This Week’s Biggest Books

Every week we highlight some of the books selling fastest in Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. This week we have the winning life story of a YouTube phenom, John Grisham’s most daring thriller yet, a fascinating biography of a President, and more.

Tricky Twenty-Two, by Janet Evanovich
The return of Stephanie Plum is always cause for celebration, and number twenty-two in the series hits all the sweet spots in a great Plum story. Plum finds herself seeking a missing Fraternity “Zookeeper” Ken “Gobbles” Globovic, arrested for beating up the Dean of Students and now in hiding—except people keep seeing him around campus. Simultaneously, a man is gunned down in his own backyard, and Plum finds herself teamed up with Trenton cop Joe Morelli as she chases a cash prize connected to the case. All these moving parts result in a typically sexy, surprising, and above all twisty Stephanie Plum adventure that has all the fun, zingers, and unexpected moments you’ve come to demand from Evanovich, who remains at the top of her game.

The Guilty, by David Baldacci
The fourth book in Baldacci’s Will Robie series finds the government’s most effective assassin struggling both professionally and personally. When his father, the respected attorney and judge Dan Robie, is accused of murder and refuses to mount any sort of defense, everyone in Will’s hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi—a town he fled after high school, never looking back or making contact with his father—assumes the elder Robie is guilty. Will’s attempts to investigate and exonerate his father are met with violent resistance, and he slowly begins to dig into a dark underbelly of the town he never realized existed—as well as the connections to it shared by both his father and himself. Baldacci has never been better, and Will Robie continues to be an electrifying character.

Crimson Shore, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Number fifteen in the Aloysius Pendergast series, Crimson Shore is a slow-burning story that starts with an intriguing crime—intriguing enough to convince FBI Agent Pendergast to take on a rare private case—and slowly builds ghastly, unbearable tension as he digs into the facts. When the wine cellar of a celebrated sculptor is robbed, a case of extremely rare wine is seemingly deliberately left behind. Pendergast discovers a hidden chamber in the cellar, and human remains from a long-ago crime. Lincoln and Preston keep throwing dark details into the mystery as Pendergast—one of the most unique and interesting characters in modern thrillers—discovers clues that point to a truly horrifying conclusion. Block off some time when you start this one, as you’ll be reluctant to put it down once the story gets into high gear.

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, by Jon Meacham
Meacham, one of the most respected and talented biographers and historians working today, was given unprecedented access to George Herbert Walker Bush (a.k.a., Bush 41): his private letters, diaries, and thoughts through a series of interviews with the nonogenarian former President and father of George W. Bush (a.k.a., Bush 43). Spanning the whole of Bush’s remarkable life, Meacham reveals how little we know about the man who served his country in such a wide variety of ways, from his stint in the Navy (where he was shot down in combat and survived a harrowing sea rescue) through his time in Congress, as head of the CIA, and finally as Ronald Regan’s Vice president and later Regan’s one-term heir who lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton. What’s revealed is the Bush was a very private, emotional, and compassionate man who masked his feelings because that’s how he was raised, and that’s how he believed statesmen should act. This made him unknowable—until now.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, by Stephen King
This latest collection from master storyteller Stephen King comes with an epic bonus for fans of his indispensable craft manual On Writing: each story is prefaced by King’s note on its writing and inspiration. Stories, some of them published here for the first time, include slow-creeper “Under the Weather,” in which a devoted husband reflects on his marriage to an often sickly wife, and “Blockade Billy,” in which a retired MLB base coach recalls the terrifying events of a 1950s season with the New Jersey Titans.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom
Albom’s latest is told in the voice of Music itself, which narrates the life of Frankie Presto, a guitarist with godlike talent. A war orphan, Presto emigrated from Spain to the U.S. at age nine, and his story doubles as a history of music in the 20th century. His own musical ability is so epic it has the ability to change lives, as reflected by color changes in his guitar’s magical strings. The people whose lives he touches include such luminaries as Elvis Presley and Carole King, and even the members of KISS. Then Frankie disappears, setting the stage for one last, mystical act, in a book that’s as uplifting as it is magical.

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, by Leah Remini
Actress and TV personality Leah Remini has written a juicy, revealing account of her break with a group she’d belonged to since she was nine years old. If you’re interested in insider accounts of Scientology practices, you’ll be riveted by Remini’s account of working 14-hour days as a housekeeper at Scientology headquarters and donating thousands of dollars to murky causes at the behest of church leaders. If you can’t resist celebrity gossip, you’ll thrill to the story of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s wedding, which Remini was accused of ruining.

