7,488 book reviews and counting...

The 20 Most Popular Books of the Week

The Top 20 Books of the Week

The most popular books of the week is our regular feature that lists the 20 most popular books on Books in the Media during the past week. 

We measure popularity by tracking the number of views of each book via Google Analytics. The current period is Monday to Sunday (2 December - 8 December 2019) inclusive. 

Overall traffic to our books section rose significantly - by 5.0% - compared with the same period the previous week. Once again our Book of the Week selection, Celia Paul's Self Portrait,  is new entry at new number 1, with an 755.6% surge in views during the week. Last week's number one, Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley, drops out of the chart altogether. 

The second highest new entry this week is Martin Cruz Smith's The Siberian Dilemma - the long-awaited sequel to Gorky Park - which entered the chart in the number 5 slot with a 510.0% boost in popularity over the previous week. 

The prize for consistency, as usual, goes to Robert Harris's futureshock thriller The Second Sleep which has bounced around the top 20 without ever leaving the chart for the past 10 weeks. This week its views dipped 9.9% week-on-week as it still hangs in there at seventeenth place. Will it finally nod off next week? We wouldn't bet on it. 

The chart shows this week's position - with last week's in brackets - followed by the week-on-week change in popularity, as measured by page views. 

1. (-) +755.6%

Celia Paul

3.82 out of 5

5 reviews

From her move to the Slade School of Fine Art at sixteen, through a profound and intense affair with the older and better-known artist Lucian Freud, to the practices of her present-day studio, she meticulously assembles the surprising, beautiful, haunting scenes of a life.

2. (4) +12.9%

Charlie Mackesy

0.00 out of 5


Charlie's first book includes his most-loved illustrations and new ones too.The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. 'A wonderful work of art and a wonderful window into the human heart' Richard Curtis

3. (7) +53.4%

Salley Vickers

3.30 out of 5

5 reviews

4. (3) -16.5%

Anne Glenconner

4.00 out of 5

5 reviews

The remarkable life of Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret who was also a Maid of Honour at the Queen's Coronation - and is a character in The Crown this autumn. Anne Glenconner reveals the real events behind The Crown as well as her own life of drama, tragedy and courage, with the wonderful wit and extraordinary resilience which define her.

5. (-) +510.0%

Martin Cruz Smith

3.90 out of 5

4 reviews

From the 'master of the international thriller' (New York Times), comes a new Arkady Renko novel.

6. (-) +4800.0%

Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch

0.00 out of 5

2 reviews

7. (9) +2.5%

Adam Kay

3.48 out of 5

4 reviews

From the multi-award-winning and million-copy bestselling author of This is Going to Hurt comes Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas, a brand new gift book that alternates between the hilarious and the heartbreaking, in a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line.

8. (8) -2.5%

Paul Merton

3.29 out of 5

3 reviews

80 of the funniest stories ever written, selected and introduced by comedian and broadcaster Paul Merton.

9. (-) +135.3%

Nino Haratischvili, Charlotte Collins, Ruth Martin

0.00 out of 5

2 reviews

10. (-) +3800.0%

Hayley Nolan

0.00 out of 5

1 review

A bold new analysis of one of history’s most misrepresented women.

11. (-) +216.7%

Roderick Floud

3.57 out of 5

3 reviews

12. (-) +414.3%

Philippe Lancon, Steven Rendall

4.00 out of 5

5 reviews

Paris, January 7, 2015. Two terrorists who claim allegiance to ISIS attack the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The event causes untold pain to the victims and their families, prompts a global solidarity movement, and ignites a fierce debate over press freedoms and the role of satire today. 

Philippe Lançon, a journalist, author, and a weekly contributor to Charlie Hebdo is gravely wounded in the attack. This intense life experience upends his relationship to the world, to writing, to reading, to love and to friendship. As he attempts to reconstruct his life on the page, Lançon rereads Proust, Thomas Mann, Kafka, and others in search of guidance. It is a year before he can return to writing, a year in which he learns to work through his experiences and their aftermath. 

Disturbance is not an essay on terrorism nor is it a witness's account of Charlie Hebdo. The attack and what followed are part of Lançon's narrative, which, instead, touches upon the universal. It is an honest, intimate account of a man seeking to put his life back together after it has been torn apart. 

Disturbance is a book about survival, resilience, and reconstruction, about transformation, about one man's shifting relationship to time, to writing and journalism, to truth, and to his own body.

13. (-) +∞%

Peter Longerich (Former Professor of Modern German History, Royal Holloway, University of London)

2.75 out of 5

3 reviews

The story of how Adolf Hitler created his 'Fuhrer dictatorship' - consistently and ruthlessly destroying everything that stood in his way, and with with terrifying and almost limitless power over the German people.

14. (-) +76.5%

Rick Reilly

0.00 out of 5

2 reviews

A stunning and hilarious indictment of Donald Trump's lying, cheating and poor sportsmanship on the golf course, and how those behaviours reveal the management style he has taken to the Oval Office - by the New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed sports writer.

15. (-) +2900.0%

Leif Garrett, Chris Epting

0.00 out of 5

1 review

Former teen idol Leif Garrett bares his soul for the first time ever, revealing his deepest secrets about the extraordinary highs and devastating lows he has survived over the years.

16. (13) -16.7%

Laura Cumming

4.52 out of 5

11 reviews

Cumming began with a few criss-crossing lives in this fraction of English coast - the postman, the grocer, the elusive baker - but soon her search spread right out across the globe as she discovered just how many lives were affected by what happened that day on the beach - including her own.

17. (15) -9.9%

Robert Harris

3.77 out of 5

11 reviews

The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts - coins, fragments of glass, human bones - which the old parson used to collect.As Fairfax is drawn more deeply into the isolated community, everything he believes - about himself, his faith and the history of his world - is tested to destruction.

18. (-) +135.00%

Ruth Marcus

0.00 out of 5

2 reviews

19. (-) 625.0%

Alexander Watson

4.50 out of 5

4 reviews

From the prize-winning author of Ring of Steel, a gripping history of the First World War's longest and most terrible siege In the autumn of 1914 Europe was at war

20. (-) +1350.0%

Cole Porter, Cliff Eisen, Dominic McHugh

2.60 out of 5

5 reviews

The first comprehensive collection of the letters of one of the most successful American songwriters of the twentieth century