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.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 10, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 10, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Price You Pay, by Nick Petrie (signed copies)
2. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
3. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
4. Martyr!, by Kaveh Akbar (Last chance - Register for Feb 13 event)
5. Fourth Wing V1, by Rebecca Yarros
6. The Bee Sting, by Paul Murray
7. The House of Flame and Shadow V3, by Sarah J Maas
8. The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese
9. Good Material, by Dolly Alderton
10. This Is the Honey, edited by Kwame Alexander

In The Women, a student joins the Army Nursing Corps during the Vietnam War. From Stephanie Merry in The Washington Post: "Why am I doing this to myself? The thought occurred to me as I reached the bottom of Page 20 in Kristin Hannah’s new novel, The Women. Barely three chapters in, and already protagonist Frankie McGrath was learning that her charming, mischievous older brother had been killed in action in Vietnam. 'Shot down … in a helicopter … No remains … all hands lost.' If you’ve read Hannah’s historical novels, you know that this development will be but one snowflake in a blizzard of tear-jerking tragedy that will inundate you over the next 450 pages."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. How to Know a Person, by David Brooks
2. The Wager, by David Grann
3. The Little Frogs Guide to Self Care, by Maybell Eequay
4. Becoming Ella Fitzgerald, by Judith Tick 
5. Upside Down World, by Benjamin Moser
6. King: A Life, by Jonathan Eig
7. Texture Over Taste, by Joshua Weissman
8. Disillusioned, by Benjamin Herold
9. Best Minds, by Jonathan Rosen
10. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin

From the impulse table comes The Little Frog's Guide to Self Care, which, per the publisher, concerns a "fashionable little frog with its mushroom hat and fabulous footwear" who "brings positivity with a dead-pan sense of humor to its many admirers on social media." We've been selling this regularly since its release last September.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
2. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
3. Throne of Glass V1, by Sarah J Maas
4. Bride, by Ali Hazelwood
5. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
6. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, by Sangu Mandanna
7. Venomous Lumpsucker, by Ned Beauman
8. Babel, by RF Kuang
9. House of Earth and Blood V1, by Sarah J Maas
10. This Other Eden, by Paul Harding

This Other Eden  quietly amassed 12 raves and one mixed review on BookMarks, but didn't seem to take off until the book was shortlisted for the National Book Award and Booker Prize. From the publisher: "In 1792, formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, discover an island where they can make a life together. Over a century later, the Honeys’ descendants and a diverse group of neighbors are desperately poor, isolated, and often hungry, but nevertheless protected from the hostility awaiting them on the mainland." From Claire Messud in Harpers: "This Other Eden is beautiful and agonizing - rather like the real place that inspired it."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
2. All About Love, by bell hooks
3. The Switch, by Jason Puskar (Boswell event Feb 15 - register here)
4. Saving Time, by Jenny Odell
5. A Philosophy of Walking, by Frédéric Gros
6. One Room Schools, by Susan Apps-Bodilly
7. Old Farm Country Cookbook, by Jerry Apps and Susan Apps-Bodilly
8. Viral Justice, by Ruha Benjamin
9. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
10 Four Thousand Weeks ,by Oliver Burkeman

Just out in paperback and selling off the new paperback table is Princeton Professor Ruha Benjamin's Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want, winner of the Stowe Prize from the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. From Matthew Desmond: "Wide-ranging and provocative, soaring yet grounded, Viral Justice reveals how racism poisons our bodies, communities, and institutions, but the book also chronicles inspired movements seeking repair and justice."

Books for Kids:
1. This Is a Story, by John Schu
2. Clifford's Valentine level 1 reader, by Norman Bridwell
3. Clifford Loves, by Norman Bridwell
4. This Is a School, by John Schu
5. Every Day's a Holiday, by Stef Wade, illustrations by Husna Aghiniya
6. The Skull, by Jon Klassen
7. M Is for Monster, by Talia Dutton
8. Clifford the Small Red Puppy, by Norman Bridwell
9. Peekaboo Love, by Camilla Reid, illustrations by Ingela P Arrhenius
10. Clifford the Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell

