The Millions Top Ten: August 2020

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 Glass Hotel
6 months

2.
2.

The City We Became
6 months

3.
5.

Death in Her Hands
3 months

4.
8.

Utopia Avenue

2 months

5.
6.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors
3 months

6.
9.

All My Mother’s Lovers

4 months

7.


Summer
1 month

8.
3.

Tell It Slant
4 months

9.


A Luminous Republic
1 month

10.


The Vanishing Half
1 month

My friends, I’m not sure if you’re like me.

I mean, I see that you’re buying Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors, with it rising to our list’s fifth spot, perhaps on the strength of my past recommendations, but I’m still not sure if you’re really like me.

Instead you’re yourselves. That’s great. That’s grand. That’s what I want. Let’s talk about the books you’re reading.

This month you’ve pushed two books into our Hall of Fame: The Resisters by Gish Jen and Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu. At the same time, you’ve bumped a couple books out of our Top Ten, freeing space for new entries: Summer by Ali Smith, A Luminous Republic by Andrés Barba, and The Vanishing by Brit Bennett.

For a grounding on Smith’s quartet, let’s revisit Jean Huets’s “Things Fall Apart” piece for The Millions:
I’m looking forward to spring. I don’t like the cold. Where I live, the snow comes down these days as sleet and the dust on my ice skates thickens every year. But I’m also looking forward to Spring because I love Autumn and Winter.
For the other two, let’s resolve to read widely. Let’s check in next month, TBR lists ablaze, pitches aplenty, and let’s discuss. We should have a few newcomers to talk about by then, too.

This month’s near misses included: The Mirror & the Light, 22 Minutes of Unconditional LoveFleishman Is in Trouble, and Disappearing Earth. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: July 2020

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.
1.

The Glass Hotel
5 months

2.
2.

The City We Became
5 months

3.
6.

Tell It Slant
3 months

4.
4.

Interior Chinatown

6 months

5.
9.

Death in Her Hands
2 months

6.
10.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors

2 months

7.
5.

The Resisters
6 months

8.


Utopia Avenue
1 month

9.
7.

All My Mother’s Lovers
3 months

10.


How to Be an Antiracist
1 month

Well, well, well. If it isn’t Millions readers taking my advice. Last month, I ended the write-up by highlighting Kawai Strong Washburn’s novel about a Hawaiian family (and so much more), and this month the book shoots up four spots in our list. For those of you still on the fence, here’s another Sharks in the Time of Saviors teaser: its opening chapter—part sex scene, part ghost processional—is still the strongest opener I’ve read in 2020.

The other news this month is that Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier capped off six consecutive months on our list by setting off for the site’s Hall of Fame. In an interview last summer, our own Bill Morris asked Barry about his creative inspirations, and also why he describe a barkeep as “stoned-looking as a fucking koala” in an earlier book. Anyway, the paperback edition of Night Boat released a couple weeks ago.

Night Boat’s move to the Hall of Fame freed up one spot on the list, while Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & the Light dropped out of the running this month, so there were two new spots to fill. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist took one of them, after spending some time in the “near misses” section of these posts.

Meanwhile, the eighth spot on the list belongs to David Mitchell, whose new novel, Utopia Avenue, came out last month. Mitchell has long been a Millions audience favorite, having made the Hall of Fame four times since 2010—so if past is prologue we’ll be seeing his name in these posts for five months to come.

This month’s near misses included: A Luminous RepublicFleishman Is in Trouble, Disappearing Earth, and The Lost Book of Adana Moreau. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: June 2020

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.

The Glass Hotel
4 months

2.
2.

The City We Became
4 months

3.
4.

Night Boat to Tangier
6 months

4.
5.

Interior Chinatown

5 months

5.
7.

The Resisters
5 months

6.
6.

Tell It Slant

2 months

7.
9.

All My Mother’s Lovers
2 months

8.


Death in Her Hands
1 month

9.
8.

The Mirror & the Light
4 months

10.


Sharks in the Time of Saviors
1 month

As expected, Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror capped off a solid six months on our list with ascension into our site’s Hall of Fame. This freed up one spot on our list, but another was opened by Madeleine L’Engle’s The Moment of Tenderness moving from the 10th position last month to off the list entirely now. What has 2020 been if not divided?

