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Books

Michelle Obama becomes first woman in a decade to top Britain’s Christmas bestseller list

Michelle Obama In Conversation At The Royal Festival Hall
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, left, speaks with Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Dec. 03.
(Jack Taylor / Getty Images)

Michelle Obama’s memoir quickly became a publishing phenomenon in the U.S. after its release in November, and now it’s a smash across the pond too.

“Becoming,” the former first lady’s account of her childhood, law career and the years she spent in the White House, is the bestselling holiday season book in Britain, the Guardian reports, selling 92,000 copies in the week before Christmas.

December is traditionally a busy time of the year for British booksellers, and selling the most books in the week before Christmas has become a veritable badge of honor for authors in the country.

For the last two years, the honor has gone to David Walliams, a comedian and judge on the popular program “Britain’s Got Talent.” He’s also a prolific author of children’s books such as “The Boy in the Dress,” “Mr. Stink” and “Gangsta Granny.”

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Walliams came close to repeating this year with his latest book, “The Ice Monster,” but came up short by more than 10,000 copies. (He also trails Obama on Amazon U.K.'s bestseller list, although he is No. 1 in the very British category of “humourous fiction.”)

According to the Guardian, Obama is the first woman to lead the Christmas bestseller list in Britain in 10 years, after “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling took the honor in 2008. Obama is also the first author of color to make the achievement.

Walliams doesn’t seem to harbor any bad feelings about being dethroned, congratulating Obama on Twitter:

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“Becoming” quickly became a bestseller in the U.S., selling more than 725,000 copies on its first day of sale.

Obama’s publisher, Crown, last week announced that the memoir had sold more than 3 million copies in one month.

“Becoming” is the bestselling book of 2018, with its sales outpacing other popular titles like Bob Woodward’s “Fear: Trump in the White House,” Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” and James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

Sales of the book were stoked by a hugely popular tour, with the former first lady appearing in large venues across the country, including a sold-out appearance in Los Angeles with actress Tracee Ellis Ross.

Earlier this month, Obama added 21 additional events to her book tour, including a stop in London in April.


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