Sunday, July 31, 2016

A nice book club pop on the Boswell bestseller lists for the week ending July 30, 2016

I don't normally do paperbacks first, but with a more muted event calendar for the next few weeks, the real story for sales pops with a minor reset and new signage for our book club table, and several groups choosing titles for their upcoming season.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
2. Jade Dragon Mountain, by Elsa Hart
3. The Fishermen, by Chogozie Obioma
4. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
5. A Reunion of Ghosts, by Judith Claire Mitchell
6. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
7. Faith, by Jennifer Haigh
8. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
9. Florence Gordon, by Brian Morton
10. After You, by Jojo Moyes
11. Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
12. Those who Leave and Those who Stay V3, by Elena Ferrante
13. Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
14. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald
15. The Dust That Falls From Dreams, by Louis De Bernieres

We consolidated our July addendum sheet into our spring-summer book club flyer, dropping a few books that ran their course, plus 30 books don't quite fit on our table. Three of the titles we're tying to push, Jade Dragon Mountain, The Fishermen, and The Dust that Falls from Dreams, had sales pops this week. I've only read The Fishermen so far (and I highly recommend it for book clubs!), but the other two novels had very strong reads from two other Boswellians and both are being considered for our in-store lit group meetings in November and December. In particular, I'm always on the lookout for a really strong start to a mystery series with crossover potential and with the strong historical setting and Jade Dragaon Mountain, a Barry Award best first novel nominee, fits the bill. Donna Leon offered this praise: "This debut historical mystery deftly combines ingenious plotting and suspense with a subtle understanding of China, its culture, and its people. The protagonist, Li Du, a librarian and intellectual, is well worth keeping an eye on.”

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Creating and Sustaining a Thriving Reiki Practice, by Deb Karpek
2. The Confidence Quadrant, by Darren Fisher
3. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
4. My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me, by Jennifer Teege with Nikola Sellmair
5. Fast and Easy Five Ingredient Recipes, by Philia Kelnhofer
6. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
7. Hamilton: Vocal Selections, by Lin Manuel Miranda
8. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
9. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
10. Dog Medicine, by Julie Barton

Two events sales, followed by two book club picks, followed by two Hamilton books including one published by Milwaukee's Hal Leonard, plus the coffee table book rests comfortably on our hardcover list below. Yes, Hamilton: Vocal Selections hit our bestseller list, and based on the quantities in stock at our wholesaler, those sales are not isolated. One of my friends in Chicago told me that she spent a lot of time wrangling tickets for the opening there - I'm sure she's not alone.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Girls, by Emma Cline
2. Black Widow, by Daniel Silva
3. Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch
4. Heroes of the Frontier, by Dave Eggers
5. I Almost Forgot About You, by Terry McMillan
6. Everyone Brave is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave
7. As Good as Gone, by Larry Watson
8. Charcoal Joe, by Walter Mosley
9. They May Not Mean to But They Do, by Cathleen Schine
10. My Name Is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout

Jason informed me that I didn't catch that Dark Matter released a week earlier than expected. This week we featured it in our email newsletter with not one but two staff recommendations. Boswellian Kelli O'Malley wrote: "Blake Crouch's new novel, Dark Matter, is a complex dark tale of one man's obsessive determination to make it home to his family. Riddled with thought provoking ideas and improbable situations, Crouch takes readers on the ultimate journey of ‘what if?’ This Sci-fi novel heart pounding twists show readers that our choices make us who we are and what were to happen if we tried to live a life not our own. The science of the novel has an incredible quality that leads to situations I could not stop thinking about days after I finished reading."

Need more prodding? Andrew Liptak in The Verge writes: "Dark Matter will satisfy any cravings you might have for the late Michael Crichton's known techno-thrillers like Jurassic Park, Timeline, The Andromeda Strain, and others. Take a couple of characters, drop them into a mess of advanced sciences and technologies with a clear antagonist, and crank the book to 11."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. Wisconsin Supper Clubs: Another Round, by Ron Faiola (event Mon 8/8, 7 pm)
4. Grunt, by Mary Roach
5. Hamilton, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
6. John Bascom and the Origins of the Wisconsin Idea, by J. David Hoeveler (event Wed 9/7, 7 pm)
7. Hidden Hemingway, by Robert K. Elder, Mark Cirino, and Aaron Vetch
8. Diane Arbus, by Arthur Lubow
9. White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg
10. The Hour of the Land, by Terry Tempest-Williams

One might have thought that Diane Arbus's life was captured in 1984 by Patricia Bosworth, but Arthur Lubow's Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer is almost twice as long and filled with new information and insights. Anthony Lane wrote in The New Yorker: "If, in the end, any biography of her becomes exhausting, that is because she is exhausting. If her genius both astounds and tires, it is because, whatever the courage and the tolerance with which she sought out the eccentric, she always seems to remain at the center, while others revolve around her." So perhaps you too could take a picture of a Jewish giant, but it probably wouldn't have the same impact.

Books for Kids:
1. Babies, by Gyo Fujikawa
2. There Is a Tribe of Kids, by Lane Smith
3. Alan's Big Scary Teeth, by Peter Jarvis
4. Baby Animals, by Gyo Fujikawa
5. Author's Odyssey V5, by Chris Colfer
6. Last Star V3, by Rick Yancey
7. And I Darken, by Kiersten White
8. Hillary Rodham Clinton, by Michelle Balzer Markel
9. Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans
10. Riverkeep, by Martin Stewart

Holding on to the margins of the top 10 is a brand new fantasy novel from Martin Stewart called Riverkeep. It's about a teenage boy named Wullum who is going to take over the job of Riverkeep from his father, only dad becomes possessed by a demon and to save him, Wull must slay Mormorach the sea monster. Kirkus Reviews writes: "Stewart shows a dab hand at crafting memorable characters and thoroughly frightening opponents for them to face. Leaving several supporting storylines up in the air, he navigates the quixotic main mission to a solid resolution that leaves Wulliam truly prepared at last to take up his riverine duties.A rich debut: Huck Finn meets Moby-Dick. "

Over at the Journal Sentinel, book space is condensed to feature State Fair doings, but there's still a nice feature on Jeffrey Toobin's American Heiress: The Wild Saga of The Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst. Toobin brings the 1970s incident back into sharp focus, per ZChris Foran: "In engaging and breezily written prose, he shows that it's more than a footnote to its time. In many ways, Hearst's tale embodied its time, or at least the dark side of it. Toobin — whose book The Run of His Life was the basis for this year's hit FX series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story — deftly sets the stage by taking us back to the less-than-thrilling days of 1974, with gas prices soaring, faith in government and institutions collapsing, and violence by self-proclaimed terrorists escalating."

Originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pamela Miller's review of The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror, from Joyce Carol Oates, is featured in the print section. Miller's take: "Its six stories are especially bone-chilling because they contain no element of the supernatural. All could have happened in your city or town — and probably have, given Oates' fascination with the gritty crime fodder that is a staple of most U.S. newspapers and TV newscasts."

And online for now, Mike Fischer in the Journal Sentinel takes on Dave Eggers' Heroes of the Frontier, a novel about a woman on the lam in Alaska with her two children. Hey, this can go on our Alaska table. Fischer likes the book though this quote out of context might make it seem like he is rolling his eyes: "Cue the characteristic Eggers mood music, playing a variation on the theme of how America has lost touch with itself. True to form, he is again as earnest, lyrical, passionate — and, yes, sometimes annoyingly preachy — as any contemporary American novelist." Note that the Journal Sentinel generally reviews books two days before on-sale date but Eggers is available now, so feel free to pick one up today. It's featured on the Boswell Best in store.

No comments: