Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers For July 29 The Help captures both black and white voices of 1960s Mississippi in renegade debutante Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan and housekeepers Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson.
NPR logo Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers For July 29

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers For July 29

Compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide in collaboration with the American Booksellers Association. This list reflects sales ending July 25. Book descriptions are based in part on publishers' information.

1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

By Stieg Larsson

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

2. The Help

By Kathryn Stockett

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

3. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

By David Mitchell

Set in early 19th century Japan, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet follows Jacob, a bookkeeper at an outpost of the Dutch East Indies Company, as he falls for a local midwife.

Hardcover, 496pp, $26.00, Random House, Pub Date: Jun. 29, 2010

4. The Rembrandt Affair

By Daniel Silva

Determined to sever his ties with the office, Gabriel Allon has retreated to the cliffs of Cornwall, England, with his beautiful wife, Chiara. But his seclusion is interrupted by a visitor from his tangled past who wants Gabriel to solve the brutal murder of an art restorer and find a long-lost Rembrandt portrait that was mysteriously stolen. Gabriel's investigation takes him from Amsterdam to Buenos Aires and, finally, to a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva, where he discovers that there are deadly secrets connected to the painting -- and evil men behind them.

Hardcover, 496pp, $26.95, Putnam Adult, Pub Date: Jul. 20, 2010

5. Faithful Place

By Tana French

When Frank Mackey was 19 and growing up poor on Dublin's Faithful Place, he and his girlfriend Rosie Daly hatched a plan to run away to London together and start anew. But on the night they were supposed to leave, Rosie never showed, and Frank -- thinking she had left him -- struck out on his own. Twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase turns up in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank is drawn back to Dublin and the dark tangle of relationships he left behind to solve the mysterious case of Rosie Daly.

Hardcover, 416pp, $25.95, Viking Adult, Pub Date: Jul. 13, 2010

6. The Passage

By Justin Cronin

In Justin Cronin's nearly 800-page tome, a secret military experiment goes awry. A disease gets out of the lab, creates monsters and the Earth is practically destroyed. The monsters are vampire-like in that they feed on blood, but they don't speak, and only a tiny spark of their old self remains.

Hardcover, 784pp, $27.00, Ballantine Books, Pub Date: Jun. 8, 2010

7. Fly Away Home

By Jennifer Weiner

In Jennifer Weiner's Fly Away Home, Sylvie Serfer has made herself into the ideal politician's wife. At 57, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying 20 pounds thinner than she was in her 20s and tending to her senator husband. But when the senator's extramarital affair makes headlines, she and her two daughters -- 24-year-old recovering addict Lizzie and unhappily married overachiever Diana -- are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the news conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.

Hardcover, 416pp, $26.99, Atria, Pub Date: Jul. 13, 2010

8. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

By Aimee Bender

Until she's about to turn 9, Rose Edelstein seems to be a normal little girl, especially in comparison with her older brother Joseph, a scientific genius who is her mother's favorite. Then her mother bakes her a lemon cake with fudge icing, and Rose, upon eating a slice warm from the oven, recognizes a strange new emotional flavor -- the moroseness behind her mother's cheerful mask. From then on her emphatic sense of taste intrudes upon every bite of food. Meanwhile, her brother's growing social withdrawal overshadows his precocious brilliance. Rose and Joseph share a fragile bond in this Los Angeles household haunted by neurotic limitations. Their father is so phobic about hospitals that he waited out the children's births on the sidewalk. Their mother has a wide array of thwarted ambitions. This sensual and detailed portrait of Rose's coming of age as a "magic food psychic" also reveals the complicated negotiations within a family where missed connections are the norm.

Hardcover, 304pp, $25.95, Doubleday, Pub Date: Jun. 1, 2010

9. The Cookbook Collector

By Allegra Goodman

Emily and Jessamine Bach are opposites in every way: 28-year-old Emily is a Silicon Valley CEO, and 23-year-old Jess is an environmental activist and graduate student in philosophy; pragmatic Emily is making a fortune while romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore; Emily is rational and driven while Jess is dreamy and whimsical; Emily's boyfriend is fantastically successful, and Jess's not so much. Bicoastal, surprising and rich in ideas, The Cookbook Collector is a novel about getting, spending and the substitutions we make when we can't find what we're looking for. But above all it is about holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that stays.

