NPR logo Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers For Oct. 28

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers For Oct. 28

Compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide in collaboration with the American Booksellers Association. This list reflects sales ending Oct. 24. Book descriptions are based on publishers' information.


1. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

A Modest Bestiary

By David Sedaris; Ian Falconer

Weeks on list: 4  •   Humorist and personal essayist David Sedaris takes on selfishness, bigotry, righteousness, loneliness and other all-too-human foibles in 16 animal fables, including one in which a selfish cow insists on being partnered with the turkey for Secret Santa because she knows he'll be gone by Thanksgiving.

Hardcover, 176pp, $21.99, Little, Brown and Company, Pub Date: Sep. 28, 2010


2. Freedom

By Jonathan Franzen

Weeks on list: 8  •   In Freedom, author Jonathan Franzen -- of 2001's The Corrections -- zeroes in on the vicissitudes of an unhappy, white, middle-American family and highlights the problems of today's American culture. At once domestic and political, Freedom both narrowly focuses on a lopsided love triangle -- between Patty and Walter Berglund and Walter's lifelong competitor/best friend, alt-rock star Richard Katz -- and more broadly examines the stresses of our post-Sept. 11 world.

Hardcover, 576pp, $28.00, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010


3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

By Stieg Larsson

Weeks on list: 22  •  The final book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy opens with Lisbeth Salander -- the heart of his two previous novels -- in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one: If and when she recovers, she'll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will have to not only prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge -- against the man who tried to kill her, and against the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Hardcover, 576pp, $27.95, Knopf, Pub Date: May. 25, 2010


4. Worth Dying For

A Reacher Novel

By Lee Child

Weeks on list: 1  •  In Worth Dying For -- the 15th installment of Lee Child's Reacher thrillers -- military policeman Jack Reacher is roaming the U.S. when he stumbles into drama in Nebraska's corn country. Following a chance encounter with Seth and Eleanor Duncan, the heads of a powerful local clan, Reacher finds himself embroiled in family discord, a smuggling operation and the unsolved case of a missing child.

Hardcover, 400pp, $28.00, Delacorte Press, Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2010


5. Our Kind of Traitor

By John le Carre

Weeks on list: 2  •  n John le Carre's smoothly entertaining new novel, Our Kind of Traitor, a young, brainy couple stumbles into the world of a charismatic money-launderer and a clandestine effort to help him defect and move to Britain. An intelligence officer turned novelist, le Carre has been spinning masterful spy stories since the 1960s -- including The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and The Constant Gardener.

Hardcover, 320pp, $27.95, Viking Adult, Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010


6. Fall of Giants

By Ken Follett

Weeks on list: 4  •  Ken Follett, of World Without End, spotlights five families -- American, German, Russian, English and Welsh -- as they move through the world-shaking dramas of World War I and the Russian Revolution. Fall of Giants is the first installment of a trilogy that will cover the 20th century and tackle subjects like class, warfare and women's suffrage.

Hardcover, $36.00, Dutton Adult, Pub Date: Sep. 28, 2010


7. In the Company of Others

A Father Tim Novel

By Jan Karon

Weeks on list: 1  •  The second of Jan Karon's Father Tim novels -- In the Company of Others has retired Episcopal priest Tim Kavanagh and his wife Cynthia traveling to Ireland to explore their family's history. The pair settles into a countryside bed and breakfast owned by Liam and Anna Conor, where a series of bizarre crimes and quirky hotel guests reveal that Father Tim's family isn't the only one harboring secrets and sorrows.

Hardcover, 416pp, $27.95, Viking Adult, Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2010


8. Great House

By Nicole Krauss

Weeks on list: 3  •  Nicole Krauss' Great House follows the war-torn lives of four isolated narrators, connected to each other by a massive antique desk that has passed through various homes ever since it was separated from its original owner in the Holocaust. Like her celebrated best-seller, The History of Love, Krauss' new novel contemplates love, loss and the oppressive weight of memory on those left behind. The novel was recently nominated for the National Book Award.

Hardcover, 289pp, $24.95, W. W. Norton & Company, Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010


9. The Help

By Kathryn Stockett

Weeks on list: 3  •  Told from three different points of view, The Help takes place in Jackson, Miss., in the early 1960s, when the Deep South was beginning its immersion into the civil rights movement. Kathryn Stockett captures both black and white voices, and all three main characters -- renegade debutante Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, and housekeepers Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson -- are complex, admirable women.

Hardcover, 464pp, $24.95, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009


10. The Reversal

By Michael Connelly

Weeks on list: 3  •  Best-selling crime novelist Michael Connelly returns to Los Angeles' seedy underworld in the latest adventures of LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Defense attorney Mickey Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and agrees to change sides and prosecute the suspected killer on the condition that Bosch work with him. With the odds and the evidence against them, Bosch and Haller must nail a sadistic killer once and for all.

Hardcover, 400pp, $27.99, Little, Brown and Company, Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2010


11. Room

By Emma Donoghue

Weeks on list: 7  •  To 5-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough -- not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Hardcover, 336pp, $24.99, Little, Brown and Company, Pub Date: Sep. 1, 2010


12. American Assassin

A Thriller

By Vince Flynn

Weeks on list: 2  •  New York Times best-selling author Vince Flynn returns with the story of CIA superagent Mitch Rapp -- a terrorist's worst nightmare. Six months of intense training has prepared Rapp to bring the war to the enemy's doorstep, and he does so with brutal efficiency. All roads lead to Beirut, though, and what Rapp doesn't know is that the enemy is aware of his existence and has prepared a trap. The hunter is about to become the hunted, and Rapp will need every ounce of skill and cunning if he is to survive the war-ravaged city and its various terrorist factions.

Hardcover, 448pp, $27.99, Atria, Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010


13. By Nightfall

By Michael Cunningham

Weeks on list: 4  •  With flourishing careers in the arts, a spacious loft and lively friends, it seems SoHo couple Peter and Rebecca Harris have every reason to be happy. But when Rebecca's 23-year-old brother comes to visit, the former drug addict and Yale dropout burdens the family with his wayward ways and disrupts the contentment they have worked so hard to construct. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham brings us By Nightfall.

Hardcover, 256pp, $25.00, Macmillan Audio, Pub Date: Sep. 28, 2010


14. Nemesis

By Philip Roth

Weeks on list: 3  •  Renowned for his literary exploration of Jewish and American identities, Philip Roth -- author of Goodbye Columbus, Portnoy's Complaint and American Pastoral -- returns to familiar ground in his 31st novel, Nemesis. Set in Roth's hometown, Newark, N.J., during the steamy summer of 1944, Nemesis concerns a polio epidemic that flares up in the city's Jewish Weequahic section.

Hardcover, 304pp, $26.00, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2010


15. Djibouti

By Elmore Leonard

Weeks on list: 2  •   New York Times best-selling author Elmore Leonard presents the story of successful documentary filmmaker Dara Barr and her right-hand man, Xavier LeBo, who have traveled to Djibouti to film modern-day pirates. As they confront con men, crooked diplomats and, of course, the bandits themselves, they must decide whether to film the action as a documentary or turn it into a Hollywood feature.

Hardcover, 288pp, $26.99, William Morrow, Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010