Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Bestellers--Pagels, Hemon, Stein and Marley Preview, On the Oates Jacket, the B&N Award Pop.

I didn't like my Saturday post, so we're redoing it. It means it's going to post on Sunday, after this one.

Hardcover fiction:
1. The Accursed, by Joyce Carol Oates
2. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
3. Benediction, by Kent Haruf
4. Mary Coin, by Marisa Silver
5. The Dinner, by Herman Koch

You know that spring is here when a bunch of literary books pop from their reviews. The front-page New York Times Book Review from Stephen King for The Accursed (Ecco) must have had a national impact not unlike ours. I'm sort of sad as we did not see that kind of pop with Christine's wonderful and well-deserved review for Little Known Facts, even with her coming this Thursday, March 28, with Mike Magnuson. That said, folks have been noticing the event and book as we talk it up; it's just something about split cover reviews that greatly diminish the impact of either.

I had just been talking about Oates with my brother-in-law, who met her some years ago and had a very pleasant dinner conversation about boxing when she visited his university. And I was thinking she would have also enjoyed Stacie and Paul's conversation about masculinity and violence.  Here's a Ron Charles Washington Post article about the difference between the US and UK jackets--I know a lot of my customers go on about how much better the British jackets can be, but here's one where they clearly fell short.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Hope Against Hope, by Sarah Carr
2. Lessons from the Heartland, by Barbara Miner
3. The Book of My Lives, by Aleksandar Hemon
4. Revelations, by Elaine Pagels
5. Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

You would think we're all about education nonfiction, by the looks of our list, but we just happened to sell books at events for the authors of the new works by Carr and Miner, which made Hannah very happy. I've already written at length about both Hemon and Pagels's events--you'll see backlist sales from both below.  But in my attempt to continue to write about The Book of My Lives (FSG), I quote from Steven Galloway of The (Toronto) Globe and Mail, who gets at what I've tried to say in a less eloquent fashion:

"Fortunately for us, The Book of Lives follows no such pattern. It is best described as a memoir in essays, all of which have been previously published, and it would be easy to view this as an attempt to monetize existing work, as writers try to do from time to time. That would be a mistake, however, and a failure to recognize the precision and understated beauty of the book. The sense of adventure and quiet humour that makes Hemon’s fiction stand out among his contemporaries is on display here, along with prose that is crisp and clear while still retaining his distinctive voice."

Paperback fiction:
1. Lesser Apocalypses, by Bayard Godsave
2. Donnybrook, by Frank Bill
3. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander
4. The Lazarus Project, by Aleksandar Hemon
5. The Orchardist, by Amanda Coplin

I've been complaining that it's becoming much rarer to see literary books on the national paperback fiction bestseller lists since the demise of Borders, so it's refreshing to see Amanda Coplin's The Orchardist (Harper Perennial) crack the top twenty. It's no doubt that the Barnes and Noble Discover Great Writer award is what made this pop, so congrats for making this work. Usually the chain tries to make waves with hardcovers--I know that the appearance of The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat had particularly strong sales in that channel, and we've heard that their April push is for Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. Here's a nice post in The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune blog about fiction and nonfiction winners, both of whom graduated from the University of Minnesota.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Revelations, by Elaine Pagels
2. Anatolian Days and Nights, by Joy Stocke and Angie Brenner
3. Milwaukee Garage Bands, by Peter Roller
4. The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels
5. More Than They Bargained For, by Jason Stein and Patrick Marley (event on March 26)

I'm used to seeing back-of-catalog books from university presses formatted like paperbacks but priced like hardcovers, but at least two front-of-catalog trade titles, both of which we're hosting events for, are using this newfound formula for books that likely won't need a second life in paper, and will likely to eventually convert to short. Jason Stein and Patrick Marley's More Than They Bargained for: Scott Walker, Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsin, (University of Wisconsin Press) covers the state conflict over state workers' right to bargain in a journalistic way. The author will appear at Boswell on Tuesday, March 26, 7 pm.

Books for kids:
1. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell (event April 4 at Greenfield Public Library)
2. Hold Tight, by Blue Balliett
3. Otis and the Puppy, by Loren Long
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
5. Little White Rabbit, by Kevin Henkes

After our event with Kevin Henkes, Amie said, "Get everything signed of Little White Rabbit" and it will sell for Easter. She was correct, by the way.  I feel remiss that I didn't tell you that Loren Long appeared at Oconomowoc's Books and Company on March 22. I hope you all found out about it from other sources. Kirkus reviewed the new book, exclaiming "Fans of Otis will not be disappointed with the satisfying ending that results in a creative solution and a most happy reunion"

We've got some great kids' events coming up too, including Rainbow Rowell, appearing with two other authors for her Eleanor and Park, at the Greenfield Public Library on April 4.  In addition to that amazing John Green rave in The New York Times Book Review, there've been raves over this title, including this pre-pub shout out in Linda Holmes' NPR column entitled "50 Wonderful Things From The Year In Pop Culture." It made the cut because it came out in the UK in 2012.

And now for a preview of next week's bestsellers. From the Journal Sentinel, Carole E. Barrowman reviews Danielle Trussoni's Angelopolis (Viking). We're hosting an event with Ms. Trussoni on Wednesday, April 3, 7 pm. Barrowman likes it--a quote below or you can read the entire review here. The novel, the follow up to Angelology, goes on sale this Tuesday, March 26.

"I found the world of this novel fascinating, especially the alternative history of Russia and the Romanovs woven into the plot, including the secret symbolism of Faberge eggs; motivations of Rasputin, the "holy man" who had a demonic "influence on the tsar"; and apocalyptic prints of Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. But most of all I loved Trussoni's more subtle theme that to create a city of angels, a heaven on earth, depends on "the Nephilim descended from angels and women." I'm not sure how Milton would have felt about that, but I'm fine with it.

In addition, there's a preview story for Paul McComas's Steinbeck Plus 75, a free event at Marquete on Monday, March 25.  You can also hear McComas talk about the event on Lake Effect. And of course McComas will be appearing at Boswell on Tuesday, May 7, 7 pm for his upcoming novel, Fit for a Frankenstein, in a joint presentation with David Luhrssen, talking about his new Mamoulian biography. The event has just been christened "Forties Film Night."

1 comment:

Christine said...

Daniel - Thanks for this great post, and I think you are probably right about the NYTBR split cover. I'm still hoping that a lot more will happen for Teddy Wayne's novel and my own, but the reduction of surface bookstores, both indies and Borders, is a sad thing for writers and readers. I'm so glad Boswell's is a Milwaukee fixture.