Sunday, September 25, 2016

Boswell Bestsellers for the week ending September 24, 2016 - Plus the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page, plus a note that we are closing slightly early tonight (Sunday)

We are closing early tonight (Sunday, September 25), at 5 pm, for a staff meeting. Here are our annotated Boswell bestsellers for the week ending September 24, 2016.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Leave Me, by Gayle Forman
2. Karolina's Twins, by Ronald H. Balson
3. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett (event is sold out)
4. Every Kind of Wanting, by Gina Frangello
5. The Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny
6. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
7. The Virginity of Famous Men, by Gina Frangello
8. The Girls, by Emma Cline
9. Razor Girl, by Carl Hiaasen
10. Mischling, by Affinity Konar

Affinity Konar's Mischling is the just-released novel about twin sisters at Auschwitz, or specifically at Josef Mengele's Zoo. It has been the priority title for Lee Boudreaux Books this fall, making the Indie Next list and getting some strong reviews out of the box, including The New York Times Book Review write up from Ruth Franklin, who wrote: "Mischling is not for everyone, not least because it is excruciating to read about such pain. I do not remember the last time I shed so many tears over a work of fiction. And it will surely offend those who still chafe at the idea of fictionalizing the Holocaust. But readers who allow themselves to fall under the spell of Konar’s exceptionally sensitive writing may well find the book unforgettable."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. My Son Wears Heels, by Julie Tarney
2. Napoleon, by Andrew Roberts
3. The Last General, by Andrew Krepinevich
4. Savior Generals, by Victor Davis Hanson
5. Paying the Price, by Sara Goldrick-Rab
6. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
7. The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda
8. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
9. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
10. His Final Battle, by Joseph Lelyveld

Fall hardcover books are surely working, but I'm not exactly sure whether they are driving folks into bookstores, or at least our bookstore. Hey, bulk sales help pay the bills. We had a great week of events but I guess the biggest was Julie Tarney's homecoming for My Son Wears Heels. And yes, Harry came along with his mom from New York, where they both now live. He works at a photography studio during the day and does drag at night. Here's' an interview with Julie Tarney from Emily Talapa on Radio Milwaukee.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
2. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
3. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
4. Eileen, by Ottessa Moshfegh (in store lit group November 7)
5. Shadowy Third, by Barbara Wuest
6. A Man Called Ove, by Frfedrik Backman
7. Saving Sophie, by Ronald H. Balson
8. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
9. Sister Carrie, by Thedoore Dreiser (in store lit group with Florentine, October 3)
10. Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes (preview with Milwaukee Rep, September 28, 2 pm)

One of the most well-reviewed novels last year was Fates and Furies, now out in paperback. It was also one of the favorites of many indie booksellers, including me. I'm glad they kept the distinctive cover. Like many (hundreds of) bookstores, we hoped to get on the paperback tour but it looks likes she's pretty much doing festivals and series. She comes pretty close though, as she's part of Lake Forest Reads on October 27 and 28, including a signing at Lake Forest Bookshop on 10/28 at 2 pm. Hey, it's only an hour away.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. One Billion Seconds, by Poppy and Geoff Spencer
2. Bats Sing Mice Giggle, by Karen Shanor
3. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
4. Black Earth, by Timothy Snyder
5. The Road to Character, by David Brooks
6. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
7. Riverwest: A Community History, by Tom Tolan
8. We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
9. Gumption, by Nick Offerman
10. Denial, by Deborah Lipstadt

Timothy Snyder's "On the Issues with Mike Gousha" event for Black Earth at Marquette University's Eckstein Hall on Wednesday, October 19 is likely sold out by now, but when you register, there is a waiting list, and they also show the interview by video in the lobby. It's still worth it to sign up if you're free at 12:15 pm. From The Atlantic, a snippet of Snyder's views on Hitler, being interviewed by Edward Delman: "He presents himself precisely as a German nationalist who is going to get the German economy going, who is going to bring Germans inside the borders of Germany. That’s how he presents himself, but that is a lie. He’s quite consciously manipulating German national sentiment to get to power and then to start the war, which he thinks will transform the Germans, as it were, from a nation into a race. So he’s aware that German nationalism is a force in the world, but he’s just using it in order to create the world that he wants, which is this world of racial struggle."

Books for Kids:
1. Child of the Civil Rights Movement, by Paula Young Shelton
2. Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan
3. Booked, by Kwame Alexander
4. White Socks Only, by Evelyn Coleman
5. Dumplin, by Julie Murphy
6. Orbiting Jupiter, by Gary D. Schmidt
7. Ghost, by Jason Reynolds
8. If I Grow Up, by Todd Strasser
9. Yummy, by G. Neri
10. Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier

As I was putting together these lists, I looked at the bestseller list for kids this week and thought, "Hey, I think this is the results of the presentation that Todd and I did at a middle-school district in August," and sure enough, it was. I talked about three of the titles inn this week's top ten, Booked, Orbiting Jupiter, and Ghost. Both Booked and Ghost are long-listed for the National Book Awards. If you are having a development day with at least 25 teachers, we might be able to do a presentation for you too.

And now, it's time for the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page. First up is Jim Higgins and his review of Death's End, the new novel by Cixin Liu. Liu, a power plant engineer, won the Hugo Award for The Three Body Problem and his newest is similarly translated by Ken Liu. Here's Higgins: "I can pull many marvels out of Death's End, the final book in Liu's mind-blowing science-fiction trilogy: space cities orbiting Jupiter, an unexpected view of our reality from inside the fourth dimension, the deliberate bursting of a star — and the tender regard of a man for a woman (and vice versa) that carries each through centuries of struggle. But, unlike the malevolent artist of the tale, I'll never be able to contain Liu's riches in a simple document. Instead, I'll simply gape in amazement at a trilogy that belongs in the pantheon with the greatest works of Arthur C. Clarke, one of Liu's self-declared precursors."

Back when I worked on the floor of the Water and Wisconsin Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, I befriended a Marquette student who was an avid reader. Now many years later he lives in Thailand, but we keep in touch and he had just sent me a note telling me what a big fan he is of Cixin Liu.

From the print edition only:

1. Laurie Hertzel profiles Elizabeth Alexander and her memoir of her husband's death, The Light of the World, originally appearing in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. The book is now out in paperback.

2. Dan Cryer at Newsday reviews the buzzy breakout hit, The Nix, from Nathan Hill.

3. Trisha Collopy, also at the Star Tribune, has a roundup of YA. Her shortlist:
--The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
--Makoons, by Louise Erdrich
--Property of the State, by Bill Cameron
--Towers Falling, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
--Ice-Out, by Mary Casanova.

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