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Glenn Beck debuts at No. 1 and 'Sh*t' hits its fans: This week's best-sellers

Fox News acolytes came at the Beck and call of a certain teary-eyed pundit this week. Glenn Beck’s paranoid thriller The Overton Window, with 775,000 copies in print, rocketed to the top of the Publishers Weekly fiction best-seller chart, and kicked Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked Hornet’s Nest out of the No. 1 spot. I’m sure that Beck is thrilled to triumph over a product of Sweden, that land of socialized everything. A little further down the list, Justin Cronin’s hot apocalypse summer novel, The Passage, continues to do well as a beach read despite the fact that it’s bigger and heavier than the cooler.

On the nonfiction side, the malcontent grumblings of a 74-year-old beat out a former First Lady, a former 90210 star, and a former disgruntled chef. Justin Halpern’s Twitter-based Sh*t My Dad Says proves that people actually do want to hear the elderly complain. And Halpern’s collection will likely get an even bigger boost once CBS starts airing $#*! My Dad Says, the grawlix-amended sitcom starring William Shatner that the network picked up for the fall. One spot down, Anthony Bourdain’s food-ography Medium Raw has quietly climbed two spaces from last week’s position, and further below that, Tori Spelling’s latest memoir, uncharted terriTORI (my autocorrect is not happy with that title), debuts at No. 9.

See below for this week’s full lists of bestsellers:


1. The Overton Window, Glenn Beck
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson
3. The Lion, Nelson DeMille
4. The Passage, Justin Cronin
5. Whiplash, Catherine Coulter
6. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
7. Frankenstein: Lost Souls, Dean Koontz
8. The Spy, Clive Cussler & Justin Scott
9. 61 Hours, Lee Child
10. Dead in the Family, Charlaine Harris
11. Lowcountry Summer, Dorothea Benton Frank
12. Spies of the Balkans, Alan Furst
13. Innocent, Scott Turow
14. Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Objective, Eric Van Lustbader
15. Imperial Bedrooms, Bret Easton Ellis


1. Sh*t My Dad Says, Justin Halpern
2. Medium Raw, Anthony Bourdain
3. Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh
4. Women Food and God, Geneen Roth
5. The Big Short, Michael Lewis
6. Spoken from the Heart, Laura Bush
7. War, Sebastian Junger
8. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, Chelsea Handler
9. uncharted terriTORI, Tori Spelling
10. The Last Stand, Nathaniel Philbrick
11. Steinbrenner, Bill Madden
12. The Pacific, Hugh Ambrose
13. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch
14. Heroes for My Son, Brad Meltzer
15. Mike and Mike’s Rules for Sports and Life, Mike Greenberg & Mike Golic with Andrew Chaikivsky

'The Lost Symbol' and 'Going Rogue' top 2009 best-seller list

Though it didn’t sell as strongly as The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol moved more than 5.5 million copies to dominate Publishers Weekly‘s just-unveiled list of the best-selling hardcover books of 2009. A few other expected author names populate the Top 15, including John Grisham (No. 2 and No. 6), James Patterson (No. 5), and Patricia Cornwell (No. 12 and No. 14). Stephenie Meyer landed in the ninth spot with her 2008 sci-fi novel The Host, but the lack of a Twilight book was evident, particularly in the ascendancy of two entries from P.C. Cast’s Twi-lite House of Night series, which rose up to fill a vampire-shaped hole. The real surprise, though, is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which itself was helped by tremendous word of mouth to become the fourth best-selling fiction book of the year with 1.1 million copies sold. On the nonfiction side, it was politics, mainly conservative, that got the cash register ringing. Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue capped the list, but books by Glenn Beck, conservative radio host Mark Levin, and the late Edward Kennedy all made it into the top five.

Whereas sales of albums and movie tickets are tallied virtually in real-time, the figures for the publishing industry are often as closely guarded as the Colonel’s secret recipe, so PW’s yearly ranking offers one of the best snapshots of the literary marketplace. And while the top contenders on both the fiction and nonfiction lists sold millions of copies, the overall list reveals a far less rosy picture of book sales. The number of titles that sold at least 100,000 copies is down by significant double-digit percentages from 2008 in both fiction and nonfiction.

E-book sales figures weren’t included this year (they will be for 2010), but since digital editions rarely exceed 5 percent of a book’s total sales it’s unlikely that the 2009 sales list would have received a big boost from their inclusion. Here are the top selling books of 2009 (since some publishers did not provide PW exact sales figures, several titles’ rankings are based on estimates or sales figures provided in confidence for the purposes of ranking):

Hardcover Fiction

1. The Lost Symbol: A Novel, Dan Brown (5,543,643 copies)
2. The Associate: A Novel, John Grisham
3. Tempted, P.C. Cast (1,141,818)
4. The Help, Kathryn Stockett (1,104,617)
5. I, Alex Cross, James Patterson (1,040,976)
6. Ford County, John Grisham
7. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, Janet Evanovich (977,178)
8. Hunted, P.C. Cast (931,219)
9. The Host: A Novel, Stephenie Meyer (912,165)
10. Under the Dome, Stephen King
11. Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton (855,638)
12. Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell (800,00)
13. U Is for Undertow, Sue Grafton (706,154)
14. The Scarpetta Factor, Patricia Cornwell (705,000)
15. Shadowland, Alyson Noel (609,355)

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin (2,674,684 copies)
2. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, Steve Harvey (1,735,219)
3. Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government, Glenn Beck
4. Liberty & Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, Mark R. Levin
5. True Compass: A Memoir, Edward M. Kennedy (870,402)
6. Have a Little Faith: A True Story, Mitch Albom (855,843)
7. It’s Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God’s Favor, Joel Osteen
8. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (610,033)
9. Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs, Greg Mortenson (515,566)
10. Superfreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (487,977).
11. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child (487,228)
12. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body! Jillian Michaels (486,154)
13. The Yankee Years, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci (397,954)
14. Open, Andre Agassi (383,722)
15. Time of My Life, Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niem

Beck the Halls: Glenn's Christmas tale gets illustrated

The-Christmas-Sweater_lWhile the War on Christmas may have the holiday on the retreat, General Claus has a secret weapon up his sleeve: Glenn Beck. A new illustrated children’s edition of his gooey Yuletide tale The Christmas Sweater is set to hit shelves later this month.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen apolitical fiction from a Fox News staple, but it will be the third book Beck has released in five months. Combined with his radio show, his television program, and his live tour/Colonial Williamsburg re-enactment, it’s no wonder he cries so much. Those are tears of exhaustion.

The story follows a Theodore Cleaver stand-in as he learns the true meaning of Christmas. (Spoiler alert: It’s not Jesus.) The real lesson here is being happy with what you have, whether that’s an over-romanticized Fifties-era nuclear family, the eponymous disappointing gift, or terrible healthcare coverage.  So give this book to your young one this holiday season. That way when he reads it he’ll understand why he shouldn’t complain about getting this book instead of the Xbox game he actually wanted.

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