Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Wrap Up from Boswell--Or a Tale of a Massive Week of Author Events and Some Good Cupcakes.

We celebrated our birthday and Angelopolis (signed copies available) with angel cupcakes. Hope you can see the beautiful detail. Thank you to Ms. Trussoni for being a good sport!

Hardcover fiction:
1. Angelopolis, by Danielle Trussoni
2. Murder Below Montparnasse, by Cara Black
3. The Edge of the Earth, by Christina Schwarz (appearing 4/9 at Boswell)
4. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson (appearing 4/19 at the Milwaukee Public Market)
5. The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout

April 2 was a huge week for new books, but they are fighting tooth and nail for attention with all the event sales we had for the past seven days. There's a lot of excitement for the new releases from Christina Schwarz and Kate Atkinson, who have upcoming events with Boswell. But the big congrats are to Danielle Trussoni, who had just heard that Angelopolis was hitting the New York Times bestseller list, and Cara Black, who hit the list for the first time with Murder Below Montparnasse (signed copies also available).

Alas you'll have to travel further to see Elizabeth Strout. She's at Book Stall on April 10 and Anderson's on April 11. Alas, you'd have to miss our events with Amy Stewart at the Great Lakes Distillery on the 10th and Lee Sandlin's Storm Kings: The Untold History of America's First Tornado Chasers, on the 11th. Here's her complete tour.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Help, Thanks, Wow, by Anne Lamott
2. The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart (appearing 4/10 at Great Lakes Distillery)
3. Gulp, by Mary Roach
4. Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg
5. Limping Through Life, by Jerry Apps

While Jannis would note that Anne Lamott dominates all our lists this week (she not only attended last night's event after getting off work, but reminded me that she and her closest friend were enthusiasts at our Alverno College event two years ago), Halley excitement has certainly helped the hardcover nonfiction list. There's nary a customer who won't be told about either Mary Roach's Gulp or Amy Stewart's The Drunken Botanist, and she's been talking up Wicked Plants as well. I asked her if she was working Wednesday's event with Stacie and me, and she noted that she's coming as a lay person, as otherwise she wouldn't get to try a cocktail. 

Paperback fiction:
1. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter (apperaing 5/6)
2. The Ginkgo Light, by Arthur Sze
3. Angelology, by Danielle Trussoni
4. The Wedding Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini
5. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare (students are buying this for a class)
6. The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Steadman
7. Last Friends, by Jane Gardam
8. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
9. Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell
10. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (event 5/1)

I'm so excited about our giant-sized sales pop for Jess Walter and Beautiful Ruins. I know that it was one of the best-reviewed books of last year, and had great word of mouth, and Hannah's recommending it left and right and we're all excited about our May 6 event, but still, you don't always see such pent-up enthusiasm. It's also perhaps a sign that maybe a book can still sell well in paperback when you wait a full 12 months after hardcover publication instead of these newfangled 5-9 month windows. And by way, Maria Semple did not have a bad first week either. We're hosting her on May 1, co-sponsored by Local First Milwaukee.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Some Assembly Required, by Anne Lamott
2. How to Be Interesting, by Jessica Hagy
3. Worse than the Devil, by Dean A. Strang
4. Garden Wisdom, by Jerry Apps
5. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

There are weeks when every event is kind of disappointing (I'm still kind of wringing my hands over one week earlier in the year where I seemed to have one below-expectations turnout after another). But I can't say that about this week. Jason told me it was a great time at Shorewood with Jerry Apps, who appeared co-sponsored by the Shorewood Historical Society and the Friends of the Shorewood Public Library. He had so many new books it was hard to single them out, but the organizers thought that Garden Wisdom would sell the best, and it did.

Books for Kids:
1. Born at Midnight/Awake at Down: Shadow Hunters #1 and 2, by C.C. Hunter
2. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell
3. Chasing the Prophecy: Beyonders #3, by Brandon Mull
4. Fated: Soul Seekers #1, by Alyson Noel
5. Taken at Dusk: Shadow Hunters #4, by C.C. Hunter

 It's a good thing the car was clean (I actually got it washed this week) because there was a lot of driving this week too. I drove Rainbow Rowell (signed copies of Eleanor and Park available) from one school event at Brown Deer High School to another at Nicolet (we stopped for tea at Stone Creek in Glendale and she agreed they do a darn good Earl Grey tea) and then I rushed Brandon Mull from his school event in Shorewood to the Elm Grove Library event. I didn't count on so much traffic, but with all that construction, we were close to on time by taking Michigan to Blue Mound. Yes, we also have to know the shortcuts. Expect more sales from Brandon Mull next week when we sort out the student sales from his three school events. And don't forget, if you're a principal, librarian, or teacher who thinks your school could do a great job wih a school visit, please contact Hannah and she'll add you to our list of possibilities.

For next week's bestsellers, we look to the Journal Sentinel. Jim Higgins reviews Victor S. Navasky's The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and Their Enduring Power. The political cartoon has always been an important part of newspapers. Per Higgins, Navasky posits three theories why these cartoons resonate with readers. See if you most agree with the content theory, the image theory, or the neuroscience theory. The book goes on sale on Tuesday. Read more here.

Another important component of newspapers is the column. It turns out that in conjunction with the release of Elinor Lipman's new novel, The View from Penthouse B (and as you all know, she is coming to the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is also releasing Lipman's collected nonfiction, I Can't Complain,which also goes on sale April 16. While the lunch comes with a copy of The View from Penthouse B only, the good news is that the essay collection is a particularly well priced $20 hardcover.

As Higgins notes in today's review in the Journal Sentinel, Lipman was asked to be a weekly contributor to the Boston Globe "Coupling" column. Her husband Bob said it would be fine, as long as she didn't write about him. See where that went. Don't forget, you can reserve a seat by calling (414) 286-8720 or purchase your ticket on our website and someone will get back to you regarding things like chicken or vegetarian.

In the Journal Sentinel, there's a write up for our Monday event with William Kent Krueger that links to Carole E. Barrowman's review of Ordinary Grace in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune.

And finally, Mike Fischer reviews Truth's Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel, by Philip R. Gura. Fischer argues out Gura's theory here. This FSG book is out on Tuesday.

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