Sunday, January 25, 2015

What's Selling Around These Parts?: Annotated Boswell Boswell Lists for the Week Ending January 24, 2015.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
3. The Big Seven, by Jim Harrison
4. Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant
5. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
6. Etto and Otto and Russell and James, by Emma Hooper
7. Honeydew, by Edith Pearlman
8. The First Bad Man, by Miranda July
9. You Have to F*cking Eat, by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Owen Bronsman
10. The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

For those who wonder if the magic behind a Gone Girl can be duplicated, Riverhead's The Girl on the Train has left the station and is barreling down towards sustained bestsellerdom. It has a combination of indie enthusiasm and chain/internet support. Read more about it in The Wall Street Journal article from Jennifer Maloney. It has the elusive word of mouth that every breakout book is looking for.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Reputation Economy, by Michael Fertik
2. Seventh Generation Earth Ethics, by Patty Loew
3. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
4. Deep Down Dark, by Hector Tobar
5. The Kindness Diaries, by Leon Logothetis
6. Cam't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
7. Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
8. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
10. The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore

It's interesting that the three books that were pretty much consistently outselling everything for us at Christmas (All The Light We Cannot See, Being Mortal, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) are now the three #1s on the hardcover New York Times Bestseller List. Irritatingly enough, Roz Chast is still banished to a rarely printed graphic fiction/nonfiction list, while a book like Humans of New York, which is also all basically graphic, is nonfiction.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, by Lesley Kagen
2. The Undertaking of Tess, by Lesley Kagen
3. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
4. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
5. The Crane Wife, by Patrick Ness
6. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
7. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
8. The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
9. The Martian, by Andy Weir
10. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent

The Crane Wife was one of Jen's holiday gift picks in hardcover and her enthusiasm continues for it in paperback. Her rec: "A story about a beautiful, loving crane and a violent, greedy volcano. Or a story about George, the crane he saves and Kumiko, the mysterious woman George falls in love with. Or a story that starts at the beginning of another story's ending. In his storytelling, Patrick Ness has taken a Japanese myth, mixed it with The Decemberists song "The Crane Wife 1 and 2" and created a beautiful tapestry. It’s an ancient story magically woven into a modern setting full of primal human emotions, a story that does not truly end." And the reissue of Monsters of Men, now with a new short story, is on our kids' list this week.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The New Jim Crow, by Michale Alexander
2. Indian Nations of Wisconsin, by Patty Loew
3. Great Ships on the Great Lakes, by Catherine Green
4. Claudia: Misguided Spirit, by Pamela Hendricks Frauschi
5. Christianity without God, by Daniel Maguire
6. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
7. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
8. How to Eat, by Thich Nhat Hanh
9. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
10. The Men Who United the States, by Simon Winchester

Out week selling books for the Wisconsin History tour at the Milwaukee Public Library accounted for a number of bestsellers. The most fascinating pop was for Great Ships of the Great Lakes. Though the talk was on the subject, the book sold was not written by the speaker, but attendees bought it anyway. Patty Loew led the pack, being that she did two talks, one for Indian Nations of Wisconsin at the library, and another for Seventh Generation Earth Ethics at the Urban Ecology Center, but folks bought both books at both events.

Books for Kids:
1. Cris Plata, by Maia Surdam
2. The Boy in the Black Suit (event 4/13 at East Library)
3. All Kinds of Kisses, by Nancy Tafuri
4. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery
5. Firefight (The Reckoners V2), by Brandon Sanderson
6. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
7. The Book with no Pictures, by B.J. Novak
8. Crankenstein Valentine, by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Dan Santat
9. Star Wars Light Saber Thumb Wrestling
10. Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking V3), by Patrick Ness

As we mentioned recently, many successful picture books with a strong character lead to spinoffs focusing on Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Halloween (with optional books about Mom, Dad, Easter, and the first day of school). Since the original Crankenstein was Halloween themed, that leaves Crankenstein Valentine and the likely to come, Crankenstein's Holiday Gift. While these holiday spinoffs don't always get trade reviews, the original had a very nice Kirkus: " Each setting reveals sly comic elements that both kids and their grown-ups will appreciate. Readers will laugh out loud at the monster's seemingly over-the-top reactions and relate to the many tantrum-provoking situations." Read the rest of the review here.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923, by R.F. Foster, a book about how the Irish people coalesced around a more conservative Catholic bent for a free Ireland after dabbling with such out there concepts such as socialism and feminism. "Everyone could be against the English and for Ireland, without examining too closely what 'Ireland' actually meant. Only after 1916, Foster writes, would 'feminism, socialism, secularism and various forms of pluralism get "discounted,' as Irish society and politics became increasingly Catholic and conservative."

Christi Clancy reviews Melissa Falcon Fields' What Burns Away, a novel about a woman with a pretty good life who reconnects with an old lover on Facebook. "Don't" screams Clancy, but as happens in most stories, she does. Clancy writes: "What Burns Away is that rare mix of well-written literary fiction with the suspense of a spy novel. Falcon Field asks hard questions about aging, innocence, loyalty and the importance of place, while keeping us on the edge of our seat." Fields is coming to Boswell to talk about and read from What Burns Away on Tuesday, March 3, 7 pm.

Reviewed by Jim Higgins is Scott Blackwood's, See How Small, the story (inspired by a true event) of the brutal murder of three teenage girls at an ice cream shop in Austin, Texas, and the haunting aftermath, as lived by many of the folks touched by the incident. Higgins writes: "magine a Tom Waits album, circa Mule Variations, filled with songs about the unsolved murders of three girls haunting and unhinging people in a Texas town, half of them sung by Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies. That would make a fine soundtrack for reading Scott Blackwood's novel See How Small. The murder of four teenagers in an Austin, Texas, yogurt shop in 1991, still unsolved, inspired Blackwood's novel, but this slender book is not In Cold Blood. It also is not The Lovely Bones,"though some trade reviewers have been quick to link the two novels because the spirits of dead girls speak in both books." Blackwood appears at Boswell on Thursday, February 5, 7 pm.

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