Hit of the Lits: FRA Top 40 – May

Hit of the Lits – FRA Top 40

Every month we collate your reading habits to create a Top 40 chart of your reads from the previous month. Last month’s list was totally dominated with television and movie adaptations as many of you rushed to read the book before you read the adaptation, and this month is also thoroughly influenced by things coming to the big screen pretty soon!

Thanks so much to the 500 people who voted on their favourite reads, giving us a list of over 150 books and a top 40 that we’ll share with you now!


Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies has been up and down our chart since the news of the television adaptation and after coming in at Number 20 last month, the exciting thriller is back in the top spot this month!

Big Little Lies US
Big Little Lies UK

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Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

Set in 1920s Soviet Russia, A Gentleman in Moscow has been a firm favourite with our readers and is up 17 places from Number 18 to Number 2 this month.

Gentleman in Moscow US
Gentleman in Moscow UK

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The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The beautiful WWII tale of a young girl who loves books is never out of our chart for long. It didn’t make it into the top 40 last month but it’s Number 3 for June.

The Book Thief US
The Book Thief UK

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The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Atwood’s dystopian hell has been at the top of the Amazon charts for several weeks, this time it’s powered by the adaptation, but it’s barely been out of the bestsellers list since the American Presidential election and it’s down two places to Number 4 in our chart this month.

The Handmaid’s Tale US
The Handmaid’s Tale UK

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Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything is another book currently being adapted to movie. The young adult book about a girl who is allergic to everything is my own daughter’s favourite book right now and it’s a new entry at Number 5 this month.

Everything, Everything US
Everything, Everything UK

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Into the Water – Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train was a hot book with our readers so it’s little wonder than Paula Hawkins second thriller, Into the Water is straight into our charts at Number 6 this month.

Into the Water US
Into the Water UK

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A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman

Ove is the most popular grumpy old man of them all among our readers, and he’s back in the charts again after missing last month, putting this touching tale at Number 7 in our charts.

A Man Called Ove US
A Man Called Ove UK

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A Court of Thorn and Roses Series – Sarah J. Maas

With the third book in the series out last month, A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah J. Maas’ fantasy saga is a new entry at Number 8 in our charts this month.

A Court of Wings and Ruin US
A Court of Wings and Ruin UK

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American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Is anyone else living for Monday nights right now and the American Gods adaptation? I read this weird, fantasy epic a couple of years ago but many of you are wading through it before you watch, putting it at Number 9, down one place from last month!

American Gods US
American Gods UK

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Dark Tower Series – Stephen King

Idris Elba looks pretty impressive as Roland Deschain in the Dark Tower movie trailer and the upcoming film has many of you investing in the books before you watch, completing our top 10 for June!

Dark Tower US
Dark Tower UK

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11. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman (new)

12. Hillbilly Elegy – J. D Vance (+6)

15. Harry Potter Series – J. K Rowling (-11)

16. It – Stephen King (-10)

17. The Leopard – Giuseppe Tomasi di Lapedusa (new)

18. And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Housseni (new)

19. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy (new)

20. Underground Railroad – Carson Whitehead (-19)

21. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini (new)

22. Mischling – Affinity Konar (-12)

23. The Green Mile – Stephen King (new)

24. Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult (-19)

25. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt (new)

26. The Girl Before – JP Delaney (new)

27. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Nifnegger (new)

28. The Year of The Flood – Margaret Atwood (new)

29. It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis (new)

30. 1984 – George Orwell (new)

31. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (new)

32. Flashman – George McDonald Fraser (new)

33. And Then There were None – Agatha Christie (new)

34. The Dinner – Herman Koch (new)

35. For One More Day – Mitch Albom (new)

36. The Catcher in the Rye – J. D Salinger (new)

37. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith (new)

38. The Quiet American – Graham Greene (new)

39. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie (new)

40. Wool Trilogy – Hugh Howey (new)

Sense8, Bookshops and Some Reading Recommendations

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Television | No Comments
Is anyone else really sad that Sense8 is over? The Netflix show was a science-fiction drama created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (of Matrix fame) following the lives of eight strangers from around the world linked by a sense of mental and emotional telepathy.

While a science fiction show, the series was very grounded in real issues such as race, sex, gender, and religion featuring a multi-national cast, various sexualities and a transgender character, played by a transgender actor (yay!).

I absolutely loved it, and I know much of the team did too and brilliant storylines aside, I loved the fact that Amanita, played by Freema Agyeman worked at the City Lights Bookstore, meaning it was featured in various episodes. And if you were hanging out for more bookstore references there was a second one with a mention for Shakespeare and Co in the finale too! Read More

George R.R. Martin Gives Us His Book Recommendations

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
George R.R. Martin has shot to fame in recent years after his gritty fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire was adapted into a TV show by HBO. Called Game of Thrones, the series has become one of the biggest shows on TV and has helped newcomers discover Martin’s equally great novels. Game of Thrones‘ final season is set to air next year, but we’re still eagerly waiting for the next installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. If you can’t wait for the next book, then why not check out this list of books Martin has recommended?

As the New York Public Library reports, Martin has given us not one, but two lists of books he feels we should read, fantasy and general fiction, so there should be something for everyone here.

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Barack Obama Shares What Books He’s Been Reading

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Political, Reading Habits | No Comments
It’s always interesting to learn what other people are reading, even more so when they happen to have been one of the most powerful people on the planet. If you’ve been wondering what former US President Barack Obama has been reading since he left office then you’re in luck. As Harper’s Bazaar reports, Obama recently took to his official Facebook page to share what he’s been reading.

“I’m often asked what I’m reading, watching, and listening to, so I thought I might share a short list from time to time,” he wrote. There’s so much good writing and art and variety of thought out there these days that this is by no means comprehensive – like many of you, I’ll miss The Americans – but here’s what I’ve been reading lately. It’s admittedly a slightly heavier list than what I’ll be reading over the summer.” Read More

5 Brilliant Books About Marilyn Monroe

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
Marilyn Monroe was an actress, model and singer and by far one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1st, 1926 she grew up to be the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s, perfecting the blonde bombshell persona still emulated by many today.

Monroe’s private life was not without controversy and she had documented struggles with substance abuse, depression and anxiety. Her second and third marriages to baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller were both highly publicised and both ended in divorce, then there were the rumours of an affair with the president. Read More

London Review of Books Dedicates Entire Issue to Grenfell Tragedy

By | Discussion and Recommendations, New Releases, News, Political | No Comments
For the first time in the history of the London Review of Books, the new edition contains just one article; a 60,000 word investigation into the Grenfell Tower tragedy and its political aftermath.

The edition is written by the London Review of Books editor Andrew O’Hagan and is entitled ‘The Tower’, described as “the fullest account yet” of the tragedy. Read More

Harry, Meghan and the Race of the Royal Wedding Books

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News | No Comments
The latest royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – has publishers and royal writers all up in a tiz and the race is on for the first of the Royal Wedding books. Royal journalists have been hurry to get published books out there in the market with Andrew Morton understandably winning the race, but if you want a souvenir book about the latest royal wedding then there are plenty to choose from, released and coming soon.

Today we’re going to take a look at the best new releases, out or coming out soon that feature the latest royal couple. Here they are, along with release dates and information.
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8 Books that Capture Caribbean Voices and the Spirit of the Windrush Generation

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News | No Comments
Dominating the news in the UK and around the world this week is the despicable treatment of the Windrush generation, a generation of Caribbean migrants who came to Britain after World War II to provide labour.

The name comes from HMT Windrush, a troopship that brought 492 migrant workers to Tilbury Docks, London on 22nd June 1948. These people were the first to land on our shores, and the name came to mean anyone that arrived in this movement, which lasted until 1971. Read More


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