Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Round Up at Boswell--Anthony Mara Publicity Starts Popping Sales, David Sedaris Does an Author Rec, George Packer's Press Sells the Book Out, and a Nice Pop for Soman Chainani.

A little late, due to Sunday being a travel day!

Hardcover fiction:
1. And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
2. Inferno, by Dan Brown
3. Black Country, by Alex Grecian
4. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, by Anthony Marra.
5. Jewelweed, by David Rhodes (event at Boswell Thursday, June 6)

There's no question that Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth) is one of the best reviewed titles of the past few months, and the bookseller enthusiasm is equally high; it's a recent #1 Indie Next pick, for May. I had an interesting conversation at the show about how to better highlight a #1 pick's status, and Mel, who has been making our shelf-talkers, is now putting this on the card.

Some of the great stories about the book include this great profile from Charles McGrath in The New York Times. A fascinating tidbit: " While in Chechnya, though, Mr. Marra discovered that he had made a factual error in the book, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena , which was published this month: The first escalator there was not installed until 2007, when it became a sort of tourist attraction. So Mr. Marra had to do some escalator-elimination in the final draft."

And that's not all. Reviews include John Freeman in the Boston Globe ("a powerful tale"), Ron Charles in The Washington Post ("a flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles"), and Sarah Jessica Parker (really!) in Entertainment Weekly, whose "A" review notes that the book "deserves to be on the shortlist for every major award."

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris
2. The Undwinding, by George Packer
3. The Book of My Lives, by Aleksandar Hemon
4. Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg
5. The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart

It wasn't just David Sedaris titles (dominating the hardcover nonfiction list and well represented elsewhere) that popped during our event last week. Mr. Sedaris, while not having a book in advance he was going to hard sell (the one that first comes to mind is Jincy Willett's Winner of the National Book Award, but I happened to check up what was the book on his last theater tour, and it turns out to be Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, by Wells Tower), but he spotted that we had a decent collection of Aleksandar Hemon's The Book of My Lives, and sold it out with a rather passionate recommendation. Did I mention I want to be in David Sedaris's book club?

Our big pop in nonfiction as George Packer's The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which follows several folks as they try to navigate the ups and especially the downs of a changed economic model. As Dwight Garner notes in his New York Times review, many of these pieces were shorter works, originally published in The New Yorker, and is impressed by the way that "these pieces, freshly shuffled and assembled, have speed and power to burn,"

Paperback fiction:
1. The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller (event at Boswell Wednesday, June 19)
2. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
3. Warming Up, by Mary Reed Hutchings
4. The Yard, by Alex Grecian
5. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This list has the two events I missed during my trip, evenings with Mary Reed Hutchings and Alex Grecian. We're also coming up on our event with Peter Heller with Ethan Rutherford. You'll be glad to know we've gone back to press on our amazing poster for The Dog Stars event. It's just $2 to purchase. We're almost ready for Nick Berg's newest poster, for Chuck Klosterman's I Wear the Black Hat, who is visiting on Thursday, July 18 (my apologies for the double error on that--I've been doing the convention on not enough sleep!)

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris
2. Quiet, by Susan Cain
3. When You are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris
4. Naked, by David Sedaris
5. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

If we had an audio bestseller list, I'd have my best #1 (excluding bulk sales) since we've opened. It's not a shocker that the audio for Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls was popular at our event. The real question is why we didn't sell a single audio at his theater event a couple a years ago. Not one! I'm not sure what the difference is between the audience. That said, I'm glad Susan Cain and Cheryl Strayed got a word in edgewise. Then I got curious as to what was the origin of that phrase, so I spent a little time looking at that.

Books for kids:
1. Lovabye Dragon, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Randy Cecil
2. Ride Fly Guy, Ride: Fly Guy #11, by Tedd Arnold
3. A Graduation Girl: Junie B. Jones #17, by Barbara Park
4. The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
5. Mary Nohl: A Lifetime in Art, by Barbara Manger and Janine Smith

Lovabye Dragon, Barbara Joosse's newest book continues to be a powerhouse, blowing away sales of everything that's come out since we've opened, though it still has a little catching up to do to hit classic status of  Mama Do You Love Me.  I am also particularly pleased to see Soman Chainani's The School for Good and Evil on our list. I met Chainani again at BEA and he is incredibly chraming. I can only imagine him captivating school kids and we're going to make a good effort to host him for book #2 in the trilogy that has two girls attending the category, one to be a heroine and the other to be a villain, only it seems that their admission records seem to have been switched. It's A score from Tara Fowler at Entertainment Weekly praises Chainani's "whip-smart debut, guaranteed to make any little girl think twice about wanting to be a princess."

And yes, the movie rights have been sold. 

From the Journal Sentinel book section:

Mike Fischer is on the same page we are when it comes to Colum McCann's TransAtlantic (Random House). "The stories told in TransAtlantic combine tight, intensely lyrical writing — much of it presented in a close, third-person voice that is shot through with cultural and historical references — and a nearly epic scope involving events unfolding over three different centuries." The book goes on sale tomorrow.

And how about this for a recommendation from Jim Higgins regarding the new novel from Lauren Beukes? "The Shining Girls (Mulholland) is one of the most thrilling and accomplished novels of the season, a genre-blending tale of good vs. evil with plenty of pace and, in its portraits of some of the murderer's victims, a surprising heft." Also on sale tomorrow.

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