Bestselling preternatural books in paperback (fiction and nonfiction)

The bestselling paperback books with preternatural themes are a study in contrasts this week. Religion, specifically Christianity, dominates top sellers on the New York Times’ nonfiction paperback list, while mass market paperbacks having television tie-in top the bestselling lists for fiction in both the Times and Publisher’s Weekly.

Nonfiction Paperback

At the top of the nonfiction paperback list is Heaven is for Real: A little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. This book, told in the voice of a young Nebraska boy who had a near death experience, offers a remarkable glimpse into heaven wrapped in a charmingly simple message: Heaven is for Real. Published by Thomas Nelson. (Also ranks Number 1 on the NYT list.)

From a glimpse inside heaven to a glimpse Inside a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. The Number two book among bestselling nonfiction paperbacks is a must read for those seeking to become or understand shape shifters. Author (and psychology professor) Alexandra Horowitz invites readers to imagine a world colored not by sights but by smells and the incredible olfactory senses of canines. Inside a Dog is not a training book nor one that memorialize a beloved companion. It is a book about better understanding of man’s best friend and how we live together. Published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. (Ranked Number 9 overall among bestselling paperback nonfiction according to the NYT.)

90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life offers another glimpse into heaven, this time through the eyes of Baptist minister (and author) Don Piper. After years of keeping this remarkable experience to himself, friends and family have finally prevailed upon him to share (with a little help from Cecil Murphey)  the tale with the world. After being declared dead at the scene of an accident, Piper spends 90 Minutes in Heaven, before coming back to life and a long painful recovery. This book, published by Revell Books, a division of the Baker Publishing Group, reveals a story that may just change a life. (Number 11 overall on the NYT list of bestselling nonfiction in paperback.)

Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide holds the Number 4 spot among bestselling preternatural paperbacks (nonfiction) as well as a place on every preternatural bookshelf. Filled with practical advice and survival tips, many of which could help save readers’ lives in disasters other than the coming zombie apocalypse, it would be a mistake to take the Zombie Survival Guide or the living dead lightly. Published by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crowne Publishing Group, a division of Random House. (The Zombie Survival Guide is currently ranked 29th overall among nonfiction paperback books, according to the New York Times.)

The fifth bestselling nonfiction paperback is all about the price of discovering, something the preternatural community is very familiar with. The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements by Sam Kean reveals the dangers scientists confront as they seek to expand our understanding of the world. Along the way, readers will not only discover more about the component parts of the universe but also about the scientists who dared to pursue them. Published by Back Bay Books, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette. (Number 31 overall among NYT bestsellers in nonfiction paperback.)

Paperback Fiction

This week’s list of 5 bestselling paperback novels is almost entirely tied to the popular HBO original series Game of Thrones. In fact, four of the top five selling fictional paperback books are related to the series and written by George R.R. Martin and published by Bantam Dell. The top 4 bestselling paperback novels are:

  1. A Game of Thrones
  2. A Clash of Kings
  3. A Storm of Swords
  4. A Feast for Crows

A Game of Thrones, the first in the series and the bestselling paperback fiction book of the week was nominated for a Nebula award and introduces readers to the vividly real world and characters of the Seven Kingdoms. Each subsequent book picks up the thread of the tale and carries it forward through complex plotting and such beautiful prose it’s almost a shame it was ruined by being performed.

Rounding out the list of bestselling novels with a preternatural twist is The Shack by William P. Young. In this tragic thriller readers are Mackenzie Allen Phillips’ (Mack) receives a letter from God inviting him back to the shack in the wilds of Oregon that was the scene of his greatest sorrow four years earlier. What he finds will change him forever. Published by Windblown Media.

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