Monday, January 30, 2017

The annotated Boswell bestsellers for the week ending January 28, 2017, with links to the Journal Sentinel reviews

Here's what sold at Boswell last week.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Burning Bright V2, by Nick Petrie
2. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
3. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
4. Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay
5. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
6. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
7. Homesick for Another Word, by Ottessa Moshfegh
8. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney
9. Dry, by Jane Harper
10. Human Acts, by Han Kang

It's great to see fall favorites continuing to hit our bestseller lists, but it's also nice to see a fresh selection of 2017 titles. Ottessa Moshfegh's short story collection Homesick for Another World follows regular appearances for her novel on our paperback lists. Being that we're in Minneapolis for Winter Institute, I'm going to reference the Star Tribune's review from Malcolm Forbes, who notes: "As with Eileen, Moshfegh’s focus is on characters living on the edge of society or sanity, and she digs deep into the human psyche to explore oddities, frailties, warped agendas and reckless desires. A discernible cruel streak runs wild, but so, too, does a toxic trail of black humor."

And how can we note give a shout out to Difficult Women, the powerful new collection of stories from Roxane Gay, who gave a shout out to Boswell at Winter Institute? We've got a great rec from Sharon in house, and here's Jaleesa M. Jones's write-up for the book in USA Today.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Wisconsin Sentencing in the Tough-on-Crime Era, by Michael O'Hear
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond (just received the Carnegie Medal)
3. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
4. The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking
5. Hero of the Empire, by Candice Millard
6. The Secret Life of Fat, by Sylvia Tara
7. The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
8. Upstream, by Mary Oliver
9. Books for Living, by Will Schwalbe (event Mon 3/6, 7 pm, at Boswell)
10. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben

Our buyer Jason informed by that this is the year of Hygge, which Hygge House describes as "a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special." Of The Little Book of Hygge, John Crace writes in The Guardian: "Imagine a world where everyone leaves work at 5.30, goes straight home to light a candle, before eating a few cakes with some friends and going to bed at 9.45. That is what we do in Denmark."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Sellout, by Paul Beatty
2. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
3. 1984, by George Orwell
4. The Portable Veblen, by Elizabeth McKenzie
5. Selected Stories, by Anton Chekhov
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
7. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
8. The Fireman, by Joe Hill
9. Even the Dead V7, by Benjamin Black
10. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Are you one of the many folks picking up 1984? The New York Times obsesrved its rise to the top of bestseller lists, with Kimiko de Freytas-Tamurad reported on the Kellyanne Conway comment on alternative facts that many feel was responsible for the increase.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis
2. How to Talk so Kids Will Learn at Home and In School, by Adele Faber
3. How to Speak Midwestern, by Edward McClelland
4. Milwaukee Frozen Custard, by Kathleen McCann and Robert Tanzilo
5. The Cure, by Jo Marchant
6. Dying to Be Me, by Anita Moorjani
7. What to Do Now, edited by Dennis Loy Johnson and Valerie Merians
8. Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly
9. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, and David Luhrssen (event 2/17)
10. On Immunity, by Eula Biss

After a nice event with Edward McClelland at the Shorewood Public Library, I decided to purchase How to Speak Midwestern, but I waited till our road trip, when I bought a copy at Common Good Books, and finished it just before I wrote this blog post. It's very exciting to be in the largest metropolitan area at the center of the North Central accent. Wisconsin, if you read the book, is of course the only state that experiences all three of the major accent zones, with Up North speaking a Twin Cities variation, Milwaukee speaking the North Central that goes from Buffalo to St. Louis, and the Southwest corner of the state speaking a Midland English that migrated from parts of non-Chicago Illinois.

Books for Kids:
1. Hello?, by Liza Wiemer
2. Egg, by Kevin Henkes
3. The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
4. Dog Man Unleashed V2, by Dav Pilkey
5. Appleblossom the Possum, by Holly Sloan Goldberg
6. Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth
7. Scythe V1, by Neal Shusterman
8. Radiant Child, by Javaka Steptoe
9. Scraps Book, by Lois Ehlert (at Boswell Feb 11, 2 pm, for Heart to Heart)
10. Beyond the Pond, by Joseph Kuefler

We're so honored to have hosted Minnesota's Kelly Barnhill for The Girl Who Drank the Moon in 2016. If you were paying attention, we hosted her not just for school events, for a public event with Brian Farrey, accompanied by Miss Cupcake. All you lucky folks who attended now have something quite valued. One day you might feel the same way about Joseph Kuefler, whose debut, Beyond the Pond, pops onto our list this week. His new book, Rulers of the Playground, is coming soon and its delightful. We're excited to be hosting a day of schools and a possible public event (we're still in the planning stages) for this book--if you're interested in pitching your school (grades K to 2 are our focus) to Todd for an April 21 visit, you can email him here.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Chris Foran recommends True South: Henry Hampton and Eyes on the Prize, the Landmark Television Series That Reframed the Civil Rights Movement. Foran notes: "Jon Else, a former civil rights activist and series producer on Eyes on the Prize, tells Hampton’s story, and his own, in recounting the making of the landmark PBS series. In the process, he also relates the movement’s journey and the challenges in telling America’s central narrative.

And here's a review of Kelly Jensen's anthology, Here We Are: 44 Voices Writes, Draw, and Speak About Feminism for the Real World. Book Editor Jim Higgins notes: "Jensen, who lives in Delavan, is a writer-editor with a strong interest in young-adult literature, and a former librarian. Unsurprisingly, many of the contributors to Here We Are are young-adult writers who grasp the intersection between feminism and adolescence." Another theme: "Lo's essay also signals this anthology's foregrounding of intersectional feminism — the understanding that women also face difficulties because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and physical differences." Jensen and contributor Mikki Kendall will be at an event at Boswell on Thursday, March 2, 7 pm.

You'll have to get your hands on the Journal Sentinel to read the print-only reviews!

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