Sunday, April 7, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending April 6, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending April 6, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. James, by Percival Everett
2. Table for Two, by Amor Towles
3. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
4. The Price You Pay V8, by Nick Petrie
5. I Cheerfully Refuse, by Leif Enger (Boswell Apr 15 event)
6. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
7. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange
8. The Hunter V2, by Tana French
9. The Great Divide, by Cristina Henríquez
10. Whalefall, by Daniel Kraus (Boswell April 8 event)

Top (and only) first week out this week is Amor Towles's Table for Two, stories and a novella. Our staff rec is from Tim, for whom this was his Towles introduction. I suspect that is rather unusual. On BookMarks, Towles got three raves and three positives - Hamilton Cain in The New York Times is one of the raves, calling it a knockout collection. From the review: "The Oscar goes to 'Eve in Hollywood,' a novella that unfolds during the filming of Gone With the Wind. Towles tricks out the Tinseltown lore in a homage to the heyday of studio moguls and the hard-boiled fiction of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, even alluding to actual legends like Errol Flynn’s use of two-way mirrors and peepholes."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The False White Gospel, by Jim Wallis (signed copies)
2. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger (Kissinger in conversation at Boswell April 30)
3. There's Always This Year, by Hanif Abdurraqib
4. The Age of Revolutions, by Fareed Zakaria
5. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
6. The Comfort of Crows, by Margaret Renkl
7. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney
8. Plantyou: Scrappy Cooking, by Carleigh Bodrug
9. Slow Productivity, by Cal Newport
10. Burn Book, by Kara Swisher

Top non-event debut is Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present from CNN host Fareed Zakaria. BookMarks roundup: two raves, a positive, a mixed, and a pan. I read The New Yorker view and based on other ratings BookMarks offered, I would call it mixed. From David Brooks: "Zakaria's book will help readers feel honored and grateful that we get to be part of this glorious and ongoing liberal journey. He understands that we liberals can't just offer economic benefits; we also have to make the spiritual and civic case for our way of life."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Goodbye Vitamin, by Rachel Khong (May 15 Boswell event)
2. Hang the Moon, by Jeannette Walls (April 10 Boswell event)
3. Dune V1, by Frank Herbert
4. Birnam Wood, by Eleanor Catton (Boswell-run book club checklist)
5. When Women Were Dragons, by Kelly Barnhill
6. Dune Messiah V2, by Frank Herbert
7. A Court of Thorns and Roses V1, by Sarah J Maas
8. A Court of Silver Flames V5, by Sarah J Maas
9. The Three Body Problem V1, by Cixin Liu
10. The Rule Book, by Sarah Adams

I'm sure you all know that sports romance is a hot subgenre, though The Rule Book, the latest romance from Sarah Aadms, is football-based and not the hottest of the hot sub-subs, hockey. From Publishers Weekly: Publishers Weekly: "Adams dazzles in her latest, a saucy second chance rom-com. Quirky Nora 'Mac' Mackenzie struggles to make a name for herself as a sports agent. After working her way up through the male dominated corporate ladder, she finally has a chance to represent legendary NFL tight end Derek Pender. There's just one problem: eight years ago, Nora walked away from Derek, her first love, without explanation." 

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Have I Told You This Already?, by Lauren Graham 
2. Dead Man Walking, by Helen Prejean 
3. Christ in Crisis, by Jim Wallis
4. Master Slave Husband Wife, by Ilyon Woo
5. Reading the Room, by Paul Yamazaki (Boswell event April 26)
6. River Profiles, by Pete Hill (Boswell event April 17)
7. Rand McNally Road Atlas 2025 large scale
8. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars
9. Pathogenesis, by Jonathan Kennedy
10. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond

I haven't really paid attention to the Rand McNally Road Atlas in years. I had no idea that the large scale spiral bound seemingly outsells the classic, with Ingram stocking twice as many copies of the former.

Books for Kids:
1. The Mystery of Locked Rooms, by Lindsay Currie
2. Claymates, by Devorah Petty
3. Every Day's a Holiday, by Stef Wade, illustrations by Husna Aghiniya
4. Scritch Scratch, by Lindsay Currie
5. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade, illustrations by Melanie Demmer
6. Sleep Train, by Jonathan London
7. Hustle Bustle Bugs, by Catherine Bailey
8. Dog Man V12: The Scarlet Shredder, by Dav Pilkey
9. Amulet V9: Waverider, by Kazu Kibuishi
10. Nothing, by Nicholas Day

We had a wonderful day of school visits with Lindsay Currie, featuring her latest Novel, The Mystery of Locked Rooms. From Publishers Weekly: "Seventh grader Sarah and her two best friends West and Hannah call themselves the Deltas for their love of puzzles. Their unique and perfectly balanced individual skills aid in their team efforts to solve even the hardest of escape room riddles. ...Currie builds suspense via high-stakes brain teasers in dark rooms and periods of isolation as the Deltas endeavor to solve the biggest, most dangerous series of escape rooms they've ever faced."

