Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's Selling at Boswell...And a Special "To Kill a Mockingbird" Event on Monday Afternoon (That's Tomorrow) with Milwaukee Rep and Big Read.

Being that Boswell and Books's weekly event recap release time doesn't give a Monday afternoon event justice, it made sense to give a shout out to our 2 pm event with Mary McDonagh Murphy and Deborah Staples now. They're both speaking tomorrow, Monday, February 13, 2 pm. The author of Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of To Kill a Mockingbird, is joined by Milwaukee Rep Resident Acting Company member Deborah Staples, all at Boswell.

Staples discusses her role in the Milwaukee Rep's production of To Kill a Mockingbird, with performances now running through March 11. McDonagh Murphy will talk about the novel's enduring power, and a bit about her documentary Hey Boo.

On Monday evening, February 13, Murphy will be speaking at the Milwaukee Rep for a keynote address, in conjunction with the airing of this very documentary. It's also a free event. More on their Facebook page.

Here's hoping that Scout, Atticus, and Boo appears on next week's list. But now it's time for last week's top selling titles.


Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
2. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander
3. The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson
4. American Dervish, by Ayad Akhtar
5. Goodnight iPad, by Ann Droid

Everything is exploding for Nathan Englander's new short story collection, which came out on Tuesday. The New York Times Book Review front-page feature is set to be next Sunday, and we've heard some great things from local critics as well. Our event is on Tuesday, February 21, 7 pm, co-sponsored by the JCC. Michiko Kakutani's daily NYT review is filled with praise, even if it does at times temper that praise with Kakutani-isms.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Quiet, by Susan Cain
2. A Nation of Moochers, by Charles Sykes
3. Thinking the Twentieth Century, by Tony Judt
4. The Science of Yoga, by William J. Broad
5. The Journal of Best Practices, by David Finch

While it's always fun to meditate on a yoga book, I instead direct my attention to the last major work to be published by historian Tony Judt, which was reviewed by Mike Fischer in the Journal Sentinel last Sunday. Fisher notes:

"Thinking the Twentieth Century is a passionate, deeply felt indictment of 'simple' and seamless narratives that purport to explain everything: fascism and communism as well as Zionism and nationalism, identity politics and cultural studies, psychoanalysis and - our current infatuation--economics."

I love how Fischer's reviews wind up on websites of newspapers from all over the country. I imagine folks in Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Bellingham, and Modesto opening their paper in a local coffee shop, jotting down Thinking the Twentieth Century, and walking into King's English, Rainy Day Books, or Village Books and asking for the title. Alas, I have no bookstore in my head for Modesto, and a search turned up a Christian bookstore and a comic store. And yes, I know there are a lot of other ways that scenario can play out, but I can dream, can't I?

Paperback Fiction:
1. Cast a Cold Eye, by K. M. Koenigs
2. The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht
3. Swamplandia, by Karen Russell
4. Glaciers, by Alexis M. Smith
5. Kramm, by K. M. Koenigs

The store had a great time with Misters Koenigs (above) and Clark (below), but the big news is that Stacie has fallen in love with Glaciers, a new novel from Tin House about a young woman in Portland whose job is to work with damaged books in a library basement, but whose own rich life unfolds slowly through a beautiful interior narrative. This is probably just the first of many times you will see this book on our bestseller lists.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Running Water, by Abraham Louis Clark
2. Bossypants, by Tina Fey
3. F in Exams, by Richard Benson
4. A Brief History of Thought, by Luc Benson
5. Look Me in the Eye, by John Elder Robison

We've just announced tickets to John Elder Robison's appearance at Boswell on Thursday, March 22, 7 pm, co-sponsored by Autism Speaks, which is getting ready for their big fundraiser, Walk Now for Autism Speaks, on Saturday, April 28. Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye and Be Different, and will be appearing for the paperback release of the latter title. You may have read about Robison in this Christmas New York Times profile of John's son Jack and his girlfriend Kristin, both living with Asperger's Syndrome. Or you may just know him as Augusten Burroughs's brother.

We are donating the entire $5 admission to Autism Speaks. Buy your ticket here.

Books for Kids:
1. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
2. Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White
3. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Patterson
4. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
5. Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richard Atwater

Needless to say, most of this week's kid's list is bulk order. I normally leave those titles off but I thought it would be nice to class up my bestseller lists.

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