The Most Popular Bookish News of the Week

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Here’s your weekend round-up of the most-read stories from Today in Books, with my commentary. Grab your coffee and catch up!

The Thriller Writer Outselling James Patterson & John Grisham

You’re expecting this to be a story about the latest TikTok romantasy hit, aren’t you? The clock app may be hogging headlines with stories about dragon riders who do it, but it’s Freida McFadden’s thrillers that are dominating bestseller lists. McFadden, a physician who writes under a pseudonym to protect her relationship with her patients, self-published for a decade before signing a deal with Sourcebooks’s Poisoned Pen Press. Her 23 (!) books have sold more than 6 million copies, making her the fastest-selling thriller writer in the U.S., outpacing heavy hitters James Patterson, David Baldacci, and John Grisham, who all show up beneath her on current sales charts. The New York Times‘s Alexandra Alter details McFadden’s rise in a new profile, which also hints at fascinating tidbits about Sourcebooks’s strategy. Now, my kingdom for a piece about the enduring appeal of the self-pub-to-traditional-deal pipeline.

New Hillary Clinton Memoir Coming for Election Season

Simon and Schuster has just announced a new Hillary Clinton memoir, titled Something Lost, Something Gained: Reflections on Life, Love, and Liberty, coming September 17. (I would’ve called it I Told You So or But Her Emails, and that’s why I’m not in charge of such things.) The book “will be both personal and political, reflecting on her marriage, friendships and the process of aging, as well as offering her views on topics ranging from Russia to the upcoming U.S. election.”

How Emily Henry Made Hits Without Touring or TikTok

Emily Henry’s books may be all over the internet, but she isn’t. The reigning queen of the rom-com, whose first hit, Beach Read, came out in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic, told The New York Times in a rare profile that she has no desire to be a “writer slash mini-celebrity.” Despite her publisher’s urging and in defiance of the widespread belief that authors must have a Platform and actively engage with fans, Henry has never been on tour and has no plans to get on TikTok. As Times reporter Elisabeth Egan notes, “It’s an uncommon, maybe even gutsy, approach in the era of the all-access pass, when readers of popular fiction expect a level of quasi intimacy with favorite writers.”


As a bonus for All Access members, here are a bunch of interesting pieces I bookmarked this week that didn’t make the cut for the full Today in Books analysis.

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