Filling those spots are Ottessa Moshfegh, whose latest novel, Death in Her Hands ,debuts in the eighth position, and Kawai Strong Washburn, whose Sharks in the Time of Saviors moves up from last month’s “Near Misses” into the varsity line-up of the Top Ten.

In our Great First-Half 2020 Book Preview, published last January, which feels approximately seven decades ago, our own Il’ja Rákoš described Moshfegh’s latest as an “atmospheric, darkly comic tale of a pathologically lonely widow and the thrills lurking in her sylvan retreat.” Now that we’ve all basically been homebound, that sounds relatable—although that “sylvan” descriptor might be aspirational for most.

Washburn’s rise meanwhile could, if I were to toot my own horn, be ascribed to the way I wrote about his novel in the May edition of our Millions member newsletter:
I’ve worked 18-hour days nonstop since February because of my day job at a certain university with a very popular pandemic tracking map, so I’ve had precious few opportunities to read books. I also have a nine-month-old, so ditto. But people are right when they say life finds a way, and in pre-dawn hours while standing at the kitchen counter, or late night as I linger a moment or two longer than I should in my workspace, I’ve snatched bleary-eyed bits of Kawai Strong Washburn’s debut novel, Sharks in the Time of Saviors, and its viscerally rendered Hawaiian setting, interwoven with themes of new and old traditions, has been exactly the jolt I’ve needed. I’m not done yet but when I do finish, when the world settles, when the pandemic subsides, I’ll be thinking about it still.
Now that I’ve finished it, I can confirm: I’ve thought about this book almost daily since then. Now that we’re in July, I can also confirm: the virus is still here. Wear a mask.

Among the near misses we must highlight Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, which has become ubiquitous on reading lists the past few months. Although the circumstances of the book’s growing popularity are tragic, the fact that a book is newly popular makes it no less essential, and that new readers are interested in it should be celebrated—even if many of them are coming to it later than one would like, and even if the act of reading a book (or any number of books) alone will not make right what is wrong. Still, we ought to see the good where it is: this is a start for many people, even if it is overdue. Let’s all get to work.

This month’s near misses included: Disappearing Earth, A Luminous Republic, How to Be an Antiracist, and Fleishman Is in Trouble. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: May 2020

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.

The Glass Hotel
3 months

2.
3.

The City We Became
3 months

3.
5.

Trick Mirror
6 months

4.
4.

Night Boat to Tangier

5 months

5.
9.

Interior Chinatown
4 months

6.


Tell It Slant

1 month

7.
6.

The Resisters
4 months

8.
7.

The Mirror & the Light
3 months

9.


All My Mother’s Lovers
1 month

10.


The Moment of Tenderness
1 month

Rejoice, Millions faithful! Our own Adam O’Fallon Price has reached our site’s Hall of Fame thanks to six strong monthly showings for The Hotel Neversink. O’Fallon Price is now the fifth Millions staffer to reach the Hall—he joins site founder C. Max Magee (The Late American Novel), along with Mark O’Connell (Epic Fail), Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven), and Garth Risk Hallberg (City on Fire). It also looks like St. John Mandel may become the first Millions staffer to reach the Hall twice, as she notches yet another month atop our Top Ten with her latest novel, The Glass Hotel.

At the same time, Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman Is in Trouble and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous both dropped out of the running this month, continuing the on-again, off-again trend they’ve maintained for a couple months.

Combined, these departures made way for three arrivals.

Tell It Slant, a ubiquitous craft mainstay, which had most recently been referenced on our site in a 2018 piece by Vivian Wagner, burst up to the sixth position on our list after a month or two among our “near misses.” Likewise, The Moment of Tenderness moved from the same group into our 10th spot. Then, All My Mother’s Lovers, which was featured recently in a Tuesday New Release Day post, made it into the ninth position.

See y’all next month as Jia Tolentino jettisons into our Hall of Fame, and who knows what else happens.

This month’s near misses included: A Luminous Republic, The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, and Sharks in the Time of Saviors. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: April 2020

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.
5.

The Glass Hotel
2 months

2.
3.

The Hotel Neversink
6 months

3.
9.

The City We Became
2 months

4.
6.

Night Boat to Tangier

4 months

5.
4.

Trick Mirror
5 months

6.
8.

The Resisters

3 months

7.
7.

The Mirror & the Light
2 months

8.


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
3 months

9.
10.

Interior Chinatown
3 months

10.


