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Bestsellers

Culture | The five best-selling hardback novels of 2000, according to the Publisher's Weekly annual survey

Issue: "Untouchable?," April 7, 2001
Scoring system:10 points for first place, 9 for second, down to 1 for tenth, on the lists of the American Booksellers Association (independent, sometimes highbrow stores), The New York Times (4,000 bookstores, plus wholesalers), USA Today (3,000 large-inventory bookstores), and Amazon.com (web purchases).
1
The Brethren
John Grisham 2.87 million copies sold
PLOT
Aaron Lake, a largely unknown congressman from Arizona, is drafted to run for president by a CIA director who will ensure Lake's election in return for a pledge to double defense spending. As Lake picks up steam, he faces a new threat from three former judges running an extortion scam from prison.

GIST
Short on thrills, long on liberal politics.

WORLDVIEW
Cynicism.

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CAUTION
Profanities, crudities.

2
The Mark
Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye 2.61 million copies sold
PLOT
The Tribulation Force struggles to hang on while Antichrist Nicholae Carpathia assumes the throne.

GIST
The Antichrist is ruling the earth, forcing those loyal to him to have their hands and foreheads branded; they must also submit to having implanted memory chips. Action and suspense take the place of character development.

WORLDVIEW
Apocalyptic.

CAUTION
N/A

3
The Bear and the Dragon
Tom Clancy 2.13 million copies sold
PLOT
Typical Tom Clancy plot, with former CIA agent Jack Ryan now the president of the United States.

GIST
Instability in China and a mysterious missile attack/possible assassination attempt in Russia, plus the discovery of vast quantities of Russian oil and gold, lead the two nations to war and the world to the brink of nuclear destruction.

WORLDVIEW
Conservative materialism.

CAUTION
N/A

4
The Indwelling
Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye 1.99 million copies sold
PLOT
Book seven of the Left Behind series continues the end-times saga, complete with lots of travel, out-of-body experiences, death and destruction, and regular references to prophetic signs.

GIST
Nicholae Carpathia is assassinated and chaos reigns in this techno-thriller that counts on fast action rather than character development to hold readers' attention.

WORLDVIEW

CAUTION
Apocalyptic.

5
The Last Precinct
Patricia Cornwell 1.14 million copies sold
PLOT
Chief Medical Examiner Scarpetta, accused of a brutal murder, must use extraordinary means to exonerate herself.

GIST
Scarpetta-tired of her work, with her personal life a mess-is accused of murdering Richmond's police chief. The crimes get weirder, Scarpetta grows more introspective, her niece begins another lesbian affair, and cop Marino melts down.

WORLDVIEW
Relativism.

CAUTION
Language.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Every year Publisher's Weekly compiles an annual bestseller list. This year the magazine asked book publishers to supply year 2000 sales figures for books published in 1999 and 2000. From these reports, PW compiled a list of the top 30 bestsellers in hardback fiction and nonfiction categories. Noteworthy elements: 0No surprise: John Grisham has topped every annual Publisher's Weekly list since 1994. Surprise: Two books in the Left Behind series cracked the top 5, a real publishing breakthrough for Christian books and a reflection of growth in the "Christian market." 0Oprah can sell books. Book No. 12 Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwartz; No. 15 Gap Creek by Robert Morgan; No. 16 Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell; and No. 20 Open House by Elizabeth Berg all saw sales explode after Oprah Winfrey selected them for her book club. According to PW, Mr. Morgan's book sold 12,000 copies before Oprah discovered it and about 638,000 after. 0Books need higher sales to crack the top 30 list than they once needed. Last year 82 novels with sales of more than 100,000 did not make the list. Books also have to sell faster, with publishers running all-out campaigns to help selected books become bestsellers. In 2000, 21 books hit the PW No. 1 spot-and 18 of them did so in their first week of sales.

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