There are some people who turn their noses up at anything too ‘mainstream’. If something is popular, so their thinking goes, it must surely be more than a little basic. They don’t want to listen, wear, watch, read or buy the same things as everyone else, preferring things that are niche, obscure and ‘criminally underrated’.
But even if you’re one of those people, it’s hard not to be intrigued by bestseller lists. The items we buy the most offer a fascinating insight into our lives – whether that means homewares, beauty products or high street denim.
And bestselling books are particularly revealing for what they tell us about the nation’s hearts and minds. Amazon UK recently released their lists of this summer’s bestselling print and eBooks, and they show that Brits are obsessed with psychological thrillers, healthy eating and hygge (yes, still).
Let’s start with the eBooks, shall we?
This summer’s top 10 eBooks
10. The Breakdown by BA Paris
What’s it about? Cass Anderson, who starts receiving silent phone calls after a woman dies in strange circumstances. At first, Cass wonders if she could have done anything to help the woman – but before too long, she’s certain she’s losing her mind.
HQ, RRP £2.99, buy it here
9. A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
What’s it about? A man’s struggle to reconnect with his wife and understand his autistic son, Sam. Described as “a heartwarming and wise story” by Stylist contributer Cathy Rentzenbrink.
Sphere, RRP £1.99, buy it here
8. The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher
What’s it about? Two seemingly perfect couples: brothers Massimo and Nico, and their wives Lara and Maggie. The women know secrets about the men – and these will threaten to undo everything they’ve built together.
Bookouture, RRP £0.99, buy it here
7. Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
What’s it about? Yvonne Carmichael, a woman with a brilliant career, beautiful house and loving husband – who nevertheless falls into an affair with a stranger. What happens next is truly chilling, and will make you question how easily your own life could be destroyed.
Faber & Faber, RRP £3.36, buy it here
6. Lies by TM Logan
What’s it about? A happily married man who intervenes when he sees his wife in a confrontation with a family friend – with disastrous consequences. Like so many of the books on this list, it’s a creepy thriller about ordinary people who realise their lives have been built on lies.
Twenty7, RRP £0.98, buy it here
5. The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney
What’s it about? The events following the discovery of two corpses, both with the same strange tattoo on their legs. Detective Lottie Parker is called in to investigate the deaths, in a case that leads her to question her own dark family history.
Bookouture, RRP £0.99, buy it here
4. Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin
What’s it about? Two sisters, as you might have guessed, in a paranoiac set-up that sounds not unlike a familial version of The Replacement. Clare thinks that her long-lost sister Alice is trying to steal her life, while Alice insists that Clare is just jealous. “One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac”, reads the blurb. We dare you to read on.
HarperImpulse, RRP £2.49, buy it here
3. The Gift by Louise Jensen
What’s it about? More twisted family relationships, this time about a young woman - Jenna - who receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Jenna becomes close to Callie’s grieving family, but soon realises that all is not as it seems.
Bookouture, RRP £1.99, buy it here
2. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
What’s it about? An elderly short story author who has dedicated his life to collecting lost objects and trying to reunite them with their rightful owners. When he dies, he leaves his house, his belongings and a seemingly impossible task to his assistant, Laura.
Two Roads, RRP £3.99, buy it here
1. Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil
What’s it about? A mother who experiences one of the worst things imaginable when her six-year-old son, Aiden, drowns in a river in Sussex. His body is never recovered – which makes sense, because Aiden isn’t dead. Ten years after his disappearance, he returns to his mother, who now has to try and uncover who was responsible.
Sarah A. Denzil, RRP £1.99, buy it here
Next, let’s take a look at Amazon UK’s bestselling print books. The psychological thrillers that dominate the eBook rankings are more or less absent here, replaced by an obsession with ‘clean’ recipes and nonfiction.
This summer’s top 10 print books
10. A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled by Ruby Wax
What’s it about? Comedian Wax takes mental health seriously. She’s long been open about her depression, gained a master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from Oxford University in 2013, and was awarded an OBE in 2015 for her services to mental health. This, her humorous guide to living a “healthier, happier life”, explains how to apply mindfulness to everyday events.
Penguin Life, RRP £8.99, buy it here
9. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
What’s it about? Is there anyone alive who doesn’t know what hygge is yet? Last year’s Scandi lifestyle obsession is still going strong, with this guide to the Danish philosophy of cosiness sitting at a very respectable ninth place in the bestseller list.
Penguin Life, RRP £9.99, buy it here
8. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
What’s it about? The true stories of 100 remarkable women, from Malala Yousafzai to Amelia Earheart, the Bronte sisters to Michelle Obama. Bedtime reading for the next generation of feminists.
Particular Books, RRP £17.99, buy it here
7. The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet by Dr Michael Mosley
What’s it about? The first weight loss tome on this list, but not the last. BBC presenter Mosley has been credited with popularising the 5:2 diet; here, he espouses the benefits of cutting out sugar.
Short Books, RRP £8.99, buy it here
6. Lean in 15: The Shape Plan by Joe Wicks
What’s it about? The second recipe and exercise plan book by Insta-famous personal trainer Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach.
Bluebird, RRP £16.99, buy it here
5. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
What’s it about? A fascinating exploration of what it means to be human. “What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens?” asks Harari, as he takes us on a whirlwind tour from the Stone Age to the present day.
Vintage, RRP £9.99, buy it here
4. Lean in 15: The Sustain Plan by Joe Wicks
What’s it about? More recipes and workout plans from Wicks, this time focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle long-term.
Bluebird, RRP £16.99, buy it here
3. Mary Berry Everyday by Mary Berry
What’s it about? Delicious mid-week meal recipes from everyone’s favourite Bake Off judge. Nowadays, when we think of Berry we think of cakes - but this cookery book proves that she’s also dab hand at simple and satisfying savoury recipes, from smoked haddock and cauliflower gratin to orzo with broad beans, peas, lemon and thyme.
BBC Books, RRP £26, buy it here
2. Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks
What’s it about? Yet more recipes from Joe Wicks. This, his first book, focuses on shifting body fat and is still his most successful.
Bluebird, RRP £14.99, buy it here
1. Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet by Tom Kerridge
What’s it about? According to chef Tom Kerridge, the ‘Dopamine Diet’ is the secret to him losing eleven stone in three years. The science behind it has been criticised by the likes of Ruby Tandoh, but that hasn’t stopped copies flying off the shelves.
Absolute Press, RRP £20, buy it here
It’s definitely an eclectic list – but which ones will you be adding to your bookshelf?