Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Bestseller Post--It's Week Ending December 15 and Now It's Really Fun.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
2. Building Stories, by Chris Ware
3. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver (we've just beaten sales of The Lacuna in hardcover)
4. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
5. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich
6. Telegraph Avenue, by Michael Chabon
7. NW, by Zadie Smith
8. The Lighthouse Road, by Peter Geye
9. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
10. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel

The most interesting thing to spot is that after a generally good presence all fall, we're down to one mystery/thriller on the list with Gone Girl. I'm suspecting specialty stores have picked up The Round House, however, which could be called a courtroom drama.You can see the pop of the NYT top 10 of the year story in last week's paper too. And Peter Geye has a milestone week too--sales of The Lighthouse Road in hardcover have just passed that of his first novel, Safe from the Sea. No sophomore slump here. Like Geye? I think you'll be interested in our just-booked event with Thomas Maltman for the novel Little Wolves. The novel's out January 8 and the event is Thursday, January 17, 7 pm, at Boswell.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Closing the Gap, by Willie Davis
2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo
3. Help Thanks Wow, by Anne Lamott
4. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham
5. Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof, by Ina Garten
6. How Music Works, by David Byrne
7. The Patriarch, by Jonathan Nasaw
8. Why Does the World Exist, by Jim Holt
9. My Bookstore, edited by Ronald Rice
10. Tap Dancing to Work, by Carol Loomis

The NYT top ten had a few surprises, but I think the biggest was Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story, mostly because the book had previously not even been on my radar. Karen R. Long in the Cleveland Plain Dealer was enthusing about the book back in August: "So much in middle-class life and literature is rote: We decide what to have for dinner, we floss, we pick up something to read. Hurray for Jim Holt, who cracks our formulaic stupor with his crisp, jolly new book, Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story. Already, I've started a list of folk who will find it gift-wrapped from me at the holidays." Read the rest here.

I was just chatting with a newcomer to town from Omaha, who'd moved from Buffett central to former Buffett outpost (his son Peter used to live in town). She was a big fan of The Bookworm, the bookstore that sells all the books for Buffett's annual stockholder's meeting. This was just as we got our new shipment in of Tap Dancing to Work, the collection of Warren Buffett pieces from Fortune Magazine, Tap Dancing to Work. It's really just about everything about Buffett that's been published in the magazine, including two written by Buffett himself.  More about it in this excerpt on the MSNBC website.

Paperback fiction:
1. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
2. How it All Began, by Penelope Lively
3. Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
4. Best American Short Stories, edited by Tom Perrotta and Heidi Pitlor
5. The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain
6. City of Dark Magic, by Magnus Flyte
7. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain
8. The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey
9. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
10. The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

The New York Times best ten drives two books this week. Ben Fountain is already in paperback (much as what happened with Swamplandia and The Tiger's Wife last year) while Wolf Hall's pop is because Bring Up the Bodies is the sequel and lots of NYT followers have figured out that they should probably read Wolf Hall. Well, you'd probably figure that folks who read or gift the NYT top 10 would also follow the Man Booker and NBCC award and would have read/gifted Wolf Hall already. Well, you'd be wrong.

You'd think I'd be handselling my favorite books of the fall, but when it comes to chatting up books, my fear of a disappointing event seems to outweigh anything else and since I've had a number of great reads on City of Dark Magic, I want reads so that Christina Lynch and Meg Howrey (that's Magnus Flyte to you) have a nice turnout on January 15, 7 pm. And it's always nice to have a book with momentum that helps pushing it along. Another customer came back enthusiastic after reading Rule of Civility at our recommendation. After striking out on a few hardcovers, I went with Camilla Gibb's The Beauty of Humanity Movement. Though it's hardly similar, it sure has a similar sounding title.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, by Julia Pandl
2. Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
3. Schuster's and Gimbels, by Paul Geenen
4. Unlikely Friendships, by Jennifer Holland
5. Militant Christianity, by Alice Beck Kehoe
6. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
7. Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses, by Robert Tanzilo
8. F for Effort, by Richard Benson
9. Sherman Park, by Paul Geenen
10. The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt

After steady sales since the Algonquin publication, this week we had a very nice pop of sales for Julie Pandl's memoir, Memoir of the Sunday Brunch.  A customer asked us if we knew how it was selling outside our market. We are the #1 seller on Above the Treeline, but I should note that several other stores are having some nice sales.

Books for Kids:
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, by Jeff Kinney
2. Who Could it be at This Hour?, by Lemony Snicket
3. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
4. Wildwood, by Colin Meloy
5. High Skies: The Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate, by Scott Nash
6. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
7. I am a Bunny, by Ole Risom with illustrations by Richard Scarry
8. Look Another Book, by Richard Staake
9. Bear Has a Story to Tell, by Philip and Erin Stead
10. A Christmas Carol, inspired by Charles Dickens, written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver

That Terry Gross interview really helped sales of Who Could it Be at this Hour, and how could it note? It also spurred demand for The Composer is Dead, which is out of stock until February, and The Dark, his forthcoming collaboration with Jon Klassen.

It's nice to see we're selling Baby Lit, now that we finally have our display put together. I was very excited to see an adult walking around with the Mr. Darcy doll? The buttons are a big hit, but A Christmas Carol is definitely the book of choice. Maybe it's because it's for a Christmas gift? I just read a business book (you'll hear more in March) that would call that a "trigger."

Jim Higgins reviews Ellen Forney's graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me in today's Journal Sentinel. He notes: "Forney's words are eloquent, but my words here don't do justice to the quality, intensity and surprising flexibility of her cartooning, which represents her up, down and quotidian moments with flair and, yes, creativity" Read his entire piece here.

And Carole E. Barrowman rounds up Agatha Christie books in this week's Paging Through Mysteries columnn. Titles featured:
--Agatha Christie: An Autobiography
--Agatha Christie, Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from her Notebooks, by John Curran
--The Grand Tour: Around the World With the Queen of Mystery, edited by Mathew Pritchard.

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