No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden

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The Amazon Alphabet: From Audio Books to Zoo

You’ve probably noticed that Amazon, like many sites, employs an “auto-complete” feature on its search box. When you start typing in letters, it suggests things that begin with those letters. It’s probably safe to assume that it suggests the most frequently searched words, so, if we look at Amazon’s book section we can type in letters and discover, for each letter of the alphabet, the most popular searches on Amazon. Last time we did this, about a year and half ago, the results were fairly literary and 18 months before that, vampires reigned. This time around, Fifty Shades has ushered in an era of erotic-inflected popular fiction, and diet books and YA lit figure prominently as well. You might consider this exercise, the ABCs of Amazon, to be a peek into the reading habits of America and, like it or not, a primer for what’s popular in the world of books:

Audio Books
Bared to You (erotic fiction by Sylvia Day)
Cloud Atlas (by David Mitchell thanks to the upcoming feature film)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (the very popular children’s series by Jeff Kinney)
Eat to Live (a diet book)
Fifty Shades of Grey (The erotica that launched a publishing trend)
Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster)
Hunger Games (Replacing “Harry Potter” as the top “H” search in YA lit)
ISBN number search (funny because ISBNs work in the search box)
James Patterson
Kindle (no surprise here)
Lee Child
Michael Connelly
No Easy Day (The book about the bin Laden raid)
Organic Chemistry (A textbook search)
Psychology (More textbooks)
Quiet (a book about introverts by Susan Cain)
Rick Riordan
Stephen King
The Hunger Games
Unbroken (by Laura Hillenbrand)
Vince Flynn
Wheat Belly (a diet book)
X-Men
Yoga
Zoo by James Patterson

(Amazon has been known to personalize and regularly adjust its results, so your Amazon alphabet may vary.)

Tuesday New Release Day: Smith, Hitchens, Straub, Eco, Rothbart, Seidel, Morris, Seals, Eugenides

A big week for books: Zadie Smith’s NW is out (read the first lines), as is Christopher Hitchens’s Mortality, a collection of essays penned while he fought cancer (our essay on Hitchens’ death) (his collection Arguably is out in paperback today). More new books: Emma Straub’s Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Umberto Eco’s essay collection Inventing the Enemy, Davy Rothbart’s essay collection My Heart Is an Idiot, Frederick Seidel’s poetry collection Nice Weather, documentarian Errol Morris’s A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, and the Navy Seal book about the bin Laden mission. Also, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is now out in paperback (read Eugenides on the book’s genesis), as is Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer winner The Swerve.

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