In a world where the direction we’re going seems to be paperless, it’s always nice to hear people still read. Books (or word television as I call them ha ha don’t look at me) are always a pretty good indicator of a society’s headspace. These are Amazon’s most popular books of 2017, and the scanning this list might just give you an insight into the cultural zeitgeist.
An unsurprising list entrant, really. The cultural resonance of Harry Potter, Hogwarts, and the world of wizardry has historically proven dominant – both in the strength of the fandom, and in actual dollars and cents. This final instalment of the main saga follows Harry and co as they face off with Voldemort one last time. Not everyone survives, hearts are broken (mostly ours), and there are plenty of ancient artefacts to go round.
You may be more familiar with his earlier works (Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, etc.). As formulaic as his stories are, it’s an equation that has proven to work. Professor of iconography and religious symbology, Robert Langdon, must looks through historical clues to find a code as he races against the clock. Hot in his pursuit is a crazed world figure with eyes and ear everywhere, and sometimes the police. Oh sorry, did I just describe all his books? My bad.
In 1922, an aristocrat is sentenced to house arrest by a Bolshevik tribunal. The man now must live out his days in an attic room while the most pivotal and tumultuous decades of Russian history unfolds outside his doors. This duality of being physically trapped but spiritually roaming the world forces him to endure some emotional discovery. The gaining of a deeper understanding towards man’s greater purpose may or may not also occur.
Yes. Another one. What did any of us expect. In the fourth instalment of this thrilling saga, Harry must compete in the perilous Triwizard Tournament. But dark forces are at work. With sabotage at every corner, suspicious circumstances, and Voldemort on the rise again, something is more than amiss in the status quo.
Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. But when his family home is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier in hopes it will protect him, only to be recruited as the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders. Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.
I guess the lesson here is so long as there are pre-teens and early adolescents in the world, J.K. Rowling will have a cheque to cash in. And more power to her for it. Harry Potter will go down in history right next to East of Eden and The Iliad. Probably. I don’t know. Don’t quote me. The Order of The Phoenix marks the beginning of the end, and the prelude to the great wizard war. Voldemort is back, and he intends on bloodshed. Harry and co face the brunt of an oppressive new regime, and arm themselves for the days to come.
George R.R. Martin
Lords, ladies, assassins, usurpers– the land of Westeros is thrown into a tail spin when their regent, King Robert Baratheon, is slain on a hunting trip. Foul play? Perhaps. Keeping reading on. A power grab threatens to unhinge the already tenuous balance of the land. What follows is an exploration of a storied and bloody history, even bloodier schemes of the deepest and most conniving political ambitions, and clashing of steel against steel.
OK now this is getting ridiculous. You know the go. Go to where it all began. Special orphan boy who spends his time locked under the stairs by cruel relatives discovers he’s a wizard. And a pretty darn famous one at that. Harry Potter get thrown head first into a world he had never been told about, and faces down a threat that will seem like childsplay with each subsequent book. Wingardium Levio-sigh.
Because clowns weren’t scary enough before Stephen King put his creepy fingers all over the concept. Welcome to Derry, Maine (surprise). A small city where people probably have to check they’re not related before dating. Seven teenagers who once battled a monster are now all grown up. But the promise made twenty-eight years ago calls them to reunite where it all went down. But when children are being murdered again and their forgotten memories of those terrifying days return, they must face the creature in the sewers yet again.
Set in a dystopian near future, it describes life in monotheocracy. A monotheocracy that was once the United States. Social unrest and alarmingly low birthrates is now the norm. All due to the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans and a devastating imbalance of power. Now adapted into a hit series, The Handmaid’s Tale stands to be more than satire and biting social commentary. It’s a warning.
At this point, what isn’t Kevin Hart in? Very little is the answer to that question. In this book, he tells the story of himself, as many celebrities feel the need to. It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys. The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media. Hart takes the reader on a journey. What his life was, what it is now, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.
When it was first published in 1989, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was an almost instant bestseller–and quickly became a permanent part of the cultural lexicon. With over 25 million copies sold worldwide in over 40 languages since its first publication, this book continues to help millions of readers become more effective in both their personal and professional lives. This is one of the rare books that has influenced presidents, CEOs, educators, and individuals all over the world not only to improve their businesses and careers but to live with integrity, service, dignity, and success in all areas of life. It has had an undeniable impact for the past 25 years–and will no doubt continue to be influential for many more.
This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect. It’s a book about what happens when the nation’s foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it. It’s a book about our deeply polarised, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast. In this candid personal memoir, the honourable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.
Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends And Influence People will teach you: six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, nine ways to change people without arousing resentment, and much more to achieve your maximum potential.
Throughout your life, you’ve had parents, coaches, teachers, friends, and mentors who have pushed you to be better than your excuses and bigger than your fears. What if the secret to having the confidence and courage to enrich your life and work is simply knowing how to push yourself? Using the science of habits, riveting stories and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business, Mel Robbins will explain the power of a “push moment.”. It takes just five seconds to use this tool, and every time you do, you’ll be in great company.
5. Born A Crime
The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah’s details his journey from apartheid South Africa to his televised desk. His life began with a criminal act: his birth. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty.
Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.
Yuval Noah Harari
Over the last few decades, humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original work that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. It chronicles humble beginnings of a poor family in post-war America, who overcame obstacles a plenty to raise a family, and eventually work their way to the middle-class. But the details get so much more painful. Alcoholism, abuse, trauma– all part of the growing pains this family faced to arrive where they are today.
There are only so many things we can give a fuck about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, according to Manson . While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A “… much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk…”, complete with entertaining anecdotes and profane, straight-savage humour, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a “… refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives…”.