Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post--Marisha Pessl, Lisa Moser, Reza Aslan, Antoine Lauraine and More, plus Reviews of Edgwidge Danticat, Larry Watson and Other Journal Sentinel Tidbits.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. How the Light Gets In, by Louise Penny
2. The Rathbones, by Janice Clark
3. Night Film, by Marisha Pessl
4. The Cuckoo's Calling, by J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith
5. Inferno, by Dan Brown

Marisha Pessl's Night Film continues to garner reviews this week. Cate Disabato in The New York Daily News writes "Stylistically, fans of Pessl’s bestselling first novel won’t be disappointed. Although she tones down her prose style from Blue’s hyper-literacy to something more appropriate for a horror whodunit, it reads like Pessl proving she has range."And Christian Duchateau on has some questions for Pessl, wondering most importantly, "who exactly is Stanislas Cordova?"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
2. Why We Build, by Rowan Moore
3. Wheat Belly, by William Davis
4. Collision 2012, by Dan Balz
5. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

The media continues to focus on Reza Aslan's Zealot. Ron Charles in the Washington Post notes that Jay Parini has Jesus: The Human Face of God coming out this December (published by Jeff Bezos's Amazon Publishing, which also now owns the Washington Post).  Kirsten Powers in the Daily Beast talks about why Muslim academics writing about Chistian religious figures is a good thing. But don't get confused by J.M. Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus, despite it's front page review from Joyce Carol Oates in The New York Times Book Review. While contemplating religion for sure, it's clearly in the philosopher writing speculative fiction mode.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Butterfly Sister, by Amy Gail Hansen
2. Still Life, by Louise Penny
3. The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny
4. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain (event is Tuesday, September 24, 7 pm)
5. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

Antoine Laurain's The President's Hat  now has something like five reads in the store. I'm going to chase everyone down for quotes who hasn't given one to me. But he's gotten to the bookseller puts a note on the counter with the book when they are at register, a tradition started by Paul. Nicholas Lezard in The Guardian writes "This is very much a hymn to la vie Parisienne – and as I spent a lot of time there in the 1980s, I can vouch for the author's veracity and descriptive grasp."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Clark Howard's Living Large for the Long Haul
2. Clark Howard's Living Large for Lean Times
3. How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough
4. Waging Heavy Peace, by Neil Young
5. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson

I'm not sure why we had a pop on Neil Young's Waging Heavy Peace a month after the book came out. Andrew Barker noted in Variety that this is the 50th anniversary of his first recording session. I'm also not positive about the pop for Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns, but hat might be connected to the weeklong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" Speech. I did see the book mentioned in Susan Henking's recent column in The Huffington Post.

Books for Kids:
1. Cowboy Boyd and Mighty Calliope, by Lisa Moser, with illustrations by Sebastiaan Van Doninck
2. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip and Erin Stead
3. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt
4. The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
5. One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake

Local Lisa Moser's newest is just out, the story of a cowboy whose steed is a rhinoceros instead of a horse. Cowboy Boyd and Mighty Calliope . I found a creepy-voiced robot video that I'm not going to include here. Kirkus Reviews wrote "A horse is a horse, of course, except when it's a rhinoceros. That's the silly, unstated backstory in Moser's upbeat tale about a kind young cowboy's unwavering faith in his trusted mount."

There are three locally-generated reviews in the Journal Sentinel this week. Jim Higgins tackles Larry Watson's Let Him Go, suggesting "while it offers readers almost enough sheriffs for a posse, the book's indomitabl opponents are two rural grandmothers vying for control of a 4-year-old child." As I hope you all know, Watson will be appearing at Boswell on Tuesday, September 10, 7 pm.

Mike Fischer's explores life and death in Haiti in the eight connected stories of Edwidge Danticat's Claire of Sea Light.  He proclaims that "this brave book dares to suggest that if we could learn to 'look after each other,' even runaways like little Claire--or émigrés like Max and Danticat herself--would have an outside shot of finding their way back home."

Carole E. Barrowman is not as hot on Margaret Atwood's newest. MaddAddam. She does note that "Atwood explores the nature of evolution, the need for humans to lose their 'grinning, elemental malice' and how a civilization must transcend it's destructive past."

I am remiss for not giving a shout out to Chris Foran's review of the new Library of America collection, Ring Lardner: Stories and Other Writings. Lardner, who died of a heart attack at the age of 48, "was one of the most widely read writers of the 1920s and '30s, a humorist whose work earned a range of admirers from H.L. Mencken to Virginia Woolf." Library of America volumes are always a treat to read, with beautiful bindings and paper that won't yellow in a month, or ten years, for that matter.

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