Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Bestsellers for the Week Ending June 2, 2012--New Releases, Belmont Pops, Trilogy Triumphs, and the Possible Effect of New Jackets in Paperback.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Second Impressions, by Ava Farmer
2. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
3. Sacré Bleu, by Christopher Moore
4. Istanbul Passage, by Joseph Kanon
5. Home, by Toni Morrison.

A little more about Istanbul Passage from the publisher, Atria. A neutral capital straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul has spent the war as a magnet for refugees and spies. Even American businessman Leon Bauer has been drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs and courier runs for the Allied war effort. Now as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of post-war life, he is given one more assignment, a routine job that goes fatally wrong, plunging him into a tangle of intrigue and moral confusion. Tom Nolan in the Wall Street Journal called it a "fast moving, thinking man's thriller."

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Drift, by Rachel Maddow
2. American Grown, by Michelle Obama
3. Imagine, by Jonah Lehrer
4. Kentucky Derby Dreams, by Susan Nusser
5. The First 20 Minutes, by Gretchen Reynolds

Susan Nusser's Kentucky Derby Dreams pops in advance of the Belmont Stakes next Saturday. It's the first time in years that we've had the chance at a Triple Crown winner, and what do you know? Nusser is reading that day with fellow equi-writer Alyson Hagy, author of Boleto, at Printer's Row Lit Fest in Chicago. Here's a link to all the festivities. And don't forget that Alyson Hagy is reading at Boswell on Tuesday, June 12, 7 pm.

Paperback fiction:
1. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
2. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
3. Fifty Shades Darker, by E.L. James
4. The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht
5. Caleb's Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks

I just admire the fact that a few paperback fiction books outsold the Fifty Shades trilogy, or whatever it's called. Have a bunch of you noticed the media calling it Shades of Grey, as if "Fifty" is the dirty word. What's that about?

Meanwhile many book clubs are choosing Patchett and Brooks, our beloved dynamic duo of visiting authors last spring, whose novels took the traditional one year route into paperback. Doesn't seem to have affected momentum at all. Somebody explain to me the theory behind 6-8 month releases that are now becoming popular. I've heard talk that it's all about getting the book into competitive pricing with the ebook, but I think it's about trying to earn the advance back faster. What say you?

Both worked well in paperback, and that usually means that the paperback jacket doesn't change, a la Caleb's Crossing. I'm usually very opinionated on jacket changes, but I have to say I like both jackets for State of Wonder equally. I can't figure out why it was changed--I guess the darker color might pop a bit more on a table, especially as so many publishers are dressing their covers in yellow and tan. And as I stop back and look at this post, the jackets of Nusser and Adams would definitely blend into the hardcover, but not the paperback of State of Wonder.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
2. Bossypants, by Tina Fey
3. Academically Adrift, by Richard Arum
4. Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon
5. Turn Right at Machu Picchu, by Mark Adams

Though we had nice sales on Mark Adams' book in hardcover, it's nice to see that Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time, has found its sea legs in paperback. It has captured that funny/informative travel/history niche that we almost always have a market for. Here's the NPR roundup for the book, categorized as one of summer's biggest, juiciest nonfiction adventures. "Adams unearths a fascinating story, transporting his readers back to 1911, when Yale professor Hiram Bingham III hiked the Andes and stumbled upon one of South America's most miraculous and cloistered meccas," Rachel Syme informs.

Books for Kids:
1. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
2. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
4. The Last Summer of the Death Warrior, by Francisco Stork
5. Brown Bear, Brown Bear Slide and Find, by Bill Martin and Lois Ehlert

Unlike James, no kids' book could topple Suzanne Collins's supremacy. It's hard to believe that our #1 book came out in this very hardcover edition only months after we opened. Further down the list is another book that was selling back in 2009, but as a self-published edition. It's Dallas Clayton's An Awesome Book, an eye-popping inspirational story that has built a large and enthusiastic fan base that includes our buyer Amie. You can read an interview with Wired's Geek Dad here.

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