The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Washington Post paperback bestsellers

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1 THE NICKEL BOYS (Anchor, $15.95). By Colson Whitehead. A Black teen is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory where students are physically and sexually abused.
2 CIRCE (Back Bay, $16.99). By Madeline Miller. This follow-up to “The Song of Achilles” is about the goddess who turns Odysseus and his men to swine.
3 NORMAL PEOPLE (Hogarth, $17). By Sally Rooney. A popular athlete and a bookish social pariah start a secret relationship while in high school, then float in and out of each other’s lives into adulthood.
4 LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Penguin, $17). By Celeste Ng. The idyllic facade of a peaceful suburb begins to crack when an enigmatic artist and her daughter move to town.
5 THE OVERSTORY (Norton, $18.95). By Richard Powers. In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, several people find their lives intertwined with trees.
6 BEACH READ (Berkley, $16). By Emily Henry. Two writers who are summer neighbors challenge each other to write novels in each other’s genres.
7 THE STARLESS SEA (Anchor, $16.95). By Erin Morgenstern. A graduate student discovers a secret underground world and finds his purpose in life.
8 THIS TENDER LAND (Atria, $17). By William Kent Krueger. Four orphans run away from their school in Minnesota and sail down the Mississippi River.
9 CITY OF GIRLS (Riverhead Books, $17). By Elizabeth Gilbert. An elderly woman recounts her younger years in the New York theater world.
10 A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW (Penguin, $17). By Amor Towles. The tale of a Russian aristocrat under house arrest.


1 WHITE FRAGILITY (Beacon Press, $16). By Robin DiAngelo. An academic explores the counterproductive ways White people respond to discussions about racism.
2 SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE (Seal Press, $16.99). By Ijeoma Oluo. Guidance for having difficult conversations about race with people from all backgrounds.
3 INTIMATIONS (Penguin, $10.95). By Zadie Smith. Personal essays written during the initial months of lockdown exploring our unprecedented reality.
4 THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS (Vintage, $17.95). By Isabel Wilkerson. A comprehensive history of the Great Migration spanning from 1915 to 1970.
5 STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING (Bold Type Books, $19.99). By Ibram X. Kendi. A history of anti-Black racist ideas in the United States.
6 THE NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF COLORBLINDNESS (New Press, $18.99). By Michelle Alexander. An analysis of the ways discrimination against African Americans still proliferates despite the dismantling of Jim Crow laws.
7 THE COLOR OF LAW (Liveright, $17.95). By Richard Rothstein. An in-depth look at how the U.S. government imposed residential segregation.
8 JUST MERCY (One World, $17). By Bryan Stevenson. The author recounts his experience founding the Equal Justice Initiative and defending those most in need.
9 BRAIDING SWEETGRASS (Milkweed Editions, $18). By Robin Wall Kimmerer. Essays by an indigenous scientist offer lessons in reciprocal awareness between people and plants.
10 MY GRANDMOTHER’S HANDS (Central Recovery Press, $17.95). By Resmaa Menakem. A therapist explores racism’s traumatic effects on bodies.

Mass Market

1 DUNE (Ace, $10.99). By Frank Herbert. The classic science fiction novel in which a young boy survives a family betrayal on an inhospitable world.
2 1984 (Signet, $9.99). By George Orwell. The classic novel about the perils of a totalitarian police state.
3 THE GUARDIANS (Dell, $9.99). By John Grisham. A young Black man is suspected of killing his former lawyer.
4 I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS (Ballantine, $7.99). By Maya Angelou. The poet, memoirist and political activist’s debut memoir.
5 BLUE MOON (Dell, $9.99). By Lee Child. While helping an elderly couple deal with loan sharks, Jack Reacher gets caught in the middle of a gang turf war.
6 THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Penguin, $9.99). By Shari Lapena. A family unravels after a horrible crime at a dinner party.
7 THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X (Ballantine, $7.99). By Malcolm X. The life of an American Muslim minister who was a civil rights leader and an iconic supporter of black nationalism.
8 THE OUTSIDER (Pocket, $10.99). By Stephen King. A boy’s corpse is discovered in a park, and the town’s most popular denizen is suspected of murder.
9 ANIMAL FARM (Signet, $9.99). By George Orwell. Animals stage a workers’ coup on a farm, then devolve into a totalitarian state, in this classic broadside against Stalinism.
10 LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Penguin, $9.99). By Celeste Ng. The idyllic facade of a peaceful suburb begins to crack when an enigmatic artist and her daughter move to town.

Rankings reflect sales for the week ended Aug 9. The charts may not be reproduced without permission from the American Booksellers Association, the trade association for independent bookstores in the United States, and Copyright 2020 American Booksellers Association. (The bestseller lists alternate between hardcover and paperback each week.)

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