Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday is for Bestsellers, and a Whole Lot of Books in Today's Newspaper.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
2. Eating Bitterness, by Michelle Dammon Loyalka
3. Drift, by Rachel Maddow
4. Deadly Valentines, by Jeffrey Gusfield
5. House of Stone, by Anthony Shadid

I can pretty much guarrantee that Cheryl Strayed will continue her #1 bestseller run for at least one more week beyond the three she's already had, being that her event at Boswell is tomorrow, Monday, April 16, 7 pm.

If you haven't read the Dwight Garner New York Times review, perhaps going back to it will convince you to attend. "Cheryl Strayed’s new memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” however, pretty much obliterated me. I was reduced, during her book’s final third, to puddle-eyed cretinism. I like to read in coffee shops, and I began to receive concerned glances from matronly women, the kind of looks that said, 'Oh, honey.' It was a humiliation."

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Sacré Blue, by Christopher Moore (signed copies available)
2. Calico Joe, by John Grisham
3. The Beginner's Goodbye, by Anne Tyler
4. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, by Alexander McCall Smith
5. The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

One might wonder whether you could put the rest of our hardcover fiction sales togther for the week and outnumber our Christopher Moore sales. I dare say that Sacré Bleu would still be triumphant.

John Grisham's baseball novel, Calico Joe, has a decent first week for us, although chain stores would likely laugh in derision. Based on a true incident, the Chicago Sun Times notes: "Chapman’s death triggered his imagination: “What if a pitcher intentionally hit a batter, a young star? What if both careers were ruined?” Bob Minzesheimer notes that while not The Natural, reading it is like a pleasant afternoon at the ballpark. I link to the Chicago Sun Times, but I assume this originally appeared in USA Today.

Philip Womack notes in the Guardian that it is impossible to criticize The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, the new Precious Ramotswe mystery from Alexander McCall Smith, as that would be like kicking a senile Labrador.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Make Birds, Not War, by Steve Betchkal
2. All This and Robins Too, by Steve Betchkal
3. Teach Like a Champion, by Doug Lemov
4. How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog, by Chad Orzel
5. Why Marx was Right, by Terry Eagleton

If at least one congressperson thinks that Democrats are Communists for supporting progressive causes, what must he think of Terry Eagleton showing up in our top five with the release of the paperback of Why Marx Was Right? It looks like my pet project to have an underground express tunnel from Boswell to State Fair Park, to be built solely by Florida contractors, will now fall through.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Lamb, by Christopher Moore
2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
3. Lesser Apocalypses, by Bayard Godsave
4. Glaciers, by Alexis M. Smith
5. Fool, by Christopher Moore

If you haven't read James's interview with Lisa Schwartzbaum from Entertainment Weekly, you don't know about the lip-biting connections between her novel and Twilight. Is that infringement?  And you might also not have read Jim Stingel's column trying to get at the root of these titles' appeal. But sad to say, I didn't have much interesting to say on the subject.

Books for Kids (and yes, there are signed Stewarts available):
1. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, by Trenton Lee Stewart
2. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
3. The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Steart
4. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
5. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, by Trenton Lee Stewart

The next non-Collins and non-Stewart title is Kate DiCamillo's Bink and Gollie. Don't forget that DiCamillo will be at the Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall on Tuesday, April 17, 7 pm. Doors open at 6:30. And yes, today is the interview that DiCamillo had with the very busy (see below) Mary-Liz Shaw:

"When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that human beings wrote books. It was a kind of cognitive dissonance for me. . . . I just didn't think it was something that people did. Kids today know that it's something that they can dream about. That's one of my favorite things in talking with kids. It's, "Look at me, I'm a big, old mess and nothing exceptional, but I wanted to do this so much and I worked at it, and here I am." Read the rest here. There are a lot of titles available--if you want one autographed and can't attend, call us at 414-332-1181. And don't forget, the event is at Centennial Hall downtown, which is 733 N. Eighth Street.

Bink and Gollie came out in paperback this week, but it turns out that all our copies from our initial and author-event shipment were either damaged or missing. But don't worry--Candlewick and Random House came to the rescue and we'll have our books in time for the event.

And what for next week? Mary-Liz Shaw has a nice roundup of kids' books in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, including:
The Beetle Book, by Steve Jenkins
Outside Your Window, by Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld
North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration, by Nick Dowson and Patrick Benson
In the Sea, by David Elliott and Holly Meade
Step Gently Out, by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder
Drops of Life, by Esko-Pegga Tiitinen and Nikolai Tiitinen
Bugs Galore, by Peter Stein and Bob Staake

And there's another roundup of books about home.
House Held Up by Trees, by Ted Kooserand Jon Klassen
Moving House, by Mark Siegel
A House in the Woods, by Inga Moore
The Yellow House, by Blake Morrison and Helen Craig

In the Cue section itself, Carol Barrowman rounds up mysteries, featuring a pair of debuts. She calls Cash's novel "a beautiful morality tale" while Shields writes a "gripping novel" with "fascinating characters set in 19th century Portland, Maine:
A Land More Kind Than Home, by Wiley Cash
The Truth of All Things, by Kieran Shields
Kings of Midnight, by Wallace Stroby
The Murder of Gonzago, by R.T. Raichev

And another roundup from Carmela Ciuraru with poetry books
Across the Land and the Winter, by W.G. Sebald
Place, by Jorie Graham (on sale 4/24)
Useless Landsacpe or A Guide for Boys, by D.A. Powell
The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry, edited by Ilan Stavans
Collected Poems, by Jack Gilbert

Jim Higgins reviews David Hockney: The Biography, by Christopher Simon Sykes where he notes that the book illustrates that this influential artist was born to make art. Though like many nonfiction narratives, the review winds up more about the subject than the telling (it's hard to do otherwise--just try it). That said, that Higgins awaits volume two indicates that he liked it.

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