Monday, May 2, 2016

Better late than later! Here's the annotated Boswell bestseller lists for the week ending April 30, 2016

A little late, but no less exciting! Here are this past week's Boswell bestsellers.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton
2. Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld
3. Extreme Prey, by John Sandford
4. The Little Red Chairs, by Edna O'Brien
5. My Struggle, volume 5, by Karl Ove Knausgaard
6. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
7. The Yid, by Paul Goldberg (event 6/6, 7 pm, at Boswell)
8. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
9. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
10. North Water, by Ian McGuire

We had a wonderful afternoon with Jane Hamilton, thought the official event book sales will not show up till next week. Connie Ogle reviewed the book in The Miami Herald: "The Excellent Lombards is Hamilton’s seventh book, and though it is funny and heartbreaking, colored with a palpable wistfulness, it feels lighter than some of her earlier works" but by lighter, I do not thinkk she might that it was any less wonderful a story. She continues, noting that "for all its simplicity, The Excellent Lombards is deeply affecting, a moving elegy for an idyllic way of life that’s slipping away as development and technology encroach and children grow up and away from rural pleasures."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Fierce Optimism, by Leeza Gibbons
2. The Startup Checklist, by David Rose
3. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
4. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
5. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), by Felicia Day
6. Deep South, by Sally Mann
7. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
8. Le'ts Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris
9. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
10. Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts, by Maja Safstram

Chalk up another success for the impulse table. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts is not a groundbreaker in terms of concept, but it's the wonderful drawings by Swedish artist Maja Safstram that set it apart. But it never hurts to know that sea horses are the slowest fish and travel in pairs. Visit the website.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Dream Lover, by Elizabeth Berg
2. Even in Paradise, by Elizabeth Nunez
3. The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy
4. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
5. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman (event 5/14, 2 pm, at Boswell)
6. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald (event 5/19, 7 pm, at Boswell)
7. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, by David Sedaris
8. Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, edited by David Sedaris
9. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, by Fredrik Backman
10. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

Number of Elizabeths in the top 2: 2
Number of books set in a bookstore in our top 10: 2
Number of titles translated from Swedish: 3
Number of titles in translation: 5

Five of our top ten fiction books are works in translation. A lot of folks don't know that The Little Paris Bookshop is translated from German. And don't forget another great week for Karl Ove Knaussgaard, who I'm told had close to 1000 people for his recent event in Chicago. Wow!

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), by Felicia Day
2. Hold Still, by Sally Mann
3. Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, by David Sedaris
4. Ghettoside, by Jill Leovy
5. Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris
6. When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris
7. H Is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
8. Descent Into Happiness, by David Howell
9. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
10. Barrel Fever, by David Sedaris

When you note that Jill Leovy's Ghettoside was the title that David Sedaris hand-sold at his Riverside Theater event last week, it becomes clear that this category was completely event driven, with only Helen Macdonald being event aftereffects and not the event itself. We will probably run through our signed copies of H Is for Hawk pretty soon if we haven't already.

Books for Kids:
1. Two Friends, by Dean Robbins
2. Hattie's War, by Hilda and Emily Demuth
3. Dear Pope Francis, by Pope Francis, edited by Antonio Spadaro.
4. The Jungle Book (illustrated with interactive elements), by Rudyard Kipling (HarperDesign edition)
5. The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater
6. Pax, by Sara Pennypacker, with illustrations by Jon Klasssen
7. The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
8. Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, Jonathan Auxier
9. Mother Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins
10. Rose and the Dagger, by Renee Ahdieh

It's not to common to have a bestseller from Loyola Press but we've now had multiple weeks on the bestseller list for Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World. The New York Post profiled the book when the editor was in New York on the book's publication. One kid asked the Pope what his favorite sport was, while other questions were more spiritual in nature. Do bad people have guardian angels? According to Pope Francis, the answer is yes.

Over in the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive, a memoir about coping with depression and anxiety which is also an argument against suicide. Higgins notes: "A British writer for youth and adults whose novels include The Humans and The Radleys, Haig writes with a direct but gentle voice in Reasons to Stay Alive. His arc is hopeful but realistic; he never minimizes his struggles. In fact, I'd say his ability to observe himself realistically is one of the strengths that has helped him recover." One piece of advice for the loved ones - don't resort to tough love. As Haig notes: "Turns out that just good old 'love' is enough."

Also on the books page was a profile of Kao Kalia Yang in conjunction with the release of The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father, written by Laurie Hertzel, and originally published in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. The book, the story of Yang's relationship with her father, a farmer turned factory worker, was originally submitted to Coffee House Press, but the publisher encouraged her to go bigger, and the book wound up at Henry Holt's Metropolitan Books imprint.

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