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Sunday, February 15, 2015

'The Girl on the Train' roars to No. 1

A look at what's new on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list...
Speeding 'Train': The book everybody is calling the next Gone Girl has powered its way to No. 1 on USA TODAY's list much more quickly than Gillian Flynn's hit did. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins' debut psychological thriller about bad marriages and murder, hits the top spot in its fourth week on the list, after three straight weeks at No. 2. It knocks Chris Kyle's American Sniper, which was No. 1 for three consecutive weeks, to the second spot. (USA TODAY's full best-seller list will publish on Thursday.) Train was released on Jan. 13 with lots of advance buzz, but its success is still phenomenal for an unknown author. Publisher Riverhead reports more than half a million copies sold. (The initial print run was 40,000 copies. Digital sales outpace print, according to USA TODAY's data.)
Gone Girl was a hit out of the gate: It landed at No. 7 in June 2012 and remained a hot seller. But it wasn't until last October, nearly 2½ years later, that Flynn's thriller finally made it to No. 1, as the movie adaptation arrived in theaters. (It's No. 7 this week.) Hawkins is back in England after wrapping up a U.S. book tour. Riverhead editor in chief Sarah McGrath says readers are recommending Train to friends – "the word of mouth is spreading like wildfire." The novel, she says, has a "great hook, one that connects immediately with anyone who is a commuter or people-watcher."
Classic gets boost: Not surprisingly, Harper Lee's 55-year-old Southern classic To Kill a Mockingbird soars to its highest ranking ever, No. 4. (USA TODAY's list began in 1993.) The novel's previous peak was No. 10, in July 2010, during its 50th anniversary year. Mockingbird received a big boost with the news that a recently discovered sequel of sorts, Go Set a Watchman, will be published on July 14. Since then, preorders have made Watchman, written in the 1950s before Mockingbird, No. 1 on A first printing of 2 million hardcover copies is planned for Watchman, and there will be an e-book. Mockingbird, a classroom staple, has been on USA TODAY's list a total of 872 weeks.
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