The RuraList: Bestselling Winter Reads Of The RI Region
We thought it would be interesting to canvas some of our region’s booksellers to see what books are among the most popular buys right now. Would a theme emerge?
Sort of. Not surprisingly, books that are overtly political are selling well, as are nonfiction titles that help us live more peacefully during turbulent times. The biggest surprise (although maybe it shouldn’t be): copies of the U.S. Constitution. “We’ve had the booklet on our front counter since last summer,” said Pam Pescosolido, owner of The Bookloft in Great Barrington. “But we’ve had to reorder more in the past couple of weeks.”
And now, let us pledge allegiance to our local booksellers.
Litchfield County’s Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, Conn.
Fran Kielty, the store’s owner, was the first to mention Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance, which is selling well at all the shops included on our list. As for fiction, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is popular, as is A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman.
As for more nonfiction picks, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, and books about hygge, the concept of Scandinavian coziness, speak to “people trying to figure out how to organize their lives right now,” said Kielty.
Columbia County’s Chatham Bookstore in, Chatham, New York
Wendy Conway, Chatham Bookstore’s manager, echoed Kielty’s supposition that people are seeking out coping mechanisms. “People are definitely looking for some solace in the nonfiction books they’re buying,” she said. Gratitude by Oliver Sacks and The Book of Joy are longtime bestsellers. Dark Money by Jane Mayer and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates address current issues, and for fiction, readers are turning to the acclaimed short-story writer George Saunder’s first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
Dutchess County’s Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook, New York
Proprietor Kira Wizner introduced us to A Child’s First Book of Trump by written by author-comedian Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Berkshire County’s own Marc Rosenthal. It begins:
Now, where does it live? On flat-screen TVs!
It rushes toward every camera it sees.
It thrives in the most contentious conditions
And excretes the most appalling emissions.
Fiction titles selling well include A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron and The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty.
Berkshire County’s The Bookloft in Great Barrington, Mass.
Along with copies of the U.S. Constitution, readers are buying We Should All Be Feminists, essays by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and The Hidden Life of Trees by by Peter Wohlleben and Tim Flannery. In fiction, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is a strong seller.
It seems the one to read, if you haven’t already, is Hillbilly Elegy, which the Washington Post said is “a beautiful memoir but it is equally a work of cultural criticism about white working-class America.”