The fight for the top spots was between John Schu at the Wisconsin State Reading Association conference and Clifford, who appeared at Boswell and an area school. For the third consecutive year, Schu has a book coming out a month after the conference with Louder Than Hunger, which will be a March-April Indie Next Pick. On Norman Bridwell's heart-shaped board book, Clifford Loves: "Clifford the Big Red Dog loves playing outside. Clifford loves reading and swimming, too. But most importantly, Clifford loves spending time with his friends-especially Emily Elizabeth." Not too late for a V-Day gift.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 3, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 3, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. House of Flame and Shadow V3, by Sarah J Maas
2. Northwoods, by Amy Pease (signed copies)
3. Martyr!, by Kaveh Akbar (Boswell event Feb 13 - register here)
4. Fury, by Alex Michaelides
5. Fourth Wing V1, by Rebecca Yarros
6. Come and Get It, by Kiley Reid
7. Starter Villain, by John Scalzi
8. The Frozen River, by Ariel Lawhon
9. The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese
10. Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect V2, by Benjamin Stevenson

A bookseller was explaining to me all the exclusive editions of House of Flame and Shadow, the third volume in Crescent City series. No fancy edge stain on our editoin, but exclusive content. I went to Target and saw four different versions of the CD of 1989 (Taylor's version). which for some reason I connect in my head. No advance reviews from the trades (no need for ARCs, but the publisher called it "stunning." Probably one of the bigger openings for the first half of 2024.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Fight Right, by Julie Schwartz Gottman and John Gottman
2. My American Dream, by Barbara Feigin
3. Atlas of the Heart, by Brené Brown
4. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger
5. The Intersectional Environmentalist, by Leah Thomas
6. Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2E, by Ron Faiola
7. The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, by Tim Alberta
8. All the Beauty in the World, by Patrick Bringley
9. Our Hidden Conversations, by Michele Norris
10. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney

The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet came out in 2022 and has been selling steady since then, though this is the first time in our top 10. At the time, Nylah Burton offered a round-up of environmentally themed books in Shondaland. There are well-known titles like The Parable of the Sower and Braiding Sweetgrass and other suggestions that still might be new to readers.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
2. The Best That You Can Do, by Amina Gautier
3. Trespasses, by Louise Kennedy
4. Three Theban Plays, by Sophocles
5. A Court of Thorns and Roses V1, by Sarah J Maas
6. Horse, by Geraldine Brooks
7. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
8. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
9. Babel, by RF Kuang
10. Assistant to the Villain, by Hannah Nicole Maehrer

Two upcoming Boswell-run book club picks here. Trespasses is the next Lit Group pick, while Assistant to the Villain is the February Romance Book Club selection. Trespasses was shortlisted for the Woman's Prize and was a best book of the year by The Washington Post. Kevin Power in The Guardian wrote: ""Distinguished by a quality rare in fiction at any time: a sense of utter conviction. It is a story told with such compulsive attention to the textures of its world that every page feels like a moral and intellectual event."

Regarding the older titles on the list, several are student purchases for high school and college courses, while Three Theban Plays is being read by a local book club.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. My American Dream, by Barbara Feigin
2. The Hundred Years War on Palestine, by Rashid Khalidi
3. The Switch, by Jason Puskar (Boswell event Feb 15 - register here)
4. John Gurda's Milwaukee, by John Gurda
5. A Philosophy of Walking, by Frédéric Gros
6. Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton
7. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
8. All About Love, by bell hooks
9. An Immense World, by Ed Yong
10. Penny, by Karl Stevens

Barbara Sommer Feigin appeared locally for My American Dream: A Journey from Fascism to Freedom, speaking to her son Peter Feigin of the Milwaukee Bucks organization. Her memoir alternates growing up a refugee in Seattle with details of her family's escape from Nazi journal, using her father's journals as source material.

Books for Kids:
1. Buffalo Fluffalo, by Bess Kalb, illustrations by Erin Kraan
2. Dogtown, by Katherine Applegate, illustrations by Gennifer Choldenko
3. The Eyes and the Impossible, by Dave Eggers
4. Most Ardently, by Gabe Novoa
5. The Knight Owl, by Christopher Denise
6. Who Got Game: Basketball, by Derric Barnes
7. Peekaboo Love, by Camilla Reid, illustrations by Ingela P Arrhenius
8. The Lightning Thief V1 deluxe edition, by Rick Riordan
9. Out and About, by Liza Wiemer (Wauwatosa Library event March 5)
10. Eclipse, by Andy Rash (Solar eclipse is April 8)

The Knight Owl is a Caldecott Honor Book that also has a rec from Jen: "Superb illustrations from the author as well as a story that is sure to be a bedtime favorite!" Plus Kirkus offered: "A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn." The second book in the series, Knight Owl and Early Bird, is scheduled for this October.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending January 27, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending January 27, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Ascent, by Adam Plantinga (signed copies)
2. Martyr!, by Kaveh Akbar (Boswell Feb 13 event - register here)
3. Iron Flame V2, by Rebecca Yarros
4. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
5. The Bee Sting, by Paul Murray
6. Remarkably Bright Creatures, by Shelby Van Pelt
7. Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver
8. Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett
9. Fourth Wing V1, by Rebecca Yarros
10. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin

