Orwell’s ‘1984’ surges to No. 1 on USA TODAY’s books list – USA TODAY
Hereâs a look at whatâs new on USA TODAYâs Best-Selling Books listâ¦
Itâs 2017, but 1984 is all the rage.
George Orwellâs chilling 1949 classic, long a staple of classrooms, is No. 1 on USA TODAY’s list this week. Sales of 1984 and other older dystopian titles such as Brave New World have beenÂ driven by President Trumpâs controversial first week and the uproar over âalternative facts.â (The full list, reflecting sales from Jan. 23-Jan. 29, will be published on Thursday.)
1984 first made headlines last week whenÂ it shot to No. 1 on Amazon (one of the outlets that reports sales to USA TODAYâs list), after Trump disputed the size of his Inaugural crowd and made the widely dismissed claim that millions of illegal votes were cast against him in the presidential election.
Orwellâs vision of the future, in which âBig Brother,â or the totalitarian government, is always watching, is the dark story of Winston Smith, who works at the Ministry of Truth but must rewrite history with lies. (1984âsÂ previous high on USA TODAYâs list was No. 27 on June 27, 2013.)
1984Â is only the thirdÂ classic ever to hit No. 1 on USA TODAYâs list, which began in 1993. The others are Leo Tolstoy’s 19th century masterpieceÂ Anna KareninaÂ in June 2004 when Oprah Winfrey selected it for her book club, and C.S. Lewisâ 1950s childrenâs fantasy seriesÂ The Chronicles of Narnia,Â in December 2005, the month a movieÂ adaptation was released.Â Other literary classics have come closeÂ to the pinnacle:Â The Great Gatsby,Â To Kill a MockingbirdÂ andÂ East of EdenÂ have hit No. 2.
In the last week, the paperback publisher of 1984, Signet, has ordered a reprint of 500,000 additional copies. (According to data reported to USA TODAYâs list, the print and digital editions are selling neck-and-neck.)
âTo put the current demand in perspective, we have printed in one week more copies of 1984 thanÂ we sell in a typical year,â says Signet spokesman Craig Burke.
Signet also ordered a 100,000-copy reprint of Orwellâs Animal Farm, which this week is No. 118Â on USA TODAYâs list.
Also seeing a Trump âalternative factsâ boost:
âº The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt at No. 25.
âº It Canât Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, about a U.S. president who becomes a dictator, at No. 43.
âº Aldous Huxleyâs Brave New World at No. 59.
âº The Handmaidâs Tale by Margaret Atwood at No. 75. (A Hulu adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss is also on tap this spring.)
âº Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury atÂ No. 111.
And then there is the new president himself, who is getting his own Trump bump. His 1987 business book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, written with Tony Schwartz, is No. 38Â this week, its highest ranking ever. It hit No. 45 in April 2004, while Trump was hosting The Apprentice.