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 30, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 30, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Secrets of a Scottish Isle V5, by Erica Ruth Neubauer (signed copies available)
2. James, by Percival Everett
3. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
4. I Cheerfully Refuse, by Leif Enger (Boswell event April 15)
5. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange
6. The Angel of Indian Lake V3, by Stephen Graham Jones
7. How to Solve Your Own Murder, by Kristen Perrin
8. Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett
9. The Price You Pay V8, by Nick Petrie
10. Hang the Moon, by Jeannette Walls (Boswell event April 10)

The Angel of Indian Lake is the concluding volume of the Indian Lake Trilogy. From the Kirkus: "The plotlines are often steeped in urban legend, which are gleefully punctuated by Jade's rat-a-tat-tat horror movie references à la Ready Player One. That's catnip for horror fans, and the images Jones conjures would give some of the movies a run for their money. Whether it's Jade's rapist father back from the dead, a murderous child mutilating the townsfolk, a pack of rampaging bears tearing through the flames, or the titular ghost making the rounds at the local lake, it's real peek-between-your-fingers stuff--when you can work out what exactly happened. A characteristically violent denouement for a girl given hell by just about everybody."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. There's Always This Year, by Hanif Abdurraqib
2. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger (WCW ticketed event April 4)
3. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
4. Three Shades of Blue, by James Kaplan
5. The Wager, by David Grann
6. The Anxious Generation, by Jonathan Haidt
7. Atomic Habits, by James Clear
8. Zaytinya, by Jose Andres
9. Illiberal America, by Steve Hahn
10. Disillusioned, by Benjamin Herold (Boswell event April 12)

While we should definitely give a shout out to the Penguin Press imprint, which has three books in our top 10, the top new release goes to a different PRH imprint with There's Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension, the latest from Hanif Abdurraqib. A recommendation from Ross Gay: "Hanif Abdurraqib again shows us new ways to be a social critic, a dreamer, a historian, and a lover of hoop. But - and this feels especially moving - he shows us how he wonders about, and how he is transformed in the wondering about, what it means to belong to a place. And you know by place I mean the people, the memories, the sorrows, the tomorrows, who are that place. And you know by all that I mean the love.”

Paperback Fiction:
1. Monsters We Have Made, by Lindsay Starck (Boswell event April 19)
2. Dune V1, by Frank Herbert
3. Dune Messiah V2, by Frank Herbert
4. Weyward, by Emilia Hart
5. The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County, by Claire Swinarski
6. Old Babes in the Wood, by Margaret Atwood
7. Cascade Failure, by LM Sagas
8. Murder at the Mena House V1, by Erica Ruth Neubauer
9. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by VE Schwab
10. One Dark Window V1, by Rachel Gillig

You might know Wisconsin author Claire Swinarski from her kids books, but The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County. From Booklist: " Readers will root for the characters and get swept up in the small-town Wisconsin setting. This is a great pick for anyone who liked Saturday Night at the Late Night Supper Club. Hey, that's me!

Paperback Nonfiction
1. Easy Walks and Paddles in Milwaukee, by Jennifer Lemke and Karen Lemke
2. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond
3. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
4. All About Love, by bell hooks
5. Wisconsin Death Trip, by Michael Lesy
6. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
7. Cinema Speculation, by Quentin Tarantino
8. Capote's Women, by Laurence Leamer
9. On the Origin of Time, by Thomas Hertog
10. Beaverland, by Leila Philip

Out this week in paperback is Poverty, by America, Matthew Desmond's follow-up to Evicted. Crown chose to keep the type-forward hardcover-style jacket for the paperback, and that's probably the way to go. There are so many ways that an alternative could go wrong. NPR, The New Yorker, and Harpers loved it, but Jacobin (Socialist quarterly) gave it a pan. Jacobin did not review The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County, so I don't know what they thought.

Books for Kids:
1. Messy Roots, by Laura Gao
2. The Scarlet Shredder V12, by Dav Pilkey
3. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, illustrations by Renée Graef
4. I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom, illustrations by Richard Scarry
5. The Great Lakes, by Barb Rosenstock, illustrations by Jamey Christoph
6. Most Ardently, by Gabe Cole Novoa
7. Eclipse, by Andy Rash
8. Olivetti, by Allie Millington
9. Return of the Vengeful Queen, by CJ Redwine
10. What Feelings Do When No One's Looking, by Tina Oziewicz, illustrations by Aleksandra Zajac

Olivetti is the first novel by Allie Millington. From the starred Booklist: "An introverted boy and his missing mother's cherished typewriter plumb forgotten family stories while journeying toward acceptance in this touching middle-grade mystery...Offering a Where'd You Go, Bernadette vibe, with its unspooling of a youth perspective on the adult world, this melancholic yet hopeful pick will appeal to fans of books with nonhuman protagonists and readers who enjoy emotional stories with alternating perspectives, such as Jasmine Warga's A Rover's Story and The Lost Library."

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 23, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 23, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. James, by Percival Everett
2. The Great Divide, by Cristina Henríquez (signed copies)
3. The Hunter, by Tana French
4. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
5. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
6. Whalefall, by Daniel Kraus (April 8 Boswell event)
7. Expiration Dates, by Rebecca Serle
8. Until August, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
9. Come and Get It, by Kiley Reid
10. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange

This might have been the eighth novel (I'm having trouble counting!) from Percival Everett since Boswell has been open, but James definitely has his best first week to date. In fact, is already #4 in sales for us after Dr No (PEN winner and we did this for book club) The Trees (finalist for the Pulitzer), and Erasure (the source for American Fiction). BookMarks tabulates 11 raves and a positive. From Dwight Garner in The New York Times: "What sets James above Everett’s previous novels, as casually and caustically funny as many are, is that here the humanity is turned up - way up. This is Everett’s most thrilling novel, but also his most soulful."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Right Kind of Wrong, by Garret Bucks (signed copies)
2. The Blues Brothers, by Daniel de Visé
3. Surely You Can't Be Serious, by David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, and Jim Abra
4. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
5. Wisconsin Field to Fork, by Lori Fredrich
6. Secrets of the Octopus, by Sy Montgomery
7. How to Know a Person, by David Brooks
8. Reading Genesis, by Marilynne Robinson
9. Barbie The World Tour, by Margot Robbie and Andrew Mukumal
10. The Burn Book, by Kara Swisher

Octopus fever continues! With Remarkably Bright Creatures coming up on its two year anniversary as a hardcover bestseller, it's no surprise to the follow up to one of Shelby Van Pelt's inspirations (The Soul of an Octopus) has a good first week. Sy Montgomery's Secrets of the Octopus also has a great rec from Kay, praising its "gorgeous illustrations" and "funny, weird, and intense stories." 

Paperback Fiction:
1. Dune, by Frank Herbert
2. Happy Place, by Emily Henry
3. A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
4. The Case of the 66 Ford Mustang, by Tom Meschery
5. Babel, by RF Kuang
6. Bride, by Ali Hazelwood
7. Weyward, by Emilia Hart
8. Twilight Falls, by Juneau Black
9. What Moves the Dead, by T Kingfisher
10. Dune Messiah, by Frank Herbert

I note that there are two editions of Dune combined for bestseller placement, one trade paperback and one mass market (rack size). I don't include the hardcover, which is officially not a paperback, and the graphic edition, which doesn't contain the complete text. We don't stock the movie tie-in edition, which are really only different cover images. We sometimes do and sometimes don't - I will leave that to the buyer to explain.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Last Call at the Hotel Imperial, by Deborah Cohen
2. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars (signed copies)
3. The Fight for Black Empowerment in the USA, by Kareem Muhammad
4. Beyond Ethnic Loneliness, by Prasanta Verma (Boswell April 26 event)
5. Murdle V1, by GT Karbert
6. Pathogenesis, by Jonathan Kennedy
7. Dopamine Nation, by Anna Lembke
8. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
9. Spinning Out, by Charlie Hertzog Young
10. The Way Home, by Ben Katt

Here's a book that I didn't catch in hardcover, but had a nice pop off our new paperback table - Pathogenesis : A History of the World in Eight Plagues. BookMarks gave it three raves, five positives, and one mixed. Dave Robson in the Times (UK): "In any bold retelling of history viewed through a single lens, there is a danger of being blinded by one’s theory. This is common to the smart thinking genre: if a writer’s big idea is the peg, you’ll be astonished to discover how every world issue suddenly matches the same shaped hole. Kennedy doesn’t suffer this tunnel vision, although he does sometimes downplay the many factors - including chance - that might be at play in the events he describes."

Books for Kids:
1. Dog Man V12: The Scarlet Shedder, by Dav Pilkey
2. The Great Lakes, by Barb Rosenstock, illustrations by Jamey Christoph
3. Every Day's a Holiday, by Stef Wade, illustrations Husna Aghniya
4. Ferris, by Kate DiCamillo
5. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade, illustrations by Melanie Demmer
6. I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom, illustrations by Richard Scarry
7. The Lightning Thief, by Percy Jackson
8. Under This Red Rock, by Mindy McGinnis (Boswell April 3 event)
9. Buffalo Fluffalo, by Bess Kalb, illustrations by Erin Kraan
10. Finally Heard, by Kelly Yang

After months of anticipation, the new Dog Man is here. The Scarlet Shedder. From the publisher: "P.U.! Dog Man got sprayed by a skunk! After being dunked in tomato juice, the stink is gone but the scarlet red color remains. Now exiled, this spunky superhero must struggle to save the citizens who shunned him! Will the ends justify the means for Petey, who's reluctantly pulled back into a life of crime in order to help Dog Man? And who will step forward when an all-new, never-before-seen villain unleashes an army of A.I. robots?"

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 16, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 16, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Anita de Monte Laughs Last, by Xochitl Gonzalez (signed copies)
2. The Hunter, by Tana French
3. Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
4. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange
5. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
6. The Great Divide, by Cristina Henríquez (Boswell event March 21)
7. Remarkably Bright Creatures, by Shelby Van Pelt
8. Martyr!, by Kaveh Akbar
9. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
10. Prophet Song, by Paul Lynch

Does one celebrate St Patrick's Day by reading a dystopian novel about set in Dublin about a Civil War that creates a migrant crisis? Maybe if it's the Booker winner Prophet Song. The New York Times said the critical response to the book was mixed, but I count the BookMarks annotations - 11 raves, 2 positives, one mixed, and one pan - as a positive response. It looks like the Irish Times also had a positive review (I had to search for this one, and it is subscriber only), which would add to its take.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Birding to Change the World, by Trish O'Kane (signed copies)
2. Surely You Can't Be Serious, by David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abraham
3. An End to Inequality, by Jonathan Kozol
4. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger (April 4 WCW ticketed dinner - open to the public)
5. Lessons from the Heartland, by Barbara Miner
6. Little Frog's Guide to Self-Care, by Maybell Eequay
7. Wisconsin Supper Clubs, by Ron Faiola
8. Cooking in Real Life, by Lidey Heuck
9. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney
10. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin

Highest debut this week is Jonathan Kozol's latest. From Dana Goldstein's profile in The New York Times: "Now, at 87, he has published An End to Inequality: Breaking Down the Walls of Apartheid Education in America, his 15th book — and his last, he says. It is an unapologetic cri de coeur about the shortcomings of the schools that serve poor Black and Hispanic children, and thus, the moral failure of the nation to end the inequality he has documented for decades."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Between You and Us, by Kendra Broekhuis
2. One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, by Marianne Cronin
3. Olga Dies Dreaming, by Xochitl Gonzalez
4. Dune, by Frank Herbert
5. A Dish Best Served Hot, by Natalie Caña
6. A Proposal They Can't Refuse, by Natalie Caña
7. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
8. Nettle and Bone, by T Kingfisher
9. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
10. Bridge, by Ali Hazelwood

It's been a year since Nettle and Bone was released in paperback, but it's only weeks after T Kingfisher's What Feasts at Night was released, so we're still in the Kingfisher publication window. She also has a new book coming out in August, A Sorceress Comes to Call. Nettle and Bone had seven raves on BookMarks, including this Catherine Paxson on the NPR website: "This is an adult fantasy novel - all the characters are over 30 - but it reads like the fantasy novels I devoured when I was a teen, in the days of yore before YA was a thing."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Easy Walks and Paddles in Milwaukee, by Jennifer Lemke and Karen Lemke (Boswell March 27 event)
2. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars (Boswell March 19 event)
3. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
4. Milwaukee in Stone and Clay, by Raymond Wiggers (May 10 virtual event)
5. A Philosophy of Walking, by Frédéric Gros
6. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
7. The Shortest History of Israel and Palestine, by Michael Scott Baumann
8. The Hundred Years War on Palestine, by Rashid Khalidi
9. The Fight for Black Empowerment in the USA, by Kareem Muhammad (Boswell March 18 event)
10. Thinking the Twentieth Century, by Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder

Just published by Northern Illinois University Press, which is run as an imprint of Cornell University Press, is Milwaukee and Stone and Clay, Raymond Wiggers's follow-up to Chicago in Stone and Clay. This architectural guidebook takes a materials-based approach. Says Mayor Cavalier Johnson: "Every reader will enjoy a greater understanding and appreciation of the structures that define our city. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree with the author that Milwaukee City Hall is the most marvelous city hall on the planet!

Books for Kids:
1. The Lost Library, by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass
2. Eclipse, by Andy Rash
3. The Happy Book, by Andy Rash
4. Alone, by Megan E Freeman
5. Buffalo Fluffalo, by Bess Kalb, with illustrations by Erin Kraan
6. Ferris, by Kate DiCamillo
7. Out and About, by Liza Wiemer, with illustrations by Margeaux Lucas
8. Max in the House of Spies, by Adam Gidwitz
9. Evil Spy School, by Stuart Gibbs
10. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer

I am visiting family and two of the gifts I brought with me are in this week's top ten. My older great nephew is getting a copy of Max in the House of Spies while the younger will get Buffalo Fluffalo, which finally came back into stock after its reprint. Adam Gidwitz (#8) reviews Ferris (#6) in this week's New York Times Book Review.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 9, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 9, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Hunter, by Tana French
2. Anita de Monte Laughs Last, by Xochitl Gonzalez (register for March 13 MARN/La Revo event- almost at capacity)
3. Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett
4. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
5. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
6. After Annie, by Anna Quindlen
7. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange
8. Martyr!, by Kaveh Akbar
9. The Great Divide, by Cristina Henríquez (register for March 21 Boswell event)
10. A Fate Inked in Blood, by Danielle Jensen

Top debut this week is The Hunter, the "slow burn sequel to 2015's The Searcher" (Publishers Weekly). It's got four raves and four positives from BookMarks, including this from Maureen Corrigan in The Washington Post: "A glance, a grimace, a tightening of shoulders: Suspense is in the details - small details - scattered throughout Tana French’s new novel, The Hunter. These moments pile up until, in the novel’s stunning climax, the veneer of the mundane collapses, revealing the unthinkable that lies beneath."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Blues Brothers, by Daniel de Vise (register for March 20 Boswell event)
2. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
3. Little Frog's Guide to Self Care, by Maybell Eequay
4. The House of Hidden Meanings, by RuPaul
5. Slow Productivity, by Cal Newport
6. How to Know a Person, by David Brooks
7. Birding to Change the World, by Trish O'Kane (register for March 13 UEC event - almost at capacity)
8. I Must Be Dreaming, by Roz Chast
9. Grief Is for People, by Sloane Crosley
10. The Comfort of Crows, by Margaret Renkl

There's no question that some signed copies helped pop The House of Hidden Meanings, a memoir (but not the first book) from RuPaul. The author talked with Tanya Mosly on Fresh Air and was profiled by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker. I have to say I was not expecting Paul to have a security compound in Wyoming.

Paperback Fiction
1. The Berlin Letters, by Katherine Reay (signed copies)
2. The Rabbit Hutch, by Tess Gunty (upcoming book club picks)
3. Old Babes in the Woods, by Margaret Atwood
4. Happy Place, by Emily Henry
5. Circe, by Madeline Miller
6. Goodbye Vitamin, by Rachel Khong (register for May 15 Boswell event)
7. Dune Messiah, by Frank Herbert
8. Empty Theatre, by Jac Jemc
9. Bride, by Ali Hazelwood
10. Weyward, by Emilia Hart

Selling off the new paperback table after a decent run in hardcover is Empty Theatre: A Novel: Or the Lives of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and Empress Sisi of Austria. BookMarks gave it three raves and two positives, though three of them were trade reviews and a fourth was from 4Columns, which I had not previously come across. I read the positive review by Jeremy Lybarger and would have called it mixed. A rave comes from Katy Simpson Smith in The New York Times Book Review: "Modern and mythic, “Empty Theatre captures the outrageous taste of an era while measuring the steep costs of our dream worlds. I could pay 15 euros to see Neuschwanstein again, but I couldn’t live there. I thought this is more of a positive than a rave - this is why I hate giving my reviews rating numbers.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Complications, by Atul Gawande
2. Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton
3. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollards (register for March 19 Boswell event)
4. A Philosophy of Walking, by Frédéric Gros
5. The Way Home, by Ben Katt
6. Have I Told You This Already?, by Lauren Graham (tickets for April 7 Pabst Theater event here)
7. Murdle V1, by GT Karber
8. Great Lakes Water Wars, by Peter Annin (register for April 10 Marquette Law School event)
9. Easy Walks and Paddles in Milwaukee, Jennifer Lemke and Karen Lemke (register for March 27 Boswell event)
10. Hollywood the Oral History, by Jeanine Basinger

Jeanine Basinger's Hollywood: An Oral History has been out in paperback since November, but this is her first appearance on the list. It was wonderful to meet her and hear her talk when she visited for a previous book. Publishers Weekly called it "a fascinating conversation about Hollywood’s magical blending of art and commerce."

Books for Kids:
1. Max in the House of Spies, by Adam Gidwitz
2. The Inquisitors, by Adam Gidwitz
3. Ferris, by Kate DiCamillo
4. Millie, by McCall Hoyle
5. Keena Ford and the Field Trip Mix Up, by Melissa Thompson
6. The Prisoner's Throne V2, by Holly Black
7. Finding Bear, by Hannah Gold
8. Peekaboo Farm, by Camilla Reid, illustrations by Ingela P Arrhenius
9. The One and Only Ruby, by Katherine Applegate
10. Heroes, by Alan Gratz

Just out this week Ferris, which has two staff recs, from Jen and Tim.  Jen Steele's take: "Funny and heartwarming, these characters jumped off the page for me and captured my heart." And from Horn Book: "The limited third-person narration glimpses other lives but never dwells on them, thus leaving Ferris's honest, pre-adolescent perspective to drive the story line. As Clarisse tells Ferris, 'Every good story is a love story.' Here, DiCamillo adeptly proves this axiom."

