Sunday, June 7, 2015

Which Author Showed Up This Week on Both Our Adult and Kids' Bestseller List and Other Questions Posed by the Weekly Annotated Boswell Bestseller List.

What's is on this week's Boswell Books bestseller list this week?

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson
2. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
3. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
5. In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume
6. The Jesus Cow, by Michael Perry (event June 19, 7 pm)
7. Finders Keepers, by Stephen King
8. Nemesis Games, by James S.A. Corey
9. Church of Marvels, by Leslie Parry
10. Palace of Treason, by Jason Matthews

In the Unlikely Event is based on three unlikely plane crashes that happened in Judy Blume's New Jersey hometown in the early 1950s. Melissa M. Firmin in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette wrote: "While Ms. Blume’s first novel in 17 years probably won’t reach legendary status like her other books for children, teens and adults, In the Unlikely Event delivers a mostly satisfying, heartfelt read for her fans." And here's Judy Blume talking to Scott Simon on NPR's Weekend Edition.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Believer, by David Axelrod
2. A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, by Alexandra Petri
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
4. Do No Harm, by Henry Marsh
5. The Art of Forgery, by Noah Charney
6. Hold Still, by Sally Mann
7. Gumption, by Nick Offerman
8. The China Mirage, by James Bradley
9. The Fellowship, by Philip Zaleski
10. So Many Roads, by David Browne

Already shortlisted for the Guardian first book award, Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery are essays about Henry Marsh's life as a neurosurgeon. But while most doctors chronicle their successes, Dr. Marsh is not afraid to touch on failure. Joshua Rothman's review in The New Yorker notes: "The darkness of Marsh’s book isn’t a kind of false modesty; his self-abnegation isn’t disguised self-regard. Instead, his desire for atonement seems to darken his recollections—faced with the irrevocability of his patients’ suffering, he is unable to escape from its shadow."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Meet Me Halfway, by Jennifer Morales
2. Listen and Other Stories, by Liam Callanan
3. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
4. Euphoria, by Lily King
5. We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas (event 6/8, 7 pm)
6. The Meursault Investigation, by Kamel Daoud
7. The Familiar Volume 1, by Mark Z. Danielewski
8. The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain
9. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
10. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

One of the nice things about events is that you learn more about the author's oeuvre. Neal Stephenson, for example, tries not to repeat himself and fans seem to be ok with that. The only exception seems to be Snow Crash, his breakout book, which is also quite funny, a pizza deliveryman who in virtual reality is a warrior prince, attempting to locate a computer virus that is striking down hackers and is, to paraphrase the publishers, threatening infocalypse. He hasn't really done funny again since, but contemplated it at our event. Reviews are still coming in for Stephenson's newest. Here's Cory Doctorow in Boing Boing: "This is a long book, and it has a little of everything in it. There were places where a little felt like too much for me, and I'd bet you feel the same way -- but that we'd disagree about which places dragged. That's really everything you could ask for in science fiction." And note, we have plenty of signed copies of Seveneves.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Leaving Orbit, by Margaret Lazarus Dean
2. The Rainy Season, by Maggie Messitt
3. In Lieu of Flowers, by Nancy Cobb
4. I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
5. You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
6. Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Don Michael Randel
7. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
8. How to Eat, by Thich Nhat Hanh
9. We Should All be Feminists, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
10. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

Finally I am Malala has come out in paperback, in conjunction with some unsettling news. From the International Business Times, Honey George writes that "The Pakistani Taliban attackers who shot Malala Yousafzai have walked free. Eight out of the 10 men, who were supposedly sentenced to life, have been freed. Only two are in prison and the others have been secretly acquitted to take off pressure from international opinion." According to Declan Walsh in The New York Times, "News of the eight men’s release offered an illustration of the problems facing Pakistan’s judicial system, where incompetence, intimidation and expediency can conspire to frustrate justice in even the highest-profile cases."

Books for Kids:
1. Tales from a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen Volume 9, by Rachel Renee Rosen
2. I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
3. The Scavengers, by Michael Perry (Yes, that's the answer!)
4. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
5. The Imaginary, by A.F. Harrol
6. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
7. Paper Towns, by John Green
8. Independent Study, by Joelle Charbonneau
9. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury
10. Waiting is Not Easy, by Mo Willems

It's just about a year since our five hour signing with Rachel Renee Rosen and her daughters for The Dork Diaries at the Greenfield Library, and I'm sure by now someone has broken our record for signing time, but we can still bask in the glow of a great time with the release of Tales From a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen. Here's Michael Cavna's profile in The Washington Post, where they discuss the dork origins "In 2008, when Rachel was trying to come up with a name for her book — a 14-year-old girl’s diary — she thought of her own daughters’ school experiences. 'When Erin and Nikki were younger, they were called dorks at school,' Rachel says. 'One morning, Erin got fed up, and she said at the birthday table, "Dorks are cool!" She embraced it.'" There is nothing like a quote within a quote within a quote to make your head spin, right?

In the Journal Sentinel book page, Jim Higgins writes about Jonathan Kozol's newest, The Theft of Memory: Losing my Father, One Day at a Time. He writes: "Some readers may be surprised to learn that Jonathan Kozol, the educational activist who has written about poverty and race in "Savage Inequalities" and "Rachel and Her Children," has now published a frequently heartwarming, often nostalgic memoir about his late father, Harry."

Cathy Jakicic reviews Stephen King's Finders Keepers. Her take: "Stephen King delivers everything readers of his recent work have coe to expect - mostly good news for King fans and probably a pleasant surprise for those who tend to dismiss his deceptively easy, chatty prose." While definitely not horror, King remains "a master storyteller, building the story's a near unbearable level by the end."

And finally in the Journal Sentinel, Elfrieda Abbe reviews Rebecca Dinerstein's The Sunlit Night, a novel set above the Arctic Circle in Norway. Abbe reports: "Frances and Yasha, two strangers, bond as they sort out their families and themselves, finding solace in each other and the rugged beauty of the landscape, the peaceful solitude, and the array of colors in the changing light. Dinerstein's crystalline prose floats off the page, her storytelling delights and surprises."

And now it's time to work on the email newsletter. No events at Boswell today, so nothing to break up your browsing. I'll have this week's events posted tomorrow morning.

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