The books America was reading at inauguration time for every president since Eisenhower

In January 1989, as George H.W. Bush was being sworn into the office of the US presidency, Americans were reading Anne Rice, Tom Clancy, and Toni Morrison. They also were boning up on finance—that month, Donald Trump’s 1987 Art of the Deal was at the top of the New York Times’ nonfiction paperback bestsellers list.

A look at what US readers are buying almost 30 years later offers a glimpse into the moment we live in: Hillbilly Elegy, a bestseller no one saw coming, is spending its 25th...

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