Sunday, January 5, 2014

Boswell's Bestsellers for the Time Being, Being the Week Ending January 4, 2014.

Paperback Fiction:
1. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
2. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
3. Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple
4. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich
5. Dear Life, by Alice Munro

Wow! What a hole in the release schedules. All these folks in the store for this "week of Saturdays," as I call it, and almost nothing came out. The big story was Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being, where sold more copies in our first week than we did in any single month of the hardcover's release (and we sold 28 copies, a perfectly respectable number). Ozeki's book is also our February selection for the in-store lit group, meeting on Monday, February 3, 7 pm.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Think Happy, Be Happy, by Workman Publishing
2. Hyperbole and a Half, by Ally Brosh
3. The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century, by Peter Breier
4. Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, by Rebecca Solnit
5. My Life with the Green and Gold, by Jessie Garcia

Here's an interesting story about how Think Happy, Be Happy became a hit on our impulse table. We actually skipped the book, an odd-trim-sized book that didn't even warrant an author. Then Workman sent us several comp copies and we thought, well, I guess they meant for us to try them out.  Almost immediately, we sold through our copies. I usually scoff at the "try it, you'll like it" pitch, but this really was an offer we couldn't refuse, to mix together several seventies cliches.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
2. S, by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
3. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
4. And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
5. The Circle, by Dave Eggers

Elizabeth Gilbert's novel had a particularly unusual sales pattern at Boswell. We had a nice pop of sales in October and a decent holiday sale in December. But between that, we had zero sales in November.  That is despite this glowing profile in The New York Times from Claudia Dreifus, which appeared on November 5. On the subject of The Signature of All Things, Gilbert said "the only way to honor my success was to try to write the most ambitious novel I could...I wanted to play in the field of the writers I most love: Dickens primarily, George Eliot.”

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Good Stock, by Sanford D'Amato
2. The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
3. Isa Does It, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
4. Knitting Yarns, edited by Ann Hood
5. Henri Le Chat Noir, by William Braden

Isa Chandra Moskowitz has had a good run at Boswell with Veganmicon having sold 15 copies in 2013 alone. Perhaps the new year inspires healthy eating--this week was had our best sales to date of Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week.

Books for Kids:
1. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
2. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
3. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
5. Divergent, by Veronica Roth

As our friend Olivia likes to tell me, John Green and Ransom Riggs were friends at Kenyon College. And then she pointed me to this video.

This is such a strangely powerful video. Now wonder folks are so obsessed.

As I mentioned yesterday, this Sunday's Journal Sentinel features a profile of M. Evelina Galang, appearing at Boswell on this coming Tuesday for Angel de La Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery.

It looks like the reviews on the book page will be some of the best from other newspapers. Usually I wait until my print edition comes so I can post them but I had to write this early, what with the 6 am start to this morning's inventory. That said, Higgins has a fun piece on his 2013 reading. 101 books--he put my number to shame. It's 74, by the way. I don't think I could possibly get above 80, but a man can dream, right? His favorite book? What do you know? It's this week's #1 hardcover fiction bestseller.

I was just saying to our friend Bob that it's never too late to start writing down the books you read. And that's my new year's advice to you too. You'll thank me in ten years.

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