Sunday, March 29, 2015

Annotated Boswell Bestsellers for Week Ending March 28, 2015, Plus Journal Sentinel Book News,

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. The Whites, by Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt
3. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
4. A Reunion of Ghosts, by Judith Claire Mitchell (event is Wed. April 1)
5. Leaving Berlin, by Joseph Kanon
6. The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
7. Epitaph, by Mary Doria Russell
8. The Stranger, by Harlan Coben
9. A Dangerous Place, by Jacqueline Winspear
10. Hausfrau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Harlan Coben is one of those exceptions that prove the rule, a series author who found greater commercial success in stand-alones. The Stranger features a classic everyman who is confronted by a stranger with a secret involving his wife, that she faked her pregnancy. When he tells his wife, she disappears, and Price finds out that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Coben talked to Mark Rubinstein about the book for The Huffington Post.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
2. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
4. Good Stock, by Sanford D'Amato
5. The Cooking School Cookbook, by America's Test Kitchen
6. The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book, by America's Test Kitchen
7. The Bar Book, by Jeffrey Morganthaler
8. H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
9. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
10. Pioneer Girl, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The annotated Pioneer Girl leaps to #2 on The New York Times bestseller. A lot of media graciously waited until the book was back in stock at retailers. Here's an essay from April Bernard in The New York Review of Books about the project. From her essay: "I learned that there has long been a full-blown Wilder industry, with branches to be found at the South Dakota Historical Society, something called the Pioneer Girl Project (producers of this volume), the Little House Heritage Trust, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historical Home and Museum in Missouri, the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota, and the university presses of, among others, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. Some interesting questions of historical accuracy and interpretation do arise in this volume—chiefly, for me, to what extent Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, edited and rewrote her mother’s prose (not nearly as much as others have speculated, is my conclusion)."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Listen and Other Stories, by Liam Callanan
2. What Burns Away, by Melissa Falcon Field
3. The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain
4. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler
5. The Accident, by Chris Pavone
6. Mr. Palomar, by Italo Calvino
7. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
8. The Land of Decoration, by Grace McCleen
9. Euphoria, by Lily King
10. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

I could just recap a whole bunch of events and be done with it, but we can't not mention Liam Callanan's lovely launch for Listen and Other Stories. In addition to a full house (as Mel mentioned in her blog, one of the largest of these sorts of launches that we've done), we offered to host the after party as well, which we've only done once before. Another store told us that they close their store for all sorts of parties, and that anyone who is anyone is now planning a birthday there. I am guessing that said store closes before 9, but for the right setup, we might be amenable, especially on a Saturday.

Callanan discussed his new collection with Mitch Teich on Lake Effect. He noted: "I still feel like short stories are really concerned with a moment; the moment in particular when everything changes for a character. After that moment, nothing is the same as it was for the character at the core of it." Listen (of course) to the whole interview on WUWM's website.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Unlikely Heroes, by Jennifer S. Holland
2. Unlikely Friendships, by Jennifer S. Holland
3. Isaac's Storm, by Erik Larson
4. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
5. The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
6. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
7. We Should All be Feminists, by Chmananda Ngozi Adichie
8. Milwaukee Mafia, by Gavin Schmitt
9. Fresh Off the Boat, by Eddie Huang
10. How to Walk, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Finally an appearance by Fresh Off the Boat, the memoir that inspired the new hit comedy series on ABC. But don't expect the heartwarming riffs of the series from the source material. Brian Hen of The Korea Times writes: "Where Huang’s memoir is raw and gritty, the show is funny and heart warming. Both are entirely different products at their core and are aimed at different audiences. When he lost most of his creative control to ABC it was honestly for the best. Maybe not in his eyes, but for many Asian Americans who have struggled to find a positive voice in American pop culture, it felt like a step in the right direction." And the good news is the show will help more people discover the memoir.

Books for Kids:
1. In Mary's Garden, by Tina and Carson Kugler
2. Home, by Carson Ellis
3. The Dog and the Piglet, by Jennifer S. Holland
4. Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan
5. The Monkey and the Dove, by Jennifer S. Holland
6. The Penderwicks in the Spring, by Jeanne Birdsall
7. The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak
8. The Island of Dr. Libris, by Chris Grabenstein
9. The Leopard and the Cow, by Jennifer S. Holland
10. Llama Llama Easter Egg, by Anna Dewdney

There are certain kinds of books that are classified as books or not, depending on whether Amie or I buy them. For the most part, The New York Times excludes them from bestseller reports but I think Bookscan does not. The problem is that when you buy sticker books (or even board books) from a vendor like Melissa and Doug or House of Marbles, a lot of folks use the item number, instead of the EAN number, and so Bookscan can't really tabulate the purchases. Whenever we can, we use the latter, but I still removed an Easter sticker book from our printed list today, clearing the way for a still Easter-themed Llama Llama Easter Egg.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jon M. Gilbertson reviews Billie Holliday: The Musician and the Myth, from Jon Szwed. He writes: "When an artist's life is eventful, the most responsible biographer can accidentally or deliberately neglect the art, and the life of jazz singer Billie Holiday was incredibly eventful in the 44 years between her 1915 birth into crushing Baltimore poverty and her 1959 death in a Harlem hospital bed."

Editor Chris Foran reviews four baseball books for younger readers, including Remember My Name: My Story From First Pitch to Game Changer, by Mo'ne Davis with Hilary Beard. The book may be recommended for readers 8-12 but a lot of adults are excited about Mo'ne's story, including at least one host on Wisconsin Public Radio. Other books in Foran's column are Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues, by Matt Tavares, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers, by Matt Nadel, a young baseball blogger, and Pinstripe Pride: The Inside Story of the New York Yankees, by Marty Appel.

Foran has kept busy! He's also got his annual roundup of baseball books for older folks (older than 10, anyway).
--Handy Andy: The Andy Pafko Story, by Joe Niese (can't order at the moment, alas)
--Billy Martin: Flawed Genius, by Bill Pennington
--Out at Home: The True Story of Glenn Burke, Baseball's First Openly Gay Player, by Glenn Burke with Erik Sherman
--Gil Hodges: A Hall of Fame Life, by Mort Zachter (and this one's textbook priced, so we're not able to sell it at what they consider list)

Wednesday's Journal Sentinel food section (Fresh) had similar foodie roundups. Here's their roundup of 11 foodie books for kids and foodie fiction selections too.

Plus Mark Johnson reports on the possible end for the Dictionary of American Regional English project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For over 50 years, they have been compiling words from over 1000 communities across the country. The last printed volume (Z) came out in 2012, but with so many changes, digital updates were always in progress. But cuts to state budgets mean, well, read the article.

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