Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Bestseller Post from Boswell for the Week Ending August 4, 2012.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
2. Heading Out to Wonderful, by Robert Goolrick
3. Broken Harbor, by Tana French
4. A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers
5. The Fallen Angel, by Daniel Silva

There are some bestselling authors who can sell well in independents, despite aggressive price competition in other markts. Daniel Silva is one of those authors, and reviews make all the difference. Here is NPR critic Alan Cheuse extolling Silva's newest, The Fallen Angel (Harper). In this installment, Silva's special agent slash art restorer Gabriel Allon is working on a Caravaggio in the Vatican. Someone on the staff dies, and yes, there's another conspiracy underfoot. He's also hot for another new spy novel, A Foreign Country, by Charles Cumming, which goes on sale this Tuesday.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. From Animal House to Our House, by Ron Tanner
2. Bush Wins, by John Klima
3. I am a Pole and So Can You, by Stephen Colbert
4. Darth Vader and Son, by Jeffrey Brown
5. Pring's Photographer's Miscellany, by Roger Pring

Well, now you can see that I am opportunistically moving the Colbert and Brown impulse books from fiction (where I think they belong) to nonfiction (where The New York Times classifies them), based on how the books on the list are selling. Nonfiction was light this week, but it was nice to see a pop from Pring's Photographer's Miscellany: Stories, Techniques, Tips, and Trivia (Ilex/IPS), which is currently on our impulse table.  It's the book that every photographer doesn't know that they want you, but actually do.

Paperback fiction:
1. Pryme Knumber, by Matt Flynn
2. Office Girl, by Joe Meno
3. Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James
4. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
5. Fifty Shades Darker, by E.L. James
6. The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka (lit book club 8/6, 7 pm)
7. The Time in Between, by Maria Dueñas
8. The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
9. Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell (buzz builds for movie)
10. Up Jumps the Devil, by Michael Poore

Interest is heating up for our event with Lev Grossman and Michael Poore this coming Tuesday, August 7. But to me, the interesting story this week in the pop of the doorstop novel, now in paperback The Time in Between (Atria), by Maria Dueñas. The publisher really worked hard to get reads in hardcover for this, and now that might be paying off in paperback. It's the story of a Sira, a dressmaker who, choosing between two suitors during the Spanish Civil War, but her true choice winds up being a life of espionage. Patty Rhule at USA Today calls it Le Carre light, and why not? It's summer after all. Best of all, at 600 pages, you only have to pack one book for the trip.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran
2. The Tao of Travel, by Paul Theoux
3. Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock, by Jesse Jarnow
4. 1493, by Charles Mann
5. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson

I find again and again that Jason is great at spotting books that I would have missed as a buyer. Who the heck is Caitlin Moran and why do I want her? But it turns out we're selling lots of How to be a Woman (Harper Perennial), and in part it's because "there's lots of things to love" about Moran, according to Emma Brockes in The New York Times. A feminist memoir-festo and funny too? That's a good fit for our store.

Books for Kids:
1. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
4. Olympia the Games Fairy, by Daisy Meadows
5. The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

It's hard to get ahead of Collins,but even kids can get Olympic fever. Kristy and Rachel are very excited about the local triathlon going on, but when people start swimming in circles, losing bike tires, and tripping over their feet while running, it becomes clear that magic objects belonging to Olympia the Games Fairy (Rainbow Magic Special Edition, Scholastic) have disappeared. Having read how crazy the Olympic Games committee is about protecting sponsors (Bagels displayed in rings? Banned!), I would suggest that all little girls keep this book out of their backpack when visiting London.

In the Journal Sentinel today, Jim Higgins continues his series of interviewing writers about book they're excited about. The new book that Larry Watson touts is Schmidt Steps Back (Knopf), by Louis Begley. One should not that the series was adapted into About Schmidt, but the Alexander Payne movie pretty much had nothing to do with the book. American Boy is now out in paperback.

Also in the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World, a book that shouldn't miss, being that it combines two of Fischer's great loves--he doubles as a drama critic. And yes, he likes it, arguing that Callow's experience as an actor adds to the depth of the work. It's out this coming Tuesday from Vintage.

And putting our speculative and spy themes in this post together at last, Jim Higgins reviews The Coldest War (Tor), which yes, is a speculative spy novel. The genre specifically is altnernative history, and this sequel to Bitter Seeds finds us in 1963, where Russia rules everything east of Paris. Oh, and there are also warlocks and twin Russians who were the subject of experiments to give people superpowers. From Higgins: "Tregillis' breathtaking set pieces include an attempted ambush of an invisible assassin and the rescue of a savant from an enemy stronghold. Some of the seeds he planted in the first novel flower bitterly and impressively in this one."

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