Sunday, May 8, 2016

Annotated Boswell bestsellers for the week ending May 7: new fiction from Richard Russo and Don DeLillo Hamilton back in stock, plus Journal Sentinel reviews and profiles

Happy Mother's Day! Here are our weekly bestsellers.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld
2. The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton
3. Everyone Brave is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave
4. Everybody's Fool, by Richard Russo
5. Zero K, by Don DeLillo
6. The Yid, by Paul Goldberg (event Monday 6/6, 7 pm)
7. A Death Along the River Fleet, by Susanna Calkins
8. Miller's Valley, by Anna Quindlen
9. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
10. Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett

Goodness, on many weeks, #4 or #5 would be our bestselling hardcover fiction title but three strong hardcover fiction events left behind the high-profile new releases. Richard Russo's Everybody's Fool, is the sequel to Nobody's Fool, which is was his third and breakout novel, but I should note I am cribbing from the Kirkus Reviews review, so I hope that's right. Like the last book set in North Bath, New York (corrected by a reader--I get confused because all the promotion for Russo is around his new bookstore in Maine!), it's an ensemble piece, though I got the idea that the focus has moved from Sully Sullivan (Paul Newman in the movie) to Chief of Police Doug Raymer (whose role was played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman). Jeff Labrecque in Entertainment Weekly writes: "For fans who’ve missed Sully and the gang, Everybody’s Fool is like hopping on the last empty barstool surrounded by old friends." He gave it a B+.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Start Here, by Eric Langshur
2. Perfectly Imperfect, by Baron Baptiste
3. Five Easy Theses, by James Stone
4. The Courage Solution, by Mindy Mackenzie
5. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
6. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
7. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
8. One in a Billion, by Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher (event Thursday 5/26, 7 pm, at Boswell)
9. Hamilton, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeffrey McCarter
10 The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda

For those with Tony fever (record setting 16 nominations, per The New York Times), or if your tickets that you bought six months ago are finally within reach, we've got more copies of Hamilton. Note that the next shipment is going up to $45 due to high shipping costs, so don't put this off. The source book, Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, is also on our list this week. So my question is, will we see an Andrew Jackson musical to try to reverse the $20 bill decision? That would be pretty amusing.

Paperback Fiction:
1. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman (event Saturday 5/14, 2 pm)
2. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
3. A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler
4. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald (event Thursday 5/19, 7 pm)
5. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, by Fredrik Backman (see above)
6. A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
7. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
8. The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy
9. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
10. Wind/Pinball, by Haruki Murakami

Our in-store lit group is reading A Spool of Blue Thread for July, at a special night of Monday, July 11, 7 pm, as we're closed on the 4th. Being that the science fiction group also meets that night, we will definitely not have an event that evening--one group will meet in the front of the bookstore and the other in the rear. The book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. As a once loyal reader who has picked up but not read the last few novels, I'm excited to be back reading them. In any case, that accounts for some of the pop.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Hold Still, by Sally Mann
2. Life's Golden Ticket, by Richard Burchard
3. H Is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
4. Ghettoside, by Jill Leovy
5. You Are a Badass, by Jin Sincero
6. How to Bake Pi, by Eugenia Cheng
7. Between You and Me, by Mary Norris
8. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
9. Young Stalin, by Simon Sebag Montefiore (event Tuesday 5/10, 7 pm)
10. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda

Nice to see two former event books having good paperback pops. Both How to Bake Pi and Between You and Me were two of my favorite books from 2015. I have been anxiously awaiting listing of Eugenia Cheng's next book, which is said to be on infinity.

I was going to sort the kids books out by age level but I couldn't decide how to sort out the early readers, some of which were more like picture books and others of which were more like chapter books. And then I did sort it out for our distribution list, only I mixed up one of the Elise Broach titles. So I combined things back together and just made the list longer.

