1. The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
2. Sycamore Row, by John Grisham
3. The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy
4. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
5. The Gods of Guilt, by Michael Connelly
While there were many new releases this week, there were two hardcovers that blew away the competition. On the fiction list, it’s The Invention of Wings, and we’re glad to note that Kidd will be visiting Milwaukee for a free event on Monday, February 10, at Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall, 7 pm. Here’s Madison writer Bobbi Dumas’s review of Kidd’s new novel on NPR.
1. Little Failure, by Gary Shteyngart
2. Good Stock, by Sanford D’Amato
3. Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, by John Eliot Gardiner
4. Heretics and Heroes, by Thomas Cahill
5. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
On the nonfiction side, the blowout is Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure. His memoir of growing up as a Russian immigrant in New York didn’t get the coveted NYT front page slot, but he did have a great Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross.
While Shteyngart hasn’t visited Milwaukee since his first two novels, three of our top five are from past or future visitors. Am I too much of a broken record to remind folks that Malcolm Gladwell’s ticketed event on January 31 at the UWM Zelazo Center for David and Goliath?
1. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
2. The Odyssey of Rain, by Jon Kolb
3. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
4. Tenth of December, by George Saunders
5. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
I went to Jason and asked why we’re having such a better pop in sales for Ruth Ozeki’s new novel than we had for The Golem and the Jinni. We had a decent sale of the latter in hardcover (12) but it’s not been in our top ten either of its first two weeks, yet it’s outselling Ozeki on both the NYT and Indie Bound bestseller lists. I’m going. But really this week is all about Kate Atkinson. We should see a nice placement on the national bestseller lists next week for Life After Life.
1. Meaty, by Samantha Irby
2. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
3. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
4. The Food Lover’s Guide to Wisconsin, by Martin Hintz
5. Monkey Mind, by Daniel Smith
We had a great time with Samantha Irby for Meaty last night, who didn’t disappoint her fans with a cancellation, despite having a bit of a cold. Earlier in the evening, I saw our friend Elizabeth with a copy of Hyperbole and a Half and a Laurie Notaro backlist title (which also had a bit of a pop this week) and said, “you need to look at Meaty.” The only problem was that she was with her boyfriend, and this was mostly a girls’ night out affair.
Books for Kids
1. Angel de la Luna and the Fifth Glorious Mystery, by M. Evelina Galang
2. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
3. Squirrels on Skis, by J. Hamilton Ray
4. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
5. Heroes of Olympus Volume 4: House of Hades, by Rick Riordan
Evelina Galang also had a great event at Boswell for Angel de la Luna and the Fifth Glorious Mystery, and we were able to make our school events work with just a bit of rescheduling, as our schools were closed on Tuesday, the originally scheduled time.
Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews the newest novel from Madison’s Jennifer Chiaverini, who will be appearing at the Brookfield Public Library on January 20. He writes: “In a sense, Mrs. Lincoln's Rival is an artistic routine with a higher degree of difficulty for the novelist. While not flawless human beings, both Keckley and Van Lew essentially were heroic characters. However Kate Chase Sprague, as Chiaverini writes her, is a complex person: lovely, intelligent and ambitious, but constrained by the roles allowed women in her time; loyal to both her father and their shared cause, the abolition of slavery, but also anxious that her father not remarry and thus diminish her role; barely in her twenties, yet able, at least in her mind, to look at both President Lincoln and his wife with condescension.”
Elfrieda Abbe reviews a group biography of Josephine Baker, Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard and other women who came to prominence in the 1920s. She writes: “Set against a backdrop of the Jazz Age, Judith Mackrell's Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation explores the lives of creative, prominent women who, after the devastation of World War I, took advantage of the era's spirited audacity to reinvent themselves.”
From Mike Fischer, a review of the new set of short stories from Jay Cantor, known for his novels Great Neck, Krazy Kat, and The Death of Che Guevara. In Forgiving the Angel: Four Stories for Franz Kafka, Cantor pays homage to the great writer unappreciated in his own time, offering “dense, dangerous, and difficult” stories that “resist interpretation, raising questions without any answers.”
And finally, there is an Associated Press review of Change-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea. Monica Rhor. The critic notes that 16-year old Fan’s adventures in and outside the colony of B-Mor are “rife with peril and opportunity, travails and triumphs” and “has the fel of a myth told and retold over generations.”