The Bathtub Spy (Kindle Single)

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The Millions Top Ten: February 2012

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 February.

This
Month
Last
Month

Title
On List

1.
2.

The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life
6 months

2.
1.

1Q84
5 months

3.
4.

Pulphead
3 months

4.
3.

The Marriage Plot
5 months

5.
8.

The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
3 months

6.
6.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
3 months

7.
9.

The Book of Disquiet
3 months

8.
5.

The Art of Fielding
5 months

9.
10.

Lightning Rods
5 months

10.


Train Dreams
1 month

Ann Patchett’s Kindle Single The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life lands atop our list, unseating Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, and another Kindle Single, Tom Rachman’s short-story ebook The Bathtub Spy, graduates to our Hall of Fame. (Rachman’s book The Imperfectionists is already a Hall of Famer.)

Debuting on our list is Denis Johnson’s novella Train Dreams, which won mentions from Adam Ross, David Bezmozgis, and Dan Kois in 2011’s Year in Reading series.

John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead was a big mover again this month, and Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World also jumped a few spots.

Near Misses: The Great Frustration, The Sense of an Ending, Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language, 11/22/63, and The Sisters Brothers. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: January 2012

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.

This
Month
Last
Month

Title
On List

1.
1.

1Q84
4 months

2.
2.

The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life
5 months

3.
3.

The Marriage Plot
4 months

4.
6.

Pulphead
2 months

5.
4.

The Art of Fielding
4 months

6.
8.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
2 months

7.
5.

The Bathtub Spy
6 months

8.
7.

The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
2 months

9.
10.

The Book of Disquiet
2 months

10.
9.

Lightning Rods
4 months

It was a quieter month for our list, with no new titles breaking in and 1Q84 still enthroned at #1. The big movers on the list were John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead, which received a glowing write-up from our staffer Bill, and Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows, which Jonathan Safran Foer called a book that changed his life. With an array of hotly anticipated titles coming in February, we’ll see if any newcomers can break in next time around.

Near Misses: Train Dreams, The Sense of an Ending, Leaves of Grass, The Great Frustration, and A Moment in the Sun. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: December 2011

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.

1Q84
3 months

2.
3.

The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life
4 months

3.
2.

The Marriage Plot
3 months

4.
5.

The Art of Fielding
4 months

5.
4.

The Bathtub Spy
5 months

6.


Pulphead
1 month

7.


The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
1 month

8.


The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
1 month

9.
6.

Lightning Rods
4 months

10.


The Book of Disquiet
1 month

While the top of our final list for 2011 included the same familiar names and 1Q84 still enthroned at #1, our year-end coverage helped push four eclictic new titles onto the lower half of our list. John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead was one of the most talked about books of 2011 and our own Bill and Garth offered glowing comments on the book in our Year in Reading. Jonathan Safran Foer touted Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows as a book that changed his life. (Our own Emily Mandel also wrote a fascinating essay inspired by the book over a year ago.) Colum McCann said of Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet, “It was like opening Joyce’s back door and finding another genius there in the garden.” Finally, Hannah Gerson came up with “12 Holiday Gifts That Writers Will Actually Use” but only one of them was a book,
The Gift by Lewis Hyde.
With all these new books showing up on our list, four titles got knocked off: Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending, John Sayles’s A Moment in the Sun, and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
Other Near Misses: Train Dreams and The Great Frustration See Also: Last month’s list.

A Cheat Sheet for All You New Kindle (And Other Ereader) Owners

The New York Times highlighted the trend last year and it will no doubt be even bigger this year: when it comes to ebooks, what was once a day of rest from shopping is now a booming day for ebook sales. That’s because when all those Kindles (selling a million a week), Nooks (sales up 85%), iPads, and other tablets get unwrapped, the first thing to do is to fire up and download a few books.

Just a few years after ebooks and ereaders first emerged as futuristic curiosity, they are fully mainstream now. Even among the avid, book-worshiping, old-school readers that frequent The Millions, ebooks are very popular. Looking at the statistics that Amazon provides us, just over a quarter of all the books bought by Millions readers at Amazon after clicking on our links this year were Kindle ebooks. One in four books, incredible.

So, for all those readers unwrapping shiny new devices, here are some links to get you going.

For starters, here are the top-ten most popular ebooks purchased by Millions readers in 2011. You’ll notice that these aren’t all that different from the overall Millions favorites. The big change this year is the emergence of the “Kindle Single” format, which offers long-form journalism and short stories at a bite-sized price point. Three of those lead our list. Interestingly, while those Singles are expanding what’s available at lower price points, publishers are pushing the high end of the price range higher, focusing especially on some of the year’s highest profile books, four of which land on our list despite going for (as of this writing) more than the magic $9.99 number.

The Enemy by Christopher Hitchens ($1.99)
The Getaway Car by Ann Patchett ($2.99)
The Bathtub Spy by Tom Rachman ($1.99)
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman ($9.99)
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan ($9.99)
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami ($14.99)
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides ($12.99)
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson ($12.99)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ($4.69)
The Pale King by David Foster Wallace ($14.99)
The Late American Novel edited by yours truly and Jeff Martin ($8.99)

Other potentially useful ebook links:

Editors’ Picks
Best of 2011
Top 100 Paid and Free
Kindle Singles

And in this fractured ebook landscape, you’ve also got your NookBooks, Google ebooks, Apple ibooks, and the new IndieBound ereader app that lets you buy ebooks from your favorite indie bookstore. Finally, don’t forget Project Gutenberg, the original purveyor of free ebooks (mostly out-of-copyright classics) available for years.

