Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post--New Releases and The Best Reviewed and Events and Upcoming Events and Movie Pops and an Author's Favorite Backlist Book All Hit This Week.

 Happy Mother's Day! Here are the Boswell Books bestsellers for this past week, plus a good deal of asides.

Hardcover fiction:
1. The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud
2. A Delicate Truth, by John Le Carré
3. The Humanity Project, by Jean Thompson
4. Maya's Notebook, by Isabel Allende
5. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
6. Red Moon, by Benjamin Percy (event 5/14, at Boswell)
7. NOS4A2, by Joe Hill
8. Best Kept Secret, by Jeffrey Archer
9. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
10. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid

Oops! We ran out of The Woman Upstairs for the weekend--on Friday afternoon, our two remaining copies were on hold. It wouldn't have raised her ranking, but still. The front page New York Times Book Review slot continues to be very important, but there are plenty of titles that get the coveted space that don't pop at all. And not all popular thriller writers sell well at Boswell, but John Le Carré generally does. Colin Fleming in The Washington Post calls A Delicate Truth "a popcorn thriller that defies expectation."

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris (event 5/26 at Boswell)
2. Mamoulian, by David Luhrssen
3. Wisconsin Supper Clubs, by Ron Faiola
4. Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg
5. Cooked, by Michael Pollan

The hullaballoo raised by Zach Braff financing his movie (and Amanda Palmer financing her music tour and then originally not paying her guest musicians, and then paying them, and so forth) on Kickstarter is all over the internet. Here's a piece on Salon addressing the subject. I hadn't really paid attention to how many books are being financed, or hopefully financed on Kickstarter. For example, it turns out that Wisconsin Supper Clubs used this resource.

Paperback fiction:
1. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
2. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. We Live in Water, by Jess Walter
4. Fit for a Frankenstein, by Paul McComas and Greg Starrett
5. Broken Harbor, by Tana French
6. Bring up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
7. Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal (event 5/13)
8. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
9. The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson (Pulitzer winner)
10. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain (NBCC winner)

So what is Breakfast of Champions doing on this list? Well, in addition to Jess Walter getting two titles in the two ten (and The Financial Lives of Poets was a strong #14 for the week), Vonnegut was cited as his biggest inspiration and Breakfast of Champions was the Vonnegut book he loved first. We're reading Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk for next month's in-store book club, so that accounts for another pop.  And that Baz Luhrman Great Gatsby opened. Here's Richard Brody's take in The New Yorker. I Should also note that We Live in Water is currently available as a Kobo ebook for $1.99 from us

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Mary Nohl: Inside and Out, by Barbara Manger and Janine Smith
2. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen
3. Bossypants, by Tina Fey
4. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
5. How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, by The Oatmeal

Manger and Smith top one list with their adult Mary Nohl title and come in second with their kids bio, also called Mary Nohl, but with a different subtitle. Our event at the North Shore Library proved very popular, only not with the target age range--40 attendees, all of them able to vote, drink, and buy cigarettes. Oh, and happy Mother's Day. I can see all our selections being great choices, with The Oatmeal perfect for that paranoid mom.

Books for kids:
1. Doll Bones, by Holly Black (available copies available)
2. Mary Nohl: A Lifetime in Art, by Barbara Manger and Janine Smith
3. Reboot, by Amy Tintera (autographed copies available)
4. Dark Shore: Atlanteans #2, by Kevin Emerson
5. Life After Theft, by Aprilynne Pike (autographed copies available)
6. The Elite #2, by Kiera Cass (and again, autographed copies available)
7. The Fellowship for Alien Detection, by Kevin Emerson
8. Unraveling #1, by Elizabeth Norris
9. Lost Code: Atlanteans #1, by Kevin Emerson
10. Unbreakable #2, by Elizabeth Norris (guess what? We've got autographed copies)

Events completely cover our top ten this week. Kevin Emerson was a school visit only, nothing public. For the May 12, New York Times bestseller list, The Elite is the #1 young adult novel, but they do that weird thing where they separate out series and put them together. May I weigh in here that I think this is a sillly practice and makes the comparative sales really hard to determine.

Like several Boswellians, the Journal Sentinel's Carole E. Barrowman is also a fan of  Red Moon, which is #6 on our hardcover fiction bestseller list. In her review she notes "I charged into the lycan world of Benjamin Percy's Red Moon with wild abandon, and I was rewarded with a remarkably rendered speculative history of America as well as a gripping grisly horror story."

And did I mention Jim Higgins' review of Mary Robinette Kowal's Without a Summer on Thursday? He explains that "Without a Summer takes its basic situation from Austen's Emma: A smart woman turns out to be so wrongheaded about some important things. In Kowal's case, that's Jane, whose mistaken assumptions cause significant heartache for her sister Melody. Kowal is coming to Boswell tomorrow, Monday, May 13.

And there are also wire service reviews of Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers and Isabel Allende's Maya's Notebook. The latter has already hit our bestseller list; the latter has made the lower end of our list the last two weeks.

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