‘Most read books’ of 2021 led by stories about Donald Trump presidency

NEW YORK — This year, the typical American didn’t read to escape from reality — they read to learn from it. As part of a recent survey to determine the year’s best in pop culture, OnePoll asked 2,000 Americans to indicate which books they’d read from 2021’s New York Times Best Seller list. The result? A surprising trend towards non-fiction and current events, with three of the top five most popular books specifically focused on President Donald Trumps’ final year in office.

In two of these books, the subtitles even mention the former president by name — “Nightmare Scenarios: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History” and “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.” Both books were written by teams of Washington Post reporters.

Meanwhile, the third, “Midnight in Washington,” details Congressman Adam Schiff’s role in both impeachment trials, including his firsthand account of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. capitol. Other prevalent themes included America’s history with racism, explored in “How the Word is Passed” and “The 1619 Project” – as well as discussions of cognitive behavior through titles like “What Happened To You?” and “Think Again.”

By contrast, three of the top-ranking works of fiction come from long-running book franchises, “21st Birthday” – a Women’s Murder Club mystery – “Fifty Shades Freed As Told By Christian” by E.L. James, and “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone,” the latest installment in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.

Overall, a third of respondents (34%) admit they didn’t engage with any new reading material in 2021, while over a quarter of those who did (28%) did not pick anything from the year’s NYT Best Seller list.

MOST READ BOOKS OF 2021

  1. “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History” – Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta
  2. “Walk In My Combat Boots: True Stories from America’s Bravest Warriors” – James Patterson and Matt Eversmann with Chris Mooney
  3. “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year” – Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker
  4. “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could” – Adam Schiff
  5. Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of The Real Housewives from the People Who Lived It” – Dave Quinn
  6. “What Happened To You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” – Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
  7. “Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America” – Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  8. “21st Birthday” – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  9. “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need” – Bill Gates
  10. “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America” – Clint Smith
  11. “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” – Adam Grant
  12. “Freed: Fifty Shades Freed as Told by Christian” – E.L. James
  13. “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” – Diana Gabaldon
  14. “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” – Nikole-Hannah Jones and The New York Times Magazine
  15. “This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism” – Don Lemon
  16. Tie: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – Quentin Tarantino &“The President’s Daughter” – Bill Clinton and James Patterson
  17. “State of Terror” – Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
  18. “Better Off Dead” – Lee Child and Andrew Child
  19. Tie: “The Afghanistan Papers: The Secret History of the War” – Craig Whitlockl; The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music” – Dave Grohl

BEST BOOKS OF 2021

  1. “Walk In My Combat Boots: True Stories from America’s Bravest Warriors” – James Patterson and Matt Eversmann with Chris Mooney
  2. “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History” – Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta
  3. Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of The Real Housewives from the People Who Lived It” – Dave Quinn
  4. “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year” – Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker
  5. “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could” – Adam Schiff
  6. “What Happened To You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” – Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
  7. Tie: “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America” – Clint Smith & “Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America” – Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  8. “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” – Nikole-Hannah Jones and The New York Times Magazine
  9. “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need” – Bill Gates
  10. “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” – Adam Grant
  11. “21st Birthday” – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
    Tie: “Freed: Fifty Shades Freed as Told by Christian” – E.L. Jame & “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” – Diana Gabaldon
  12. “State of Terror” – Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
  13. “This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism” – Don Lemon
  14. Tie: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – Quentin Tarantino & “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” – Paul McCartney
  15. Tie: “The Afghanistan Papers: The Secret History of the War” – Craig Whitlock & “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music” – Dave Grohl
  16. “The President’s Daughter” – Bill Clinton and James Patterson
  17. “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants” – George W. Bush

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