Our top debut this week is Kaveh Akbar's Martyr!, what with a front page New York Times Book Review placement and other raves - it's the best reviewed book on LitHub's BookMarks last week. From Junot Diaz's review: "In Cyrus, Akbar has created an indelible protagonist, haunted, searching, utterly magnetic. But it speaks to Akbar’s storytelling gifts that Martyr! is both a riveting character study and piercing family saga."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Tread Loudly, by Kristine Cherek
2. Correction, by Ben Austen
3. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney
4. How to Know a Person, by David Brooks
5. Never Enough, by Jennifer Breheny Wallace
6. The Art Thief, by Michael Finkel
7. The Rediscovery of America, by Ned Blackhawk
8. Eve, by Cat Bohannon
9. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond
10. Wisconsin Supper Clubs, by Ron Faiola

Many 2023 titles are still dominating our list, including The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History, by Ned Blackhawk. This National Book Award winner was also a Tims Top 5 book for 2023. It is also notable that Ingram is currently out of the book at all warehouses. From Kathleen DuVal in The Wall Street Journal: ""Eloquent and comprehensive. . . . By presenting post-1492 history as a series of encounters between the various peoples of the Americas and the peoples from Europe, Africa, and Asia--rather than as an account of Europe's discovery of a new world--Blackhawk provides a view of that past from multiple perspectives."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Best that You Can Do, by Amina Gautier (signed copies)
2. Horse, by Geraldine Brooks
3. Chain Gang All Stars, by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
4. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
5. Pedro Paramo, by Juan Rulfo
6. Bad Cree, by Jessica Johns
7. Days at the Morisaki Bookshop, Satoshi Yagisawa
8. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
9. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
10. A Death in Door County, by Annelise Ryan

We are constantly being asked the question, "So when will this book be out in paperback?" and what many years ago was a sure thing - 12 months, has become much more of a guessing game. The standard for a book that did well enough to go into paperback (omitted paperback reprints are more common than they used to be for fiction) seems to be inching to eight months for several large publishers, such as Chain Gang All Stars, but a perennial bestseller will keep it going in hardcover, and while that used to be the trajectory for one title a year, it's much more common. Horse was officially in hardcover for 19 months.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. My American Dream, by Barbara Feigin (signed copies available)
2. Rescuing Our Sons, by John Duffy
3. The Hundred Year War on Palestine, by Rashid Khalidi
4. High Risers, by Ben Austen
5. Hollywood Standard, by Christopher Riley
6. John Gurda's Milwaukee, by John Gurda
7. The Lemon Tree, by Sandy Nolan
8. How to Do Nothing, by Jenny Odell
9. The Shortest History of Israel and Palestine, by Michael Scott Baumann
10. The Switch, by Jason Puskar (Boswell Feb 15 event - register here)

The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017 leads sales for the three books on the Middle East war. It is also top 10 on the New York Times bestseller list. From David Gardner in The Financial Times: ""Rigorous and lucid . . . Rashid Khalidi, the intellectual heir to Edward Said, has written one of the great books on the Israeli-Palestinian question."

Books for Kids:
1. Dogtown, by Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko
2. Buffalo Fluffalo, by Bess Kalb, illustrations by Erin Kraan
3. The Eyes and the Impossible, by Dave Eggers
4. Clifford the Big Red Dog board book, by Norman Bridwell (Boswell Feb 10 photo op - register)
5. What Feelings Do When No One's Looking, by Tina Oziewicz, illustrations by Aleksandra Zajac
6. Eclipse, by Andy Rash
7. Have You Seen My Invisible Dinosaur, by Helen Yoon
8. Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld
9. M Is for Monster, by Talia Dutton (Boswell Feb 7 event - register here)
10. Who Got Game?: Basketball, by Derrick Barnes

The cuteness of Buffalo Fluffalo has captivated many a bookseller, including the Boswellians. From Booklist: "Wordplay, rhythm, and rhyme add greatly to the fun of sharing this picture book with children, who will enjoy chiming in on the chorus, particularly on days when they too have 'had enuffalo.' Great fun for reading aloud." Kirkus added: "Fun, silly stuffalo."

