Go Set a Watchman Sells Over 1 Million in U.S., Dethrones E.L. James in U.K.

Despite a barrage of negative reviews, droves of loyal and enthusiastic readers are still purchasing Go Set a Watchman.

The New York Times reports the novel sold over 1.1 million copies in its first week; HarperCollins has 3.3 million copies currently circulating in print. And yet, it’s difficult to imagine anyone would be surprised by these large numbers. The buzz surrounding the novel’s release was louder than any other book this year. Sequels to beloved and influential novels are rarely (read: never) released 50+ years later, so novels rarely inspire this sort of large-scale media frenzy.

In the UK, The Guardian reports that Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman bumped E.L James’ Grey off its throne at the top of the UK book charts. Lee sold 168,455 print copies of her novel in five days, more than four times the number sold by Grey.

The LA Times explores the differences (and, somehow, the similarities) between 2015’s top-selling novels. Watchman investigates racism in the American South, while Grey focuses on erotic romance. Both novels, however, return to familiar characters while introducing new perspectives: Grey is told from Christian’s point of view, while Watchman propels Scout twenty years into the future.

I never thought those novels would appear in the same sentence. Surprises abound!

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