Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bestsellers! Boswell's annotated lists for the week ending December 12, 2015

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
3. The Rogue Lawyer, by John Grisham
4. The Nature of the Beast, by Louise Penny
5. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
6. City on Fire, by Garth Risk Hallberg
7. The Lake House, by Kate Morton
8. Avenue of Mysteries, by John Irving
9. The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild
10. Purity, by Jonathan Franzen
11. The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood
12. The Relic Master, by Christopher Buckley
13. The Girl in the Spider's Web, by David Lagercrantz
14. Fortune Smiles, by Adam Johnson
15. Thirteen Ways of Looking, by Colum McCann

Who would guess that the #1 hardcover fiction title for the 2015 holiday season would be the #1 hardcover fiction title of the 2014 holiday season? I'm thrilled that All the Light We Cannot See has such legs, but I'm a little saddened that there doesn't seem to be a similar breakout this year, though we expect there will be several books that should get to the Lila and Station Eleven levels of last year. Enthusiasm seems to be spread among lots of titles. Dwight Garner's daily New York Times picks and the Sunday Book Review's top ten overlap by four titles. The Washington Post's list has two books in common with the National Book Award shortlist. And it's a relatively commercial list on the Indie Bound list of independent booksellers. There's nothing blowing out that we're missing the boat on, though I have noticed that our Girl on the Train sales have lulled a bit more than I expected.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
2. Young Orson, by Patrick McGilligan (signed copies available)
3. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
4. Gratitude, by Oliver Sacks
5. Thing Explainer, by Randall Munroe
6. Notorious RBG, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
8. The Witches, by Stacy Schiff
9. SPQR, by Mary Beard
10. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
11. M Train, by Patti Smith
12. H is for Hawk, by Helen MacDonald
13. Knitting Pearls, edited by Ann Hood
14. Binge, by Tyler Oakley
15. Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps, by Martin Vargic
16. Once in a Great City, by David Maraniss
17. Bar Book, by Jeffrey Morgenthaler
18. Beloved Dog, by Maira Kalman
19. My Life on the Road, by Gloria Steinem
20. Rosemary, by Katte Clifford Larson

It feels like there is more coalescing around nonfiction books for best ofs, and you can see that reflected on our list. Between the World and Me, and to a lesser extent, M Train and H is for Hawk, have appeared on multiple 2015 year-end lists. Entertainment Weekly's list, like the NYT (daily and Sunday) and The Washington Post and National Book Award, includes Coates's work. It also overlaps with the National Book Awards touting The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy (see below for another critic's pick), and A Manual for Cleaning Women, by Lucia Berlin. And if you're wondering about that pop for Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps (featured in our holiday newsletter) , here's a little more in the Huffington Post. The author/artist is a Slovakian teenager.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Uncommitted, by Margaret Goss
2. Unbecoming, by Rebecca Scherm (book club 1/4, talk/reading/signing 1/8
3. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black
4. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
5. Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibín
6. A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James
7. Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín
8. The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain
9. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng 10. Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
11. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
12. Lila, by Marilynne Robinson
13. Let Me Be Frank with You, by Richard Ford
14. Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher
15. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain

It's pretty rare for an author to have two paperback fiction books on our bestseller lists at the same time but this week, two authors pull this off and another just misses. Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn is a national bestseller in the wake of the movie's Oscar buzz, and we're working Nora Webster as a book club pick that is one of Jane's favorites of last year. The Red Notebook is also on our book club table, but Jason convinced me to display The President's Hat and The Red Notebook on my rec shelf next to each other, and that seems to be working. And of course people want to read France books, hence the continued showing of another Jane favorite, The Little Paris Bookshop, on our list. I just learned that the Nina George's book is translated alright, but from German, and she has several other titles that might make it stateside in English editions in the future. The author who just missed? #16 is Elena Ferrante's The Story of a Lost Child.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. How Starbucks Saved My Life, by Michael Gates Gill
2. World War II Milwaukee, by Mg Jones (event 12/29)
3. Milwaukee Food, by Lori Fredrich
4. How to Save Your Own Life, by Michael Gates Gill
5. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
6. Voices from Chernobyl, by Svetlana Alexievich
7. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stephenson
8. How to Love, by Thich Nhat Hanh
9. The Lost Ocean, by Johanna Basford
10. The Secret Garden, by Johanna Basford
The Enchanted Forest, by Johanna Basford
12. When Books Went to War, by Molly Guptill Manning (recs from Anne and Jane)
13. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
14. Riverwest, by Tom Tolan
15. Mindfulness Coloring Book, by Emma Farrarons

Speaking of untranslated work, we know that there will be books in English from this year's Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich. It pops this week because people love shopping our awards case, but also because it's our February in-store lit group read, on Feb. 1, is Voices from Cherynobyl. Bryan Stephenson's Just Mercy is the March 7 discussion pick (as well as the Dayton Peace Prize winner...and yes, that's why we had such a big pop for Unbecoming--it's our January pick. So yes, I too "shop" the awards case. Years after we added this, Jason and I are still thrilled with the success of this display and suggest that just about indie bookseller (you know if you are an exception) try this out if you haven't done so (and I've been to a lot of your stores, and they are not common).