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 2, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 2, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange
2. The Price You Pay, by Nick Petrie
3. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
4. The Book of Love, by Kelly Link
5. After Annie, by Anna Quindlen
6. The House of Flame and Shadow, by Sarah J Maas
7. Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett
8. Fourth Wing, by Rebecca Yarros
9. Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
10. The Frozen River, by Ariel Lawhon

No competition for this week's top release. Tommy Orange's second novel, Wandering Stars outshines the other entries. The novel has ten raves, three positives, and a pan on BookMarks. From Ron Charles in The Washington Post: "It’s not too early to say that Orange is building a body of literature that reshapes the Native American story in the United States. Book by book, he’s correcting the dearth of Indian stories even while depicting the tragic cost of that silence. As one lost character in Wandering Stars says, 'I want to come home.' Orange is getting that place ready."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Two-Parent Privilege, by Melissa S Kearney
2. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
3. Birding to Change the World, by Trish O'Kane (March 13 UEC event)
4. Tread Loudly, by Kristine Cherek
5. The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, by Tim Alberta
6. How to Know a Person, by David Brooks
7. Supercommunicators, by Charles Duhigg
8. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda
9. Little Frog's Guide to Self Care, by Maybell Eequay
10. Five Ingredients Mediterranean, by Jamie Oliver

Our top debut turns out to be our upcoming program for Trish O'Kane. Birding to Change the World. No BookMarks, but I can already see a Scientific American review, as well as Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. Rob Thomas has a profile in the Cap Times: "Her new book, Birding to Change the World, weaves together the natural history of birds (she can rhapsodize in a phone interview about 'murmuration,' the almost supernatural ability of a flock of starlings to change course together mid-flight), her own personal history, and her belief that the human species could learn a lot from avian species. Our destinies are intertwined." O'Kane lived in Madison back in the aughts.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Bride, by Ali Hazelwood
2. A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J Maas
3. Trespasses, by Louise Kennedy (Boswell book club checklist)
4. Weyward, by Emilia Hart
5. The Housemaid, by Freida McFadden
6. Dune, by Frank Herbert
7. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
8. A Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J Maas
9. Exiles, by Jane Harper
10. The Three Body Problem, by Cixin Liu

Cross Kate Morton and witchcraft and you have Weyward, by Emilia Hart, our top debut fiction paperback, which had two raves and a positive on BookMarks in hardcover. They kept the image and added reviews and blurbs to the cover, and why not? Sales were strong at indies and it hit The New York Times bestseller list too. From Julia Kastner at Shelf Awareness: "Emilia Hart's first novel, Weyward, glows and glimmers with hidden powers, thrills and danger, a close connection with nature and between women across time. Three distinct stories eventually link to form a larger tale about strength, resilience and love."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. We've Got to Try, by Beto O'Rourke
2. Yoke, by Jessamyn Stanley
3. Every Body Yoga, by Jessamyn Stanley
4. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars (March 19 Boswell event)
5. Ignite Top Line Growth, by Melanie Varin
6. The Hundred Year's War on Palestine, by Rashid Khalidi
7. John Gurda's Milwaukee, by John Gurda
8. Capote's Women, by Laurence Leamer
9. A Philosophy of Walking, by Frédéric Gros
10. Four Thousand Weeks, by Oliver Burkeman

Jessamyn Stanley and Melissa Kearney were both at UWM last week as part of their lecture series. Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body is more of a practical book, with yoga poses and sequences, while Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance is an essay collection. From Nataya Culler in Booklist, on the latter: ".Abstract, funny, heartfelt, and inspiring, Yoke is a fundamental book for those learning to feel present in their emotions and to take up space for themselves, both on the yoga mat and off."

Books for Kids:
1. Women in Science, by Rachel Ignatofsky
2. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne
3. The Life I'm In, by Sharon G Flake
4. The Skin I'm In, by Sharon G Flake
5. Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park
6. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade, with illustrations by Melanie Demmer
7. Max in the House of Spies, by Adam Gidwitz
8. Finally Heard, by Kelly Yang
9. The Lost Library, by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass
10. Pik and Pak Vs the Vampire Bees from Outer Space, by Lara Hau

Despite keeping my pledge to read at least one middle-grade novel per month, they don't always show up on the list, unless I happen to be doing a talk to area school librarians. It's the first week out for Max in the House of Spies, an adventure novel set in World-War-II Germany and England. I should say up front that this is the first book in either a duology or a full series. He doesn't actually get to spy until the sequel, but this setup features, per Kirkus "a truly likeable hero and clever puzzling." And from Booklist: "This heartfelt historical novel explores big questions of autonomy and allegiance with an admirable protagonist readers will respect and adore."