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending January 20, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending January 20, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. True North, by Andrew J Graff
2. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
3. Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
4. North Woods, by Daniel Mason
5. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, by J Ryan Stradal
6. The Frozen River, by Ariel Lawhon
7. Hot Springs Drive, by Lindsay Hunter
8. Northwods, by Amy Pease (Boswell Feb 3 event - register here)
9. The Waters, by Bonnie Jo Campbell
10. The Ascent, by Adam Plantinga (Boswell Jan 26 event - register here)

2024 events count for half of this week's hardcover top 10, with previous programs for True North and The Waters, this week's event with Lindsay Hunter for Hot Springs Drive, and upcoming programs with Amy Pease for Northwoods and Adam Plantinga for The Ascent. Signed copies are available for all, and you can request personalization for Pease and Plantinga. And of course our friend Jason (not the buyer, the rep) noted both North Woods and Northwoods are both in our top 10.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Atomic Habits, by James Clear
2. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger
3. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney
4. The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, by Tim Alberta
5. Correction, by Ben Austen (Boswell Jan 23 event - register here)
6. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
7. How to Know a Person, by David Brooks
8. The Wager, by David Grann
9. How Not to Age, by Michael Greger
10. Eve, by Cat Bohannon

The 2024 personal growth table might have helped How Not to Age: The Scientific Approach to Getting Healthier as You Get Older. From Kirkus Reviews: "None of Greger's revelations seems likely to lead to vast life extension, but this is a welcome addition to a genre that continues to grow in popularity. A physician tells you everything you ever wanted to know about life extension with less nonsense than usual."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Thursday Murder Club V1, by Richard Osman
2. Pedro Páramo, by Juan Rulfo
3. The Best You Can Do, by Amina Gautier (Boswell Jan 25 event - register here)
4. The House of Sky and Breath V2, by Sarah J Maas
5. Horse, by Geraldine Brooks
6. A Map for the Missing, by Belinda Huijuan Tang (Upcoming Boswell-run book clubs)
7. The London Bookshop Affair, by Louise Fein
8. A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
9. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
10. The Last to Vanish, by Megan Miranda

Selling off the new paperback table is Pedro Páramo, a reissued novel that has taken on new life with an upcoming Netflix adaptation by Rodrigo Prieto. The publisher calls it a "highly influential masterpiece of Latin American literature, now published in a new, authoritative translation, and featuring a foreword by Gabriel García Márquez." Carlos Fuentes called it "The essential Mexican novel, unsurpassed and unsurpassable."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. John Gurda's Milwaukee, by John Gurda
2. Master Slave Husband Wife, by Ilyon Woo
3. Everything I The Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton
4. The Hundred Years War on Palestine, by Rashid Khalidi
5. A Philosophy of Walking, by Frederic Gros
6. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
7. My American Dream, by Barbara Feigin (JCC January 23 event - more here)
8. Short and Sweet Mini Crossword, from the New York Times
9. Rand McNally Road Atlas 2024
10. G Man, by Beverly Gage

It's the first week out for Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom in paperback. The book spent three weeks on The New York Times bestseller list in hardcover and had five raves and three positives on BookMarks. From Priscilla M Jensen in The Wall Street Journal: "Anyone who has read the subtitle will already know that the Crafts made it not only to Savannah but to a new life outside of bondage. But the story is so richly dramatic, and Ms. Woo so skilled at spinning it out, that at times it’s a genuine nail-biter."

Books for Kids:
1. Misfits V1, by Lisa Yee, illustrations by Dan Santat
2. Maizy Chen's Last Chance by Lisa Yee
3. Who Got Game?: Basketball, by Derrick Barnes
4. Divine Rivals, by Rebecca Ross
5. Dogtown, by Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko (Virtual school visit January 23 - more here)
6. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, by Suzanne Collins
7. Winter Turning V7 graphic novel, Tui T Sutherland
8. Bear Hugs from Brown Bear and Friends, by Eric Carle
9. Chalice of the Gods V6, by Rick Riordan
10. Powerless V1, by Lauren Roberts

The opening entry in a YA fantasy romance duology, Divine Rivals has been out since last April and is not due for paperback until 2026. The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books notes: "Eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow drops out of school to make ends meet, and her mother's alcoholism worsens after Iris' older brother joins the goddess Enva's war against the god Dacre. Taking a job at a major newspaper, Iris finds herself competing for the columnist position with the infuriating, and infuriatingly handsome, Roman Kitt. To cope, she types letters to her missing brother, knowing she cannot send them, and instead slips them into a wardrobe where, much to her surprise, they disappear time and time again. It's even more surprising when someone other than her brother suddenly writes back." Whatever your trope, enemies to lovers or enchanted typewriters, this one's for you. 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending January 13, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending January 13, 2024

