Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post--Mary Oliver and Malala Yousafzai and Rick Riordan and Lots and Lots of Author Recaps.

It's been a long week, and most (but not all) of the events are logged into this week's bestseller list. Our Chuck Palahniuk event ended too late for us to log the sales and sometimes with school events there's a lapse before we can figure out how many copies we sold.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Spymistress, by Jennifer Chiaverini
2. Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver
3. The Circle, by Dave Eggers
4. Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King
5. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Dana Jennings in The New York Times profile notes that Mary Oliver is a rare thing, a poet who hits bestseller lists. Her new book is likely to follow in the last one's footsteps, or rather pawprints. Says Jennings:  "Mary Oliver has spent most of her life with a mind ripe with poems — and with at least one steadfast dog by her side. It seems fitting then that her latest collection revels in the carrying on of dogs. Dog Songs... is a sweet golden retriever of a book that curls up with the reader, with 35 poems and one essay about the dogs who have shared Ms. Oliver’s days."

I hinted that Jim Higgins was reviewing The Spymistress in today's Journal Sentinel, and we were pleased when the review went online early enough for us to highlight it on Facebook and Twitter in advance of the event. He notes: "Like its predecessor, the new novel (The Spymistress) is a work of popular fiction, but also a deeply feminist project, recovering the stories and textures of women's lives during the Civil War." Signed copies are available.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Packers Pride, by LeRoy Butler and Rob Reischel
2. One Summer, by Bill Bryson
3. The Reason I Jump, by Naoki Higashida
4. The New Midwestern Table, by Amy Thielen
5. I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

Here's a nice pop for I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. As Marie Arana writes in her review in The Washington Post: "Whether an emerging nation likes it or not, its girls are its greatest resource. Educating them, as economist Lawrence Summers once said, 'may be the single highest-return investment available in the developing world.'” Arana is very enthusiastic about the book and sort of puts it in a class with The Diary of Anne Frank. Wow!

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich
2. Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini
3. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
4. Best American Short Stories, edited by Elizabeth Strout and Heidi Pitlor
5. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain

I was just doing a search of write ups on The President's Hat, but alas, the American media is still slow to discover this book. Hey folks,you could help break this. Instead, I've found all the American event listings, the British reviews, and a lot of bloggers. Typical is this listing in Backlight Books, who wrote: "I'll admit the idea of some 'thing' being used as a mechanism to change a character's life is nothing new, but this book translated from it's native French was really engaging (even if it does sag slightly in the middle) and the slight twist at the end made this book just lovely and a thoroughly entertaining read."

One of the things that is interesting is that most of the bloggers are anonymous. Would I follow an anonymous reviewer regularly? I don't think I would, but I'm curious to know how others feel.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Heroes in the Night, by Tea Krulos
2. Are You Living or Existing?, by Kimanzi Constable
3. Contagious Optimism, by David Mezzapelle
4. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
5. Milwaukee At Water's Edge, by Tom Pilarzyk (event on Tuesday, October 15)

It looks like a clean sweep for past and future hosted authors at Boswell. Mr. Krulos launched Heroes in the Night on Friday, with special guest The Watchman, while Mezzapelle and Constable shared the podium on Tuesday. Krulos will appear at Common Good Books in St. Paul with real life superheroes Razorhawk and Geist on Monday, October 20. More on their blog.

Hardcover Books for Kids:
1. Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson
2. Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic, by Mark Tatulli
3. Bugs in My Hair!, by David Shannon
4. Fly Guy and the Frankenfly, by Tedd Arnold
5. Vordak #2: Rule the School, by Scott Seegert and John Martin
6. Vordak #1: How to Grow Up and Rule the World, by Scott Seegert and John Martin
7. Vordak #3: Double Trouble, by Scott Seegert and John Martin
8. Vordak #4: Time Travel Trouble, by Scott Seegert and John Martin
9. No, David, by David Shannon
10. House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

Had we not been packed with school events this week, House of Hades would have been a strong #1. Amie noticed that our sales the first day matched the first week of sales for the previous book. Rick Riordan's books got a shout out from none other than Monica (The Stud Book) Drake, who talked about reading them as a family at her joint event with Chuck Palahniuk at the UWM Union.

Paperback Books for Kids:
1. Fly Guy Presents Sharks, by Tedd Arnold
2. Parts, by Tedd Arnold
3. Keeper of Lost Cities, by Shannon Messenger
4. Found, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
5. Tangerine, by Edward Bloor

There was no public event for Tedd Arnold, but needless to say, there was a lot of interest from school kids. Of his newest, Fly Guy and the Frankenfly, Booklist says "Beginning readers will appreciate the vibrant art and simple text. Once again, Arnold takes a fresh approach to the theme of boy-and-his-pet affection that unifies the Fly Guy series."

One thing we've seen pretty successful with kids' authors is something we've been doing in the store for adults-tag teaming a new author with an established one. A few weeks ago C. Desir opened for Ellen Hopkins and this week at schools and the Oak Creek Library, Shannon Messenger appeared with Margaret Peterson Haddix. I spoke to her about this at the Heartland Fall Forum beforehand. She was giddy! The experiment worked--we sold a lot of Messenger's new Keeper of Lost Cities series.

In the Journal Sentinel, Martin Levin comments on Alice Munro's recently received Nobel Prize.  "Munro is the first Canadian — unless you count Saul Bellow, and he himself wouldn't; this most American of American writers left Canada when he was 9 — to win literature's ultimate prize. And that has to make a difference, n'est-ce pas?"

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