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 24, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 24, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Road from Belhaven, by Margot Livesey (signed copies)
2. The Price You Pay, by Nick Petrie (WFB event Feb 26)
3. The Women, by Kristen Hannah
4. North Woods, by Daniel Mason
5. Remarkably Bright Creatures, by Shelby Van Pelt
6. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
7. Martyr!, by Kaveh Akbar
8. True North, by Andrew J Graff
9. Prophet Song, by Paul Lynch
10. Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver

Since we've already covered all then titles in previous bestseller blogs, let's find another quote from one of the 2023 novels that is still selling well. From Mark Athitakis in the Los Angeles Times: "North Woods, the fifth novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist Daniel Mason, has become one of the fall’s most acclaimed books on the strength of its innovation as a sweeping and stealthy historical saga. But it is also another tree-stuck story: Set in a patch of a Massachusetts forest, it follows the fate of multiple residents of a house across nearly three centuries. Some familiar themes of the genre apply: The tragedy of environmental devastation, the beauty of the natural landscape, nature’s stubborn capacity to endure well past human folly. But because Mason’s novel operates in such a robust variety of styles and voices, it is - perhaps more than its arboreal literary brethren - an unusually spectacular showcase of the various powerful responses that nature provokes in us, from wonderment to utter derangement."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. How to Know a Person, by David Brooks
2. The Little Frog's Guide to Self Care, by Maybell Eequay
3. The Comfort of Crows, by Margaret Renkl
4. Supercommunicators, by Charles Duhigg
5. The Art Thief, by Michael Finkel
6. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
7. My Name Is Barbra, by Barbra Streisand
8. The Art of the Grimoire, by Owen Davies
9. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney
10. Life After Power, by Jared Cohen

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, has a new book out this week - Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection. A blurb from Adam Grant points people in the right direction. And all the advance trade reviews are positive. This from Library Journal: " A how-to-guide and useful overview for readers wanting to communicate more effectively. Along with David Brooks's recent How To Know a Person, a timely primer for creating deeper connections with others."

My friend John sent me a video of Barbra Streisand accepting the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award.   

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
2. I Have Some Questions for You, by Rebecca Makkai
3. Who Moves the Dead, by T Kingfisher
4. The Shamshine Blind, by Paz Prado
5. Dune, by Frank Herbert
6. Babel, by RF Kuang
7. Chain Gang All Stars, by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
8. Trust, by Hernan Diaz
9. The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon
10. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by VE Schwab

It's the first week out for I Have Some Questions for You in paperback. The book was the featured title of the 2023 Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch and had 14 raves and 6 positives on BookMarks. Since I find it hard to find quotes from the St Louis Post Dispatch, I can't resist using this from Jennifer Alexander: “Makkai combines skilled storytelling with abundant human insight. [I Have Some Questions for You] is so well-plotted and thought-provoking that readers may struggle with conflicting impulses to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next or to stop and think about what it all means.”

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Way Home, by Ben Katt (signed copies)
2. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars (Boswell event March 19)
3. Dopamine Nation, by Anna Lembke
4. The Hundred Years War on Palestine, by Rashid Khalidi
5. Murdle, by GT Karber
6. The Fight for Black Empowerment, by Kareem Muhammad (Boswell event March 18)
7. John Gurda's Milwaukee, by John Gurda
8. Last Call at the Hotel Imperial, by Deborah Cohen (CEA event info March 20)
9. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
10. Endurance, by Alfred Lansing

So many nonfiction paperback reprints fall flat in sales, and many don't even see the light of day. But a book like Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence has hugged the bestseller lists tight for over a year, after strong but not bestseller-blasting sales in hardcover. Here's an interview of Anna Lembke conducted by Mary Beth Maslowski in Psychiatry Advisor.

Books for Kids:
1. Just Gus, by McCall Hoyle
2. A Pack of Your Own, by Maria Nilsson Thore
3. Art Club, by Rashad Doucet
4. Slugfest, by Gordon Korman
5. Treasure Island: Runaway Gold, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
6. Forever Twelve, by Stacy McAnulty
7. Above the Trenches, by Nathan Hale
8. The Mona Lisa Vanishes, by Nicholas Day
9. Cranky, by Phuc Tran, illustrations by Pete Oswald
10. Mr S, by Monica Arnaldo

Jen and I spent a morning last week presenting kids books to area school librarians. This week's bestseller list has some of our picks. At the top is Just Gus from McCall Hoyle, part of the Best Friends Dog Tales from Shadow Mountain, which has been a Boswell bestseller for the last year. School Library Journal notes: "As a read-aloud to the canine obsessed in the early grades or just an engaging tale for dog lovers, Hoyle quietly unleashes a barking good tale. Its charm is due to Gus and to a real love of dogs." Jen also talked up the next book in the series, Millie.

