Sunday, January 17, 2016

It's the Annotated Boswell Bestseller List for the week ending January 16, 2016--on new books by Elizabeth Strout, Paul Kalanithi, Katarina Bivald, Nick Petrie's launch, the ALA winners, and more.

Here are the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending January 16, 2016!

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Drifter, by Nicholas Petrie (events to come at Whitefish Bay Library on 1/27 and Greendale Library on 1/29)
2. My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout
3. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. City on Fire, by Garth Risk Hallberg
5. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
6. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
7. Mr. Splitfoot, by Samantha Hunt
8. Annihilator, by Grant Morrison
9. Made to Kill, by Adam Christopher
10. Felicity, by Mary Oliver

The big release this week in fiction was My Name is Lucy Barton. It was the front page review for The New York Times Book Review from Claire Messud. She writes that "Elizabeth Strout is a writer bracingly unafraid of silences, her vision of the world northern, Protestant and flinty."This was followed up by a Sarah Lyall essay on her writing. And Terry Gross also interviewed her this week on Fresh Air. On why she set the new book in a hospital: " It wasn't a conscious decision, but I did find myself sketching, meaning writing little bits of scenes, and I had this Lucy in a hospital room with her mother. And I don't really even know why now, but those sketches kept going around and around my desk. And I wasn't especially interested at first, and then I realized from experience that they kept coming back to me, and so I had to pay attention.'

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change, by H. James Dallas
2. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
3. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalaninithi
4. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
5. The Name of God is Mercy, by Pope Francis
6. America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook, by America's Test Kitchen
7. Rosemary, by Kate Clifford Larson
8. The Life-Changing Magic of not Giving a F*ck, by Sarah Knight
9. Lobster is the Best Medicine, by Liz Climo
10. The English and their History, by Robert Tombs

The big story this week on nonfiction is When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi. Our rep John contacted us a week ahead of time warning that this might be a blowout, but you have to be careful about these things, because, well, they aren't always blowouts. But that New York Times review from Janet Maslin a week before pub date had our phones ringing. From Maslin: "I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option." Nora Krug in The Washington Post says "His words are bracing for their honesty." And Anna Reisman in Slate writes: "For the most part, the memoir’s first half feels familiar: yet another well-written young doctor memoir that would have been more interesting if he’d waited it out for a few years and gained some perspective. But Kalanithi understood this. He loved writing but realized that neurosurgical training and an active writing life were not a feasible mix. His original life plan, he writes, was to practice as a neurosurgeon for a few decades and then write a book. But with his diagnosis—and with his first, and only, child on the way—time was of the essence."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald
2. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
3. Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman
4. Blood on Snow, by Jo Nesbo
5. Annihilation, by Jeff Vandermeer
6. Unbecoming, by Rebecca Scherm
7. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
8. Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro
9. Early Warning, by Jane Smiley
10. At the Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen

After two week's of nice sales, Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend explodes in sales! Well, explodes as much as a book can explode in January. Jane and Jen have been furiously championing the book and we'll have a special post about the book later this week with our new display, contest, and backstory.

It's a good second week out for Jo Nesbo's Blood on Snow. Alison Flood in The Guardian writes "It’s all ever so noiry and pulpy: Nesbø’s gorgeously rendered images of snow, and of the titular blood on snow – “the snow sucked the blood up as it fell, drawing it in under the surface, hiding it, as if it had some sort of use for it” – are crying out to be filmed. (Warner Bros, incidentally, is planning to adapt the novel as a vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio to produce and star in, according to Variety.)" And the late Alan Cheuse reviewed in NPR's All Things Considered: "I won't deliver any spoilers here, but I can say the book moves along swiftly in the carefully controlled voice of the killer. And before you know it, you're in the middle of one of the wildest scenes in recent crime fiction: a shootout in the crypt of an Oslo church, where there's hardly any place to duck, just as in this entertaining novel, when the bullets fly."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. No Stone Unturned, by Jesse Garcia
2. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
3. The Wit and Wisdom of Downton Abbey, by Jessica Fellowes
4. We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
5. In Search of the Perfect Loaf, by Samuel Fromartz
6. You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
7. The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
8. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty
9. You Are Doing a Great Job, from Workman
10. The Hidden History of Milwaukee, by Bobby Tanzilo

Jessie Garcia's new book, No Stone Unturned, had a different publishing journey from My Life with the Green and Gold. On the new book: "Garcia shares the story of Casey FitzRandolph, who won an Olympic gold medal in speedskating in 2002 and his sister, Jessi, who was diagnosed eight years later with stage IV breast cancer. The FitzRandolphs brought glory to the United States in the form of gold, yet left their home country in search of alternative medical treatments." And our Downton Abbey table is popping at least one book, The Wit and Wisdom of Downton Abbey, collected by Jessica Fellowes. The Austenprose blog called it the #1 stocking stuffer for Downton fans.

Books for Kids:
1. Hello, by Liza Wiemer
2. Fifty States, by Gabrielle Balkan with illustrations by Sol Linero
3. Pierre the Maze Detective, by Hiro Kamigaki
4. Finding Winnie, by Lindsay Mattick
5. Two Friends, by Dean Robbins (event Feb 2, 7 pm, at Boswell)
6. Hedgehugs, by Steve Wilson
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay
8. Waiting, by Kevin Henkes
9. Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson
10. Gone Crazy in Alabama, by Rita Williams Garcia

The ALA Youth Media Awards dominate our top 10 this week. The Caldecott (art) winner was Finding Winnie, the Newbery (writing) was Last Stop on Market Street, a rare win for a picture book, and the Coretta Scott King award was for Gone Crazy in Alabama. Had Phoebe still working at Boswell, we probably would have had a pop on Bone Gap, the Printz Award winner. She's been a big fan of the book and hand-sold a lot of copies. And congrats to Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, who visited Boswell last fall and had a Coretta Scott King Honor, Reynolds for two books, no less. All the winners here. Our buyer Amie's take: library's are loving nonfiction.

This week's Journal Sentinel book page features American Housewife, stories by Helen Ellis. Jim Higgins writes: "Don't play poker with Helen Ellis, unless you plan on borrowing bus fare to get home: She's a successful high-stakesplayer. But do read American Housewife, her new collection of stories featuring or told by wives: funny, biting, frequently dark, and deeper than they might initially appear. Think Megan Mullally's Karen Walker character (from Will and Grace) meets Shirley Jackson.

In the print edition, Amy Driscoll of the Miami Herald reviews The Guest Room, by Chris Bohjalian. Driscoll notes the setup is a bachelor party thrown at a suburban home that does not end well. "But we can't predict just what a disastrous turn the party will take. Within the first few pages of The Guest Room, the latest novel by prolific author Chris Bohjalian, the booze-fueled bacchanalia that began as the fulfillment of men's fantasies turns into a Helter-Skelter-like nightmare."

Also originally from the Miami Herald, Connie Ogle profiles Val McDermid, most recently author of Splinter the Silence. Ogle notes: "Crime writer Val McDermid has never been the victim of cyberbuollying, but she's well aware of the effect it has, often on women...'I find it disturbing and fascinating in the way you see a road accident happening in slow motion.'"

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