Sunday, November 29, 2015

Boswell's Annotated Bestsellers for the Week Ending November 28, 2015

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma
2. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
3. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
4. Welcome to Night Vale, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
5. The Japanese Lover, by Isabel Allende
6. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
7. Slade House, by David Mitchell
8. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
9. Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
10. The Muralist, by B.A. Shapiro (event 12/1 at Boswell)

Why is The Fishermen #1 at Boswell? Yes, it's a great book, but alas, I'm not that great a handseller. It turns out he is back in town for an event at Nicolet High School. One author we haven't been able to get to come to Boswell since we've been open is Isabel Allende. She's moved over to Atria for The Japanese Lover, which has a recommendation from Boswellian Scott. Julia M. Klein in The Boston Globe writes "Isabel Allende, whose best-selling novels include The House of the Spirits and Eva Luna, has a longstanding penchant for magical realism, as well as for family epics starring female protagonists. True to form, The Japanese Lover foregrounds two women in a skillfully constructed nonlinear narrative about families devastated by historical trauma."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda (event 12/2 at Boswell. Come early!)
2. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
3. SPQR, by Mary Beard
4. The Thing Explainer, by Randall Munroe
5. MKE Beard Book, by Jessica Kaminski
6. Lights Out, by Ted Koppel
7. Gratitude, by Oliver Sacks
8. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson
9. The Giveness of Things, by Marilynne Robinson
10. Notorious RBG, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Jason's convinced me to become an evangelist for Randall Munroe's Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, and sure enough, we sold two copies at the Buy Local Gift Fair today. Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing called it "brilliant and wonderful in every way." And The New Yorker has Munroe's piece on Einstein. The book is said to explain concepts using the "ten hundred" most common words, phrased that way because "thousand" isn't one of those words.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Beasts of No Nation, by Uzodinma Iweala
2. A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James
3. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black
4. Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger
5. The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters
6. Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín
7. Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher
8. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
9. Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey
10. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

Now that I've read Shady Hollow, I've really gotten into selling it. It's good to have a mystery close at hand during the holidays. Did you read my blog post about Juneau Black's book, remembering that Juneau Black is Sharon Nagel and Jocelyn Koehler. Jocelyn noted that Marlon James was stiff competition, and so the next installment might be called A Brief History of Seven Woodland Killings, which might give it a competitive edge. You all heard about how Girl on a Train got a great sales pop from being confused with The Girl on the Train. And of course it helps that the author came, but A Brief History of Seven Killings (we are out of signed copies, alas) is far outpacing 2014's Man Booker winner, Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North, but one should also remember that Flanagan was a hardcover during its prize-winning run. Intersting enough, hardcover sales on Flanagan and James are very close to each other.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. First They Killed my Father, by Loung Ung
2. Milwaukee Food, by Lori Fredrich
3. Milwaukee Mayhem, by Matthew Prigge
4. Mindfulness Coloring Book, by Emma Farrarons
5. The Secret Garden, by Johanna Basford
6. Mini Mandala Coloring Book, by Susanne Fincher
7. How to Relax, by Thich Nhat Hanh
8. Educating Milwaukee, by James K. Nelsen
9. Pogue's Basic Life, by David Pogue
10. The Beer Bible, by Jeff Alworth

Trend #1 is Milwaukee Books. We should soon start having a nice sales pop on World War II Milwaukee, from Meg Jones, as we've just booked her for an event on December 29. Trend #2 is coloring books. We brought colored pencils to the Buy Local Gift Fair because we knew that people would want them. And of course the toy store across from us had adult coloring books two. And trend #3 is Thich Nhat Hanh. We love our chair display for How to Relax and can't seem to take it down. Instead, we just keep moving it around the store. You have to understand that we've had this little chair in storage for years and its just great to be able to use it.

Books for Kids:
1. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
2. Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg
3. Old School, by Jeff Kinney
4. The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie, by Chris Van Allsburg
5. Zathura, by Chris Van Allsburg
6. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg
7. The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, by Chris Van Allsburg
8. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg
9. Queen of the Falls, by Chris Van Allsburg
10. Two Bad Ants, by Chris Van Allsburg
11. The Widow's Broom, by Chris Van Allsburg
12. The Sweetest Fig, by Chris Van Allsburg
13. Little Tree, by Loren Long
14. Bad Day at Riverbend, by Chris Van Allsburg
15. Celebration of the Seasons, by Margaret Wise Brown

I hear this Chris Van Allsburg book is quite popular--and yes, we have signed copies of Polar Express. Another writer/artist on our list this week is Loren Long. Publisher's Weekly gave a starred review to Little Tree: "It’s the kind of parable that could turn preachy and soggy very quickly, but Long makes it work; in fact, his willingness to take his time and even test the audience’s patience with his arboreal hero’s intransigence results in an ending that’s both a big relief and an authentic triumph. Childhood is full of big, difficult transitions; Long’s earnest-eloquent narrative voice and distilled, single-plane drawings, both reminiscent of an allegorical pageant, acknowledge the reality of the struggle while offering the promise of brighter days ahead."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, it's time for their holiday round up. 100 Books for Holiday Gift Giving includes a special section of kids books recommended by Boswell booksellers.

Jim Higgins profiles Maria Cunningham, the rare books librarian at the Milwaukee Public Library.

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