Sunday, December 22, 2013

Boswell Bestsellers for the Week Ending December 21--What More Needs to be Said?

Just to note that it's the last few days before Christmas and we're out of stock on a number of hot titles. With the storm, we expect to have a lot of folks calling in to check on titles. I should say up front that we do not have any more copies of Good Stock, for example.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
2. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
3. Longbourn, by Jo Baker
4. The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner
5. Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver
6. Aimless Love, by Billy Collins
7. The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
8. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
9. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent
10. Tenth of December, by George Saunders
11. Brown Dog, by Jim Harison
12. Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King
13. Sycamore Row, by John Grisham
14. Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri
15. The Circle, by Dave Eggers

The funny thing about the year-end pop on The Flamethrowers (Scribner) is that when it came out, I kept wondering why the book wasn’t selling the way it should, based on its amazing reviews. It just felt like all the good press was spread out, unlike the George Saunders, which went “pop, pop, pop” like a well-oiled machine. I’m so glad that Kushner got a second chance, and that Scribner didn’t rush the paperback. This is the kind of book for which best-of-the-year lists were made.

1. Good Stock, by Sanford D’Amato
2. The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
3. Wisconsin Supper Clubs, by Ron Faiola
4. Driven, by Donald Driver
5. Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton
6. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell (ticketed event January 31)
7. I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
8. Knitting Yarns, edited by Ann Hood
9. Stitches, by Anne Lamott
10 Schlitz: Brewing Art, by Paul Bialas
11. A History of the World in 12 Maps, by Jerry Brotton
12. The Heart of the Plate, by Mollie Katzen
13. One Summer, by Bill Bryson
14. The Complete Beer Course, by Joshua Bernstein
15. Shake, by Carli Davidson

I’ve noticed our good holiday sales for Joshua Bernstein’s The Complete Beer Course, but hadn’t paid much attention previously, only noticing that it seemed similar to the old Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. Indeed, they share a publisher (Sterling, currently for sale by Barnes and Noble if you want to buy it), but had this come out when the wine book was in its heyday, I think it would have bombed. Beer education has come a long way.

1. The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain
2. The Dinner, by Herman Koch
3. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
4. Best American Short Stories 2013, edited by Elizabeth Strout
5. A Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
6. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
7. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
8. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
9. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
10. The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Steadman
11. A Long Way from Verona, by Jane Gardam
12. The Round House, by Louise Erdridch
13. Telegraph Avenue, by Michael Chabon
14. The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny
15. Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, by William Kuhn

I am glad to see that while there are many books that come out that I love that are tough sells, there are sometimes books like The President’s Hat (Gallic) and to a lesser extent, Burial Rites (Little, Brown), where I think “I love this and I can also sell it.” I know that other booksellers can sell this too. While there are a number of other stores blowing it out around the country, many more are just letting it sit there. Perhaps, like The Elegance of the Hedgehog, it will pick up steam he second year.

That said, Europa's flagship author (is that the right adjective) is definitely Jane Gardam. Having completed releasing the Old Filth trilogy this year, Europa released Gardam's first novel, A Long way from Verona, and that book is from 1971!

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
2. My Life with the Green and Gold, by Jessie Garcia
3. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
4. On the Map, by Simon Garfield
5. From the Top, by Michael Perry
6. Wheel Fever, by Jesse Gant and Nicholas Hoffman
7. The World until Yesterday, by Jared Diamond
8. Best American Infographics 2013, edited by Gareth Cook with intro by David Byrne
9. How Music Works, by David Byrne
10. Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman
11. The Good Food Revolution, by Will Allen
12. Quiet, by Susan Cain
13. Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander
14. Maps of the imagination, by Peter Turchi
15. Consider the Fork, by Bee Wilson

David Byrne scores a double hit this week with his paperback of How Music Works, and his introduction to Best American Infographics (HMH) helping it jump ahead of Nonrequired Reading to be #2 selling title in the Best American series. And speaking of recs sparking sales, C.J. Hribal’s rec of Maps of the Imagination (Trinity) from Small Business Saturday popped the book onto our bestseller list as as well.

And yes, there are three books from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press in our top ten.

Books for Kids:
1. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt
2. Squirrels on Skis, by J. Hamilton Ray
3. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place V4: The Interrupted Tale, by Maryrose Wood
4. Jumping Penguins, by Jesse Goossens, with illustrations by Marije Tolman
5. Flora and Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo
6. Fortunately, the Milk, by Neil Gaiman
7. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
8. Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage
9. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, BY Diane Muldrow
10. Divergent, by Veronica Roth
11. Almost an Animal Alphabet, by Katie Viggers
12. The Journey, by Aaron Becker
13. The Snow Day (board book), by Ezra Jack Keats
14. Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
15. Diary of a Wimpy Kid V8: Hard Luck, by Jeff Kinney
16. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
17. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown
18. Locomotive, by Brian Floca
19. Snowflakes Fall, by Patricia MacLachlan, with illustrations by Steven Kellogg
20. Frog Trouble, by Sandra Boynton

I hadn’t much paid attention to Maryrose Wood’s The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (Balzer and Bray) series before. This series is about three children raised by wolves, in the care of a lord and his governess. In the new volume, the governess takes the children to her alma mater where she is to give a speech, only to find that her employer’s arch-enemy has taken over the school. It seems very much in the vein of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Having not read this series, all I know is that the mystery deepens with this volume.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews Glass Armonica (Milkweed), the newest collection from UWM poet Rebecca Dunham. Higgins notes that "the title sequence of her new poetry collection...creates words and voices for women, past and present, who've been labeled, diagnosed or written off as hysterics."

Glass Armonica won the Lindquist and Vennum Prize, which highlights a work from the Midwest.

In addition, Matthew Price reviews Servants, while Bo Emerson talks up Beatles Vs. Stones. These reviews, originally featured in Newsday and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, respetively, are only featured in the print edition of the Journal Sentinel.

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