Sunday, March 17, 2013

Boswell Bestsellers for Week Ending March 16, 2013, Plus Lots of Books in This Week's Journal Sentinel Book Page.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. How Great Women Lead, by Bonnie St. John
2. Raising Cubby, by John Elder Robison
3. Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg
4. Live Your Joy, by Bonnie St. John
5. Lessons from the Heartland, by Barbara Miner

I think I've talked about all these titles already in this week's blog, and I promised St. John a blurb, if you will, about how successful she is at conferences. Barbara Miner will be doing another event in town this Saturday, feted for the Eunice Z. Edgar Lifetime Achievement Award at the ACLU Bill of Right Celebration at the Hamilton on Saturday, March 23, from 6-9 pm. More information here.

Since we hosted an event for Raising Cubby so early in the book's run, I promised to link to some good reviews and interviews as they released. Jim Blanchard in the Winnipeg Free Press said "Asperger's people may have trouble with empathy but there is no doubt about John Robison's love for his son. He has written a moving story that entertains and educates the reader." And here's an interview with Jeanne Sager: "Used to reading memoirs from moms about raising their autistic kids, Robison wanted to offer the world something different: the voice of a parent who actually has autism himself. He spoke with The Stir about everything from how his kid, Jack "Cubby" Robison, is like a farm crop to why the world needs geeks:

Hardcover fiction:
1. The Good House, by Ann Leary
2. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid
3. Tenth of December, George Saunders.
4. The Dinner, by Herman Koch
5. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich

There's a funny way to do an offsite where you don't enter the sales till later, so sometimes there will be a delay. Whoops. No delays in the rest of the top five. Mohsin Hamid's Fresh Air piece was, well, as fascinating as his talk last week, and we knew we'd get folks rushing in, sad that they missed our event for How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. In Salon, Laura Miller asks the question of whether The Dinner is the Dutch answer to Gone Girl. And Valerie Stivers-Isakova in the Huffington Post credits Tenth of December with a well-deserved cannonball into the mainstream.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Speaking Truth to Power, by Anita Hill
2. Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, by Julie Pandl
3. Reimagining Equality, by Anita Hill
4. Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, by Courtney Martin
5. More Than They Bargained For, by Jason Stein and Patrick Marley

This week's nonfiction bestsellers were heavily weighted to our writing and leadership conferences, but one upcoming event also gets a pop. We're hosting Journal Sentinel writers Stein and Marley for a talk about More Than they Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsin on Tuesday, March 26, 7 pm. Here's a piece from the Madison Isthmus about Walker was about to sell the infamous Act 10.

Paperback fiction:
1. But Our Princess is in Another Castle, by B.J. Best
2. Girl Friend and Other Mysteries of Love, by Charles P. Ries
3. The Fate of Mercy Alban, by Wendy Webb
4. The Beginner's Goodbye, by Anne Tyler
5. People of the Ruins, by Edward Shanks

Our thanks to B.J. Best, Charles Ries, and Wendy Webb, who all had lovely events at Boswell this week. The pop for The People of the Ruins is for it being the next selection of the Boswell Science Fiction Book Club, meeting Monday, April 8. But it was Anne Tyler's pop for The Beginner's Goodbye, as we had been just noting how unjustified it is that Tyler's older books are slow movers, and three of us were contemplating picking Tyler titles for an upcoming staff rec promotion.

Books for kids:
1. Hold Fast, by Blue Balliett
2. The Danger Box, by Blue Balliet
3. The Calder Game, by Blue Balliett
4. Penny and Her Marble, by Kevin Henkes
5. Good Night Wisconsin, by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper

A day with Blue Balliett is always special, and visiting Lincoln Middle School for the Arts is also always special, so you can only imagine what a great experience the two together were when Balliett came to Lincoln to discuss Hold Fast. Admiring the art work on the walls, we came across a display of the Harlem Renaissance, featuring Langston Hughes, whose work is prominently featured in Balliett's story.

Regarding books that might show up in next week's bestseller report, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's  Jim Higgins interviews Sarah Carr for Hope Against Hope and her upcoming visit to Milwaukee, speaking at Boswell on March 19, 7 pm, and then appearing at the Charter Schools Conference at Marquette University on March 20 in the morning. One take away: "While so much national education discussion is about teacher quality, Carr's experience covering schools in Milwaukee and New Orleans has taught her 'how much principals matter,' she said. Her ground-level advice to improving schools is to start by 'getting the strongest people leading each individual school.'"

Also in the Journal Sentinel, Gwendolyn Rice visits a novel inspired by a famous photograph. She notes "it was this picture, hanging in a gallery at New York's Museum of Modern Art, that inspired acclaimed writer and filmmaker Marisa Silver to pen her new novel, Mary Coin. Like many other fascinated viewers before her, Silver imagines the moment that the government photographer (here called Vera Dare) approached the destitute family matriarch (Mary Coin) and asked to capture a moment of her life on film."

More book coverage in the Journal Sentinel from Mike Fischer, who reviews William H. Gass's "exhilarating" novel Middle C. "Judged by its story line alone, Middle C isn't much of a plane, and readers waiting for a plot-driven liftoff are in for a long stint on the runway. But there's so much going on within this plane's dazzling interior that one can easily spend hours in one's chair, taking flights of fancy that put more pedestrian trips to shame."

And this is our lucky Sunday, because it's also time for Carole E. Barrowman's monthly mystery column in the Journal Sentinel. This week she focuses on:

First up is The Blackhouse, by Peter May. "Despite my own Scottish upbringing, the Isle of Lewis with its peat bogs and its thatched 'blackhouses' is a foreign land, a place 'still in the grips of a joyless religion,' tied to ancient traditions (like the 'guga harvest' or gannet hunt), a place tethered to the sea in ancient and archaic ways. May's descriptions of the harsh beauty of Lewis seduced me and I was thoroughly smitten with Fin."

Anne was just talking up Erin Hart to Wendy Webb, noting they would make a nice pairing.  Barrowman praises The Book of Killowen, the fourth pairing of this archaeologist and patholoist in Ireland. "Nora and Cormac are asked to join 'the recovery team' for an ancient bog man discovered with the body of a Dublin TV host submerged in a Tipperary swamp. Nora and Cormac lodge with a community of artists at Killowen farm, each one becoming a suspect in the TV personality's murder."

Hilary Davidson's newest sends a travel journalist to Mexico in Evil in All its Disguises. Says Barrowman: "Davidson's book pulses with psychological suspense, especially as Lily's delightful holiday becomes a dangerous stay."

And finally there is Tricia Fields's Scratchgravel Road, the second in a series set in West Texas. "Fields deftly balances the intriguing intimate relationships among her characters with the broader themes of industrial corruption and greed. With her wild desert settings and her thrilling plot, Fields' novel is situated somewhere between Western terrain and mystery territory." Fields' first novel, The Territory, won the Tony Hillerman prize. I periodically have customers asking me for authors who read like Hillerman. Here is your big chance!

Sorry to keep adding to your long list of books to be read. Alas, it's my job.

1 comment:

Tricia Fields said...

Thanks for your mention of Scratchgravel Road! I'm not sure how I ended up on your site... but I'm glad that I did. I'm Tricia - the author. I'll hope my series reaches your best seller list someday!