Sunday, April 26, 2015

Annotated Boswell Bestsellers for the Week Ending April 25, 2015 Plus the Journal Sentinel Book Reviews.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison
3. The Dream Lover, by Elizabeth Berg (ticketed lunch 5/14 at Wisconsin Club)
4. Memory Man, by David Baldacci
5. The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro
6. At the Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen
7. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, by Jennifer Chiaverini
8. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
9. The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy (event 4/29 at Boswell)
10. Falling in Love, by Donna Leon

For a review of The Dead Lands, see Carole E. Barrowman's take below, when we look at the Journal Sentinel book page. Kirkus has a review of David Baldacci's Memory Man, concluding that "although the crimes and their perpetrators are far-fetched, readers will want to see Decker back on the printed page again and again." And here's Publisher's Weekly's thoughts on Donna Leon's newest, Falling in Love: "Leon’s Venice is peopled with urbane, sophisticated characters, and she flavors the novel with insights into stagecraft, Tosca, and the storied La Fenice opera house. Series aficionados as well as those who appreciate elegant settings and cultured conversation should find this a deeply satisfying escape."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Edible Memory, by Jennifer A. Jordan
2. Youthnation, by Matthew Britton
3. Tapping Solution for Pain Relief, by Nicolas Ortner
4. The Road to Character, by David Brooks
5. Missoula, by Jon Krakauer
6. Lentil Underground, by Liz Carlisle
7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
8. H is for Hawk, by Helen MacDonald
9. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
10. Between You and Me, by Mary Norris

David Brooks' The Road to Character debuted on The New York Times bestseller list at #1 and it's not doing bad at Boswell either. The Washington Post features this review from Michael Gerson: "The literary achievement of The Road to Character is inseparable from the virtues of its author,,,The voice of the book is calm, fair and humane. The highlight of the material is the quality of the author’s moral and spiritual judgments. Across the pages, Brooks is a reliable guide and a pleasant companion."

Paperback Fiction:
1. What's Done in the Dark, by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
2. Let the Church Say Amen, by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
3. Imaginary Things, by Andrea Lochen
4. The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain
5. Meet me Halfway, by Jennifer Morales
6. Euphoria, by Lily King
7. Listen and Other Stories, by Liam Callanan
8. Family Affair, by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
9. No Book but the World, by Leah Hager Cohen
10. The Martian, by Andy Weir

We had a very nice day with ReShonda Tate Billingsley at the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority luncheon at the ICC. In addition to the featured title, What's Done in the Dark, attendees were particularly interested in Let the Church Say Amen, which is due for release soon. It's on the shelf, as we say. And folks were also excited about Billingsley's next book Mama's Boy. Here's the setup: ""When her son is accused of a violent crime, church first lady Gloria Jones finds herself battling his prosecutor--as well as her own inner demons--to save him."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Call Me Captain, by Susan Scott
2. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
3. Lady in Gold, by Anne Marie O'Connor
4. Multiplication is for White People, by Lisa Delpit
5. The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
6. The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan
7. The Art of War Visualized, by Jessica Hagy (event 4/27 at Boswell)
8. How to be Interesting, by Jessica Hagy
9. How to Walk, by Thich Nhat Hanh
10. One Pot, by the editors of Martha Stewart Living

We've had a nice pop for The Opposite of Loneliness, in part due to a strong recommendation from Carly Lenz. She writes: "This posthumous collection of short stories and personal reflections is a testament to the extraordinary literary talents of Marina Keegan, a promising young writer who tragically passed away days after her Yale graduation. Her writing is relevant, realistic, funny, and touching."

Books for Kids:
1. World Without Princes, by Soman Chainani
2. The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
3. The Tapper Twins Go to War with Each Other, by Geoff Rodkey
4. Nothing but Drama, by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
5. In Mary's Garden, by Tina and Carson Kugler
6. Blessings in Disguise, by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
7. Rumor Central, by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
8. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
9. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, 75th anniversary, by Virginia Lee Burton
10. I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson

So let's check in on The Tapper Twins Go to War With Each Other. Geoff odkey was in Milwaukee doing schools but in order to get him to his next event, we did not have a public event. Enthusiasm was strong from both schools, who had never before had an author visit through our program. Once you do it, you know how great it is. The (UK) Guardian has reader reviews and Amazed Earthling wrote: "This picture filled book gets five out of stars from me as it is an entertaining and often hilarious read for both boys and girls 9+. There are annotated photographs and even texting threads used to illustrate the story which was a format that works well with the pace of the book. (Warning boys, there are many derogatory remarks about males in here but don't let that put you off!)"

Still available with a slot each is Max Brallier's Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway, on May 12, and The Nightsiders: The Orphan Army, by Jonathan Maberry on May 14. Contact Phoebe for details.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews On the Move: A Life, by Oliver Sacks. The neurologist behind the books The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings writes a sequel to his childhood memoir, Uncle Tungsten. Higgins notes: "As this memoir makes clear, the Whitmanesque Sacks truly contains multitudes: the compassionate scientist who writes beautifully and travels to Mexico to look at ferns has also been a motorbike buff, a competitive weightlifter, and in the past, a drug abuser."

Jim Higgins also reviews the new Grateful Dead biography from David Browne, So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead. Per Higgins, the "new book arrives in time for the Dead's 50th anniversary, which the band's surviving members will celebrate by playing a few stadium shows this summer." Browne chronicles the band's long, strange, trip, through the development of their sound and their use of now-commonplace techniques such as income being driven more by tours than record sales, and directly building relationships with fans. Per Higgins, this is "an engaging account of an idiosyncratic American musical institution."

Early Warning, the second novel in the new trilogy from Jane Smiley, early warning, gets a great write-up from Christi Clancy. "The unconventional form of Smiley's undertaking (an Iowa farm family's journey through the 20th century) works for a long, sprawling epic, because the first two books int he trilogy somehow capture the feel and aestetic of an American family. You meet the Langdons in Some Luck, but by the time you finish Early Warning, you'll feel like you are one of them."

And finally, in advance of our event with Benjamin Percy on Wednesday, April 29 (7 pm), comes Carole E. Barrowman's review in the Journal Sentinel of The Dead Lands. Barrowman notes that "Minnesota writer and former Marquette University instructor Benjamin Percy imagines the historical journey of Lewis and Clark as a post-apocalyptic quest with monsters and magic merging the past and the future in astonishing ways." She observes that "along with parallels to Lewis and Clark's real journey, Percy's story is layered with allusions to other quest narratives and his prose, like his Lewis character, displays a kind of alchemy all its own."

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