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 January.
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
Dune: Book 1
The Vanishing Half
The Copenhagen Trilogy
The Office of Historical Corrections
We’re witnessing history, folks. With the ascension of Utopia Avenue, this month David Mitchell sends his fifth book to our site’s Hall of Fame. More than a decade ago, Cloud Atlas marked Mitchell’s first appearance, and since then he’s returned with The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, The Bone Clocks, and Slade House. That kind of sustained success is unique on this site; Mitchell’s our version of Tom Brady.
Of course there are other Millions mainstays, one of which tops this month’s list. George Saunders (three previous Hall of Fame appearances) leads the first Top Ten of 2021 with A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, which our own Adam O’Fallon Price called a “delightful book of criticism and craft pair[ing] short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, with seven essays on how short fiction works and why it remains a vital art form for asking the big questions about life.”
Meanwhile two other newcomers joined our list.
After spending some time among past lists’ “near misses,” Danielle Evans’s The Office of Historical Corrections moves into 10th position this month. The novella and stories was mentioned six(!) times in our Year in Reading series, getting shout outs in the write-ups by Sejal Shah, Jean Chen Ho, Megan Giddings, Chris Gonzalez, Nadia Owusu and Margot Livesey.
Then, Torrey Peters’ Detransition, Baby debuted in 8th position thanks at least in part to Emily St. John Mandel’s blurb in our Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview, in which she characterized it as being about “a trio of New Yorkers—Reese, a trans woman; Ames, a man who used to live as a woman but decided to return to living as a man, and in so doing broke Reese’s heart; Katrina, Ames’s lover and boss—grapple with the decision of how and whether to raise a baby together.”
Next month at least one new spot should open up, but more shakeups are always possible. See you soon.