Fleishman Is in Trouble
2 months

Two Millions staffers top this month’s list, while a third narrowly missed out on inclusion. Perhaps this achievement amidst a global pandemic is what Charles Dickens meant by “the best of times…the worst of times.”

Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel rose to first place this month; the book “explores what Mandel calls ‘the kingdom of money,'” wrote Adam O’Fallon Price in our March Book Preview. Meanwhile Price’s novel The Hotel Neversink rose to second place on this month’s list. Mandel didn’t preview Neversink for our March Book Preview, even though that would have been a nice bit of symmetry, but Bill Morris did call it a “rambunctious, ambitious, decades- and generations-jumping tale” in our Great Book Preview, and that’s probably better. Regardless, the facts are irrefutable: Millions readers love Millions staffers who write books with “Hotel” in their titles.

Elsewhere, two books rejoin the list after spending some time off of it. Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous rejoined for the first time since February, and Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman Is in Trouble came back after debuting that same month. Their spots were opened up when The Topeka School and Ducks, Newburyport graduated to our Hall of Fame—a first-time distinction for both Ben Lerner and Lucy Ellmann.

Next month we look poised to open up at least one spot for a newcomer, and there’s only one place where you can find out which book it will be.

This month’s near misses included: The Moment of Tenderness, The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, Sharks in the Time of Saviors, Tell It Slant, and Longing for an Absent God: Faith and Doubt in American Fiction. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: March 2020

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 March.

This Month
Last Month

Title
On List

1.
1.

The Topeka School
6 months

2.
2.

Ducks, Newburyport
6 months

3.
4.

The Hotel Neversink
5 months

4.
3.

Trick Mirror

4 months

5.


The Glass Hotel
1 month

6.
7.

Night Boat to Tangier

3 months

7.


The Mirror & the Light
1 month

8.
5.

The Resisters
2 months

9.


The City We Became
1 month

10.
9.

Interior Chinatown
2 months

This month J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand leaves us for the Hall of Fame, and it’s easy to be jealous. As the pandemic rages, exposing the failures of our health systems and laying bare the craven selfishness of many leaders and neighbors alike, it’s easy to wish you, too, were leaving everything behind, bound instead of the bliss of an Internet culture site’s Valhalla. On another, less dramatic level it’s easy as well to be jealous of people who are simply in positions to buy and enjoy books at a time like this, a time unlike any other. It’s been said by others in better language than mine, but the point remains: in dark and lonely times, remember the arts you turn toward.

In that spirit, we find reasons for joy. This is a banner month for Millions staffers, as a full fifth of the books on this month’s list was authored by our staffers. Emily St. John Mandel’s latest novel, The Glass Hotel, debuts in the fifth spot, and that’s the kind of strong showing in a pandemic you’d expect from the author of Station Eleven. Meanwhile Adam O’Fallon Price’s The Hotel Neversink has been a mainstay on the list for a while, but this month it edged ahead of Jia Tolentino’s acclaimed collection Trick Mirror, which is the publishing equivalent of a song from your favorite hometown band overtaking a pop star’s summer single on the Billboard list.

Elsewhere on the list, The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel’s finale to the Wolf Hall series, enters in seventh position, and The City We Became, the first installment of N.K. Jemisin’s Great Cities trilogy, enters in ninth. In our Great First-Half 2020 Book Preview, Lydia Kiesling called the release of Mantel’s latest “one of the literary events of the young millennium,” and Jacqueline Krass said she “can’t wait” for Jemisin’s. In an interview for our site, John Maher asked Mantel, “What one fundamental aspect of history do you wish readers, or the culture at large, knew that you now know after years of researching the period you’ve fictionalized?”

“The past has to be respected and valued for its own sake,” she replied. “It is not a rehearsal for the present, and its people are not us in a primitive form.”

In the days ahead, remember that corollary: we didn’t rehearse what we’re going through now.

This month’s near misses included: The Testaments, The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, and Tell It Slant. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: February 2020

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.
3.

The Topeka School
5 months

2.
4.

Ducks, Newburyport
5 months

3.
7.

Trick Mirror
3 months

4.
6.

The Hotel Neversink

4 months

5.


The Resisters
1 month

6.
7.

Pieces for the Left Hand: Stories

6 months

7.
9.

Night Boat to Tangier
2 months

8.
10.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
2 months

9.


Interior Chinatown
1 month

10.