A more recent pick is Art Club, a graphic novel by SCAD Professor Rashad Doucet. From Booklist: "Adults are often challenging to please, especially when they think they know what's best for you. Dale and his friends face a daunting challenge as they endeavor to convince Vice Principal Ruffin that art is as meaningful and valuable as any other profession. With the guidance of Miss Je'Nae, this misfit group collaborates to resurrect their school's art club and explore ways to make it profitable."

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 17, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 17, 2024

Hardcover Fiction: 
1. Martyr, by Kaveh Akbar
2. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
3. The Price You Pay V8, by Nick Petrie (Feb 22 at Elm Grove Library, Feb 26 at Whitefish Bay Library - click the link to register)
4. House of Flame and Shadow V3, by Sarah J Maas (2 editions)
5. North Woods, by Daniel Mason
6. Good Material, by Dolly Alderton
7. Iron Flame V2, by Rebecca Yarros
8. Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
9. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
10. Whalefall, by Daniel Kraus (Apr 8 Boswell event)

Good Material is novelist-memoirist-relationship columnist Dolly Alderton's second novel, but her first since Everything I Know About Love exploded on TikTok. It's also a Read with Jenna pick. Four postivies on BookMarks, with several comparisons to Nick Hornby. From Booklist: "This warm and relatable novel about relationships and heartache will please Alderton's many fans."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger
2. The Wager, by David Grann
3. The Lede, by Calvin Trillin
4. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
5. Milwaukee Rock and Roll 1950-2000 ,by David Luhrssen, Phillip Naylor, and Bruce Rogers Cole
6. Ghosts of Segregation, by Richard Frishman
7. King: A Life, by Jonathan Eig
8. Eve, by Cat Bohannon
9. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney
10. Our Ancient Faith, by Allen C Guelzo

The Lede: Dispatches from a Life in the Press, by Calvin Trillin is a collection of essays about journalism and journalists. Five raves and a positive from BookMarks. Also feels like the first book I've highlighted at the $31 price point, though I think I have previously noted $30.50 and $30.99. From Dwight Garner in The New York Times (ellipis and brackets courtesy of the publisher): "This book is buoyant and crunchy from end to end [and] contains profiles...that are acknowledged classics of the form and will be studied until A.I. makes hash out of all of us.

I had no idea that APA doesn't care whether the three dots in ellipsis have spaces or not?

Paperback Fiction:
1. Bride, by Ali Hazelwood
2. A Marvellous Light V1, by Freya Marske
3. Time to Shine, by Rachel Reid
4. Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faeries V1, by Heather Fawcett
5. Ocean's Echo, by Everina Maxwell
6. The Women Could Fly, by Megan Giddins
7. The Wolf and the Woodsman, by Ava Reid
8. Witch's Heart, by Genevieve Gornichec
9. Exiles, by Jane Harper
10. Pedro Paramo, by Juan Rulfo

Oli got to help the folks at a UWM student group choose books for blind date with a book. I'm guessing none of the attendees read this blog, so I'm not worried about giving anything away.

In other worlds, Jane Harper's third Aaron Falk novel, Exiles, debuts in our top 10 in its second week of sales. My sister Merrill is a big fan. Four raves and two positives on BookMarks. From Sarah Weinman in The New York Times: "Falk’s investigation is a terrific one, but what makes the book memorable is Harper’s skill at plumbing personal mysteries - for instance, why a friendship has ebbed, or how not knowing the fate of a loved one affects a family."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Switch, by Jason Puskar
2. John Gurda's Milwaukee, by John Gurda
3. Last Call at the Hotel Imperial, by Deborah Cohen
4. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars (Boswell March 19 event)
5. Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, by America's Test Kitchen
6. The Gardeners Guide to Prairie Plants, by Neil Diboll
7. The Power Broker, by Robert Moses
9. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer 
10. We've Got to Try, by Beto O'Rourke (MPL event Feb 23)

It's a quiet week for paperback nonfiction. We had a very nice event with UWM's Jason Puskar for The Switch: An Off and On History of Digital Humans. The program was recorded by BookTV and should air in the next few months.

Books for Kids:
1. The Eyes and the Impossible, by Dave Eggers
2. One True Loves, by Elise Bryant
3. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, illustrations by Renée Graef
4. The Lightning Thief V1, by Rick Riordan
5. The Toni Morrison Treasury, by Toni Morrison
6. Chalice of the Gods V6, by Rick Riordan
7. The One and Only Ruby, by Katherine Applegate (May 15 Elmbrook event)
8. Most Ardently, by Gabe Novoa
9. Are You Big?, by Mo Willems
10. Dogtown, by Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko

Out since fall, but still selling is A Toni Morrison Treasury, a collection of eight of her picture books in one volume, cowritten with her son Slade Morrison, including The Ant or the Grasshopper and Please, Louise.