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The 20 Most Popular Books of the Week

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The most popular books of the week is our new regular feature that will list 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 period is Monday to Sunday (7-13 October 2019) inclusive. 

Overall traffic to our books section was up - by 11.9% - compared with the same period the previous week. There's a new number 1, with Philip Pullman's The Secret Commonwealth displacing Booker Prize-winner Margaret Atwood's The Testaments as its page views rose 95.6% week-on-week.

At second place is Robert Harris's time shifting thriller The Second Sleep, with views rising 28.6% over the past week. 

The highest new entry this week is David Abulafia's The Boundless Sea which entered the chart in the number 4 slot, buoyed by a wave of positive reviews. 

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. (3) +95.6%

Philip Pullman

3.66 out of 5

13 reviews

It is twenty years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey.

2. (5) +28.6%

Robert Harris

4.11 out of 5

10 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.

3. (9) +42.1%

Jojo Moyes

4.40 out of 5

4 reviews

Alice had come halfway across the world to find that, yet again, she was considered wanting. Well, she thought, if that was what everyone thought, she might as well live up to it.' England, late 1930s, and Alice Wright - restless, stifled - makes an impulsive decision to marry wealthy American Bennett Van Cleve and leave her home and family behind. But stuffy, disapproving Baileyville, Kentucky, where her husband favours work over his wife and is dominated by his overbearing father, is not the adventure - or the escape - that she hoped for. That is, until she meets Margery O'Hare, a troublesome woman - and daughter of a notorious felon - the town wishes to forget.

4. (-) +609.1%

David Abulafia

4.60 out of 5

5 reviews

From the award-winning author of The Great Sea, a magnificent new global history of the oceans and of humankind's relationship with the sea.

5. (8) +3.4%

Jessie Burton

3.41 out of 5

11 reviews

The powerful, moving and suspenseful new novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse.

6. (-) +321.4%

Charles Moore

4.20 out of 5

5 reviews

The final part of Charles Moore's bestselling and definitive biography of Britain's first female Prime Minister, 'One of the great biographical achievements of our times' (Sunday Times) How did Margaret Thatcher change and divide Britain?

7. (1) -46.7%

Margaret Atwood

4.08 out of 5

23 reviews

And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light. When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

8. (-) +409.1%

Zadie Smith

3.59 out of 5

10 reviews

The first ever collection of stories from the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Swing Time and White Teeth, Zadie Smith. 

9. (-) +%

Elton John

4.30 out of 5

5 reviews

Coming in October 2019, the first and only official autobiography of a much-loved global icon.

10. (4) -27.0%

Ann Patchett

4.19 out of 5

15 reviews

A dazzling new novel of the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go - from the Orange Prize-winning author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto

11. (-) +%

Neil deGrasse Tyson

0.00 out of 5

1 review

Join the galactic conversation on the biggest issues in the universe`Don't fear change. But if you've got plenty of that, then you have nothing to fear at all' - Neil deGrasse TysonNeil deGrasse Tyson is arguably the most influential, acclaimed scientist on the planet.

12. (-) +114.3%

Mary Costello

3.73 out of 5

6 reviews

The new novel about love, loyalty and nature, from the author of Academy Street, Irish Book Awards Book of the Year 2014

13. (-) +633.3%

Livia Franchini

3.67 out of 5

3 reviews

I loved it.' Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water CureLaunching an intelligent, perceptive new voice in fiction, Shelf Life is the exquisite, heart-wrenching story of a woman rebuilding herself on her own terms.

14. (17) +20.0%

Louis Theroux

0.00 out of 5

2 reviews

A funny, insightful memoir by much-loved documentary maker Louis Theroux, who takes us on a weird and wonderful journey through his life and two decades of groundbreaking television.

15. (19) +23.6%

Christopher Eccleston

0.00 out of 5

2 reviews

A son. A father he adores. A profession he loves, and, a disease that destroys. The painful and life-changing journey one of Britain's finest actors takes as his late father struggles with dementia.

16. (13) -8.7%

Dominic Sandbrook

4.27 out of 5

6 reviews

The acclaimed historian of modern Britain, Dominic Sandbrook, tells the story of the early 1980s: the most dramatic, colourful and controversial years in our recent history.

17. (-) +%

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

18. (-) +216.7%

Lenny Henry

3.46 out of 5

3 reviews

Who am I, again?' Riotous, warm-hearted and revealing, and told with Lenny's trademark energy - expect recipes, comic strips, and tips for aspiring comedians - Who Am I, Again? is the heart-breakingly honest and inspirational coming-of-age story of a man who holds a very special place in British hearts.

19. (11) -19.6%

William Dalrymple

3.76 out of 5

11 reviews

The East India Company's founding charter authorised it to `wage war' and it had always used violence to gain its ends. In his most ambitious and riveting book to date, William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before, unfolding a timely cautionary tale of the first global corporate power.

20. (-) +227.3%

Brett Anderson

4.00 out of 5

4 reviews

The essential second volume of memoirs by Brett Anderson, which reveals the key years of the Suede story