Sunday, February 8, 2015

Boswell's Annotated Bestsellers, Week Ending February 7, 2015

Thank you, Neil! We needed a book like this in a messy week in February.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman
2. Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
3. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. See How Small, by Scott Blackwood
5. The First Bad Man, by Miranda July

People came out of the woodwork to buy Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning: Short Fiction and Disturbances (but I should note we are out of signed copies), which probably bodes well for his nonfiction collection coming out this fall. Gary K. Wolfe in the Chicago Tribune writes "The best stories here, however, are in Gaiman's own fairly dark and somber territory. Of most interest to Gaiman fans will be the collection's one original story, 'Black Dog,' which features his American Gods protagonist Shadow Moon in an engrossing ghost story set in rural England."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
2. Milwaukee Wisconsin: A Photographic Portrait, by Anne Bingham
3. Daily Gratitute: 365 Days of Reflection, from National Geographic
4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
5. Pabst Farms, by John C. Eastberg

So I thought, do I give a shout out to this Daily Gratitude or not? We actually had a good sale of this book in December, indicating that folks really bought it. I looked at our transaction line and it was rung up multiple times, but then when I looked closer, it was in fact all to the same person. The truth is that in February, sometimes there's not much to say. We've got a lot of exciting books on display but had one day of pretty much nonexistent traffic (Sunday) and at least two more where it was either too cold or too much snow to do get browsers. I do know that both movies playing at the Downer are hits but are in wide release, meaning folks are coming from very far to go to them. And here's the truth, the further away people come from to either go to the Downer Theater (or eat at one of the restaurants), the more likely they will come to the bookstore.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill (in store lit group April 6)
2. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
3. The Mount, by Carol Emshwiller
4. Still Life with Bread Crumbs, by Anna Quindlen
5. Saving Kandinsky, by Mary Basson

The pop for Carol Emshwiller's The Mount is because the science fiction book club is reading it (I assume on March 9, I'll correct that if it's wrong). But it's also interesting that the book is published by Small Beer Press, the publisher that did Kelly Link's short stories Stranger Things Happen. Now I'm expecting her new book, Get in Trouble, will skirt the bottom of the New York Times bestsellers next week (it was in the 6-10) range for us.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. How to be a Heroine, by Samantha Ellis (per Jane's rec in our email newsletter)
2. Fiddle Tunes for Ukulele, by Lil' Rev and John Nicholson (event 2/12, 7 pm)
3. The Value of Nothing, by Raj Patel
4. How to Love, by Thich Nhat Hanh
5. We Should All be Feminists, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All be Feminists is a TED talk!


 Books for Kids:
1. The Terrible Two, by Jory John and Mac Barnett
2. The Hollow Earth, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
3. Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt
4. The Bone Quill #2, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
5. Goodnight Moon board book, by Margaret Wise Brown
6. Unwanteds #5: Island of the Shipwrecks, by Lisa McMann
7. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
8. I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry
9. I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
10. The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds (in store lit group 3/2, event at East Library 4/13)

We were chatting with Carole Barrowman, who let us know that the third installment of The Hollow Earth saga, The Book of Beasts, should be out this summer. And I should also congratulate both Mac Barnett and Jason Reynolds, whose books were lauded at the ALA awards. Mac Barnett wrote Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, which received a Caldecott Honor for its illustration; the winner was Dan Santat for The Adventures of Beekle. And Reynolds won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award for When I Was the Greatest. Congratulate him on April 13, at our East Library event (6:30 pm).

In the Journal Sentinel book section, Jim Higgins writes about Langston Hughes' Weary Blues, the reissue with a new introduction from Kevin Young. Young writes: ""Hughes was in fact the first to write poetry in the blues form. He was the first to realize the blues are plural — to see in their complicated irony and earthy tone the potential to present a folk feeling both tragic and comic, one uniquely African American, which is to say, American."

The profile is more description. Higgins saves his praise for an accompanying essay Langston Hughes.

From Elfrieda Abbe, a review of Thus Were There Faces, a new collection of stories from Silvina Ocampo. NYRB Classics is more known for their reissues of important but underappreciated works. This is a collection of stories from an Argentine writer who died in 1993, and so it's sort of in the spirit of the collection. Abbe writes: "Reading these extraordinary tales, I found myself at times disoriented, horrified or unsettled, but always completely absorbed. With subversive humor and unflinching nerve Ocampo never averts her gaze from the dark side of human behavior."

And finally, Duane Dudek profiles Paul Fischer whose new book, A Kim Jong-Il Production, chronicles the attempt to raise the profile of North Korea's Soviet style film industry by kidnapping a prominent South Korean director and his leading lady. Dudek writes "it occurs in the context of a backstory that in cinematic terms could also be considered a foreshadowing of recent North Korean threats of reprisal over The Interview, a film which portrays the assassination of current leader Kim Jong Un."

No comments: