Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Annotated Boswell Bestseller List for the Week Ending August 15, 2015

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Days of Awe, by Lauren Fox
2. The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman
3. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. The Girl on a Train, by Paula Hawkins
5. Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee
6. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
7. Paris, He Said, by Christine Sneed
8. Of Irish Blood, by Mary Pat Kelly
9. In the Dark Places, by Peter Robinson
10. The English Spy, by Daniel Silva
11. Barbara the Slut and Other People, by Lauren Holmes (event 9/14)
12. Speak, by Louisa Hall

Alice Hoffman's move to historical fiction has generated her third hit in a row. Per the publisher, The Marriage of Opposites is a love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro--the Father of Impressionism. I love the fact that Hoffman's early novels were called domestic magical realism, and now she's come full circle, with Sarah Mayer in O, The Oprah Magazine comparing the work to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Broadcasting Happiness, by Michelle Gielan
2. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
4. The Contemporaries, by Roger White
5. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
6. Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
7. Wisconsin Supper Clubs, by Ron Faiola
8. Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter
9. Milwaukee Then and Now, by Sandra Ackerman
10. Going to Hell in a Hen Basket, by Robert Rubin Alden

A former editor at Algonquin (who has also been a journalist and college English instructor)has created a illustrated collection of malapropism, "a word or phrase that has been mistaken for another, usually because of its sound rather than its meaning," per the publisher. Going to Hell in a Hen Basket: An Illustrated Dictionary of Modern Maloproprisms touches on such gems as "without further adieu" and "hone on in," plus the longer journey from "bear-faced lie" to "bald-faced" and finally "bold-faced." And it is also in caps. Here's an excerpt on the Grammar Girl blog.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler
2. Galway Bay, by Mary Pat Kelly
3. Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant
4. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
5. Those Who Save Us, by Jenna Blum
6. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
7. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy E. Reichert
8. Euphoria, by Lily King
9. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
10. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

While I still haven't read A Man Called Ove, I've been talking it up for several months, after a fellow bookseller told me he had been handselling it. That and the codger lit table (and all the handselling on the part of that bookseller at the other store) might have given it the momentum needed to get into our top ten. Here's an interesting column in the Huffington Post actually written by the publicist for the book. It's like a pitch letter, no, it is a pitch letter, which is sort of odd, and yet it's also a very good pitch letter, so more power to Ariele Stewart!

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Finding Masculinity,edited by Alexander Walker and Emmett J.P. Lundberg
2. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
3. Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
4. How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster
5. The Enchanted Forest, by Johanna Basford
6. How to Love, by Thich Nhat Hanh
7. We Should All be Feminists, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
8. The America's Test Kitchen Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
9. North Point Historic Districts, by Shirley du Fresne McArthur
10. Tunnel, Smuggle, Collect, by Jeffrey Gingold

If you are wondering where to find North Point Historic Districts for less than $195 (yes, I'm linking to our online competitor to make a point), I think we have a cheaper option for you.

Books for Kids:
1. What Pet Should I Get?, by Dr. Seuss
2. Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
3. Appleblossum the Possum, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid in Latin, by Jeff Kinney
5. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews
6. Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black
7. Billy's Booger, by William Joyce
8. Pieces and Players, by Blue Balliett
9. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Rinker Duskey and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
10. The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly, by Ted Sanders

This week there was a story about Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Commentarii de Inepto Puero) in Latin from Jeffrey Trachtenberg in The Wall Street Journal. A customer called us that morning and said, you have five copies and the bookseller thought, "What is this person talking about that they mentioned how many copies we had" but it turns out I did tell the reporter and it made it into the story. And yes, we found the book as it was on our impulse table up front, just as I promised. But now we've sold out!

Boswellian Barbara Katz has a great rec on Appleblossom the Possum: "Filled with humor, theatrical happenings and perfect expressive illustrations, this book is super special!"Read the entire review and the rest of our email newsletter here.

It's the year of the short story at Boswell, with eight upcoming events celebrating short fiction this summer and fall, and I guess the Journal Sentinel is celebrating too with this review from Mike Fischer of Clarice Lispector's The Complete Stories. He writes: "Clarice Lispector has been called 'a female Chekhov' (Benjamin Moser), 'one of the hidden geniuses of twentieth-century literature' (Colm Tóibin) and 'an artist who belongs in the same pantheon as Kafka and Joyce' (Edmund White).The newly translated volume of her more than 80 short stories underscores how wary Lispector would have been of this praise, reflecting the suspicion one continually sees in her writing of all such efforts to categorize and define."

In Carole E. Barrowman's Paging Through Mysteries, she gives this month's picks.
--Of The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart, Barrowman notes, "the shrewd sharp voice of one of its main characters kept me reading"
--Her take on Darkness the Color of Snow, by Thomas Cobb: "Cobb has crafted a powerful, poignant novel exploring how grief and anger can too often bury justice."
--Collector of Secrets, by Richard Goodfellow is "a wonderfully detailed chase thriller set in Japan, and it's my distinctive debut choice this month."
--And Barrowman "simply devoured" Malice at the Palace, by Rhys Bowen, "set in London in 1934 against the backdrop of affairs of state (the rise of Hitler) and affairs of the heart (the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson scandal)."

Also in the Journal Sentinel, from Kevin Lynch, a profile of Tom Witosky, who is coming to Boswell on Friday, August 21, to talk about his book, Equal Before the Law: How Iowa Led Americans to Marriage Equality. Lynch writes tha the narrative "spotlights the human players and streamlines the legal complexities of a case that boils down to this: What should disqualify a same-sex Iowa couple from legally forming a family? Nothing, the courts finally ruled. And a child played a crucial role in legal proceedings that had never before considered the most vulnerable. One day young McKinley heard about her parents' situation, asked 'Why aren't you married?' and burst into tears."

And finally, if you missed it, here's the Chef Chat in the Journal Sentinel with Cara Nicoletti, author of Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through the Great Books.

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