Sunday, August 7, 2016

Boswell annotated bestsellers for the week ending August 6, 2016

Books for Kids:
1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
2. Author's Odyssey V5, by Chris Colfer
3. Hogwarts Classics, by J.K. Rowling
4. Where the Wild Things Are, 25th anniversary edition, by Maurice Sendak
5. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
6. Zen Socks, by Jon J. Muth
7. Oh, the Places You'll Go!, by Dr. Seuss
8. At the Same Moment Around the World, by Clotilde Perrin
9. Magic Treehouse: Night of the Dragon V55, by Mary Pope Osborne
10. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling

Needless to say, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2 captures the lion's share of sales on this week's bestseller list, so with that in place, I listed books for kids first. There was a tiny bit of Potter spinoff this week but publishers seem to be publishing more for the fall film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The trailer is now out for the November 18 release. If you missed the Michiko Kakutano review in The New York Times, it was quite good.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
2. Heroes of the Frontier, by Dave Eggers
3. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. The Girls, by Emma Cline
5. The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware
6. Black Widow, by Daniel Silva
7. Underground Airlines, by Ben Winters
8. Before the Fall, by Noah Hawley
9. Jonathan Unleashed, by Meg Rosoff
10. Good As Gone, by Amy Gentry

Well, it feels like Underground Railroad is going to bigger than Oprah's last pick, Cynthia Bond's Ruby, which had some Boswell love but never quite took off. Of the newest, Ron Charles wrote in The Washington Post: "Far and away the most anticipated literary novel of the year, The Underground Railroad marks a new triumph for Whitehead. Since his first novel, The Intuitionist, the MacArthur “genius” has nimbly explored America’s racial consciousness — and more — with an exhilarating blend of comedy, history, horror and speculative fiction."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin
2. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
3. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
4. Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, by Blair Braverman
5. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
6. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, by Sarah Knight
7. Women in Science, by Rachel Ignotosky
8. Wisconsin Supper Clubs: Another Round, by Ron Faiola (event 8/8, 7 pm, at Boswell, with Kyle Cherek)
9. White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg
10. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

Last week's review in the Journal Sentinel for American Heiress heralded great sales for Toobin's newest: "What results is a terrifically detailed recounting of the Hearst case and its aftermath. But American Heiress is more than that. In telling this story, Toobin also opens a window on the surrealism of the '70s in a way that makes it all of a piece — and, in some instances, a harbinger of the future." Expect to see a high debut on national bestseller lists. Further down, White Trash has had a nice run nationally. Isenberg discussed the myth of class mobility on All Things Considered with Ari Shaprio.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Butterfly Net, by Susan Damgard O'Brien
2. A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler
3. Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser (Penguin Classic)
4. Kitchens of the Great Midwest, by J. Ryan Stradal
5. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
6. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
7. Purity, by Jonathan Franzen
8. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald
9. She Weeps Each Time You're Born, by Quan Barry
10. The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma

You can tell it's in-store lit group discussion week, as we had nice pops for September's She Weeps Each Time You're Born and October's Sister Carrie. Our last two selections, both strong national bestsellers, continue their run of sales. And being that Kitchens of the Great Midwest celebrates high and low Midwest cuisine, it seems natural to have interviewed him for his take on State Fair Food for Minnesota Monthly: "While Stradal calls corn dogs “the Federalist Papers of all stick-based cuisine,” the author said that his go-to fair item is 1919 Classic American Draft Root Beer. This year, he is looking forward to trying the new Minnesota Corn Dog and the new SPAM products. " Hey, what's the Wisconsin equivalent of Spam cuisine?

