on Vesper Sands, and Craft and the Real World—the latter returning after a one-month absence. In a piece for our site early this year, Neelanjana Banerjee called Craft and the Real World “a blueprint for a way forward to build better writing programs, and thus a new kind of writer and teacher who can imagine beyond a structure that often hurt them and left them in need of repair.”

Among the near misses this month are Rachel Yoder’s Nightbitch and Dana Spiotta’s Whereabouts. The Millions interviewed both authors last month, and you can read those here, and here, respectively.

That’s all for now, so cha cha real smooth until next month.

This month’s near misses included: Nightbitch, Whereabouts, Vernon Subutex, Great Circle and Wayward. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: June 2021

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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 June.

This Month
Last Month

Title
On List

1.
1.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
6 months

2.
2.

Klara and the Sun
4 months

3.
3.

Fake Accounts
5 months

4.
4.

The Copenhagen Trilogy
4 months

5.
5.

No One Is Talking About This
6 months

6.
6.

Detransition, Baby

6 months

7.
7.

Outlawed
3 months

8.


The Great Mistake
1 month

9.
9.

Women and Other Monsters
2 months

10.
8.

Subdivision
2 months

Johnathan Lee’s The Great Mistake appears on this month’s list. Published in the middle of June, it should be familiar to Millions readers who caught its mention in our First-Half 2021 Book Preview. At the time, Il’ja Rákoš noted that Lee’s novel had drawn early comparisons to both Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams and John Williams’s Stoner. That bodes well, since those two novels are in our site’s Hall of Fame. Five more write-ups like this, and Lee’s will join them.

Elsewhere on this month’s list, May’s top seven remain June’s. May’s eighth book became June’s tenth. Even the near misses held steady. All this points to one place: Millions readers are ready for that Second-Half Preview to drop.

Well, stay tuned this week…

This month’s near misses included: The House on Vesper Sands, The Committed, Vernon Subutex, Selected Stories, 1968-1994, and Whereabouts. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: May 2021

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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 May.

This Month
Last Month

Title
On List

1.
1.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
5 months

2.
4.

Klara and the Sun
3 months

3.
3.

Fake Accounts
4 months

4.
5.

The Copenhagen Trilogy
3 months

5.
6.

No One Is Talking About This
4 months

6.
8.

Detransition, Baby

5 months

7.
10.

Outlawed
2 months

8.


Subdivision
1 month

9.


Women and Other Monsters
1 month

10.


Craft in the Real World
1 month

Three titles from last month’s “near misses” crack this month’s Top Ten: Subdivision by J. Robert Lennon, Women and Other Monsters by Jess Zimmerman, and Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses. The novel, essays, and book on craft occupy the eighth, ninth, and 10th positions, respectively. Although each one was deftly highlighted in our Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview last January—(Stay tuned for the Second-Half Preview soon!)—Salesses’s “stunning conflagration” is the only one so far to have been properly reviewed on our site.

“I wish I had it with me for the past twenty plus years of navigating writing workshops, both as student and teacher,” wrote Neelanjana Banerjee. “It is a blueprint for a way forward to build better writing programs, and thus a new kind of writer and teacher who can imagine beyond a structure that often hurt them and left them in need of repair.”

The newcomers’ spaces were opened by the ascension of Susie Yang’s White Ivy, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Pete Beatty’s Cuyahoga to our site’s Hall of Fame. On some shelves, freeing up 1,344 pages and replacing them with 736 pages might look strange, but here on our cyberspace shelf we think it looks swell indeed.

Meanwhile, enough of you talked about Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This that it moved from ninth position to fifth in the span of three months. Where will it go next? You’ll have to check back in July to find out.

This month’s near misses included: The Committed, Vernon Subutex, Selected Stories, 1968-1994, A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself and Life Among the Terranauts. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: April 2021

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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.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
4 months

2.
2.

White Ivy
6 months

3.
3.

Fake Accounts
3 months

4.
4.

Klara and the Sun
2 months

5.
5.

The Copenhagen Trilogy
4 months

6.
9.

No One Is Talking About This

3 months

7.
8.

Dune: Book 1
6 months

8.
6.

Detransition, Baby
4 months

9.


Cuyahoga
6 months

10.


Outlawed
1 month

Inertia is the pejorative name for consistency, if you ask me. There’s value in dependability. You lean back into your haunches until your muscles go limp, and briefly you float on trust alone until a chair stops your fall. You depend on that chair. You knew it would be there because that’s where it’s always been.

Our list this month is consistent. Its top five are unchanged. Last month’s list was consistent. Its top three were unchanged. My monthly dispatches about the Millions Top Ten are… well, you get the idea.

Remember, predictability is relative. This time last year, few would have predicted we’d be where we are today: fully immunized against the plague, and ready to greet normality. Big picture, 2020 was unpredictable like that. But zoom in and take each month’s inventory, and the days look alike. Maybe they blur. Maybe 2020 felt like one, unending day; one, unending routine. Small picture, 2020 felt predictable.

Which is to say that when you check in next month, when three of the books on this month’s list graduate to our site’s Hall of Fame, and when we welcome (at least!) three new titles in their places, you’ll recall that in fact there’s only one constant, and it’s change.

This month’s near misses included: Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology, Subdivision, The Committed, Selected Stories, 1968-1994, and Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping. See Also: Last month’s list.