Sunday, October 27, 2013

36 Minutes Compiling the Boswell Bestseller Lists for the Week Ending October 26, 2013.

I still haven't given up on the blog for this crazy week. I've got several half-written posts, and plan to finish and post them in their originally scheduled day. We'll see if that actually happens.

The big news for today is a small piece that you've probably already sent me. It's the Boswell mention in the 36 Hours column in The New York Times. If you're wondering, the Times covers Milwaukee about every five years. The 2008 edition gave a shout out to the old Renaissance Bookshop on Plankinton. The 2003 report had no bookstore but gave a high five to Beans and Barley.

Long-time readers of The New York Times column remember that it used to be configured as "What's doing in..." Here's a link to the 1989 write up in which definitely is less quirk and more mainstream tourist, highlighting Summerfest, the Lakefront Festival of the Arts, and the old John Byron's, which you either classify as Sanford's first home, or the fanciest Heinemann's in town. Oddly enough, I cannot find any reference to Milwaukee between 1989 and 2003. It was a dry period, apparently.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
2. The Tilted World, by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly
3. Identical, by Scott Turow
4. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
5. Critical Mass, by Sara Paretsky (coming today, Sunday, at 3 pm. At Mystery One at 5 pm)

So yes, The Goldfinch finally landed. Did all that early New York Times buzz lift sales beyond where they might have been? Who knows? Here's a great on time review from Meg Wolitzer on NPR: "The day The Goldfinch arrived I promptly cracked it open, remembering how my sons would pounce on the latest Harry Potter on the day it was published. J.K. Rowling transformed a generation of kids into passionate readers. Donna Tartt does something different here — she takes fully grown, already passionate readers and reminds them of the particularly deep pleasures that a long, winding novel can hold. In the short-form era in which we live, the Internet has supposedly whittled our attention-spans down to the size of hotel soap, and it's good to be reminded that sometimes more is definitely more."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Driven, by Donald Driver
2. Limping Through Life, by Jerry Apps
3. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
4. I Believe in ZERO, by Caryl Stern
5. The Quiet Season, by Jerry Apps

While Jannis handled Caryl Stern's event at the Milwaukee Public Library and Hannah sold books at Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro for Patricia Wells (the big sale on that will show up next week), I trekked to Grafton for their book festival on Saturday. While we've hosted Julia Pandl and Jerry Apps numerous times (this was actually our third Jerry Apps event in 2013!), this was my first time with Victoria Houston, who has a series of mysteries set in Milwaukee, the latest of which is Dead Insider (below). The Quiet Season isApps's new memoir of life during Wisconsin winters, and will be a public television special in early December. We all agreed that the Wisconsin Historical Society did a great job on the package.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Birth Offering, by Anthony Hains
2. Badlands, by Thomas Biel
3. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain
4. Dead Insider, by Victoria Houston
5. Dear Life, by Alice Munro

Two locals dominated this week's list. Thomas Biel's short stories were celebrated on Tuesday, while Hains launched his horror novel on Wednesday. Both had many Boswell regulars in attendance. I'm not Boris and Doris, or I'd name names. Signed copies of both books are available. Regarding ex-bookseller Alice Munro, we're selling more of a breadth of books than the national bestseller lists, where the newest, Dear Life, has been the focus.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, by Julia Pandl
2. Rural Wit and Wisdom, by Jerry Apps
3. 100 Things Packers Should Know and Do Before They Die, by Rob Reischel
4. Garden Wisdom, by Jerry Apps
5. The Great Cholesterol Myth, by Jonny Bowden

I told you we sold a lot of Apps! But we still got requests for things I didn't bring. Where's In a Pickle? Heck, Apps wrote three books this year alone.  Regarding 100 Things Packers Should Know and Do Before They Die, I feel like Rob Reischel didn't really get his time to talk about this brand new book when he appeared with LeRoy Butler. He's now been on our bestseller list for three weeks running.

Books for Kids:
1. Allegiant, by Veronica Roth
2. House of Hades, by Rick Riordan
3. Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic, by Mark Tatulli
4. Letters from Hillside Farm, by Jerry Apps
5. Goodnight Moon Board Book, by Margaret Wise Brown

So I was out of town for our mini Veronica Roth party. Apparently Allegiant had a spectacular first week and I have to say, we also had a good sales number.  Our first week was well more than double the best week we had on the hardcover of Inusurgent. I wish I'd seen the cupcakes!

In the Journal Sentinel., Jim Higgins looks at the slew of JFK assassination books on the 50th anniversary of the event.

Higgins also reviews The Rosie Project in the Journal Sentinel. He writes: "The first third of "The Rosie Project" opens as strongly as any comic novel I've read in a long time. The middle slice wobbles occasionally, perhaps in keeping with Don's own wobbly attempts to integrate what he's learning from Rosie. The book roars at high speed to its conclusion. It's a comedy, so we know where they're going."

Chris Foran covers A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps. As Foran notes, "Author Chris West comes by his philatelic fixation honestly. When he was a boy, he inherited his great-uncle's stamp collection, going back to the turn of the 20th century."

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