Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post--Harufs, Lamotts, Henkes, and More.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Benediction, by Kent Haruf
2. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
3. Vampires in the Lemon Grove, by Karen Russell
4. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
5. Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan

Nobody seems to have forgotten about Kent Haruf, whose last book was 2004's Eventide. Reviews are coming in very strong for Benediction (Knopf), such as John Freeman's in the Boston Globe, who says "Thirty years since his first novel, The Tie That Binds, was published, the scope of Haruf’s work is coming into view. He is a novelist, like Marilynne Robinson, who strums the biblical chords of our self-myths."

Here's a very nice profile of Kent Haruf from Claire Kirch at Publisher's Weekly, who notes "Like the first four novels, it is set in fictional Holt County and delves, in spare, simple prose that many have compared to Ernest Hemingway’s, into the inevitably entwined lives of its rural inhabitants. Haruf considers William Faulkner as the author who perhaps has most influenced him, saying that he likes 'to read some Faulkner, Hemingway, or Chekhov before sitting down to write anything.'"

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Europe and the Islamic World, co-written by John Tolan
2. Help Thanks Wow, by Anne Lamott
3. Bottoms Up, by Jim Draeger, Mark Speltz, Mark Fay
4. Lessons from the Heartland, by Barbara Miner
5. Hope Against Hope, by Sarah Carr

A flurry of events, past and future, rule this week's bestseller lists. Sarah Carr, former Milwaukee journalist, will be at Boswell to talk about her book about Hope Against Hope: Three Schools, One City, and the Struggle to Educate America's Children (Bloomsbury) on March 19, 7 pm, at Boswell, and again at Marquette on March 20 in the morning. And Barbara Miner has another event coming up too, at the ACLU's Bill of Rights celebration on March 23.

Looking out further ahead, tickets are almost reader for Anne Lamott's appearance on April 6, 7 pm, for the paperback of Some Assembly Required (Riverhead). Tickets are $15 and include a copy of Some Assembly Required or a $10 gift card. Thist time the event will be at Boswell. We're hoping to have the tickets on sale by Tuesday!

And here's a happy memory of John Tolan's event last Sunday.

Paperback fiction:
1. All This Talk of Love, by Christopher Castellani
2. City of Dark Magic, by Magnus Flyte
3. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
4. The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
5. Canada, by Richard Ford

We've been lucky with snow storms affecting events this winter, but it wouldn't be Milwaukee without at least one weather issue. Our event with Castellani for All this Talk of Love  went on as planned, but being one day after one of the larger snowfalls of the winter, with a very icy landscape, we heard from a number of customers afterwards that they wanted to come but had to send their regrets. That said, the folks who came were enthusiastic, and one of the things I've noticed is that a person who braves adverse conditions is way more likely to buy the book, hence the strong sales.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee Garage Bands, by Peter Roller
2. Quiet, by Susan Cain
3. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, by Fiona Carnarvon
4. Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander
5. Perfect Meal, by John Baxter

Not that our top four aren't the greatest collection of books ever, but I do get bored repeating myself. That's why it's nice to see a pop for The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (Perennial), by John Baxter, the France-based film critic and biographer, who offers a grand tour/history of French cuisine. Some unnamed critic at Travel and Leisure (I pulled it from his website) wrote “Full of humor, insight, and mouth-watering details, The Perfect Meal is a delightful tour of ‘traditional’ French culture and cuisine.”

Books for Kids:
1. Penny and Her Marble, by Kevin Henkes
2. Penny and Her Song, by Kevin Henkes (paperback)
3. Penny and Her Doll, by Kevin Henkes (paperback)
4. Penny and Her Doll, by Kevin Henkes (hardcover)
5. Kitten's First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes
6. Junonia, by Kevin Henkes (paperback)
7. Lily's Big Day, by Kevin Henkes
8. Owen, by Kevin Henkes
9. Penny and Her Song, by Kevin Henkes (hardcover)
10. Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes

We had a fun day! Pictured is a fan's drawing of Lily, sent to Henkers. Note how Lily's hands become the drumsticks.

Our bestselling non-Kevin-Henkes kids' title (and non bulk order for a school) was John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. By the way, if you are a John Green fan, I think you need to read Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. She's appearing with a few other authors at the Greenfield Library, on April 4, 6:30 pm. But all the teen librarians I'm talking to (and several booksellers) are making very strong comparisons, and I trust them to be true.

So think about this while you're waiting for Green to show up in Milwaukee. As I say to customers who want to know why I can't book insert-superstar-here author, "You've got to catch them on their way up."

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