Sunday, August 21, 2016

What's on the Boswell bestseller list for the week ending August 20, 2016? (plus the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page)

Here's what's selling at Boswell.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Humane Economy, by Wayne Pacelle
2. Wisconsin on the Air, by Jack Mitchell
3. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer
4. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
5. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
6. The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward
7. John Bascom and the Origins of the Wisconsin Idea, by J. David Hoeveler (event 9/7, 7 pm, at Boswell)
8. The Hapsburg Empire, by Pieter M. Judson
9. Wisconsin Supper Clubs: Another Round, by Ron Faiola
10. Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide, by Darryl McDaniels (event 8/27, 7 pm, at Boswell)

Several weeks ago we linked to the Journal Sentinel's review of The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, where Jim Higgins noted that "contributors articulate the distress of being unvalued, diminished and continually on guard because of their blackness." The anthology has received much attention, including this Vogue piece from Rachel Benegal that looks at the collection's origin: "When news of the killing of Trayvon Martin broke in February 2012, for Jesmyn Ward it deepened a wound both personal and shared, and confirmed, with grotesque prescience, the necessity of the book she was then writing. Four months prior she’d won the National Book Award for her tough and extraordinary novel Salvage the Bones, about a Mississippi Gulf Coast family who survives Hurricane Katrina. That winter, Ward, pregnant with her first child, was in the midst of revising her memoir Men We Reaped, a requiem that chronicles and connects the deaths of five young black men in her own life - her brother, her cousin, her friends - who died between 2000 and 2004."

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
2. LaRose, by Louise Erdrich
3. The Girls, by Emma Cline
4. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
5. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
6. The Nest, by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
7. Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch
8. Truly Madly Guilty, by Linae Moriarty
9. Barkskins, by Annie Proulx
10. First Comes Love, by Emily Giffin

Not a big week for releases, so most readers are familiar with this week's top ten. When I was in Nashville this week (more about this on a future post), I heard that Louise Erdrich had a wonderful event with Jane Hamilton. Coming soon is our event with Ann Patchett and Jane Hamilton (tickets available here). And somewhere out there was probably an amazing event with Erdrich and Patchett, completing the triangle. I just don't know where it was and when, or perhaps it's coming up in October. From the Los Angeles Times, Thomas Curwen wrote about Erdrich's newest: "The rewards of LaRose lie in the quick unraveling and the slow reconstruction of these lives to a moment when animosities resolve, like shards of glass in a kaleidoscope, into clarity and understanding. While the ending may seem formulaic — a gathering of the young and old, the living and the dead — it is a benediction on the searing forces that preceded it. Told with constraint and conviction, the conclusion of LaRose is its own balm, a peace not easily won but won nonetheless.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. One Bead at a Time, by Beverly Little Thunder
2. Known and Strange Things, by Teju Cole
3. Application for Release from the Dream, by Tony Hoagland
4. My Grandfather Would have Shot Me, by Jennifer Teege with Nikola Sellmair
5. LGBT Milwaukee, by Michail Takach (event 8/25, 7 pm)
6. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
7. The Bond, by Wayne Pacelle
8. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
9. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
10. Happiness Is..., by Lisa Swerling

After two novels, Open City, which won the PEN/Hemingway award, and Every Day is for the Thief, which was published by Random House second, but was actually released internationally earlier, Teju Cole now offers his first collection of essays, Known and Strange Things. There's been lots of write-ups about this book, which was published as a paperback original, which led to me asking our buyer Jason about whether our Random House discussed why the book was not done as a hardcover first. Hey, it worked, as the book popped onto our bestseller list this week. Rebecca Foster in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that Cole "collects 55 short pieces — drawn from the author’s prolific output during eight years of near-constant travel and writing — under three headings: literature, the visual arts and travel."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
2. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
3. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
4. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
5. Jade Dragon Mountain, by Elsa Hart
6. The Drifter, by Nicholas Petrie
7. The Nature of the Beast, by Louise Penny
8. Girl Waits with Gun, by Amy Stewart
9. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
10. My Sunshine Away, by Mo Walsh

Sharon's got a staff rec on Mo Walsh's My Sunshine Away, the story of the sexual assault on a teenager in 1980s Baton Rouge, a city that is now in the news for the devastating flooding. Nagel writes that though the story is about a neighbor boy's search for the attacker, it's about so much more: "A parent’s hopes and fears for her child, high school survival, first love, lost innocence, and the often difficult passage into adulthood. A fantastic offering by an author that remembers what it is like to be a teenager, and allows the reader to do so as well." And Meredith Maran in the Chicago Tribune called My Sunshine Away "a rich, unexpected, exceptional book."

Books for Kids:
1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2, by J.K. Rowling
2. Sophie's Squash Goes to School, by Pat Zietlow Miller
3. Sophie's Squash, by Pat Zietlow Miller
4. Sharing the Bread, by Pat Zietlow Miller
5. Dark Days V3, by James Ponti
6. Thank You Book, by Mo Willems
7. Dead City V1, by James Ponti
8. Blue Moon V2, by James Ponti
9. The Blackthorn Key V1, by Kevin Sands
10. Julia's House for Lost Creatures, by Ben Hatke

You're beginning to see our fall school events getting advance sales. James Ponti is visiting schools with Kevin Sands for his new release, Framed, which comes out on Tuesday. Of the Dead City series, Suzanne Collins called it "a tween takes on undead New Yorkers in this paranormal action-adventure that breathes new life into the zombie genre." Pat Zietlow Miller is also visiting schools for Sophie's Squash Goes to School. These three authors don't have public events with Boswell. If you're an educator learning more about our authors-in-schools program, contact us.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews The Underground Railroad on the TapBooks page. As Jason and I discussed, Doubleday moving up the pub date for the Oprah's Book Club has probably played havoc with reviewers' schedules. Higgins writes: "Like everyone else living in the Oprahsphere, I'd heard the cool concept of Whitehead's novel: The Underground Railroad as an actual railroad. Whitehead threads this alternative reality ingeniously through this otherwise realistic and often harrowing novel." His conclusion?: "Whitehead's book is a novel, not an op-ed. But I can't help feeling that it also communicates a message for today: The Underground Railroad is still under construction. Keep swinging your pickax."

Mike Fischer writes about our continuing fascination with Alaska as a setting, which might explain why we currently have an Alaska table at Boswell: He writes in the Journal Sentinel: This month, Alaskan Eowyn Ivey has returned to the setting of her The Snow Child with a second novel set in Alaska before statehood: To the Bright Edge of the World. Inspired by an actual 1885 expedition into unmapped Alaskan territory, it continues a long line of American fiction in which the wilderness tests our rationalist assumptions involving how the world works and what it contains."

And finally, the Journal Sentinel reprints Heidi Stevens' take on Amy Schumer's new memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, which has already hit our bestseller list. She writes in this review, originally appearing in the Chicago Tribune: "After some initial throat-clearing in the first 30 pages (the book's weakest), Schumer weaves a brave, vulnerable tale without falling into the usual celebrity traps of neediness and defense. She writes about her dad's multiple sclerosis, a sexual assault she endured as a teenager, her experience living with an abusive boyfriend, her parents' multiple failed marriages and her own reckoning with an entertainment industry that prizes appearance over substance. In so doing, she subtly offers a rationale for all this self-revealing: It strengthens you."

No comments: