Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Boswell annotated bestseller list for the week ending 10/29/16.

Here's what sold at Boswell this past week.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Bait, by Chuck Palahniuk
2. The Whistler, by John Grisham (Maslin in the NYT likes this better than the last)
3. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
4. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories, by P.D. James
5. The Secret History of Twin Peaks, by Mark Frost
6. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
7. Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien (shortlisted for Man Booker Prize)
8. Hag Seed, by Margaret Atwood
9. Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson
10. Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

Thanks to Chuck Palahniuk who provided signed bookplates for Bait: Off Color Stories for You to Color. Russ Burlingame on the Comic Book website noted Palahniuik's intention: "It could be that I’m attracted to conflict and tension; for instance, upsetting stories told in the form of a coloring book, a pastime normally designed to help people relax."

Though he's penned everything from thrillers to sports histories to young adult fantasy with his most recent series, The Paladin Prophecy, Mark Frost is probably still most famous as the co-creator of Twin Peaks with David Lynch. Now The Secret History of Twin Peaks is out, letting readers know what's happened in the last 25 years. Alas, Frost's tour is over (you could have zipped over to Magers and Quinn last Monday for his visit to Minneapolis). Read more about the book's release here.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Truth About Cancer, by Ty M. Bollinger
2. Gunslinger, by Jeff Pearlman (event at Elm Grove Library, Tue Nov 1, 6:30)
3. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
4. North of Dixie, by Mark Speltz
5. Atlas Obscura, by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton
6. Appetites, by Anthony Bourdain
7. Cooking for Jeffrey, by Ina Garten
8. The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page
9. Upstream, by Mary Oliver
10. Cook's Science, from America's Test Kitchen

Gunslinger had a bang-up first week in Milwaukee, and probably anywhere in Wisconsin or where Packer Nation holds court. Jeff Pearlman's biography was reviewewd in the Chicago Tribune, where Ed Sherman wrote: "Favre was an iconic player who dominated the sporting landscape for nearly two decades. Pearlman's book presents the compelling, complete story of his legend, and his faults." He does note that if a Favre fan does not want their image of the star quarterback to be sullied, he or she should not read Gunslinger.

And this note from Pearlman comes from Gary D'Amato's review in the Journal Sentinel: "When you write a biography, you see the ups and downs and the highs and lows. You see the journey. He’s a 47-year-old volleyball dad who lives contentedly in Mississippi. He has come out of it as a really good guy. We all have our ups and downs. How do you come out of it in the end? I think Brett Favre overcame all these problems to become a really good human being.”

Paperback Fiction:
1. French Rhapsody, by Antoine Laurain
2. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
3. Again and Again, by Ellen Bravo
4. The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain
5. The Sellout, by Paul Beatty
6. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain
7. The Drifter, by Nicholas Petrie
8. Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People, by Susan Firer (event at Boswell Thu Nov 3, 7 pm)
9. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
10. Americanah, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie

While the National Book Critics Circle Award popped Paul Beatty's The Sellout, my guess is that having the double whammy of the Man Booker Prize should get this book onto everybody's reading list. Beatty is the first American winner, and Charlotte Higgins notes in The Guardian that it almost didn't get published in the UK. She notes: "His rumbustious, lyrically poetic novel was turned down, his agent confirms, by no fewer than 18 publishers. And then, finally, a small independent called Oneworld – founded by a husband-and-wife team in 1986 – took it up. The company is celebrating the unusual achievement of a second consecutive Man Booker win, because it also published Marlon James’s A (Brief) History of Seven Killings." That is last year's winner, by the way.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Covenant with Black America - Ten Years Later, by Tavis Smiley
2. Pacific, by Simon Winchester
3. Magic Words, by Cheryl Klein
4. Shallow Grave, by Gavin Schmitt
5. Rosemary, by Kate Clifford Larson
6. Childrens Writers and Illustrators Market 2017, by Chuck Sambuchino
7. Swimming Studies, by Leanne Sharpton
8. The Men Who United the States, by Simon Winchester
9. Writing Picture Books, by Ann Whitford Paul
10. The Road to Little Dribbling, by Bill Bryson

We took Simon Winchester out of the bookstore to the American Geographical Society Libray at UWM for his new-in-paperback Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators and Fading Empires and it was a great evening. Winchester was excited to find a collection of maps he'd once written about, and had not known where the collection now was. It was a welcome reunion. As Jennifer Senior wrote in The New York Times: "If you’re the type who ever wondered whether there was once an albatross conference in Tasmania (yes) or if there’s a nation that straddles all four hemispheres (again, yes — Kiribati, a pixelated bunch of islands and atolls), this book is unquestionably for you."

