Sunday, May 22, 2016

Boswell Bestsellers for the week ending May 21, 2016--Good Housekeeping pops a book, an unpublished WPA book is a local success, and what about those missing 26th and 27th Elephant and Piggie books?

Here we go!

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Audacity of Goats, by J.F. Riordan
2. The Charm Bracelet, by Viola Shipman
3. Don't You Cry, by Mary Kubica
4. North of the Tension Line, by J.F. Riordan
5. LaRose, by Louise Erdrich
6. Everybody's Fool, by Richard Russo
7. Zero K, by Don DeLillo
8. The Nest, by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
9. Everyone Brave is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave
10. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

We had a very nice week of author appearances, including The Charm Bracelet. According to Wade Rouse, who is writing as Viola Shipman after a series of nonfiction books under his own name, has found new success, including international sales and an Italian bestseller. See, the Italian critics were right to suspect that Elena Ferrante's novel might actually written by a man. Just kidding. In any case, Rouse told me that this Good Housekeeping piece was actually one of the most influential pieces in helping get the word out about his new book.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. No House to Call My Home, by Ryan Berg
2. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
3. The Gene, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
4. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
5. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
6. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
7. Valiant Ambition, by Nathaniel Philbrick
8. Grit, by Angela Duckworth
9. The Romanovs, by Simon Sebag Montefiore
10. Wisconsin Supper Clubs: Another Round, by Ron Faiola

One hot title in the bookstore marketplace has been Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Gene, his follow up to the award-winning The Emperor of All Maladies. Kevin Canfield for the San Francisco Chronicle called this "a rich, occasionally whimsical book." He continues: "Mukherjee spends most of his time looking into the past, and what he finds is consistently intriguing. But his sober warning about the future might be the book’s most important contribution."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald
2. Lucadora!, by Alvaro Saar Rios
3. Clouds of Witness, by Dorothy L. Sayers
4. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, by Fredrik Backman
5. A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler
6. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
7. A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
8. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
9. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson
10. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

I made the pitch to the In-store Lit Group that A Spool of Blue Thread had a little more review attention than her previous two novels, but I would say that this was mostly contingent on the Man Booker shortlist. It was also on the Baileys Women's Prize shortlist. So maybe I should say it was the better reviewed in the UK! But here's Ron Charles in The Washington Post, talking about it: "Everything about her new novel — from its needlepointed title to its arthritic plot — sounds worn-out. So how can it be so wonderful? The funky meals, the wacky professions, the distracted mothers and the lost children — they’re all here. But complaining that Tyler’s novels are redundant is like whining that Shakespeare’s sonnets are always 14 lines long. Somehow, what’s familiar seems transcended in these pages, infused with freshness and surprise — evidence, once again, that Tyler remains among the best chroniclers of family life this country has ever produced."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
2. Milwaukee in the 1930s, by John D. Buenker
3. Life on the Loose, by Cari Taylor-Carlson (event today at 3 pm)
4. Kitchen Hacks, by America's Test Kitchen
5. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
6. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
7. Between You and Me, by Mary Norris
8. My Holiday in North Korea, by Wendy E. Simmons
9. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
10. A Lucky Life Interrupted, by Tom Brokaw

We're selling books at the Main Street Now conference downtown on Monday through Wednesday. One book we'll definitely be bringing is Milwaukee in the 1930s by John D. Buenker. Here's David Luhrssen's review in the Shepherd Express.

Books for Kids:
1. American Born Chinese, by Gen Luen Yang
2. The Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
3. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
4. Hello?, by Liza Wiemer
5. The Problem With Forever, by Jennifer Armentrout
6. Thank You Book, by Mo Willems
7. The Hidden Oracle, by Rick Riordan
8. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
9. The Sword of Summer, by Rick Riordan
10. Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, by Jonathan Auxier

So the big question is whether The Thank You Book is the last Elephant and Piggie story. Indeed, Mo Willems's website says as much but the Wikipedia page says We Are Superheroes was scheduled for July and A Great Party is on the schedule for October:
26. We Are Super Heroes! (July 2016)
27. A Great Party (October 2016)

What's up with this? Did these exist and were they cancelled? Where's 60 Minutes when you need it?

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews a book that looks at how the American military broke new grounds in fairness. He writes: "I begin with this story (of the army throwing out a court martial for a black soldier refusing to move to the back of a bus) so I might honor the effective way Chris Bray starts most of the chapters in his impressively researched, well-written and thoroughly entertaining account of military justice in U.S. history. I didn't expect a book titled Court-Martial: How Military Justice Has Shaped America from the Revolution to 9/11 and Beyond to be riveting as well as informative. I was spectacularly wrong."

Also included in the print edition is Laurie Hertzel's profile of Louise Erdrich, author of LaRose, whose story turns on the Native American tradition of sharing a child in the face of loss. From Hertzel: "This fluidity was misunderstood by Western social workers, who also took advantage of it, adopting Indian children out of the tribe, out of the community. Since the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which makes it more difficult to remove children from their families."

But that's just the tip of the iceberg of this interview. It got an nice spread in today's paper.

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