Hardcover, 416pp, $26.00, The Dial Press, Pub Date: Jul. 6, 2010

10. The Glass Rainbow

A Dave Robicheaux Novel

By James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke's new novel finds Detective Dave Robicheaux back in New Iberia, La., and embroiled in the most harrowing and dangerous case of his career. Seven young women in neighboring Jefferson Davis Parish have been brutally murdered, and while the crimes have all of the telltale signs of a serial killer, the death of a high school honor student doesn't fit. Adding to Robicheaux's troubles is the matter of his daughter, Alafair, whose literary pursuits have led her into the arms of a celebrated novelist who is slowly sinking into the corruption of Louisiana's subculture. Robicheaux fears that Alafair might be destroyed by the man she loves, and he soon finds himself dealing with a level of evil that is greater than any enemy he has confronted in the past.

Hardcover, 448pp, $25.99, Simon & Schuster, Pub Date: Jul. 13, 2010

11. Corduroy Mansions

By Alexander Mccall Smith

Corduroy Mansions is the affectionate nickname given to a genteel, crumbling mansion block in London's vibrant Pimlico neighborhood and the home turf of a captivating collection of quirky and altogether McCall-Smithian characters. There's the middle-aged wine merchant William, who's trying to convince his reluctant 24-year-old son to leave the nest; and Marcia, the boutique caterer who has her sights set on William. There's also the much-loathed member of Parliament whose mother is writing his biography and hating every minute of it; and his long-suffering literary agent girlfriend who wants to be his wife. There's the vitamin evangelist, the psychoanalyst, the art student and the terrier who insists on wearing a seat belt and who is almost certainly the only avowed vegetarian canine in London. Filled with the ins and outs of neighborliness in all of its unexpected variations, Corduroy Mansions showcases the life, laughter and humanity that have become the hallmarks of Alexander McCall Smith's work.

Hardcover, 368pp, $24.95, Pantheon, Pub Date: Jul. 13, 2010

12. Sizzling Sixteen

By Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich's regular character, bail bondswoman Stephanie Plum of Trenton, N.J., takes a break from tracking down those who have skipped out on their debts, to help secure the family business. The future of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds is endangered when cousin Vinny's gambling gets out of control.

Hardcover, 320pp, $27.99, St. Martin's Press, Pub Date: Jun. 22, 2010

13. Spies of the Balkans

By Alan Furst

In the latest of what he calls "historical espionage" novels, writer Alan Furst takes readers to the Greek port city of Salonika in 1940 -- just as Mussolini decides to invade Greece. The plot centers on a Greek policeman who is trying to help transport fleeing German Jews from Berlin through Greece to neutral Turkey. Hitler's army hasn't invaded Greece yet, but everyone knows it's coming.

Hardcover, 288pp, $26.00, Random House, Pub Date: Jun. 15, 2010

14. Work Song

By Ivan Doig

In Work Song, Ivan Doig revisits the story of itinerant teacher, walking encyclopedia and inveterate charmer Morrie Morgan. Lured like so many others by "the richest hill on earth," Morrie finds himself in Butte, Mont., copper-mining capital of the world, in its jittery heyday of 1919. But while riches elude Morrie, a colorful cast of local characters -- and their dramas -- seek him out, including a lively former student now engaged to a fiery young union leader. Morrie is soon caught up in the mounting clash between the iron-fisted mining company, radical "outside agitators" and beleaguered miners. As tensions above ground and below become explosive, Morrie finds a unique way to give a voice to those who truly need one.

Hardcover, 288pp, $25.95, Riverhead Hardcover, Pub Date: Jun. 29, 2010

15. Matterhorn

A Novel of the Vietnam War

By Karl Marlantes

Author Karl Marlantes, who served as a Marine during the Vietnam War, presents this fictionalized account of American troops in Vietnam, as they trudge across enemy lines, encountering danger from opposing forces as well as on their home turf.

Hardcover, 592pp, $24.95, Atlantic Monthly Press, Pub Date: Mar. 23, 2010