An answer to publishers’ prayers

October 13, 2013
(Courtesy of Henry Holt.)
(Courtesy of Henry Holt.)

For all the complaints about godless Washington, you wouldn’t know it from this week’s nonfiction bestseller list.

The most popular titles in the Washington area have a distinctly biblical glow:

For the second week in a row, “Killing Jesus,” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, is No. 1. This is the third in their spectacularly successful assassination series, following “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln.”

Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath” debuts at No. 2 on our bestseller list this week. While it isn’t a religious book per se, Gladwell says it is heavily influenced by his return to faith.

No. 4 on the list is “What Are You Afraid Of? Facing Down Your Fears With Faith,” by David Jeremiah, the televangelist and Christian minister of Shadow Mountain Community Church near San Diego.

And No. 5 is “Break Out! 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life,” by Joel Osteen, the televangelist and Christian minister of Lakewood Church in Houston.

Even the fiction list has been touched by an angel. Or something. No. 6 this week is “The Quest,” Nelson DeMille’s revised version of a religious thriller he first published almost 40 years ago.

A modern phenomenon? Not really. After all, the first bestsellers in America were collections of sermons. Publishers have long known that religion sells. Even in Washington.

 

 

 

 

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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