Sunday, December 14, 2014

Boswell's Bestsellers for the Week ending December 13, and What a Week it Is! Also, Journal Sentinel Critics Weigh in with Best-Of 2014 Picks.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
3. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
4. Redeployment, by Phil Klay
5. Lila, by Marilynne Robinson
6. The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
7. Blue Horses, by Mary Oliver
8. The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters
9. Moriarty, by Anthony Horowitz
10. Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami

If you think All The Light We Cannot See was outselling everything else last week, you should see this week. That said, it's great to see a pop on Anthony Horowitz's Moriarty, the first sanctioned novel from the Doyle family since House of Silk. Here's a recent story from the Deseret News on the family's tangled web of copyright issues. And this review in the London Telegraph calls Moriarty "Exciting, quirky and true to the spirit of Conan Doyle."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Best Cat Book Ever, by Kate Funk
2. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
4. You are Here, by Marie Kondo
5. Lulu's Christmas Story, by Ludmilla Bollow
6. Deep Down Dark, by Hector Tobar
7. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
8. What If, by Randall Munroe
9. Pabst Farms, by John C. Eastberg (event 12/30)
10. The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book, by America's Test Kitchen

I'd like to take credit for our pop in sales (our best week to date) for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I happen to know it is also on Mel's rec shelf, already a national bestseller, and was featured in our holiday gift guide, which has been giving traction to a number of titles. But I should also note the really great interview that Robin Young did with Marie Kondo's editor, Lisa Westmoreland, on Here on Earth. Similarly, we've been pushing Deep Down Dark as the next Unbroken or The Boys in the Boat, but I bet that Ann Patchett selecting the book as the NPR Morning Edition Book Club pick drove a lot of this pop.

Paperback Fiction:
1. What the Lady Wants, by Renée Rosen
2. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
3. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
4. Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline
5. Brewster, by Mark Slouka
6. At Night We Walk in Circles, by Daniel Alarcón
7. The Circle, by Dave Eggers
8. Someone, by Alice McDermott
9. A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas
10. I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes

So as you can imagine, I've become a bit obsessed with What the Lady Wants. We had a very nice event, and I convinced everyone that we should keep it through Christmas, particularly because so many Milwaukeeans had that ritual of taking the Hiawatha to Chicago and having lunch at the Walnut Room. So I know that the book is fairly regional, but in addition to Chicago, it's important to note that Marshall Field and Company had stores in Texas since the 1970s, and had a good run in Columbus as well, actually two, as they bought the Union and made it a Marshall Fields-owned Halle's store, but only for one year and that probably did not win the hearts of too many in Columbus. So never mind that!

But if you loved your old department store, whatever the city, if you watched Mr. Selfridge, or if you like traditional historical fiction, what we would have called of the carriage trade variety, this book is for you.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
2. Eat Bacon, Don't Jog, by Grant Petersen
3. Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
4. The Heart of Everything that Is, by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
5. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
6. Best American Infographics 2014, edited by Nate Silver
7. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
8. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
9. Dear Mrs. Griggs, by Genevieve McBride and Stephen Byers
10. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

You wouldn't think a Native American history would be the perfect Christmas present, but with the help of Conrad's rec, The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud,** an American Legend had its best week of sales at Boswell since its paperback publication in September. Per Chuck Haga's review in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, "The story of Red Cloud is presented here with all the tension and excitement of a good Western novel, with sketches of greater and lesser Indian fighters, mountain man Jim Bridger, the Pony Express and the Oregon trail, diminishing buffalo herds and spreading cholera."