Fleishman Is in Trouble
1 month

To celebrate the ascension of Ducks, Newburyport to the second spot on this month’s Top Ten, this write-up will consist of a single sentence—in spite of the fact that Lucy Ellmann’s 1,000-page novel actually consists of eight—because, frankly, as the world of online books and culture has evolved, or more accurately contracted and rigidified, it remains the case that The Millions is a place where, although some might disagree, there is still room for playful displays of fanatical literary bombast (as, of course, evidenced by the fact that Ducks, Newburyport’s un-diagrammable heft was purchased by so many readers last month that it’s now been listed second only to Ben Lerner’s latest), and so with us agreed that this place can be fun, and funny and most of all filled with celebration, we must tip our hats to Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, and Inland by Téa Obreht, a trio of novels bound for our site’s hallowed Hall of Fame, and we must tip those very same hats—or, if you prefer, we can tip a new set of hats, because few things are more excessive and celebratory than spare hats, reserved specifically for fresh tipping—to The Resisters by Gish Jen, Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, and Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, the trio of novels filling the vacated spaces on the list this month, which advances us from February into March, a time of new beginnings and, in the mid-Atlantic, unseasonably warm temperatures, but that’s beside the point, which is of course that these three newcomers on our list are superb, the first two of which earning praise in the most recent installment of our annual Book Preview for being “a comprehensive yet disturbing picture of how totalitarianism speeds back to the center stage of human history,” and a “wrenching, hilarious, sharp, surreal, and, above all, original [novel],” respectively, while not to be outdone is Taffy’s debut novel, Fleishman Is in Trouble, which has been discussed the most on our site—earning two spots in our Year in Reading series courtesy of Hannah Gersen and Devin Lee Booker—and was mentioned most recently just three weeks ago when Anna Sims referred to it as “a book that offers a sharp critique of the lie fueling modern feminism and is brilliantly disguised as a book about a man,” before continuing on to describe it as not just a “very funny book,” but also a “very tired book,” which is a sentiment that, by now, the writer of this piece—to say nothing of the myriad readers of this piece—can completely understand.

This month’s near misses included: A Long Petal of the Sea, The Testaments, How to Be an Antiracist, Quichotte, and The Lost Book of Adana Moreau. See Also: Last month’s list.

Bonus Links from Our Archive:
A Year in Reading: Ben Lerner
A Year in Reading: Adam O’Fallon Price
The Best Book You’ve Never Read: ‘Pieces for the Left Hand’
Shifting Anxieties: On J. Robert Lennon’s ‘See You in Paradise
You Can’t Lie in Fiction: An Interview with Kevin Barry
I’m a Stained-Glass Guy: The Millions Interviews Kevin Barry
A Year in Reading: Kevin Barry
Memory Can Be a Second Chance: Ocean Vuong’s ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’
Modern Feminism’s Big Lie: On ‘Fleishman Is in Trouble’

The Millions Top Ten: January 2020

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.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
6 months

2.
2.

The Memory Police
6 months

3.
3.

The Topeka School
4 months

4.
5.

Ducks, Newburyport

4 months

5.
4.

Inland
6 months

6.
7.

The Hotel Neversink

3 months

7.
9.

Trick Mirror
2 months

8.
6.

Pieces for the Left Hand: Stories
5 months

9.


Night Boat to Tangier
1 month

10.


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
1 month

The new year brings slight change to the top-half of our Top Ten. The books in fourth and fifth position swapped places, bumping Ducks, Newburyport up a spot, but otherwise 2020 begins just as 2019 ended: with Olga Tokarczuk in first place.

Elsewhere on the list, things get more interesting. Both Jia Tolentino and Adam O’Fallon Price saw their works rise a couple spots: Trick Mirror from ninth to seventh; The Hotel Neversink from seventh to sixth. Bravo, both.

Speaking of cheers, Colson Whitehead’s latest novel, The Nickel Boys, capped off six straight appearances on our Top Ten by ascending to our Hall of Fame. It’s the second time Whitehead has reached the Hall. The Underground Railroad made it in 2017. On the other hand, The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, dropped out of our list.