Some displays come and go, but our coloring book table might be moved, but it's not being dismantled. And we're very excited to note that we got a reshipment of the Kid Made Modern Pencils. And Thich Nhat Hanh, with his chair display, just fell short of two bestsellers in the top 15 - Along with How to Love at 8, How to Relax is #16 this week.

If you're wondering about the pop from the Michael Gates Gill books, he gave the Sanford Ettinger Memorial Lecture at Congregation Shalom in November. Who knew that Brendan Gill had a 25-room mansion?

Top Picture Books and Board Books:
1. Archie the Daredevil Penguin, by Andy Rash
2. Peekaboo, by Giuliano Ferri
3. The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
4. Waiting, by Kevin Henkes
5. Mother Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins
6. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
7. Pierre the Maze Detective, by Hiro Kamigaki
8. Harry Potter Coloring Book, sort of by J.K. Rowling
9. Santa's Sleigh is on its Way to Wisconsin, by Eric James and Robert Dunn
10. Little Elliot, Big Family, by Mike Curato
11. The Adventures of Beekle, by Dan Santat
12. Snow, by Uri Shulevitz
13. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
14. Celebrating the Seasons: Goodnight Songs, by Margaret Wise Brown
15. Home, by Carson Ellis

Every time Amie sells her new favorite book, Mother Bruce, an angel gets their wings. No, I'm mixing that up with It's a Wonderful Life. Publishers Weekly teases: "Bruce is a grumpy bear. He’s also a thieving and unscrupulous bear, and he likes to take eggs from nests (“He cooked them into fancy recipes he found on the internet”). But four eggs he grabs from a goose don’t cook. They hatch." Read the rest on their website.

Top Chapter Books and Middle Grade Titles:
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay
2. Appleblossom the Possum, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
3. I Really Like Slop, by Mo Willems
4. Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate
5. The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1), by Rick Riordan
6. Ms. Rapscott's Girls, by Elise Primavera
7. The Marvels, by Brian Selznick
8. The 50 States, by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sol Linero
9. Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, by Rick Riordan
10. Auggie and Me, by R.J. Palacio
11. The Story of Diva and Flea, by Mo Willems, illustrated by Toni DiTerlizzi
12. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School, by Jeff Kinney
13. Princess in Black, by Shannon Hale
14. Star Wars Everything You Need to Know: The Force Awakens, from DK Publishing
15. Atlas of Adventures, by Rachel Williams

This list is a little more nonfiction heavy than I've noticed in past years. You can also notice the influence of Barb and Amie tag-teaming here, with both pushing Appleblossom the Possum and Ms. Rapscott's Girls. Two recs really are better than one. Barb on Appleblossom: "Filled with humor, theatrical happenings and perfect expressive illustrations, this book is super special!"

Top Young Adult and Teen Books:
1. Need, by Joelle Charbonneau
2. Hello?, by Liza Wiemer
3. All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
4. The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin
5. Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Grandin
6. Apothecary, by Maile Meloy
7. Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
8. The Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
9. Dumplin', by Julie Murphy
10. Rad American Women A-Z, by Kate Schatz
11. It's Your World, by Chelsea Clinton
12. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardogo

Lots of pops from our holiday newsletter here. Phoebe picked Wolf by Wolf and Dumplin' (plus she's been talking up The Thing About Jellyfish as well), Mel's behind All American Boys, why Olivia picked Carry On. Phoebe starts her review by saying "I am completely obsessed with this phenomenal book."

Today in the Journal Senintel, Jim Higgins, Carole E. Barrowman, and Mike Fischer pick their top books of the year.

The favorites from Jim Higgins:
--Concussion, by Jeanne Marie Laskas
--Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate
--The Dark Forest, by Cixin Liu.
--On the Move: A Life, by Oliver Sacks
--Quixote: The Novel and the World, by Ilan Stavans
--Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson.
--Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson
--The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, by Sydney Padua
--Untwine, by Edwidge Danticat.

I love the way that Higgins says favorite instead of best. When critics say best, aren't they implying they've read everything creditable?

Here's Carole E. Barrowman's top ten:
--Crazy Love You, by Lisa Unge
--The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy
--The Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll
--Malice at the Palace, by Rhys Bowen.
--Marry, Kiss, Kill, by Anne Flett-Giordano
--The Marvels, by Brian Selznick
--New Yorked, by Rob Hart
--The Unquiet Dead, by Ausma Zehanat Khan
--Those We Left Behind, by Stuart Neville
--Where All Light Tends to Go, by David Joy.

And finally, here are Mike Fischer's picks for 2015. He notes that two of his favorite books of 2015 were actually published in 2014 or will be published in 2016. Booksellers make this decision all the time--my general rule is that if I read an advance copy it goes in my list for when it comes out (this can vary quite a bit), but paperback reprints I read late are generally lost--I might include my favorite in my top 10.
--Beatlebone, by Kevin Barry
--The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy
--Purity, by Jonathan Franzen
--The Mare, by Mary Gaitskill
--Fates and Furies (Riverhead), by Lauren Groff
--Death and Mr. Pickwick, by Stephen Jarvis
--The Complete Stories, by Clarice Lispector
--The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606, by James Shapiro
--Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story, by David Maraniss.

1 comment:

Tim McCarthy said...

Thanks, Daniel!