Sunday, January 1, 2017

A fundraiser for Syrian refugees, the follow-up to our second biggest kids book of 2016, and other Boswell bestsellers for the week ending December 31, 2016, plus links to Journal Sentinel TapBooks page

Here are our bestselling titles for the week ending December 26, 2016

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
2. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
3. Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
4. The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
5. Ruler of the Night V3, by David Morrell
6. Christmas Days, by Jeanette Winterson
7. Moonglow, by Michael Chabon
8. The Nix, by Nathan Hill
9. The Trespasser V6, by Tana French
10. The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware

I don't expect much more of a sale for Christmas Days from Jeanette Winterson, at least for this season, even though the 12 days of Christmas should go through the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6, right? That said, we should have another pop next year. Winterson has been writing an annual Christmas story for years, and this collection was praised by Booklist: "Spooky, clever, funny, and poignant, Winterson's supernatural tales refresh our appreciation of what it truly means to give, to love, and to share joy." And yes it has recipes.

 Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
2. Women in Science, by Rachel Ignotofsky
3. The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis
4. Atlas Obscura, by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thomas, and Ella Morton
5. Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen
6. Thank You for Being Late, by Thomas L. Friedman
7. Book of Joy, by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
8. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
9. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
10. Soup for Syria, by Barbara Massaad

Soup for Syria is a book distributed by Interlink that popped in demand late in the holiday season, though the book actually came out in October of 2015, Sheryl Julian offered the story in The Boston Globe last January. But it was this piece on NPR's All Things Considered which drove folks into the store on December 16.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
2. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald (happy 1st birthday to this book!)
3. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
4. The Sellout, by Paul Beatty
5. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
6. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
7. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, by Fredrik Backman
8. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
9. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
10. My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout

Yes, The Drifter is our #1 book for this week. Perhaps everyone wants to read it before #2 comes out. We're counting down to the release of Nick Petrie's Burning Bright, the second novel featuring Peter Ash. He'll be doing an event at Boswell on Tuesday, January 10.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. How to Bake Pi, by Eugenia Cheng
2. One Pan Wonders, by Cooks Country
3. The English and Their History, by Robert Tombs
4. Milwaukee in the 1930s, by John D. Buenker
5. Adventures in Human Being, by Gavin Francis
6. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stephenson
7. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
8. The Clothing of Books, by Jhumpa Lahiri
9. The Politics of Resentment, by Katherine J. Cramer
10. Milwaukee Frozen Custard, by Kathleen McCann and Bobby Tanzilo

One of my favorite books of 2015 has sold very well in paperback too, but I hardly expected Eugenia Cheng's How to Bake Pi to be our #1 bestseller the week after Christmas. Keep a watch, as Cheng's next book is due for release in 2017. Yes, you can preorder a copy of Beyond Infinity, but it doesn't release until late March.

Books for Kids:
1. Dog Man Unleashed V2, by Dav Pilkey
2. Some Writer, by Melissa Sweet
3. Double Down V11, by Jeff Kinney
4. Du Iz Tak, by Carson Ellis
5. Rad Women Worldwide, by Kate Schatz
6. Where's Addie?, by Donna Luber
7. Peekaboo, by Giuliano Ferri
8. Sleepyheads, by Sandra J. Howatt
9. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
10. Under Earth/Under Water, by Daniel and Aleksandra Mizielisnki

I'm so excited about the second Dog Man book, Dog Man Unleashed. School Library Journal called this new release "an entertainingly zany addition to graphic novel collections; for series fans and newcomers alike."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Selection Day, the new "scathingly satiric novel of modern Indian life" from Man Booker winner Aravind Adiga. It's the story of two boys, Radha and Manju, raised by an abusive father and manipulated by a cricket coach and local entrepreneur. Fischer observes they "struggle to forge an identity in a culture corroded by cynicism and punishing originality."

Journal Sentinel editor Jim Higgins, a Steel City Transplant, is the perfect fellow to review How to Speak Midwestern and Speaking American, two reviews on regional vernacular. He likes Speaking American, except for the essay on "How to Pretend You're From Wisconsin," and his critique notes that like Connectictut, we're at the intersection of three distinct speech patterns. I also agree that bubbler is rarely said without quotation marks in most contexts, but the real problem to me is...where are the water fountains in public space? I hardly ever see any.

Speaking American has trouble explaining why there are differences. It could have noted that Milwaukee says "freeway" as opposed to Chicago's "expressway" because that is what our government named them when they were built. It's a top down regionalism. Sports is another example of marketing-driven regionalism, sucheesehead.

How to Speak Midwestern does more in the way of explanation. Both books had very different trajectories at Boswell. Speaking American was one of our bestselling books for the holiday, while we've found it very difficult to get copies of How to Speak Midwestern. It could have been a bigger hit with us if they'd made any effort. I'm glad Higgins told yins about them both.

And finally, TapBooks reprints Mary Ann Gwinn's assessment of The Art of Beatrix Potter, which originally appeared in The Seattle Times. Emily Zach notes that Potter was an early self-publisher. Before Frederick Warne picked them up, Potter printed 200-300 copies of The Tale of Peter Robbit herself.

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