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History, by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
The young United States faced a lot of problems when President Thomas Jefferson took office in 1801. Chief among them: the country was seriously in debt and needed money quickly, but pirates off the North African coast were capturing merchant ships and forcing their sailors into slavery. In this fast-paced, exciting book, Kilmeade and Yaeger describe Jefferson’s initial attempts at diplomacy and the events of what would become the first Barbary War. A great choice for anyone interested in military or American history.

Binge, by Tyler Oakley
LGBTQ+ activist and YouTube superstar Oakley first came onto the scene in 2007, and with over 7 million followers of his funny, socially-minded videos, he doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. Binge is his first book: a collection of hilarious, personal, and frequently inspirational essays touching on everything from his experience visiting the White House, to publicly humiliating car crashes, to projectile vomiting. An awesome book for fans of Oakley, but also for young people who love to laugh.

Rogue Lawyer, by John Grisham
Grisham is a master, and in Rogue Lawyer, he’s created one of his most memorable characters ever: Sebastian Rudd, the title character—sarcastic, brilliant, and single-minded in his pursuit of justice for his clients, who tend to be the sort that everyone else has given up on. Rudd’s tendency to stick his nose in cases no one wants him pursue requires him to employ a full-time body bodyguard, and he never sleeps in the same place twice. His current cases, including the defense of a mentally-challenged young man accused of killing two small girls, aren’t going to make him any more popular. A can’t-catch-your-breath read from one of the best.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime: Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-Minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper!, by Ree Drummond
Dinnertime, especially weeknight dinnertime, can be an unpleasantly fraught experience: supposedly “quick” recipes turn into hour-long disasters, tempers fray, and a trip to the drive-through seems like the only solution. This is where The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime comes in. The latest from Food Network celebrity Drummond contains over 125 fast, easy-to-prepare-ahead meals, never losing sight of the deliciousness factor with tasty dishes like Beef Stroganoff, Freezer Meatballs, Mexican Tortilla Casserole, and Veggie Chili. A handy cookbook for anyone looking for a large collection of actually quick, truly delicious recipes.

The Crossing, by Michael Connelly
Connelly’s new novel serves as both the 20th Harry Bosch novel and the 6th Mickey Haller novel, as the half-brothers team up to prove a former gang leader is innocent of murder. For Bosch, the team-up is reluctant, as he dislikes the idea of working against his former colleagues on the police force and the prosecutor’s office, but Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, promises that if Bosch’s investigation proves his client is guilty, he will follow the rules of discovery and turn the evidence over to the prosecution. In a twisting case involving Internet pornography and prostitution, Bosch’s investigation soon leads him back to the police themselves, and as he follows the clues he begins to realize that someone is also following him. The combination of two beloved, dogged protagonists makes this one the perfect November thriller.

The Witches: Salem, 1692, by Stacy Schiff
In the winter of 1692, 20 people in Massachusetts, mostly women, were put to death for practicing witchcraft. Nineteen of them were hanged; one old man was crushed to death under a pile of rocks over the course of two days. Pulitzer Prize-winner Schiff, the author of Cleopatra: A Life, brings that winter to life in a beautifully written, impeccably researched story. An important book for anyone interested in Salem, early American history, women’s history, or stories centering on religion.

See Me, by Nicholas Sparks
Sparks is at the top of his game in this deeply human story of starting over and dealing with life’s complexities. Colin Hancock’s past is filled with violence and bad decisions, but he’s committed to turning over a new leaf, pursuing a teaching degree, and living a quiet existence. When he meets Maria Sanchez—a successful lawyer with her own dark past—love springs up despite their mutual hesitation. Their affection is challenged by past secrets, even as ominous events in the present push them to the breaking point. This deeply emotional book once again proves that Sparks understands human nature and relationships as well as anyone writing today.

Killing Reagan, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
In many ways, Ronald Reagan has never really left us—politics aside, the impression he made on both the Republican Party and the American imagination remains as potent and powerful as ever. Which is why Bill O’Reilly and co-writer Martin Dugard chose to make Reagan the subject of their newest volume in the riveting, revelatory Killing series. Killing Reagan combines rock-solid historical research with an intriguing question: what psychological impact did Reagan’s near-assassination have on the president, as both a man and as Commander in Chief? It’s that unique approach to history—considering the ripple effects of single moments—that has made every entry in the Killing series an unmissable event.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo
Look around your home. Do you see a month’s worth of junk mail, a pile of discarded clothing and/or undone dishes, or a jar full of coins? If the answer is no, we congratulate you (jealously). But if you’re anything like us, the answer is, “I don’t know; I can’t see around this pile of unshelved books.” Let Japanese cleaning consultant Kondo teach you exactly how to keep all that clutter at bay. Her charming book will inspire mindfulness, joyful living, and the overwhelming desire to throw out all 67 of the old magazines you’ve been holding on to “just in case.”

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