Sunday, November 11, 2012

What's Selling at Boswell for the Week Ending November 10? Kingsolver and Silver and Thurston and Lots of Event Books.

If you were planning to visit Boswell today, please note that we are closing slightly early at 5:30 pm for our last sales rep presentations (rep night) of the season.

Hardcover fiction:
1. The Selector of Souls, by Shauna Baldwin (11/13 event at Elm Grove Library)
2. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
3. The Paternity Test, by Michael Lowenthal
4. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
5. The Racketeer, by John Grisham
6. Blasphemy, by Sherman Alexie (11/13 event at Centennial Hall)
7. This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz
8. The Middlesteins, by Jami Attenberg
9. The News from Spain, by Joan Wickersham
10. A Thousand Mornings, by Mary Oliver

The major literary pop of this week is for Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior. Connie Ogle in the Miami Herald notes: "Set in Appalachia — like her novel Prodigal Summer, which dealt with similar themes — the terrific Flight Behavior examines how the ebb and flow of the natural world plays out against the lives of the people entwined with it."

The Hector Tobar review in the Los Angeles Times is less gracious, who didn't have trouble with the social problem per se, but didn't like the portrayal of Kingsolver's fellow Appalachians. So far I've read more positive reviews than not, however. Just to keep the blog upbeat, here's another enthusiastic review in the Guardian, where you get to see the British cover.

Another week of events shows up on the bestseller list. I was remiss in not linking to performance artist's Tim Miller's profile of Michael Lowenthal in the Wisconsin Gazette for The Paternity Test. It is more than a come hear the author read piece and is still worth investigating. I particularly enjoyed the group question-and-answer session with Lysley Tenorio. I'll be laying out the events for next week in tomorrow's blog, but as I said to folks who saw Shauna Baldwin on Friday, now they have Tuesday free to see Sherman Alexie, unless of course they are going to Jennifer Chiaverini.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. My Heart is an Idiot, by Davy Rothbart
2. Moshe Dayan, by Mordecai Bar-on
3. Soul Calling, by Joel Pickford
4. The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
5. Both Flesh and Not, by David Foster Wallace

I guess the biggest star of this year's election has not been a politician, but Nate Silver, the statistician who correctly predicted either 49 or 50 states, depending on what news source I use. What's up with that? Oh, it has to do with whether or not they were counting Florida, which just went to Obama. Here's a UK take from The Mail. This has given The Signal and the Noise a substantial sales bump, popping up on bestseller lists all over the country.

Paperback fiction:
1. Monstress, by Lysley Tenorio
2. The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
3. The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
4. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
5. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

An interesting story about #6, The Tiger Claw, by Shauna Singh Baldwin. Just like for The Selector of Souls, we imported copies of The Tiger Claw for a hardcover event at Harry W. Schwartz bookshop. I hoped to bring in the paperback as well, but when the book came out, the exchange rate was so bad that the cost of the paperback wound up being the same as the hardcover, and decided that it would be almost impossible to sell books at that price. At that time, we also hoped that the book would find an American home. Maybe it still will. Film rights were sold to Lisa Ray, who would play Noor. Here's a note about the new magenta edition of The Tiger Claw.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Sign Painters, by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon
2. Planting Dandelions, by Kyran Pittman
3. Schusters and Gimbel's, by Paul Geenen
4. Milwaukee Mafia, by Gavin Schmitt
5. How to be Black, by Baratunde Thurston

Now in paperback, Baratunde Thurston's How to be Black comic memoir has gotten nice write ups from J. Victoria Sanders in the San Francisco Chronicle and was interviewed on Fresh Air. The author is " a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He is the founder of Cultivated Wit, served as director of digital for The Onion and writes the monthly back page column for Fast Company."

Hardcover books for kids:
1. Hollow Earth, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
2. The Hunters: Brotherband Chronicles, book three, by John Flanagan
3. The Third Wheel: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, volume seven, by Jeff Kinney
4. The Lost Stories: Ranger's Apprentice, by John Flanagan
5. The Invaders: Brotherband Chronicles, book two, by John Flanagan

The Third Wheel does not come out until November 13, but we've been pre-selling copies for our November 15 signing at 4 pm. Previously we've sold tickets and traded them in for book sales,but honestly, this is much easier for a short notice event, and our online competitor doesn't seem to have a problem with presold books, so why should we?

Paperback books for kids:
1. Nature Girl, by Jane Kelley
2. The Outcasts: Brotherband Chronicles, book one, by John Flanagan
3. The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger's Apprentice, book one, by John Flanagan
4. The Girl behind the Glass, by Jane Kelley
5. The Burning Bridge: Ranger's Apprenice, book two, by John Flanagan

Just like me and half of Milwaukee, Jon Flanagan was battling a cold when he appeared at the Shorewood Public Library for his new book, The Hunters. Ranger's Apprentice asked very detailed questions about the series such that I imagined Flanagan having to cram for these events like he was at university before finals.

What's likely to be on next week's list? As usual, we turn to the Journal Sentinel book page for inspirtation.

Julie Pandl is interviewed about the Algonquin publication of Memoir of the Sunday Brunch. As Jim Higgins notes: "In a more modest way commercially, Memoir of the Sunday Brunch is a self-publishing success story, too, and an instructive one. Unlike many self-published writers, Pandl realized early on that her work was not ending but only beginning when she finished writing her book." Our event with Pandl is on Saturday, November 17, 2 pm, at the Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N. Murray Avenue, 53211.

Jim Higgins previews Sherman Alexie at the Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall on Tuesday, November 13, 7 pm. Centennial Hall is located at 733 N. Eighth Street. The new book, Blasphemy is a collection of the best of the old collections, with new stories added.

Mike Fischer reviews Cólm Toibín's The Testament of Mary, and finds that "for all that Mary stands opposed to the officially sanctioned version of her story, Tóibín doesn't do much to develop the alternative testament that his title had promised."

Elfrieda Abbe tackles Constance Hale's new Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing. Her take is that Hale"packs this volume with history, linguistics, common and arcane language usage, practical instruction, writing exercises, resources, and examples of good and bad writing"

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