Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cold, Snow, Cold, Cold, Malcolm Gladwell, Snow, Cold--Boswell Bestsellers for the Week Ending February 1, 2014

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Crane Wife, by Patrick Ness
2. The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd (free event at Centennial Hall, 2/10/14, 7 pm)
3. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
4. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
5. Carthage, by Joyce Carol Oates

It's a good week for the Penguin division of Penguin Random House this week, with three of our top five sellers. As I mentioned before, we had a particularly wonderful time with Patrick Ness for The Crane Wife, but how could you not when the shift that evening was entirely staffed by groupies. We had some folks up from Chicago (Thanks, Patrick Ness's outreach and possibly Facebook). If you missed our event, here's a nice profile of Ness in The Day/Connecticut, which comes out of New London. In it you'll learn that like John Irving, Ness has the last sentence in his head when he starts a story.

Joyce Carol Oates's Carthage is named after a small community in the Adirondacks, rocked by the disappearance of a young girl. The town is further shaken when the evidence starts to point to a decorated Iraq War hero. Liesl Schillinger in The New York Times Book Review writes that "Oates shows how perilous it is to assign guilt, and how hard it is to draw the line between victim and perpetrator in a blurred moral landscape in which every crime, on the battlefield or on the home front, is a crime of conscience."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
2. I'll Take You There, by Greg Kot
3. Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
4. Good Stock, by Sanford D'Amato
5. My Promised Land, by Ari Shavit

 Glitter and Glue (a memoir), Doug Most's The Race Underground (on subway building), Pedro Ferreira's The Perfect Theory (on relativity) and Amy Chua and Jeb Rubenfeld's The Triple Package, which was featured on the front page of The New York Times Book Review. Hey, I almost have Tuesday's blog post done!
Aside from Greg Kot's event, this week's top five are fall releases. That's a bit surprising to me, as I thought we'd either see a pop on something released on January 27th, or perhaps a continued run on a January release. Perhaps this Tuesday bodes better--among Jason's picks are Kelly Corrigan's

Needless to say, Malcolm Gladwell sort of overwhelmed the week. Together with UWM Bookstore, we hosted a great crowd at the UWM Zelazo Center. Mr. Gladwell was amenable to picture posing, and among the assortments is this shot, with the Boswellians.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline
2. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
3. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
4. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple

To my knowledge, it's Christina Baker Kline's first week on top of our paperback fiction chart for Orphan Train. After a lot of enthusiastic reads from booksellers in hardcover, Kline sent out hand-written thank yous to many accounts. Here's Kline's interview on NPR. Coincidentally, the orphan train was a feature of another novel I read last year, Laura Moriarty's The Chaperone, but that angle was overshadowed by the Louise Brooks story.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
2. The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
3. Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell
4. What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell
5. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell

The Glass Castle's appearance on high school reading lists led to its inclusion on an otherwise Gladwell-filled wrap up. #6 on the list was My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor.

Books for Kids:
1. No One Else Can Have You, by Kathleen Hale
2. More than This, by Patrick Ness
3. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
4. Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo
5. Locomotive, by Brian Floca

Yesterday's post was about the ALA awards and both the Caldecott (Locomotive) and Newbery (Flora and Ulysses) awards showed up on this week's bestseller list. What we didn't mention is that while DiCamillo did not come for this book, we were lucky enough to host her with the Milwaukee Public Library several years ago for Bink and Gollie.  Honestly, it seems like yesterday. But no, we don't have signed copies.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins writes about Barbara Ali's 101 Things to Do in Milwaukee Parks. "With a practical mom's hat on, she's organized the book alphabetically by activities, from "Adaptive Sports & Play" and "Archery" through "Yoga" and "Zoo." Her book's not the only source of information on many of these activities — the Milwaukee County Parks system has a detailed, map-filled website. But her book is so friendly and easy to use, it would be a natural for businesses and welcome wagons to include in kits for newcomers to Milwaukee." Our event is this Friday, February 7, 7 pm, at Boswell.

On the blog, there's a short writeup of Redefining Girly, part of the Lynden Sculpture Garden Women's Speaker Series on Wednesday, February 5. This is a ticketed event. $25 (or $20 for Lynden members) gets you admission to the event, a copy of the book, and light refreshments). Here is the interview with Melissa Atkins Wardy on the subject of Redefining Girly in Metroparent.

Speaking of parks, in her Art City column, Mary-Louise Schumacher looked at Catie Marron's City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts, earlier on the week.  Schumacher writes: "This book explores 18 city parks around the world from personal perspectives. The individual essays by writers such as Zadie Smith, Candice Bergen and Bill Clinton reveal more about the writers than the parks, though the overall collection makes the point that these places are important touchstones."

In today's print edition only, Joy Tipping of the Dallas Morning News reviews Nancy Horan's Under the Wide and Starry Sky, noting that "few writers are as masterful as she is at blending carefully researched history with the novelist's art."

Also in the print edition, Los Angeles Times critic H├ęctor Tobar calls the new novel by Okey Ndibe, Foreign Gods Inc. "unforgettable." The protagonist is a failed immigrant, a New York City cabdriver who doesn't send enough money home to his family and is called back home. Tobar doesn't like the New York part but the novel "springs to life" when Ike returns to Africa.

And finally, there's a profile of Caldicott winner Kate DiCamillo from the Tampa Bay Times. Piper Castillo also notes that DiCamillo is also the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress.

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