Picture Books and Board Books for Kids:
1. Penguin's Christmas Wish, by Salina Yoon
2. Bad Kitty Scaredy Cat, by Nick Bruel
3. Mary Had a Little Glam, by Tammi Sauer, with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
4. Julia's Home for Lost Creatures, by Ben Hatke
5. Found, by Salina Yoon
6. One Love, by Cedella Marley, based on the lyrics of Bob Marley, with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley Newton
7. Hallo Wiener, by Dav Pilkey
8. Be a Friend, by Salina Yoon
9. 10 Little Ninjas, by Miranda Paul, with illustrations by Nate Wragg
10. Every Little Thing, by Cedella Marley, based on the lyrics of Bob Marley, with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley Newton

What a week! I'm sure you can tell:

a. We hosted school events for Salina Yoon. If you are an educator that want to participate in this program, contact Todd. Of the newest work, Penguin's Christmas Wish, Kirkus Reivews writes: "Grandpa’s touching words about the meaning of Christmas and Penguin’s sweet presents of sticks add depth to this unassuming but satisfying story."

b. Last weekend was the annual SCBWI-Wisconsin conference. The keynote speaker was Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the illustrator behind Mary Had a Little Glam, the two Bob Marley adaptations, One Love and Every Little Thing, and Wisconsin writer Thelma Godin's The Hula-Hoopin' Queen. Take a look at Brantley-Newton's other work on her Ooh La La Design Studio blog.

c. Dav Pilkey and Nick Bruel visited this week! More below and you'll see more appearances as our school sales are tabulated. Signed copies of Dog Man and Bad Kitty Scaredy Cat are available.

Chapter Books and Young Adult Books:
1. Dog Man V1, by Dav Pilkey
2. Mighty Jack, by Ben Hatke
3. Ashes V3, by Laurie Halse Anderson
4. Zita the Spacegirl V1, by Ben Hatke
5. The Great Greene Heist (paper), by Varian Johnson
6. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
7. The Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks A Lot V12, by Dav Pilkey
8. Chains V1, by Laurie Halse Anderson
9. The Great Greene Heist (cloth), by Varian Johnson
10. Forge V2, by Laura Halse Anderson

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews The Boat Rocker, the new novel by Ha Jin. It tells of "36-year-old Feng Danlin, a journalist working on Long Island for a small Chinese news agency that’s trying to speak truth to power back home in Beijing. Easier said than done, which is why Danlin is being lectured by a Chinese consul, making clear that if Feng continues rocking the boat with his current series of columns, there’ll be significant consequences — never mind that this onetime Chinese national has recently become a U.S. citizen." He didn't like it!

Jim Higgins, the Journal Sentinel's book editor, reviews Alexander Masters' newest. He explains: "In the remarkable Stuart: A Life Backwards, Masters explored the life of a charming, cheeky, self-destructive, alcoholic homeless man, trying to understand how he became that way. In Simon: The Genius in My Basement, Masters probed the life of his landlord, a math genius who did revolutionary work in group theory, but went on to spend much of his time riding buses and trains and fighting against public transportation cuts. In A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in the Trash, Masters delves into his most ordinary yet mysterious subject yet: the author of 148 handwritten diaries discovered in a dumpster in Cambridge, England, spanning 50 years of the diarist's life and amounting to millions of words.

He also notes: "A Life Discarded also serves as Masters' tribute to his friend Dido Davies, the discoverer who actually went into the dumpster to rescue the diaries. A biographer, academic, exotic-animal keeper and pseudonymous sex-manual author, she died during the making of this book. She sounds like a fascinating soul. If we're lucky, perhaps Masters will write more about her one day." I think that seems likely, don't you?

And finally, here's info about the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. Jane Hamilton is the keynote for Friday evening, November 4. More details on tickets here.

If there are print reviews that first appeared elsewhere, my apologies and I'll read them when I'm back in Milwaukee. I'm visiting my mom and sister and reading the new Don Lee (Wrack and Ruin, Yellow, The Collective) novel coming next June. It's called Lonesome Lies Before Us. I also read the forthcoming Nickolas (Shotgun Lovesongs) Butler novel, The Hearts of Men, coming in March. This is what happens when you can't find a place to use your computer, even when you need to get a lot of things done. You read!

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