Books for Kids
1. One Plastic Bag, by Miranda Paul
2. Whose Hands are These, by Miranda Paul
3. Two Friends, by Dean Robbins
4. Water is Water, by Miranda Paul
5. As Brave as You, by Jason Reynolds
6. The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, by April Henry
7. The Body in the Woods, by April Henry
8. Masterpiece, by Elise Broach
9. Wet Dog, by Elise Broach
10. Missing on Superstition Mountain, by Elise Broach
11. Shakespeare's Secret, by Elise Broach
12. The Miniature World of Marvin and James, by Elise Broach
13. The Girl I Used to Be, by April Henry
14. God Awful Thief, by S. Acevedo
15. James to the Rescue, by Elise Broach
16. Blood Will Tell, by April Henry
17. Captain America, by Matt Forbeck
18 When Dinosaurs Came With Everything, by Elise Broach
19. Treasure on Superstition Mountain, by Elise Broach
20. The Hidden Oracle, by Rick Riordan

I had to go all the way down to #20 to include a book that was not event related, though you might not have caught that on first glance, because most of the authors this week did school visits only. The Hidden Oracle is the first book in the new Trials of Apollo series from Rick Riordan. Silvia Acevedo also has an updated take on the gods in God Awful Thief. It's part of a three-book series.

One of the authors who had a very full day was April Henry, a mystery writer for kids who visited three schools, talked to our friends at Lake Effect, and had coffee (I think) with Erica from Crimespree Magazine. Her new book is The Girl I Used to Be, a stand-alone about a young woman who was raised in a series of foster homes after her father murdered her mother and disappeared. Now there's new evidence that maybe he was a victim as well. Kirkus Reviews said: "Henry unfolds her drama while keeping equal focus on the mystery and on Olivia’s emotions as the girl returns to the hometown she does not remember and to friends and possible family that she craves."

And don't forget, As Brave As You, the new novel from Jason Reynolds, is officially out this week.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews The Noise of Time, the new novel from Julian Barnes featuring Dmitri Shastakovich. Higgins writes: "The late composer (1906-'75) is having a literary moment. M.T. Anderson built his nonfiction book Symphony for the City of the Dead, a 2015 National Book Award nominee in YA literature, around the story of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony, which the composer dedicated to Leningrad during the horrific Nazi siege of the city. The Shostakovich revived by Barnes, decorated author of The Sense of An Ending, Arthur & George and Flaubert's Parrot, would laugh at any suggestion that he was a hero."

Also in the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer takes on Don DeLillo's Zero K, a novel about billionaire Ross Lockhart's plan that seems like some sort of headline about to break any moment, or was that the 1960s - The Convergence, the chance to put your body and mind on ice until the unlimited life, like a modern god, can be unlocked. As Fischer quotes: "What's the point of living if we don't die at the end of it?" The story is told through Ross's son, Jeffrey, and Fischer notes that while interesting, Jeffery's story is not as interesting as the musings on life itself that The Convergence generates. It's already on our bestseller list.

Higgins also writes up Cards for Brianna: A Mom's Messages of Living, Laughing, and Loving as Time Is Running Out, written by a West Allis native that wrote notes to her daughter when faced with terminal cancer. Higgins writes: In Cards for Brianna she wrote forthrightly about being a metster — a person with metastasized cancer who is going to die from it. While she appreciated the heart behind pink-ribbon awareness campaigns, she also believed the omnipresence of that narrative tended to push aside people like her." McManamy continued to seize the day, and focused on her time with her family.

In the print edition, Connie Ogle profiled romance novelist Robyn Carr, originally in the Miami Herald. Ogle writes: "Understanding what women do and say and want is something Carr — who calls herself 'an old feminist' who fought for the Equal Rights Amendment in Broward County in the 1970s — has considered hard over her long career. At 65, she has written more than 50 books, the latest of which is What We Find," in which "Maggie Sullivan finds herself desperately needing a break, and so she leaves Denver for rural Sullivan’s Crossing to stay with her eccentric father and — hopefully — heal. Naturally life turns out to be more complicated than she expects, and one of its complications is a mysterious hiker named Cal Jones. You will not be surprised to learn he has a secret."

And finally, the print edition also has a profile of Richard Russo (on our bestseller list as noted above) for the release of Everybody's Fool, written by Marion Winik for Newsday. When asked why he broke his no-sequel rule, he replied "This book is actually dedicated to an old writer pal of mine, Howard Frank Mosher. For the last 20 years, Howard has been asking me, What’s up with Sully? What’s up with Rub [Sully’s dimwitted sidekick]? Finally, it just became easier to write the book than to tell him I had no news." Having met Mr. Mosher and corresponded with him over the years, I can agree that it's not hard to do whatever he suggests.

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