Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post--Fresh Air Boosts David Gilbert and Reza Aslan, Event Wrap Ups With Barbara Shapiro and Maddie, Book Clubs Reading Lauren Binet, Laura Moriarty and More.

Here's how things sold this week at Boswell.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Cuckoo's Calling, by R.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith
2. Fin and Lady, by Cathleen Schine
3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
4. The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy
5. And Sons, by David Gilbert
6. Love Dishonor Marry Die Cherish Perish, by David Rakoff
7. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flnn
8. And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
9. The English Girl, by Daniel Silva
10. Bad Monkey, by Carl Hiaasen

As you can see, our order for The Cuckoo's Calling came in. I'm not exactly sure what caused the pop in Neil Gaiman, which has been selling well since release nationally but had fallen off with us a bit. But the pop of the week is David Gilbert's And Sons, which had a great interview on Fresh Air earlier in the week. I'm remiss--I was supposed to read it but I wound up giving my copy to my sister Merrill, who, by the way, loved it! It's a novel that spins off a Salinger-esque character's passing Advance reviews were amazing. Booklist wrote "Gilbert's delectably mordant and incisive tragicomedy of fathers, sons, and brothers, privilege and betrayal, celebrity and obscurity, ingeniously and judiciously maps the interface between truth and fiction, life and art."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Maddie on Things, by Theron Humphrey
2. Kill Anything That Moves, by Nick Turse (event Wednesday, August 8)
3. The Unwinding, by George Packer
4. I Wear the Black Hat, by Chuck Klosterman
5. Start with Why, by Simon Sinek
6. Dad is Fat, by Jim Gaffigan
7. The Guns at Last Night, by Rick Atkinson
8. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
9. Holy Sh*t, by Melissa Mohr
10. Gettysburg, by Allen C. Guelzo

The top sellers are a with a mix of past, present, and upcomiing events (with some non-event seasoning like Packer and Aslan), including signed-copy sales of Chuck Klosterman's latest. Reza Aslan's new book was also kicked off with a strong Fresh Air interview. But the highlight here is Theron Humphrey's visit with Maddie on Tuesday. His strong fan based, solidified online by his blog, came out in full force for Maddie on Things, and Maddie seemed to have a very, very good time.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro
2. Curtain Calls, by Barbara Mathias-Riegel
3. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
5. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
6. HHhH, by Laurent Binet
7. The Bat, by Jo Nesbo
8. The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny (event Tuesday, August 27, ticketed)
9. The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty
10. The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers

Nice events with Mathias-Riegel in house and at the Charles Allis Art Museum for Shapiro top the list this week (signed copies of The Art Forger are available), but book clubs are also a factory. Two of our largest clubs that pick their books annually made their decisions, and both HHhH and The Yellow Birds were on their list. I'm currently reading The Chaperone, which we'll be discussing for our in-store lit group on Monday, August 5. I spoke to one of our regular attendees who devoured the book and is very excited about the discussion.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Start with Why, by Simon Sinek
2. The Ghost in General Patton's Army, by Eugene Schulz
3. A Little More Line, by Craig Wilson (event Monday, July 29)
4. Citizens of London, by Lynne Olson
5. Monkey Mind, by Daniel Smith

Simon Sinek was a featured speaker at the Northwestern Mutual's sales conference. His book Start with Why suggests solving business problems based on answering the question why, instead of what or even how (though a sales rep recently told me that they had two books called How and Why, and the former well outsold the latter). Hey, if everyone agreed, we wouldn't have pundits. Sinek made waves with a very popular TED talk.

Books for Kids:
1. Goodnight Moon Board Book, by Margaret Wise Brown
2. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
4. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
5. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

If you thought the release of adult titles slowed down in the summer, that's even more the case for kids' books. That said, Jasper Fforde's The Last Dragonslayer came out in paperback and it placed just below our top five. This is the first book in his acclaimed new book series, and he's coming to Milwaukee for his second tile, The Song of the Quarkbeast. Mr. Fforde will be appearing at the Cudahy Family Library on Wednesday, September 11, 6:30 pm.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins talks up Loteria, a novel about Luz, making sense of her grief, who is inspired by the cards in this traditional Mexican game. He notes "they're not instruments of divination like tarot cards, but, like the tarot deck, the simple, traditional design of the Lotería cards gives them a touch of the archetypal."

Carole E. Barrowman tackles Stephen Kiernan's The Curiosity, a Frankenstein like novel about a scientist who finds a dead man on an Arctic expedition and successfully reanimates him. "When this 'metabolic mystery' is re-animated successfully, the Lazarus Project quickly moves from a science lab to the world's stage." Barrowman calls this a measured and thought-provoking alternative to summer reading.

Also thanks to Mr. Higgins for reporting on the Man Booker longlist. Right now, the store seems to favor Colum McCann's TransAtlantic, but we'll see if several booksellers get behind some of the titles that are coming out Stateside in the fall.

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