Sunday, June 22, 2014

Boswell's Bestseller List for the Week Ending June 21, 2014, with Plenty of Asides and Annotations.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
2. Written in my Own Heart's Blood, by Diana Gabaldon
3. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
4. Beowulf, translated by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. The One and Only, by Emily Giffin
6. Top Secret Twenty One, by Janet Evanovich
7. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
8. Midnight in Europe, by Alan Furst
9. The Serpent of Venice, by Christopher Moore
10. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler

It will be interesting to see how Amazon's playing around with J.K. Rowling's The Silkworm plays out on the bestseller lists. Right now, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target are all buying promotional ads, so Amazon effectively caved when the book came out. Here's Lily Rothman at Time magazine with her take on the subject. On the book itself, Entertainment Weekly's Thom Geier gives it a B+: "Despite the modern setting, references to texting, and frank depictions of sex and violence, both Strike books are stubbornly old-school in structure: In each, our hero assembles the suspects in one place for a Poirot-like speech of elementary deduction. Though the revelation of whodunit may be conventional, Rowling spins a compulsively entertaining yarn."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Future of the Mind, by Michio Kaku2. Hard Choices, by Hillary Rodham Clinton
3. Carsick, by John Waters
4. The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page
5. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty
6 .Milwaukee Then and Now, by Sandra Ackerman (event MPL 7/29, 6 pm)
7. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast (the reprint is in!)
8. How Not to be Wrong, by Jordan Ellenberg
9. Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, by Sam Kean
10. The Novel, by Michael Schmidt

We've got a nice staff rec from Jen on Carsick, which has also hitched a ride on The New York Times bestseller list. Here's an interview with Waters by John McMurtrie in the San Francisco Chronicle. It's repurposed from an interview at area bookstore "Green Arcade." Don't you think they mean "Green Apple?" I do. On Waters and hitchhiking: "I'm hoping to bring it back because there is no such thing almost. I think it's a green idea. It is an adventuresome idea. And it is fun to do it, it is liberating to do it because you don't know what's going to happen."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
2. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
3. Saving Kandinsky, by Mary "Peetie" Basson
4. Americanah, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
5. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent
6. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
7. The Dog Year, by Ann Garvin (event 6/23)
8. TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann
9. Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri
10. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

One thing I have noticed is the Madison seems to have a higher percentage of their local writers get picked up by national presses (and I'm not talking about AWP folks connected to UW's esteemed writing program) than do Milwaukeeans, despite being a smaller market. This came to mind as I read Susan Gloss (Vintage)interview Ann Garvin (The Dog Year) in blog, The Debutante Ball. The good part of that is that Madison's only a little more than an hour away. The bad thing is that the competitive side of me is jealous!

From that interview, Garvin on something surprising: "I love stories of survival. I love to wonder how I would do in a life or death situation. The plane crash, desert island, lost in a car in the snow, on a raft in the ocean. It’s a total fascination of mine, that battle with few resources and your wits. Let me be clear, I’m fascinated from afar, I like to wonder about it while drinking coffee in my robe. I’m not that person who puts myself in those positions but I do wonder, If I was on a raft in the ocean with only a chip clip and a tube of chap stick, could I survive."

I would argue that The Dog Year is a story about survival. Garvin appears Monday, June 23, 7 pm, at Boswell.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Knocking on Heaven's Door, by Katy Butler
2. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
3. America's Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace, by James Marten
4. Physics of the Future, by Michio Kaku
5. Shakespeare Saved my Life, by Laura Bates
6. Lawrence in Arabia, by Scott Anderson
7. Physics of the Impossible, by Michio Kaku
8. I Know why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
9. One Summer, by Bill Bryson
10. The Food Lovers' Guide to Wisconsin, by Martin Hintz

Jason mentioned to me something about Laura Bates' Shakespeare Saved my Life, and I wanted to reinforce that this Sourcebooks title has sold close to 100 copies at Boswell and every book club that reads it comes back to thank Anne for the recommendation. We are currently the #1 seller of the book since its release on Above the Treeline, and that's including other stores that hosted events with the author. Cool!

Books for Kids:
1. Ruin and Rising V3, by Leigh Bardugo
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
3. Love Letters to the Dead, by Ava Dellaira
4. The Truth About Alice, by Jennifer Mathieu
5. The Fault in our Stars, by John Green
6. Copper Sun, by Sharon Draper
7. Siege and Storm V2, by Leigh Bardugo
8. Monument 14, by Emmy Laybourne
9. Shadow and Bone V1, by Leigh Bardugo
10. The Pilot and the Little Prince, by Peter Sís

We've had great sales on Peter Sís's newest, The Pilot and the Little Prince. Sís is a favorite of several booksellers here, and of customers too; it has not been unusual to see someone buying multiples. From the starred Booklist review: "Sís never misses an opportunity to hit readers with the power of pure image, as in a two-page spread of a plane flying over a geography of faces, sure to live on in many a child's imagination. Sis' masterful and moving sense of design never fails." And here's an interview with the author/illustrator from NPR.

It's Summerfest break week for the Journal Sentinel book section. We're taking our own Summerfest break, and only hosting two authors during the festival. On June 30 (which is actually Summerfest break day), we've got the legendary Jonathan Lethem for the paperback tour of Dissident Gardens, while on July 5, we're hosting once-localish David Kalis, author of Vodka Shot, Pickle Chaser: A True Story of Risk, Corruption, and Self-Discovery Amid the Collapse of the Soviet Union

That said, Higgins recommends three new kids' books:
--The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka
--Chu's First Day of School, written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex
--National Wildlife Federation's World of Birds: A Beginner's Guide, illustrated by Kim Kurki.

Now just about every time I mention part-time Wisconsinite Neil Gaiman, one of you asks me if he'll ever come to Milwaukee. Can I mention that his collaborator, Adam Rex came, and we had a very nice day of schools for Cold Cereal, which I read? I'll never think about Lucky Charms the same way again.

And one last thing--today's FRONT PAGE of The New York Times Book Review features Mitchell Jackson's essay on Song of the Shank, by Jeffery Renard Allen. Mr. Allen read at Boswell two weeks ago, and we told you this book was major. The book may be a paperback original, but the print quality of the first edition was hardcover worthy (not newsprint, in other words), and yes, we've got signed copies.

From Jackson: "Within the past year, stories about slavery have received grand critical praise...while both were ceebrated, they also engendered a fair amount of criticism, arguments that often amounted to myopic cynics questioning whether the culture needed another story about slaves. what McBride, McQueen, and now Allen remind us that the answer last year is the answer this year and will be the answer next year: yes."

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