Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post for Week Ending October 19, but There's a Catch to That...

I'm at a book conference for a few days, and because this looks like the only trip I'll take this fall, I wrote this post from the Fair Bean on South 1st Street in Austin where I had a couple of empanadas in addition to my tea (having developed a craving during a recent episode of Top Chef). I know I'll kick myself later, but I was just not in the mood for the giant donuts at Gourdoughs. Maybe I'll get another chance later.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Doomed, by Chuck Palahniuk
2. The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri
3. The Double, by George Pelecanos
4. The Stud Book, by Monica Drake
5. The Circle, by Dave Eggers
6. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
7. Just One Evil Act, by Elizabeth George
8. This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz
9. Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver
10. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding

We obviously had too much going on this week to limit our blog list to just five titles. In addition to two pops of hardcover fiction sales from Chuck Palahniuk's event (not just Doomed, but also a nice sale for opener Monica Drake's The Stud Book, who I sort of picked up from the event might have once been his writing teacher), we had event sales for George Pelecanos, plus enough folks traded up from Junot Díaz's paperback to get the cloth book on the list too. We have some signed copies of all the books mentioned in this paragraph, by the way.

Why do definite articles come in waves in titles? Because we drop them from our database, library style (I suppose that is a quaint old-timey thing that is not long for this world), I have to remember to look them up when they start first popping up on things like bestseller lists. It's "The" Lowland, Circle, Double, Stud Book, and Luminaries, but some weeks it seems that the books that should have articles to not, or worse, have an indefinite article. Is an article an adjective? That is my question of the day. I am a grammar naif.

The best news was that we jumped on a wholesaler for copies of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries. Thanks to Mike Fischer, who forwarded us a tweet with the news. He was on top of the world, as he had reviewed the book very enthusiastically for the Journal Sentinel.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Men Who United the States, by Simon Winchester
2. Packers Pride, by LeRoy Butler and Rob Reischel
3. I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America's Education Gap, by M. Night Shyamalan
4. The Reason I Jump, by Nyoki Higashida
5. Catastrophe 1914, by Max Hastings
6. The Family: Three Journeys Into the Heart of the Twentieth Century, by David Laskin
7. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
8. Lawrence in Arabia, by Scott Anderson
9. I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
10. Levels of Life, by Julian Barnes

Ticketing can be tricky, and that sent LeRoy Butler's sales, like Chuck Palahniuk's, into the following week. But I was intrigued by screenwriter's pop onto our bestseller lists with I Got Schooled. From his NPR piece: "Shyamalan's voice also makes this book stand out. It's alive with the romantic conviction that America's education problems can be solved, and unlike many, he's not going to send us to Scandinavia to solve them. "One bit of advice I'm ready to share is this: whenever anyone brings up Finland, back away slowly," he writes. "In fact it mystifies me that a country with fewer people than Greater Philadelphia, no civil rights problem, and virtually no significant income inequality is held up as a model for the United States."

I think this is supposed to be a knock on Amanda Ripley's The Smartest Kids in the World. Interestingly enough, it plays off another book on the nonfiction list, David and Goliath, as Gladwell also discusses how class size is not the key to solving education problems. Jason noticed we haven't gotten quite the pop on Gladwell that we did on Outliers, which came out in fall of 2008. While it was before Boswell opened, we know that the Downer Schwartz sold close to 200, indicating that the first few weeks of sale would have been in the double digits. I think there are more folks debating Gladwell than in the past, such as this piece in the Huffington Post.

Paperback Fiction:
1. This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz
2. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz
3. Damned, by Chuck Palahniuk
4. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
5. Drown, by Junot Díaz
6. Invicible Monsters Remix, by Chuck Palahniuk
7. Luka and the Fire of Life, by Salman Rushdie
8. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain
9. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
10. The Absolutist, by John Boyne

Junot, Junot,Chuck, Junot, Chuck sounds like a children's counting game, doesn't it? Nice to see a Nobel Prize winner have a title recent enough (Dear Life) to be the focus of attention. The last few were harder to figure out which to get behind, or so it seems in retrospect. And I'm happy to note that while I'm not on the floor as much as I want to be so that I can hand-sell a book I love onto the list regularly, our in store lit group pick still regularly has some momentum. We're discussing The Absolutist on Monday, November 4, 7 pm.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The American Craft Beer Cookbook, by John Holl
2. Milwaukee at Water's Edge, by Tom Pilarzyk
3. Indian Inspired Gluten Free Cooking, by Alamelu Vairavan
4. 100 Things Packers Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, by Rob Reischel
5. Quiet, by Susan Cain

I'm grateful to booksellers for allowing me to step back from some of the events this past week. Hannah hosted Alamelu Vairavan, and worked with John Holl selling books at Lakefront Brewery. And Stacie took the solo reins on Tom Pilarzyk's event. Vairavan made recipes from her newest book, Indian Inspired Gluten Free Cooking and I'm told both dishes were delicious.

