Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Bestsellers for Boswell's -Pre-Holiday Frenzied Week Ending December 8, 2012

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Closing the Gap, by Willie Davis
2. Pabst, by Paul Bialas
3. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman
4. Far From the Tree, by Andrew Solomon
5. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, by Ina Garten
6. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham
7. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo
8. Help Thanks Wow, by Anne Lamott
9. I Could Pee on This, by Francesco Marciuliano
10. Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

The awards and best-ofs are playing out this week as books from Andrew Solomon and Katherine Boo have decent sales pops. Several cookbooks continue with strong sales--our friend P. came in to buy several more Jerusalem for presents as its the best cookbook she's used in years. But perhaps it's because this might be our third retired Packer signing and one that we shared with several other stores, but demand for Willie Davis is clearly outpacing previous titles. We've gotten a nice amount of attention and some of the media has not mentioned the other public event. We certainly can't complain, but I'm now worried about running out of books. Hey I've got more than 24 hours to think of something.

And Paula Bialas's Pabst book is close to selling out its printing. We think the author is going to be able to scrape a few more copies together for us, but if you find one somewhere, I'd grab it.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
2. Building Stories, by Chris Ware
3. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
4. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich
5. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
6. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
7. The Black Box, by Michael Connelly
8. Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan
9. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
10. A Thousand Mornings, by Mary Oliver

In the Chicago Tribune, Kevin Nance notes a part of what makes Michael Connelly's detective Harry Bosch stand out. "In his latest outing, The Black Box, an aging Bosch applies his still-formidable detecting skills to a cold case that he initially investigated during the Rodney King riots of 1992. The killer of a beautiful young Danish photojournalist, shot to death in an alley during the chaotic worst of the riots, has never been brought to justice. But now that Bosch is back on the trail, readers know from experience that it won't stay that way—-in part because, as always, Bosch forges an intense personal connection to a victim he never knew." Read the rest of the story here.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Sherman Park, by Paul Geenen
2. Schuster's and Gimbels, by Paul Geenen
3. Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander
4. Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
5. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
6. The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt
7. A Little History of Philosophy, by Nigel Warburton
8. Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, by Julia Pandl
9. Read This, edited by Hans Weyandt
10. Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses, by Robert Tanzilo

For those who haven't really read about the latest heaven-is-real-like phenomenon, here a bit more about Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife from the London-based Daily Mail. There are butterflies and a pretty woman.

For those looking for various takes on the big issues, there is always the paperback version of Nigel Warburton's A Little History of Philosophy. Julian Baggini in The Guardian notes: Warburton packs a heck of a lot in to what is something of a Goldilocks volume: neither too much nor too little, the exegesis neither too thin or too thick and lumpy, his Little History can be consumed as a nourishing treat in its own right or provide the perfect fuel to kick-start anyone's journey into philosophy."

Paperback fiction:
1. Queen of America, by Luis Alberto Urrea
2. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
3. The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain
4. The Hummingbird's Daughter, by Luis Alberto Urrea
5. Best American Short Stories, edited by Tom Perrota and Heidi Pitlor
6. Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
7. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
8. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
9. The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
10. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

We only had two events this week but both were a lot of fun. We finally co-sponsored an event a the Washington Park Library with Paul Geenen (our first attempt with Zane quickly outgrew the space) and we finally got our long-awaited visit from Luis Alberto Urrea for Queen of America (signed books still available). He's been touring the west coast to huge crowds, and he and his wife Cindy are hoping to build midwest markets from their Naperville base. He's the kind of speaker who can generate huge amounts of word of mouth. I can see getting a substantially larger turnout with each event, such as has been the case with Sherman Alexie, for example. Here's a preview of what he might come for next time, from his interview with Bookslut:

"I'm putting together a volume of poetry. I'm writing two novels at once, trading on and off to keep myself entertained. One is about the Red Cross and World War II -- nothing to do with Tijuana or the border! The other is a scary book. It's a secret project that I'm not quite sure what to do with. I might have to publish it under a pseudonym because it's just so radical. If some random, scary, narco-filled book shows up, it will probably be mine." Read the rest of the interview here.

Books for kids:
1. Son, by Lois Lowry
2. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker
3. The Third Wheel, by Jeff Kinney
4. Railroad Hank, by Lisa Moser
5. This is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen
6. Under Wildwood, by Colin Meloy
7. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
8. Look! Another Book!, by Bob Staake
9. The Birds of Bethlehem, by Tomie DePaola
10. Penny and Her Doll, by Kevin Henkes

Looking at our pop for Bob Staake's new Look! Another Book!, I located his home page and found his Bobliography. His next book, Bluebird, looks great. And I never really knew much about the art of the fauxster. And here's a video of his creation process, as surprisingly futuristic and yet (for techies, at least) antiquated process on Photoshop 3.If you are hypnotized by this video as I was, you can watch several different ones.

If you've been paying attention, you know there are two popular Leonard Cohen books out right now. Who would have guessed? There's Sylvie Simmons's I'm Your Man (we've sold 19 copies, with no event, local angle, or much promotion, nothing to sneeze at), a traditional biography. There's also The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of Hallelujah. This is one of those song biographies that have become popular over the last few years. Jim Higgins reviews the book in this week's Journal Sentinel. Here's a teaser:

"With its intricate braiding of the sacred and the erotic - the biblical David and Samson are invoked in two of the verses --'Hallelujah' is open-ended enough for many interpretations, by singers and listeners both. Singer k.d. lang's mother told her that her octogenarian friends loved the song, to lang's astonishment: Did the women listen to the lyrics about orgasm and being tied to a chair? Her mom replied that they just listen to the refrain. 'Something as simple as saying 'hallelujah' over and over again, really beautifully, can redeem all the verses,' lang concluded." Read the rest here.

And coming Thursday in print, but available now on line, Higgins posts a guide to the best of the best ofs for 2012

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