SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK In her memoir, “Forever Young,” Hayley Mills writes about the pressures of being born into an acting family and starring in a string of box office hits as an adolescent. Mills was only 12 when she filmed her first movie, “Tiger Bay,” alongside her father, Sir John Mills; on Dec. 15, 1959, The Times described her as “one of the most composed little performers we have seen in a long time.” A year later, she played the lead in the film version of Eleanor H. Porter’s novel “Pollyanna.” “The news is that only an unregenerate cynic with an abiding dislike of kids, good or bad, Technicolor and a gentle legend spun in standard, obvious style would rail at this picture-postcard remembrance of improbable things past,” our reviewer wrote. “The blond, pixieish Miss Mills gives a restrained, natural and gratifyingly mature performance. She is a likable youngster whose mannerisms and speech are unaffected and convincing.” Mills won a special Academy Award, presented by Shirley Temple, for this role. “Forever Young” appears at No. 9 in its first week on the hardcover nonfiction list.
BEAUTY QUEENS There are many reasons to weep and gnash your teeth right now, but if you take a look at this week’s best-seller list, you’ll find glimmers of hope in two similarly titled newcomers: “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” by Sally Rooney, debuting at No. 1 on the hardcover fiction list, and “Beautiful Country,” by Qian Julie Wang, which plants its flag at No. 3 on the hardcover nonfiction side. The two books could not be more different. One is a much-ballyhooed novel by a novelist so celebrated, she inspired an eponymous pop-up shop (say that 10 times fast) in London and a branded coffee truck (sponsored by Air Mail) in New York City; the other is a memoir of the author’s move from China to “Mei Guo” — the United States, or “beautiful country” — where her family endured an unthinkably hard-knock life in Brooklyn. Despite taking place in different worlds, both books feature narrators whose lives are shaped by words.
FACE OF LOGIC Bobby Hall, the rapper known as Logic, adds another sunny title to the mix with his memoir, “This Bright Future,” which appears at No. 4 on the nonfiction list. This is not a cheerful story for sedate readers — but it does show how much addiction and chaos one child can survive before building a musical rocket ship to his own future.