Sunday, October 30, 2011

Biggest Non-Event Launch Week Since Franzen and Other Weekly Bestseller Tidbits from Boswell.

As is my tradition when I am not scheduled on a Sunday, I am listening to a reairing of a 1970 American Top 40 countdown. They are either fiercely nostalgic to me (1975-1979) or like some sociological study (1970-1974), since before my obsessive music listening gene turned on at 13, I only know the bigger hits. Though it was not my first time hearing Bobby Sherman croon "Julie do you love me?", I had never noted before that it's pretty much a drinking song, and stranger still, everyone singing sounds tipsy.

And I make a seventies reference several days after my nostalic college post of several days earlier, in reference to The Marriage Plot and The Art of Fielding. So it was particularly odd when I went to a dinner party and it turned that one of the dinner guests and I (and I might add that I hadn't just met her--we've known each other and had many good chats since opening Boswell) not only went to school together, but lived down the hall from each other. It's true, Dee--I checked it in my freshman book.

Fifteen years ago I would have remembered much more, but it's clear that my brain sent a lot of data into deep storage when it became clear I was going to have to rememember way more people at Boswell than I ever had to do at Schwartz.  That's also why I write down all the plot points on sticky notes when I read.

Hardcover fiction:
1. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
2. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
3. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
4. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
5. Ten Little Zombies, by Andy Rash
6. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
7. The Litigators, by John Grisham
8. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
9. The Cat's Table, by Michael Ondaatje
10. The Forgotten Waltz, by Anne Enright

I checked back to see if Murakami broke Franzen's first-week sales with his very excellent number of 37.  No, Franzen sold 45. We'll see if Murakami can keep momentum up or if it's a real core audience buying the first week with a big drop off. You'd think with all the press he's expanding his market.  Mike Fishcher noted in the Journal Sentinel: "Lose yourself in the nearly 1,000 pages of Murakami's alternately mesmerizing and menacing world, living for large stretches of each day with its characters, and time actually shifts and becomes harder to measure --one of the many themes, as it happens, in this big and brilliant book."  Read the rest here.

Oh, and though Andy Rash's Ten Little Zombies was published as an adult impulse-type book, the crowd was packed with ten year old boys saying "brains" a lot.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
2. Oriental Medicine and You, by Curry Chaudoir
3. The Journals of Spalding Gray, edited by Nell Casey
4. Boomerang, by Michael Lewis
5. Van Gogh, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
6. Why Read Moby Dick?, by Nathaniel Philbrick
7. The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 1, edited by Spanier and Trogdon
8. Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
9. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
10. A More Perfect Heaven, by Dava Sobel

Our numbers on Steve Jobs were also very strong, and some accounts are saying this will be their biggest nonfiction book of the season. Good thing Simon printed enough for us to restock. Much thanks!

Paperback fiction:
1. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
2. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. Room, by Emma Donoghue
4. A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
5. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery
6. The All of It, by Jeannette Haien
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (rack edition)
8. The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer
9. The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake
10. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin

We're also selling the trade edition of To Kill a Mockingbird well, what with the launch of The Big Read, in conjunction with the Milwaukee Rep's production in 2012.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
2. Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff
3. Write-a-thon, by Rochelle Melander
4. The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal
5. The Power of Kindness, by Piero Ferrucci

I just finished writing up a piece on the YWCA's event with Skloot for our next email newsletter. Melander will be doing a NaNoWriMo workshop on Sunday, November 13, at 2 pm.  Ferrucci makes me nostalgic for 2009 when a rep night presentation convinced us to put The Power of Kindness on our impulse table.  We're close to 200 copies sold on the book; while there were certainly other stores around the country on board with this sleeper, I don't think it has yet reached its potential. Where's Oprah when you need her?

Books for Kids:
1. The Death Cure, by James Dashner
2. Forged by Fire, by Sharon Draper
3. Ball Hogs, Volume 1 of Kickers, by Rich Wallace
4. The Scorch Trials, by James Dashner
5. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
6. 17 Kings and 42 Elephants, by Margaret Mahy
7. I am a Bunny, by Ole Rissom with illustrations by Richard Scarry
8. Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordan
9. Every Thing on It, by Shel Silverstein
10. Wildwood, by Colin Meloy

Here's an excerpt of Nick Owchar's review of Silverstein in the Los Angeles Times: "In some cases, publishing material by a deceased author doesn’t serve anybody. It can be a disappointment to fans (often the work is inferior, which is why it was left unpublished) and add a dissatisfying coda to the writer’s legacy. That’s not the case with Every Thing on It, available now, which was culled from material Silverstein really liked but never found a place for in his other collections." Read the rest here.

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