Books for Younger Kids:
1. Before After, by Matthias Arégui and Anne-Margot Ramstein
2. Countablock, by Christopher Franceschelli with illustrations by Peskimo
3. Little Blue Truck's Christmas, by Alice Schertle, with illustrations by Jill McElmurry
4. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, by Mac Barnett, with illustrations by Jon Klassen
5. Flashlight, by Lizi Boyd
6. Princess in Black, by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, with illustrations by LeUyen Phan
7. Waiting is Not Easy, by Mo Willems
8. This is the World, by M. Sasek*
9. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
10. Hush Little Polar Bear, a board book written and illustrated by Jeff Mack

It's hard to think that a short visit to my old publishing (and college) friend Elise at Candlewick could have helped jump-start two of our biggest kids' successes this fall, but while we probably still would have done just fine with Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, I got the sales pitch that has led me to help it along, and as for Before After, it probably would have been off my radar for much longer. It's tougher for a buyer, who is inundated with great books, but one of her favorites, Lizi Boyd's Flashlight, is having a nice week of sales. She writes: "A young child sets out from a tent with just a flashlight for a little nighttime exploring, while the flashlight illuminates something new on each page, the fun also lies in the many things happening in the dark as well. A gentle nighttime book with a fun twist there is something new to be seen with each viewing."

Oh, and we have a few copies of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole left signed by both Mac and Jon.

One thing both Before After and Flashlight have in common is that they are wordless, and that sometimes frightens adult buyers. But wordless books almost force interaction between whoever is reading the book with whoever else, and what could be better than that to foster imagination, storytelling, and a little bonding?

Books for Older Kids:
1. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
2. Animalium, curated by Jenny Broom and Katie Scott
3. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, by Katherine Rundell
4. Unbroken, the young adult adaptation by Laura Hillenbrand
5. Nuts to You, by Lynne Ray Perkins
6. The Glass Sentence, by S.E. Grove
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, by Jeff Kinney
8. Sisters, by Raina Talgemeier
9. Minecraft Combat Handbook, Scholastic staff, with help from Stephanie Milton
10. Rooftoppers, by Katherine Rundell

Guess who Amie's favorite middle grade writer is at the moment? If you guessed Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms' Katherine Rundell, you could well be correct, though her book of the year might be The Glass Sentence. Like President Obama's family, she's also a fan of Lynne Ray Perkins' Nuts to You. The Kirkus reviewer wrote: "With debut novel Rooftoppers, Rundell showed her capacity to write an entertaining story featuring a courageous female protagonist; this second novel surpasses by virtue of its striking, soaring prose." And what do you know, Rooftoppers also shows up, at #10.

Don't miss Terry Gross's interview with Jacqueline Woodson on Fresh Air for Brown Girl Dreaming. I listened to it twice, and not totally accidentally. 

The Journal Sentinel book section features their critic's ten favorites of 2014. Here are the lists. You can read more about them on the Journal Sentinel website (each name is linked to their feature), or in your Tap section of today's paper, of course. We hope to have a display up by tomorrow with the featured titles.

Jim Higgins:
Broken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
Charity and Sylvia, by Rachel Hope Cleves
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, by Chris Bohjalian
Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher
The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
The Scraps Book, by Lois Ehlert
The Shelf: Adventures in Extreme Reading, by Phyllis Rose
The String Diaries, by Stephen Lloyd Jones (both Lauren Beukes and Stephen Lloyd Jones are published by the Mulholland imprint)
When Mystical Creatures Attack, by Kathleen Founds

Mike Fischer:
Song of the Shank, by Jeffrey Renard Allen
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein
Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, by John Lahr
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
Family Furnishings, by Alice Munro
In the Light of What We Know, by Zia Haider
Lila, by Marilynne Robinson
All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews
Revolution, by Deborah Wiles

Carole E. Barrowman:
I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes
The Red Road, by Denise Mina
The Voices, by F. R. Tallis
North of Boston, by Elizabeth Elo
Forty Acres, by Dwayne Alexander Smith
The Glass Sentence, by S.E. Grove
The Intern's Handbook, by Shane Kuhn
Revival, by Stephen King
The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
The Book of You, by Claire Kendall

*I was a little surprised to see This is the World targeted to ages 10 and up. Seemed surprising to me, so I went to look at the individual books in the series, which are indeed targeted to ages 4 through 8. Go figure.

**The Heart of Everything That Is is actually #18 on the nonfiction paperback bestseller list, so needless to say, momentum is on our side for this one.

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