Sunday, December 6, 2015

Boswell's annotated bestsellers for the week ending December 5, 2015.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Muralist, by B.A. Shapiro (signed copies available)
2. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
3. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
4. The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild
5. Girl Waits with Gun, by Amy Stewart
6. Slade House, by David Mitchell
7. Avenue of Mysteries, by John Irving
8. Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith
9. The Girl in the Spider's Web, by David Lagercrantz
10. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
11. Banquet of Consequences, by Elizabeth George
12. The Lake House, by Kate Morton
13. Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee
14. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
15. The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn

It's not often you see a story turned into a standalone book, but Gillian Flynn isn't an ordinary author and not every story wins the Edgar Award for best short fiction. The Grownup was originally published in the George R.R. Martin Rogues anthology. Doug Johnstone writes in the UK Independent: "The Grownup is accomplished storytelling, an impressive teaser to keep fans engaged while they await her next full-length outing."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda (some signed copies still available)
2. Clay Water Brick, by Jessica Jackley (signed copies available)
3. Railroad Vision, text by Kevin Keefe (also signed)
4. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
5. SPQR, by Mary Beard
6. The Thing Explainer, by Randall Munroe
7. How to Bake Pi, by Eugenia Cheng
8. H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
9. Desiny and Power, by Jon Meacham
10. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
11. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson

12. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
13. Notorious RBG, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
14. Gratitude, by Oliver Sacks
15. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
16. The Witches, by Stacy Schiff
17. Boys in the Trees, by Carly Simon
18. The Bassoon King, by Rainn Wilson
19. Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
20. Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know it All, by Richard Betts

Jessica Jackley was in town to speak at the annual WWIBC luncheon, in conjunction with the recent release of her book, Clay Water Brick:Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least  Katrina Manson wrote in The Financial Times: "What is refreshing about Clay Water Brick, and Jackley’s life, is her slow realisation that business is a better way to reduce poverty than charity. For Jackley, who went on to co-found the microfinance platform, her absorption in all things entrepreneurial never hinged on suits and success, but on her wide-eyed goal — forged as a girl in Sunday school — to end poverty."

I do have to note in passing that Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods is selling at a rate we haven't seen in a number of years, perhaps since...The Making of Milwaukee when it first came out.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black
2. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
3. All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews
4. The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain
5. The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters
6. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
7. Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher
8. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
9. Best American Short Stories 2015, edited by T.C. Boyle
10. The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro
11. At the Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen
12. Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
13. Florence Gordon, by Brian Morton
14. The Secret Place, by Tana French
15. A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James

This list is a lesson that it is always a good idea to clean up your displays. Our book club table had stopped popping books, but after refreshing the signage and updating the handout, eight of the top ten fiction titles came from the list this past week (and Ferrante, for example, had her best sales pop of the past 12 weeks). It doesn't hurt that I did several presentations this week, and that it's a good table to hand-sell off of. One book not on the book club rec table (as it has its own best-of table) is T.C. Boyle's new addition of Best American Short Stories 2015. This year Boyle won the Rea Award for Short Story. I thought you used to be able to find reviews of this anthology, but I couldn't find one through some basic searching, so I've got nothing else to link to.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Nein: A Manifesto, by Eric Jarosinski
2. World War II Milwaukee, by Meg Jones (event 12/29, 7 pm)
3. Milwaukee Mayhem, by Matthew J. Prigge
4. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
5. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
6. The Secret Garden, by Johanna Basford
7. The Enchanted Forest, by Johanna Basford
8. Essential Strums and Strokes for Ukulele, by Lil Rev (event 12/17, 7 pm)
9. World Almanac and Book of Facts 2016
10. Mindfulness Coloring Book, by Emma Farrarons
11. Milwaukee Food, by Lori Fredrich
12. Rebel Yell, by S.C. Gwynne
13. The Pope and Mussolini, by David I. Kertzer
14. Pogue's Basic Life, by David Pogue
15. Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler

Hey, only three coloring books in our top 15 - not bad. Most of all, I love that we're selling Lil Rev's new music instruction book really well. We've got several of Lil Rev's books, published by Milwaukee's Hal Leonard, on display in the store, including Essential Strums and Strokes, and if you want a ukulele, there's a really great selection at Brass Bell Music on Silver Spring Drive, and I know, because I just bought a replacement mike stand there. Here is a hobby where you can really indulge your shopping local predilection as well - the instrument, book publisher, and the author are all Milwaukee greats.

Books for Kids:
1. Archie the Daredevil Penguin, by Andy Rash (signed copies available)
2. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg (yes, signed copies of this also)
3. The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
4. Hello, by Liza Weimer (signed copies!)
5. Old School, by Jeff Kinney (Diary V10)
6. Peekaboo, by Giuliano Ferri
7. 50 States, by Gabrielle Balkan, with illustrations by Sol Linero
8. Appleblossom the Possum, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
9. The Little Tree, by Loren Long
10. Whisper, by Pamela Zagarenski
11. The Marvels, by Brian Selznick
12. Pierre the Maze Detective, by Hiro Kamigaki
13. The Doldrums, by Nicholas Gannon
14. Home, by Carson Ellis
15. North Woods Girl, by Aimee Bissonette, with illustrations by Claudia McGehee

It's rare that a picture book from Minnesota Historical Society Press makes our list of favorites, but North Woods Girl about a girl who visits her grandmother in the country is a feast for the senses, and those woodcut-like illustrations from Claudia McGehee (the technique is actually scratchboard) are beautiful. Mary Ann Grossman in the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes the twist: "The cover shows an older woman, using a cane, and a young girl skipping through the woods. So you assume the youngster is the girl. But Aimee Bissonette doesn't do the obvious in this sweet book. Because the 'girl' is Grandma and the tale is narrated by her granddaughter:"

This has been a great fall for rock and pop music books, with memoirs coming from Elvis Costello, Carrie Brownstein, John Fogerty, Jewel, Grace Jones, and too many more to list here. Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews several new releases, including:

--Bob Dylan: All the Songs, by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon, offering "a chronological, detail-stuffed approach to Dylan's music."

--This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On, by former Milwaukean John Kruth. Higgins notes: "While many fans would name the subsequent Revolver or Sgt. Pepper as the Beatles' best, Kruth identifies Rubber Soul as the album where the Beatles shifted into a more ambitious mode.

Coincidentally (or not!), Mike Fischer also reviews a Beatles-themed book in Kevin Barry's Beatlebone, which he says is "one of the best novels I've read this year for many reasons, not least being Barry's ability to actually say something new about Lennon while also telling each of us a great deal about ourselves." It's about an imagined voyage of Lennon to an island off the coast of Ireland to take stock of his life.

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