Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Post--What's Selling this Week at Boswell? The Women of Summer Battle It Out.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
2. Broken Harbor, by Tana French
3. Mission to Paris, by Alan Furst
4. A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers
5. Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness

French is the go-to girl* in this per-Jason light release week. Reviews are coming in quite strong for Broken Harbor (Viking), though The Daily News critic says it’s not her best. What is this about mystery reviewers in particular that if the new book doesn't exceed all expectations, it's a disappointment? And that's hand in hand with common prnouncements that if a critic likes it, it's the best yet, despite not having reread all the earlier installments. I have a theory, but I'll save that for another time.

But most reviews I mentioned don’t make such quibbles (there are some readers that demand that every new title in a mystery series be the best yet, or else) with Patrick Anderson in The Washington Post noting Broken Harbor provides a fascinating and suspenseful plot, believable characters and writing that is precise, knowing and lyrical. Underlying it all is a formidable intelligence, one that moves relentlessly from a family tragedy to the ugly side of police work to the sorrows of a generation.”

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Barack Obama: The Story, by David Maraniss
2. The Good Food Revolution, by Will Allen
3. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, by Chris Hedges/Joe Sacco
4. Bushville Wins, by John Klima
5. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (Nation Books) is Chris Hedges’ new collaboration with Joe Sacco looks at the “sacrifice zones” that have been offered up in the name of progress and profit in the United States, with the resulting poverty and environmental devastation. John Broening in The Denver Post notes that it’s a good match of writer and artist--Hedges and Sacco share both ideology and “compulsion to confront the worst humanity has to offer.” Read more here.

Paperback fiction:
1. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
2. Fifty Shades Darker, by E.L. James
3. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
4. Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James
5. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
6. 11-22-63, by Stephen King
7. A Clash of Kings, by George R.R. Martin
8. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
9. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
10. Office Girl, by Joe Meno

Deborah Harkness makes a double pop on our bestseller lists this week, with A Discovery of Witches (Viking) and Shadow of Night (Penguin). Harkness was in town doing some promotion, and also appeared at B&N, which highlighted in our July event email newsletter. Elizabeth Hand in The Washington Post notes that while she has quibbles, the new installment is a“satisfying beach read, with enough surprise cameos and fun facts to offset its longueurs.”

Paperback nonfiction:
1. The Circus that Ran Away with a Jesuit Priest, by Nick Weber
2. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
3. 1493, by Charles C. Mann
4. Milwaukee Movie Theaters, by Larry Widen
5. The Destiny of the Republic, by Candice Willard

One doesn’t usually expect a line at the door for the paperback release of a book like Charles Mann’s 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (Vintage), but I helped at least one customer that had marked the paperback date on her calendar. Possibly Fresh Air reaired Terry Gross’s interview with Mann, where she began “I just read a book that made me see the world differently. It's about an environmental upheaval that I never realized existed, and it dates back to Christopher Columbus.” How could you resist?

Books for Kids:
1. Astrojammies, by Stacey Williams Ng
2. Silverlicious, by Victoria Kann
3. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce
4. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
5. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker with illustrations by Tom Licthenheld

Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious has generated a whole lot of “licious” in short order, like this week’s bestseller Silverlicious (Harper). Like many series, what starts as a picture book often migrates to early readers as the fans age. So this spring we had Pinkalicious: Soccer Star and in a few weeks comes Pinkalicious and the Pinktastic Zoo Day. There’s also an activity book just out, Pink, Pink Hooray. But Kann has a new picture book next winter too, Emeraldalicious, where “recycling magic turns a garbage-filled park into a greentastic garden.”

And what might hit the list next week? A Reliable Wife author Robert Goolrick is interviewed by Jim Higgins in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his reading list. He'll be coming to three area bookstores this week to read and discuss his new work, Heading Out to Wonderful. Boswell is tomorrow at 7 pm, then Books and Company on Tuesday, and Next Chapter on Wednesday. Lisa McLendon of the Wichita Eagle notes Goolrick's new novel is as sad and mournful as the mountain songs of Virginia. But it's a beautifully told story of the human failings and yearnings, and redemption sought but never quite attained."

Mike Fischer notes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that A Cupboard Full of Coats (Amistad), by Yvette Edwards, cracked the long list of the Booker Prize last summer (the new list just came out). The book was also a Kirkus best book fo the year and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. Interestingly enough, the book doesn't land until Tuesday, and I found two different jackets, one our our website and another in our inventory database. I'll just show both--which do you think is the final jacket?

Instead of paraphrasing the review, let me start with the publisher's description. "Plagued by guilt, paralyzed by shame, Jinx has spent the years since her mother's death alone, estranged from her husband, withdrawn from her son, and entrenched in a childhood home filled with fierce and violent memories. When Lemon, an old family friend, appears unbidden at the door, he seduces Jinx with a heady mix of powerful storytelling and tender care. What follows is a tense and passionate weekend, as the two join forces to unravel the tragedy that binds them."

Fischer's take, which is nuanced as always (that means he has some quibbles): "The result is a story that is both grounded in the everyday but able to transcend it." The link's not quite up yet, but you'll find it on the book page.

*Because Gillian Flynn is the gone girl. Get it?

No comments: