Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post for the Week Ending December 7: Of Big Tops, Good Stock, and Laughing Hyenas

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Aimless Love, by Billy Collins
2. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
3. Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver
4. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
5. The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
6. S, by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
7. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
8. The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy
9. Brown Dog, novellas by Jim Harrison
10. Just One Evil Act, by Elizabeth George

As we get further into the holiday season, our king and queen of poetry are consolidating their power, something I would suspect Jason didn't expect when buying for the holidays. He also noticed that Eleanor Catton, a clear winner in the indie market for sales, is not on the top 15 of The New York Times fiction list.

I don't think we previously wrote up Elizabeth George's newest, Just One Evil Act (Dutton). This time Barbara Havers, with the help of Thomas Lynley, investigate a kidnapping. First the baby disappears with the mom, and then the mom disappears as well. Tom Nolan in The Wall Street Journal calls Just One Evil Act "Among the most demanding and satisfying of the many detective novels by Elizabeth George featuring Havers and her New Scotland Yard partner, Inspector Thomas Lynley. Even the compassionate Lynley comes to doubt not only Havers's fitness as a police officer but her sanity."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. A People's Art History of the United States, by Nicolas Lampert
2. Good Stock, by Sanford D'Amato (event December 17, 7 pm)
3. The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
4. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell (ticketed event, more below)
5. Schlitz: Brewing Art, by Paula Bialas (event tomorrow, Monday, December 9, 7 pm)
6. Things that Matter, by Charles Krauthammer
7. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett
8. My Promised Land, by Ari Shavit
9. I am Malala, by Yousafzai Malala
10. Beatles Vs. Stones, by John McMillan

The rock and roll revolution continues, with Beatles Vs. Stones seemingly leading the pack. (Of course we know that the rock revolution was overthrown by Hip Hop dynasty, but we'll let some of our customers think otherwise). John McMillan gets a nice write up in The New York Times, with Anythony DeCurtis observing that "Even the most gnarled and intransigent veterans of the Beatles-Stones debates will emerge enlightened by this book."

We're pretty much got all our ducks in a row for a Malcolm Gladwell appearance at the UWM Zelazo Center on Friday, January 31 for David and Goliath. Tickets are $32 including all taxes and fees and should be up sometime tomorrow. In addition, the UWM bookstore will have tickets available at a 10% discount for UWM students, faculty, and staff. I should note that for this event, there is no gift card option, but of course you know the book makes a great gift. More to come later this week.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Aviator's Wife, by Melanie Benjamin
2. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
3. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
4. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain
5. A Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
6. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce
7. Best American Short Stories 2013, edited by Elizabeth Strout
8. All Saints, by Liam Callanan (in store lit group meets Monday, January 6, 7 pm)
9. NOS4A2, by Joe Hill
10. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

We had a very nice event with Ms. Benjamin (or for folks in the know, Ms. Hauser) at the Lynden Sculpture Garden. In another post-wrap up of a Boswell event, Stacie just informed me that a certain author ordered a hat from The Brass Rooster and is being shipped now.

Popping onto the paperback list is NOS4A2, the newest novel from Joe Hill. From Carol Memmott in USA Today: "Like the hell-bent '58 Plymouth Fury in King's 1983 novel Christine, much of the evil in NOS4A2 is linked to the Rolls-Royce Wraith. But let's be clear. This story, its creep factor and propulsive story line are Hill's alone. You're not reading Stephen King. You're reading Joe Hill."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Wild, by Sheryl Strayed
2. From the Top, by Michael Perry
3. How Music Works, by David Byrne
4. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
5. Philomena, by Martin Sixsmith
6. How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough
7. Guys Can be Cat Ladies Too, by Michael Showalter
8. March, by John Lewis
9. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
10. Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin Became a Great Bicycling State, by Jesse Gant and Nicholas Hoffman

As you know from our blog and email newsletter, Michael Perry released From the Top: Brief Transmissions from Tent Show Radio, a series of essays from the Big Top Chautauqua radio program. The closest he came was the Ixonia Fire House, and yesterday he appeared with Judith Siers-Poisson in Menomonie. Don't worry, he'll one day be back in Milwaukee, but for now, you can read this interview with Perry and Julian Emerson in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram.

Hardcover Books for Kids:
1. Jumping Penguins and Laughing Hyenas, by Marije Tolman
2. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
3. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Volume 8: Hard Luck, by Jeff Kinney
5. Maps, by Aleksandra Mizielinska
6. Bird King, by Shaun Tan
7. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
8. Nelson Mandela, by Kadir Nelson
9. Locomotive, by Brian Floca
10. Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan

It's great to see Jannis's pick, Jumping Penguins and Laughing Hyenas, at the top of our list. Julie Danielson in Kirkus Reviews calls this "an unusual piece of nonfiction, blending fantasy and facts in a way that says it would not like to be pigeonholed, thanks very much." It was originally published in The Netherlands.

So it turns out that if you are a nonprofit and want to have a holiday railroad called "The Polar Express", Warner Brothers (not the publisher, not the author, but the producer of the not-very-good movie) demands 30% of the grosses. So the Lake Superior Railroad Museum published their own book and gave up the name. The new book and ride is The Christmas City Express. Maybe that will one day be a classic at the same level. Here's more info on the story in Publishers Weekly. Note that we don't currently have the book but you can buy it at the museum.

If you're wondering why we had sales pops for Wonder and Counting by 7's, they are two books recommended in a Wall Street Journal story this week on adults reading books written for young readers. Another book that popped on our paperback list this week is Sharon Draper's Out of my mind. We would have added Sheila Turnage's Three Times Lucky to the list, but otherwise, we're excited see these books highlighted.

Paperback Books for Kids:
1. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
2. Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
3. Gym Candy, by Carl Deuker
4. Boot Camp, by Todd Strasser
5. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Mixed between a large school order was our continuing sales pop for The Book Thief, currently playing at the Downer Theatre, along with Nebraska. Alexander Payne usually adapts from novels (Election, the Descendants, Sideways), but this time he went with an original screenplay.

Those of you who read Jim Higgins' Journal Sentinel blog know he has been rereading John Updike. That said, he's not the only 20th century American classic he's sinking his teeth into. Regarding the new Roth Unbound, by Claudia Roth Pierpoint, "If you've been tempted to dismiss Philip Roth as a misogynist, a self-hating Jew or simply an old white male dinosaur, Claudia Roth Pierpont's Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books makes a strong argument for giving the novelist another chance.

Also in the printed edition of the Journal Sentinel is Amy Driscoll's interview with James McBride, author of the National Book Award winner, The Good Lord Bird. "We have to find ways to talk about our history that doesn't punch people in the teeth. I'm glad to be alive now--I'm not sure this book would have been readily accepted a few years ago," he says. The original interview was in the Miami Herald.

Critic Mark O'Connell touts The Encyclopedia of Fairy Earth, by Isabel Greenberg. which he calls "an inventive graphic novel about the telling of stories, about making things up and staying alive." Inspiration comes from many different sources, from ancient Greece to Norse legend and the Arabian nights. This originally appeared in Slate.

Say hi to us at the Buy Local gift fair, from 12 noon to 4 pm today at the Lakefront Brewery.

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