Hardcover Books for Kids:
1. Mr. Wuffles, by David Wiesner
2. Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic, by Mark Tatulli
3. The Missing Volume 6: Risked, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
4. The Keeper of Lost Cities Volume 2: Exile, by Shannon Messenger
5. The Little Mermaid, created by Robert Sabuda
6. Tuesday, by David Wiesner
7. Art and Max, by David Wiesner
8. Flotsam, by David Wiesner
9. The Three Pigs, by David Wiesner
10. Heroes of Olympus Volume 4: House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

We don't really get to a non-event book until #10 with Rick Riordan's newest, House of Hades. I am writing this from Austin, close to Rick Riordan's home base of San Antonio. Austin, however is the home base for Camp Half Blood, the Rick Riordan inspired summer programs run by BookPeople. See photos here.

Like ticketed events, the school events usually need to be sorted out before we can register the sales. Are there library or classroom purchases involved? Did the school take any extra books at the event? We need to know! What we do know is that the schools who hosted David Wiesner, Mark Tatulli, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Shannon Messenger, were all very happy with their apearances. If you'd like to work with us on a future school event, email Hannah.

Paperback Books for Kids:
1. The Missing Volume 1: Found, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
2. The Keeper of Lost Cities Volume 1, by Shannon Messenger
3. Just Ella, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
4. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
5. The Missing Volume 2: Sent, by Margaret Peterson Haddix

What's likely to hit our list next week? As usual, we turn to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for clues. Chris Foran reviews a new biography of Duke Ellington. His take: "In Duke, cultural critic Terry Teachout, whose work includes the critically acclaimed Louis Armstrong biography "Pops," sets out to untangle the contradictions surrounding the life and music of the jazz genius. By Teachout's own admission, he doesn't exactly decode the Duke — the man was never candid enough to honestly reveal himself — but Duke does provide rich context for the story of one of America's singular artists."

From Carole E. Barrowman, new mystery picks.
--The Land of Dreams, by Vidar Sundstol is "a remarkable mystery set in Minnesota" by a Norwegian writer. Lance Hansen is a police officer with the Superior National Forest who is called to investigate a murder at an illegal campsite. 

--Montana, by Gwen Florio features Lola Wicks, an international reporter downsized to a suburban beat. On a break, she heads to her friend's cabin where her friend of course is dead and in the vortex of a conspiracy involving Native American tribal land and a shady political race. Per Barrowman, "Lola is a short-tempered, whiskey-drinking loner with an Attitude. She doesn't carry a purse, ride a horse or cry."

--Behind the Shattered Glass, by Tasha Alexander. Barrowman calls this "the perfect literary scone to nibble on until the next season of Downton Abbey. A peaceful moment at Anglemore Park is shattered when the Marquess of Montagu bursts through the doors and collapses, dead. We haven't yet jumpstarted our sales of Alexander but perhaps Barrowman has given us just the right sales handle.

Our #1 nonfiction hardcover bestseller John Holl is profiled by Kathy Flanigan for The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Alas, this profile missed our event at Lakefront, but notes that the author was at Sprecher on Sunday afternoon.

I have found that same-day shout outs are sometimes a little late for folks to mark their calendars. I sometimes get cranky messages back when I profile an event in the email newsletter the same day it goes out, and secretly I wish the Shepherd did Wednesday events a week after the paper lands instead of the same day That's why I'm grateful that the Journal Sentinel featured this profile of Sara Paretsky by Carole E.Barrowman a week before her event. Parestky will be in town to discuss Critical Mass at Boswell on Sunday, October 27, 3 pm, and at Mystery One at 5 pm.

I leave you with a contest. I've posted Carole E. Barrowman's article on our Facebook page. If you like or comment on it, you'll be entered in a drawing to win one of four advance copies. Only caveat--you must pick up the book at Boswell. No mailouts, alas. Obviously we're doing this to help spread the word about the events. Hope it helps!

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