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening, by Carol Wall
2. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
3. Dog Medicine, by Julie Barton
4. We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimananda Ngozie Adichie
5. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
6. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
7. Barbarian Days, by William Finnegan
8. Night, by Elie Wiesel
9. Happy Felsch, by Thomas Rathkamp
10. Going for Wisconsin Gold, by Jessie Garcia (event 8/10, 6:30 pm, at Shorewood Library)

It's nice to see several books having post-event sales pops, including Blair Braverman's Welcome to the Godddamn Ice Cube in hardcover nonfiction and Julie Barton's Dog Medicine in paperback. One of the ways I gauge how successful an event was by the percentage of people attending purchasing the book, and Barton's talk had one of the higher percentages I've seen for an event that had no local component. We have two recs on the book, from Sharon and Kellie, and here's a nice profile from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. One thing that the story emphasized was Barton's upbringing that was filled with sibling abuse, not as much talked about as spousal or parental abuse but nonetheless landing her in an emergency room. And there's a shout out to her new canine friend: "You may not bring the kind of dog medicine I’m used to ... but I am slowly learning that even you bring important medicine. Thank you for napping near my desk as I wrote much of this story. I know you were working some kind of magic. You’re a good boy. I love you. Walk time?"

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Duane Dudek profiles Wisconsin on the Air, the new history of Wisconsin Public Radio from Jack Mitchell. He writes: "When what became known as WHA first went on the air in 1917, its earliest transmissions in Morse code 'consisted of weather reports around the noon hour so farmers could listen during their midday dinners,' Mitchell writes. Maybe this explains TV and radio’s obsession with weather today. But the real roots of public radio in the state, Mitchell writes, in his book published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press, are in the Wisconsin Idea, the 'public service philosophy' that considered radio 'an instrument of democratic change' and distinguishes the University of Wisconsin-Madison 'from its peers and the state from its neighbors.'" Don't forget that Mitchell will appear with Kathleen Dunn at Boswell on Thursday, August 18, 7 pm.

Also from the Journal Sentinel, a review from Mike Fischer covers Dave Eggers's Heroes of the Frontier, his new novel about a woman on the lam in Alaska with her two kids. His take: "Keep your eyes on the page, reader, rather than rolling them; Eggers is not giving us yet another treacle-filled account of how we should live for our kids, be defined by our kids, or describe our life's purpose through our kids. Eggers dares to offer still more: two extraordinarily textured and credible portraits of young children — rare, in American literature — coupled with a trenchant, spot-on account of how hard parenting can be. Why parents need to take time for themselves, away from their kids. And why, for all that, those same kids can help us to a better view of who we and America might be."

A second local review on the TapBooks page, Jim Higgins reviews The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jessmyn Ward. He explains: "ovelist Jesmyn Ward edited this collection of essays and a few poems, which describes the sorrow and unease of being black in America in the time of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and Sandra Bland, making it a natural companion to Men We Reaped, Ward's memoir of five men close to her who died violent, untimely deaths. The new book's title, of course, pays homage to James Baldwin's 1963 classic The Fire Next Time. Ward and her fellow writers treat Baldwin as a revered old uncle: a voice of experience, a link to history and, occasionally, an elder to be argued with."

There's also a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two review from Marion Winik, originally published in Newsday. Winik tries to speak to the Potter fans who were sated with volume 7 and those who wanted more. She notes: "With a 'Time-Turner' as a key prop, Cursed Child travels fluidly through Potter history, revisiting dramatic moments from the saga. It begins right where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ended — at the train station, with a middle-aged Harry and Ginny sending their son, Albus, off to Hogwarts. Rowling introduced a child for Draco Malfoy, a boy named Scorpius."

Also from Newsday, Kate Tutle reviews Gerri Hirshey's biography of Helen Gurley Borwn, Not Pretty Enough. Tuttle observes: "Hirshey, a veteran observer of the cultural scene, argues effectively for Brown’s enduring influence, not only in the world of magazine publishing, but in the way women live and talk about their lives. Her own writing sometimes slips into the same kind of breathless frivolity her subject was known for — readers may yearn for fewer girlish exclamations and winking wordplay. Still, the book, like its subject, can be surprisingly thought-provoking, and even at its lightest, it’s vivid, funny and terrifically entertaining."

Earlier in the week there was a profile of Jessie Garcia and her new book, Going for the Wisconsin Gold. Jim Higgins writes: "During the 22 years she reported for Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV (Channel 4), Garcia interviewed Olympians before, during and after the games. Counting this summer's contingent, more than 450 athletes with Wisconsin connections have competed in at least one Olympics, she said." Garcia will be at the Shorewood Public Library on Wednesday, August 10, 6:30 pm.

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