Sunday, October 14, 2012

Boswell Bestsellers, Week Ending October 14th.

It's been another long week of not posting in the blog. I'm not sure where the time is going, but I'm hoping to be back on my feet this week. Who knows? I may even back blog if I have too much to say. It hasn't helped that my hard drive crashed and the backup was a little wonky. And it certainly hasn't been great that I can't seem to upload any new photos or covers to the blog--only files already in my library are working (like the Fforde below). Hoping I can fix this!

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Woman Who Died a Lot, by Jasper Fforde
2. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
3. Telegraph Avenue, by Michael Chabon
4. This is How You Lose Her, by Michael Chabon
5. Live by Night, by Dennis Lehane
6. Round House, by Louise Erdrich
7. The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers
8. A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers
9. The Lighthouse Road, by Peter Geye
10. The Jewels of Paradise, by Donna Leon

I was thinking about how when you write a series, it becomes more difficult to get traditional reviews for a number of reasons, but one of them is that a critic might feel obligated to read everything to have a sense of the work, and that is a pretty onerous task for the amount of pay offered to book reviewers. Bloggers have filled in the gaps, and you see that with a book like Jasper Fforde's The Woman Who Died a Lot, who hit #1 based on his delightful visit to Boswell on October 10th. The most interesting piece I read was on the Tor website (yes, a publisher in competition with Viking), who wrote an ode to Fforde, including info about the annual Fforde Fiesta in Southwest England.

Signed copies of several titles on this list are still available at Boswell. In addition to Fforde and Powers, who just appeared there, you can hold a Geye for his appearance on October 22. In addition, we were able to get more signed copies of Erdrich and Chabon from Harper. Alas, Dennis Lehane was at Mystery One on Friday, but I don't think he signed stock here this time. I'd guess there was still signed stock on Prospect.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. A Real Emotional Girl, by Tanya Chrenov
2. Healing the Heart of Democracy, by Parker Palmer
3. Joseph Anton, by Salman Rushdie
4. Roots, by Diane Morgan
5. Who I Am, by Pete Townshend

Get it? It's a play on The Who, just in case you didn't know who he was. Feeling that singing Who songs favors vocalist Roger Daltrey, I have taken to singing Townshend's biggest solo hit, "Let my love open the door", every time the book comes up. It reached #9 in 1980, as you well know. For reviews, Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone calls Who I Am "intensely intimate, candid to the point of self-lacerating."

Paperback fiction:
1. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
2. Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
3. The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde
4. The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
5. The Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles

The bestselling backlist titles at Fforde were the first entries in his two series, no surprise. Mitchell's Cloud Atlas adaptation continues to spur lots of advance sale. Interesting piece in The New York Times this week about how the collaborators (will the movie be "The Matrix" meets "Run, Lola, Run" with a special guest appearance from "Speed Racer?" I expect that this is the worst description you could probably apply to the movie) looked for a real challenge in putting the project together.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses, by Robert Tanzilo
2. F for Effort, by Richard Benson
3. Arguably, by Christopher Hitchens
4. Write-a-thon, by Rochelle Melander
5. The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt

Melander hosted our most successful pre-NaNoWriMo talk to date. It seems like talks tend to do better with us than workshops, even when the workshop is free. We've had a lot of discussion about this. It's my thought that there are some markets where folks are starved for writing programs, but the Milwaukee area has plenty of outlets.

Hardcover books for kids:
1. Toothiana, by William Joyce
2. The Sandman, by William Joyce
3. The Diviners, by Libba Bray
4. A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, Marla Frazee
5. The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde

Paperback Books for Kids
1. Rollercoaster, by Marla Frazee
2. Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker
3. The Talented Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker
4. Clementine's Letter, by Sara Pennypacker
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

The extent of our Marla Frazee influence on this week's list is underrated. In addition to the two books listed, I should note that Boot & Shoe came in at #6 and Frazee illustrated the three Clementine titles that made an appearance.

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