Filling the two free spots are Ocean Vuong and Kevin Barry, as On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous moves from perennial placement in our “Near Misses” to 10th position, and Night Boat to Tangier rides two mentions from our Year in Reading series into the ninth spot. Both Daniel Levin Becker and our own Bill Morris sung its praises. It “wrap[s] inventive thickets of idiom and fragment around affecting tales of parenthood and loss” wrote Becker. “It provides all the pleasures his fans have come to expect, including pyrotechnical language, a delicious stew of high lit and low slang, lovable bunged-up characters, rapturous storytelling, and a fair bit of the old U(ltra) V(iolence)” wrote Morris.

This month’s near misses included: Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, A Long Petal of the SeaHow to Be an Antiracist, and Quichotte. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: December 2019

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.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
5 months

2.
2.

The Memory Police
5 months

3.
3.

The Topeka School
3 months

4.
4.

Inland

5 months

5.
6.

Ducks, Newburyport
3 months

6.
5.

Pieces for the Left Hand: Stories

4 months

7.
9.

The Hotel Neversink
2 months

8.
7.

The Nickel Boys
6 months

9.


Trick Mirror
1 month

10.
8.

The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale
4 months

It’s an exciting month for Millions staffer Adam O’Fallon Price, whose novel The Hotel Neversink rose two spots in our Top Ten, and now ranks higher than Margaret Atwood’s latest novel on the list. Clearly, interests were piqued by Price’s entry in our Year in Reading series. (You can explore the entire series here.)

Meanwhile, the top half of this month’s list held steady month-over-month. Ducks, Newburyport cracked the top-5, displacing J. Robert Lennon’s short story collection, which moves to sixth place. For now, long sentences get the upper hand over the left.

Our lone newcomer this month is Jia Tolentino’s hugely popular essay collection, Trick Mirror. Tolentino’s book was named in no fewer than eight of this year’s Year in Reading entries, so its appearance on the list comes as no surprise. Millions readers can thank Mike Isaac, Kaulie Lewis, C Pam Zhang, Kate Gavino, Garth Risk Hallberg, Lauren Michele Jackson, Shea Serrano, and yours truly for the recommendations.

Speaking of recommendations, it seems that either Barack Obama is a devout Millions reader or Millions readers take their cues from him. It’s a bit of a chicken-egg situation. Either way, a full five of the books on this month’s Top Ten (and among the “Near Misses”) appeared on Obama’s year-end list of his favorite books—a Venn diagram overlap representing 36% of our total. Uncanny is another word for suspicious. Obama, since you’re clearly reading this, we invite you to share a Year in Reading entry in 2020.

This month’s near misses included: Night Boat to Tangier, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Trust Exercise, and How to Be an Antiracist. See Also: Last month’s list.

The Millions Top Ten: November 2019

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.
2.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
4 months

2.
3.

The Memory Police
4 months

3.
6.

The Topeka School
2 months

4.
5.

Inland

4 months

5.
4.

Pieces for the Left Hand: Stories
3 months

6.


Ducks, Newburyport

2 months

7.
9.

The Nickel Boys
5 months

8.
10.

The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale
3 months

9.


The Hotel Neversink
1 month

10.


The Need
2 months

After six months of smashing success on our list, The Practicing Stoic surely becomes the first philosopher’s resource to grace our Hall of Fame. (Although maybe you could make a case for Marie Kondo’s book, which made it in 2015.) This is the second time author Ward Farnsworth has reached the Hall: in October 2011, he did so with Classical English Rhetoric. Don’t call it a comeback.
Joining Farnsworth in the Hall of Fame are two novels: Halle Butler’s The New Me and Sally Rooney’s Ordinary People. It’s the first appearance for each author.
Filling two of those spaces is a pair of books that had been on our list previously, but fell off between then and now. These ones, you can call comebacks. Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport made the list in September after being shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker Prize. It’s back in sixth position this month. Likewise, Helen Phillips’s The Need returns to our list after taking a two-month hiatus among the “near misses.”

Meanwhile a Millions staffer joins our list as this month’s true newcomer. Adam O’Fallon Price’s novel The Hotel Neversink holds ninth position. Fellow Millions staffer Lydia Kiesling called Price’s book “a gripping, atmospheric, heart-breaking, almost-ghost story,” and added that, “Not since Stephen King’s Overlook has a hotel hiding a secret been brought to such vivid life.”

Next month, after our Year in Reading concludes, we’ll likely see a whole batch of new books on this list. Budget accordingly.

This month’s near misses included: The Golden State, The Water DancerHow to Be an Antiracist, Quichotte: A Novel, and The Dutch House. See Also: Last month’s list.