Happy Reading!

The Millions Top Ten: November 2011

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.

1Q84
2 months

2.
3.

The Marriage Plot
2 months

3.
7.

The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life
3 months

4.
4.

The Bathtub Spy
4 months

5.
5.

The Art of Fielding
3 months

6.
10.

Lightning Rods
3 months

7.
6.

Leaves of Grass
5 months

8.
9.

A Moment in the Sun
6 months

9.


The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
1 month

10.


The Sense of an Ending
1 month

Haruki Murakami returned to our top spot this month with 1Q84 (read our review here), while Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot (read our review here) crept up to the second spot. Meanwhile, Ann Patchett’s Kindle Single The Getaway Car jumped into our third spot and Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods was also making a strong move higher.

Another Kindle Single, Christopher Hitchens’ timely The Enemy, and Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test graduate to our Hall of Fame. Don’t miss Janet’s review of the latter.
Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern appears on our list shortly after winning the National Book Award, while the Booker Prize win propels Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending onto our list.
Near Misses: How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, 11/22/1963, The Sisters Brothers, Salvage the Bones, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: October 2011

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.


1Q84
1 month

2.
1.

The Enemy
6 months

3.


The Marriage Plot
1 month

4.
4.

The Bathtub Spy
3 months

5.
3.

The Art of Fielding
2 months

6.
5.

Leaves of Grass
4 months

7.
9.

The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life
2 months

8.
6.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
6 months

9.
7.

A Moment in the Sun
5 months

10.


Lightning Rods
1 month

The literary battle royale of 2011 played out and Haruki Murakami emerged the winner with 1Q84 (read our review here) debuting atop our October list. Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot (read our review here), meanwhile, debuted a bit farther down the list, but still put up an impressive showing. These two weren’t the only novels to make a splash in October, though. As Garth wrote in his review, “in a just world, Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods would be greeted with the same frenzy of publicity that attended Freedom last year, or The Marriage Plot just this month.”

The Murakami debut bumps Christopher Hitchens’The Enemy from the top spot, while Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric, that perhaps unlikely favorite of Millions readers graduates to our Hall of Fame. Don’t miss the review that started it all.
Falling off our list is Geoff Dyer’s Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (our review). This is the second of Dyer’s books (Out of Sheer Rage) to spend time on our list but fail to make our Hall of Fame. Also slipping from our list was Christopher Boucher’s debut novel How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (our review).Other Near Misses: The Missing of the Somme, The Sisters Brothers, and The Sense of an Ending. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: September 2011

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.
2.

The Enemy
5 months

2.
3.

Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric
6 months

3.


The Art of Fielding
1 month

4.
10.

The Bathtub Spy
2 months

5.
5.

Leaves of Grass
3 months

6.
4.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
5 months

8.
7.

A Moment in the Sun
4 months

8.
9.

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive
2 months

9.


The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life
1 month

10.
9.

Otherwise Known as the Human Condition
4 months

David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King graduates, along with The Hunger Games, to our Hall of Fame this month. Taking the vacated top spot is Christopher Hitchens’ timely The Enemy. With Ann Patchett’s The Getaway Car debuting on the list and joining another Kindle Single, The Bathtub Spy, it’s becoming pretty clear that these bite-sized e-book originals are gaining some serious traction, a trend that the media has been taking note of, of late.
Our other debut, meanwhile, is a plain old novel, certainly one of the big fiction releases of the fall, Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding. We first noted the book’s headline-grabbing deal in early 2010, and we highlighted it in our big second-half preview.
The big story next month will be seeing which heavyweight, literary new release will debut higher on our Top Ten, Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot (read the opening lines here) or Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 (read the opening lines here).
Near Misses: The Missing of the Somme, The Magician King, Swamplandia!, A Dance with Dragons, How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One, and The Tiger’s Wife. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: August 2011

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.

The Pale King
6 months

2.
2.

The Enemy
4 months

3.
4.

Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric
5 months

4.
5.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
4 months

5.
8.

Leaves of Grass
2 months

6.
6.

The Hunger Games
6 months

7.
7.

A Moment in the Sun
3 months

8.
9.

Otherwise Known as the Human Condition
3 months

9.


How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive
1 month

10.


The Bathtub Spy
1 month

David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King remains in our top spot, but it will be headed (most likely along with The Hunger Games), to our Hall of Fame next month where it will join this month’s inductee, the book I co-edited, The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books. Thanks again to all the Millions readers who picked the book up. It was a great project, and I’m glad I had a chance to share it with you.
We have a pair of newcomers this week. Readers were clearly intrigued by Emily St. John Mandel’s review of Christopher Boucher’s unique new novel How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive. We also have another Kindle Single on our list. Tom Rachman, whose The Imperfectionists is already in our Hall of Fame, makes the list with The Bathtub Spy, a new short story published as an e-book original. Christopher Hitchens’ timely The Enemy has already had a nice showing on our list, suggesting that readers are warming to the pricing and perhaps the more bite-sized nature of this new format. Do Kindle Singles (and similar pieces offered on other platforms) undermine books or are readers now being introduced to the work of writers like Hitchens and Rachman via these low-cost "samples?" Something to ponder.

Meanwhile, the stay of George R.R. Martin’s latest, A Dance with Dragons, on our list turns out to be brief. Other Near Misses: The Magician King, Swamplandia!, How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One, and The Art of Fielding. See Also: Last month’s list

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