Is there a “Jeopardy” connection with Petaluma bestsellers?

The best-selling titles at Copperfield’s Books, in Petaluma, for the week of May 30 to June 5, 2022

It’s always a bit of a guessing game, trying to figure out why certain books suddenly appear on the bestseller list and then go back just as quickly. It’s no surprise that a book like “Happy Go Lucky” by David Sedaris is this week’s number one book in Petaluma, since Sedaris is hugely popular in those parts and its book of scathing, funny, and deliciously caustics is brand new. When it comes to books by famous authors, novelty is always appealing.

But what’s the deal with Tommy Orange’s “There There,” a critically acclaimed finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer that hasn’t made the local Top 10 in over three and a half years? This week, it’s number 8. How did it go?

It may be possible that “Over There” is the current focus of some local bookgroups, since bookgroups regularly push older titles onto the list for a week or two. Sometimes the relocation of an older book to a more prominent location in the store, as happens every October when older horror novels are moved to the forefront, is the explanation for the delicious re-ascendancy Orange’s novel about modern urban Native Americans. in Oakland.

But I have another theory.

It just so happens that last Friday, June 3, 2022, Orange’s romance was hinted at on Jeopardy. In the Double Jeopardy category of “Oranges”, the $2,000 clue was “The there in Tommy Orange’s ‘There There’ is Oakland, where his characters head to that gathering of Native Americans.” The correct answer, “What’s a ‘powwow?'” was not given by contestant Ryan Long, who instead guessed “What’s a sweat lodge?” The clue and its solution led to a high-profile conversation on various Jeopardy fan sites and social media groups — and yes, Jeopardy has plenty of such fan groups.

So maybe the sudden spike in local popularity of “Over There” over the weekend was simply the result of some curiosity factor triggered by the mini-burst of attention the game show gave the novel. ‘Orange last Friday.

A quick check reveals that of the 10 authors named to Petaluma’s bestseller list this week, exactly eight of them have appeared as part of a hint on Jeopardy at some point in the past 10-15 years. , since such things began to be obsessively chronicled. on the Internet. On December 10, 2010, in the Double Jeopardy round in the “Chris & Tell” category, the $400 clue was: “In a Christopher Moore tale, Christmas is thrown into chaos by Raziel, ‘the dumbest’ of these winged beings. The answer, of course, comes from “The Stupidest Angel,” a popular annual gem from Moore, who is currently on the local chart with her new book “Razzmatazz” (#4).

Sedaris has been used as a clue on several occasions, as have Madeline Miller (appearing at No. 2 this week with the fantasy novel “Circe”), Louise Penny (No. 6, with “Madness of Crowds”), Jennifer Egan (n #7, with “A Visit from the Goon Squad”, John Cheever (#9, “The Wapshot Chronicle”) and Paul Theroux (#10, “Under the Wave at Waimea”).

By the way, Egan’s $200 Jeopardy clue, which aired on March 15, 2021, was “Jennifer Egan won a Pulitzer for the book ‘A Visit From’ This Band,” the answer being, of course, ” Goon Squad”. So why is this book, released in 2011, suddenly returning to the minds of local readers? Maybe it’s because she just released a semi-sequel titled ‘The Candy House’, which was Petaluman’s #3 bestseller the week of May 13, 2022. That’s my best guess, from anyway.

Beyond that, I have no idea.

Here’s the full list of the top 10 books on Copperfield’s Fiction and Nonfiction list, as well as the full list for children and young adults.


1.’Good luck,’ by David Sedaris – An all-new collection of essays from a bitterly funny and ironic observational modern impresario is as sarcastic, hilarious and devastatingly accurate as we’ve come to expect.

2.’Circe,’ by Madeline Miller – ‘Circe’, by Madeline Miller – The famous animal-transforming witch from ‘The Odyssey’ tells her own story, and guess what! It’s not the same story told by the dirty men she met.

3.’It ends with us,’ by Colleen Hoover – A 2016 novel about violence and resilience told as a romance where things go wrong, but with lots of surprises and twists along the way.

4. ‘Razzmatazz,’ by Christopher Moore – A sequel to the farce-fueled crime novel ‘Noir’, this new version by Moore takes the characters from the previous novel and takes them on even crazier escapades, all told in deliciously harsh prose.

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