Hardcover Fiction
1. The Waters, by Bonnie Jo Campbell
2. Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett
3. Iron Flame V2, by Rebecca Yarros
4. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
5. Prophet Song, by Paul Lynch
6. Absolution, by Alice McDermott
7. Fourth Wing V1, by Rebecca Yarros
8. The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese
9. The Atlas Complex V3, by Olivie Blake
10. Starter Villain, by John Scalzi
11. North Woods, by Daniel Mason
12. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, by J Ryan Stradal
13. Northwoods, by Amy Pease (Boswell event Fri Feb 2)
14. The Bee Sting, by Paul Murray
15. Remarkably Bright Creatures, by Shelby Van Pelt

The Waters? Maybe the book should be renamed The Ice Block, what with the weather forecast for this week. Bonnie Jo Campbell's event last Friday was converted to a virtual event so the author could get safely home to Michigan. If media mail and the weather cooperate, we could have signed copies back at the bookstore this week. BookMarks lists five raves and two positive reviews, including Jane Smiley's in the Los Angeles Times: "A thought-provoking and readable exploration of eccentricity and of all different kinds of love - familial love, romantic love, love of knowledge, love of animals and love of one’s own environment, even when it is a difficult place to live."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. How to Know a Person, by David Brooks
2. The Wager, by David Grann
3. 1000 Words, by Jami Attenberg
4. Democracy Awakening, by Heather Cox Richardson
5. The Art Thief, by Michael Finkel
6. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney
7. Prequel, by Rachel Maddow
8. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
9. Building, by Mark Ellison
10. The Secret Lives of Color, by Kassia St Clair

First week out and a sellout for 1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round. Per the publisher: "Inspired by Jami Attenberg’s wildly popular literary movement #1000WordsofSummer, this writer’s guide features encouraging essays on creativity, productivity, and writing from acclaimed authors including Roxane Gay, Lauren Groff, Celeste Ng, Meg Wolitzer, and Carmen Maria Machado." Booklist called it "a fantastic set of essays."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hide V1, by Tracy Clark
2. A Map for the Missing, by Belinda Huijuan Tang (Boswell Book Clubs here)
3. Trespasses, by Louise Kennedy
4. The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon
5. A Court of Silver Flames V5, by Sarah J Maas
6. Empire of Storms V4, by Sarah J Maas
7. How to Sell a Haunted House, by Grady Hendrix
8. The Thursday Murder Club V1, by Richard Osman
9. A Death in Door County V1, by Annelise Ryan
10. The Bodyguard, by Katherine Center

No surprise that Hide, Tracy Clark's first novel in the Harriet Foster series outsold the second (Fall) at the event. That's just a mystery thing, which is why Thursday Murder Club is the book that continually popping up on our bestseller list and why we may still be seeing A Death in Door County when volumes 3 and 4 are also available. So what's with volume 5 of two Sarah J Maas series showing up? Clark was delightful and we hope she'll come back for book #3. What's her secret go juice for writing? Why Twizzlers and V8!

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. No Friend But the Mountains, by Behrouz Boochani
2. John Gurda's Milwaukee, by John Gurda
3. Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton
4. The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
5. The Switch, by Jason Puskar (Boswell event Feb 15)

I believe that the sales for No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison were in conjunction with the HOME at the Lynden Book Club. Behrouz Boochani is an ethnic curd who escaped from Iran only to be detained on Manus, a remote island in the Admiralty Islands of Papua New Guinea. The author won Australia's richest literary prize but was unable to attend the ceremony because of Australia's policy on refugees. Four raves and two positives from BookMarks. From JM Coetzee in The New York Review of Books: "As autobiography, No Friend is not the summing up of a life but a work in progress, the absorbing record of a life-transforming episode whose effects on his inner self the writer is still trying to plumb."

Books for Kids:
1 Zoey and Sassafras V1: Dragons and Marshmallows, by Asia Citro
2. Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
3. The Misfits: Royal Conundrum, by Lisa Yee, illustrations by Dan Santat
4. Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, by Richard Scarry
5. Bunny and Tree, by Balint Zsako

This week's winter weather involved some rescheduling the likes of which we haven't had to deal with in a couple of years. Derrick Barnes's plane was delayed so he was only able to do one rescheduled school event for Who Got Game? Basketball. And Dan Santat and Lisa Yee couldn't do any of their events for The Misfits on Tuesday - they were here but the schools were cancelled. One got rescheduled for Wednesday while the other two can enjoy a wonderful virtual conversation - so can you, right here. And they also got to have lunch with some bookseller meeting at the Hilton to plan this fall's Heartland Fall Forum, a bookseller trade show that will be in Milwaukee this fall. Kirkus called The Misfits "a fantastical blend of quirky characters and goofy adventures."