It has been an exciting year for literature, with so many heavy-hitters releasing new works and a cavalcade of exciting debut authors joining the conversation, but the people have spoken: 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow is the best-selling book of 2017.
The success of 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow is notable for a few reasons. For one, 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow is the only book on this year’s best-sellers lists that is not also available as an e-book. Further, 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow is the only book on this year’s best-sellers lists that is not actually a book, but a decorative pillow with #WINE printed on the front.
Advance reviews captured the public’s interest, with the Guardian calling 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow “the next Gone Girl … like if Gone Girl was an accent pillow.” Publishers Weekly said “13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow is the Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train for the pillow generation.” But it was James Wood’s in-depth New Yorker profile that really got people talking — and buying. “It’s comfortable,” Wood writes. “I kind of lean against it when I’m sitting on the couch.”
The pillow’s author, Lou Wells, is a graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he studied under Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson. “When [Wells] initially brought the pillow to my desk, I knew he had something,” Robinson says. “People like wine. I could really see readers connecting with that.” Wells credits his fellow students for helping get 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow off the ground: “My first draft was such a mess,” Wells says, “and the workshop process helped focus my writing. One of my peers suggested adding the hashtag, which elevated the piece to a whole new level.” It was Wells’ editors at PSS Manufacturing who worked tirelessly to shape 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow into a best-selling book/pillow, however: “I had spelled ‘wine’ incorrectly,” Wells says, “and they fixed that.”
The rising popularity of 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow sees no sign of slowing down either, with Hulu announcing a mini-series adaptation of the pillow, entering production this summer. “We love the pillow,” a representative for Hulu said, “and we feel strongly that the pillow’s message about millennials and wine culture should reach a larger audience.” With the success of recent series like The Handmaid’s Tale, television executives are looking to produce more shows based on popular books, or popular houseware items commonly sold in bookstores. Daniel Day-Lewis has signed on to play the pillow, and in preparation for the role has reportedly spent the last month in a model home, sitting on a fireplace mantel next to a bowl of pinecones.
While 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow remains a top-seller and critical darling, there are its detractors. In her scathing review for the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani called 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow a “problematic pillow.” “It’s too small,” she adds, “and I don’t care for the font.” The AV Club cites the pillow’s lack of a relatable protagonist as the main reason for their D- rating. “I wasn’t rooting for the characters to succeed,” the reviewer explains. “I don’t like wine. It exacerbates my acid reflux.”
Still, the widespread enthusiasm for 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow cannot be denied. With the book’s popularity amongst book clubs, college syllabuses, and hotel operators hastily decorating their lobbies through Amazon, the cultural impact of the pillow should not be underestimated. Several imitators have already surfaced, with 13 × 7 #COFFEE Accent Pillow hitting the shelves in the spring, and 13 × 7 #MARTINI Accent Pillow rumored to be in the works.
2017 was a whirlwind of sold-out pillow signings, award ceremony speeches, and media appearances for Lou Wells, but what’s next for the author of 13 × 7 #WINE Accent Pillow? “I’m working on a collection of linked stories based on my experiences as a fishing guide,” he says, “as well as a charcuterie board with #WINE written on it.”