Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post--Folks Who Shop Boswell Favor Zealots, Cuckoos, and the Color Orange.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Babayaga, by Toby Barlow
2. Night Film, by Marisha Pessl
3. Sea Creatures, by Susanna Daniel
4. The Cuckoo's Calling, by J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith
5. Let Him Go, by Larry Watson (event at Boswell 9/10)

I think we've already covered these titles in other posts, but let's see what more we can dig up. Paul Constant in Seattle's The Stranger promotes the Elliot Bay Toby Barlow event for Babayaga by noting " If Barlow can get armies of nerds excited about a book-length poem about a lycanthrope war, a stylish Cold War novel about a spy running up against characters from Russian folktales is a slam dunk."

Connie Ogle in the Miami Herald loves the made-up persona of Marisha Pessl's Night Film director: "The films don’t exist, of course; they are the products of Pessl’s dazzling imagination. But they’re so finely detailed and wield such power over most of the characters in this strange, mesmerizing novel that they feel real, maybe something you’ve read about late at night on some obscure website when sleep isn’t even a promise. Even the titles evoke apprehension: Thumbscrew. La Douleur. Isolate 3. Treblinka."

And I missed this interview with Colleen Jurkiewicz in the for our event with Susanna Daniel. Still worth reading! Here's a tidbit on Sea Creature's inspiration: 'I got the idea from a monologue by Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me. It's hilarious, which my book is not. I saw it years ago, the original recording, and I was thinking the whole time, "Oh my God, what would it be like to be married to someone with those problems?'"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
2. When Spiritual but Not Religious is Not Enough, by Lillian Daniel
3. Lawrence in Arabia, by Scott Anderson
4. Turn Around Bright Eyes, by Robert Sheffield
5. I Wear the Black Hat, by Chuck Klosterman

A book club sponsored by Immunuel Presbyterian Church is meeting on Wednesdays to discuss Lillian Daniel's When Spiritual and Not Religious is Not Enough. Here's Reverend Daniel speaking to Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on the PBS website. I found an interview on the Austin American Statesman site for Turn Around Bright Eyes, but that's for subscribers only. Alas, there'll be a lot less linking in the future, unless the papers choose the limited-number-of-hits option, like the New York Times and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but them's the breaks if it saves the papers.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Date Certain, by Reuben Eisenstein
2. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
3. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
5. The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny (ticketed event 8/27)
6. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce
7. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
8. The Way Out, by Meg Choi (event at Boswell 9/6)
9. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
10. The Silent Wife, by A.S.A. Harrison

We're one of the designated places to by books for Whitefish Bay High School classes, along with the Barnes and Noble in Bayshore, so you'll see some of their books seeping into our bestseller list if we we're also selling them to the general public, like The Great Gatsby and Slaughterhouse Five. I'm on the fence about putting course adoptions for this list, so you may not see them every week.

I was trying to figure out what has led to a resurgence of Ernie Cline's Ready Player One in sales at Boswell. Besides renewed bookseller enthusaiasm, all I have so far is this article in Wired about the cultural impact of Back to the Future.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
2. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
3. Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman
4. Who I Am, by Pete Townshend
5. How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough

How do you pop a paperback sale when the author isn't touring and book clubs aren't likely? In the case of Who I Am, there's the feud that One Direction has stirred up by using the chords of "Baba O'Reilly" for their own "Best Song Ever"? It turns out that Pete Townshend has been the peacemaker here. According to Jerem Larson at, it's not the first time.

Books for Kids:
1. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt
2. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
3. Wildwood, by Colin Meloy
4. The Mark of Athena, by Rick Riordan
5. Insurgent, by Veronica Roth

Harper's teen division is following the playbook for The Hunger Games in a different kind of way than you'd expect. Though they published the paperback of Divergent, they postponed indefinitely the paperback of Insurgent, which was originally scheduled for last spring. Here's Veronica Roth speaking with Cotton Codinha in Elle on boyfriends, style, theology and more.  A tidbit:if I were a mature writer, I would want to set a book in 1980s communist Romania."

In the book section of the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer tackles Archangel, Andrea Barrett's new collection of stories. He notes: "As in prior Barrett collections, the heroes in Archangel are intrepid questers like Sam. While he embraces advances in science, Sam never forgets that a time always comes when every truth begins 'to seem more complex again' — inviting us, as does Barrett, to read beyond the confines of a single story or idea, so that we might grasp what they share and how they fit together."

Alas, I won't get a finished copy of the Journal Sentinel unitil I get home. Once I'm there, I'll add an addendum of the printed reviews

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