Sunday, April 23, 2017

Boswell's annotated bestsellers for the week ending April 22, 2017

Here's a week in review at Boswell, via book sales.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
2. Earthy Remains, by Donna Leon
3. The Fix, by David Baldacci
4. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
5. Fallout, by Sara Paretsky (event 5/11 at Golda Meir Library, please register)
6. The Perfect Stranger, by Megan Miranda
7. One Perfect Lie, by Lisa Scottoline
8. City of Friends, by Joanna Trollope
9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
10. The Women in the Castle, by Amor Towles

I wish I were a buyer so I'd know the backstory on why City of Friends, the latest Joanna Trollope is being imported by IPG instead of being published by an American House. I did find this story on the Macmillan site discussing Trollope's UK move from Transworld (a Bertelsman company) to Pan Macmillan, but why didn't one of the American subsidiaries take her on? It's not for us to know. Meanwhile, enjoy this video profile of Trollope and the new book, which is about a woman who loses her job and falls back on her old friends to see her through.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. This Fight Is Our Fight, by Elizabeth Warren
2. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
3. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein (event at Boswell Mon 5/1, 7 pm, with Community Advocates)
4. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, by Alyssa Mastromonaco
5. Shattered, by Jonathan Allen
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. American Spirit, by David McCullough
8. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
9. Prince Charles, by Sally Bedell Smith
10. The Gatekeepers, by Charles Whipple

It's nice when everything comes together, isn't it? David Grann's new book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, arrived in stores just as the film adaptation of The Lost City of Z opened at the Downer Theater down the block. Of the new book, Boswellian Tim McCarthy wrote: "Reading this book was like watching a train wreck - I couldn't have been at once more horrified and also transfixed." Laurie Hertz in the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote: "It is superbly done — meticulously researched, well-written — but it is hard to be entertained by a story of such unmitigated evil." Of the film, you can read Richard Brody's review/profile in The New Yorker.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Pleasantville, by Attica Locke
2. Death Goes Overboard, by David S. Pederson
3. Black Water Rising, by Attica Locke
4. The Cutting Season, by Attica Locke
5. Death Comes Darkly, by David S. Pederson
6. Half a Reason to Die, by Chip Duncan
7. LaRose, by Louise Erdrich
8. Our Man in Havana, by Graham Greene
9. Cold Pastoral, by Rebecca Dunham
10. All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda

You may think that our entire store has become a mystery specialty store from our fiction bestsellers, but I should note that Half a Reason to Die from Chip Duncan is actually a collection of short stories inspired by his travels and Cold Pastoral is a collection of poems inspired by environmental disasters. Both could be great mystery titles, could they not? For the latter, I can see the dead body laying in the field. But at the top was our Saturday duo of Attica Locke in the day and local David S. Pederson at night. At her Delta Memorial Endowment Fund Luncheon that featured Pleasantville (signed paperbacks available), she hinted at the subject of her next book coming in September, Bluebird, Bluebird, a new series about a Texas Ranger. And next year's DMEF speaker is already set, Natalie Baszile, the author of Queen Sugar.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Your First Year, by Todd Whitaker
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. Screenwise, by Devorah Heitner
4. Find a Way, by Diana Nyad
5. Wisconsin Literary Luminaries, by Jim Higgins (event WFB Library, Wed 5/10, 6:30 pm)
6. White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg
7. My Bookstore, edtied by Ronald Rice (event at Boswell, Sat 4/29, 7 pm with Liam Callanan and me)
8. Dark Money, by Jane Meyer
9. American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin
10. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder

Here's more about My Bookstore. The new edition keeps all the essays of stores that have closed (like the much-missed Next Chapter in Mequon), but also includes new essays about:
--Full Circle Bookstore, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
--Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, New York
--R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut
--Munro's in Victoria, British Columia
--Writer's Block Bookstore in Winter Park, Florida (Orlando)
--Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kansas (Kansas City)
--Charis Books and More in Atlanta, Georgia
--Moe's Books in Berkeley, California

We'll celebrate our eighth anniversary, including a little toast.

Books for Kids:
1. Hello?, by Liza Wimer
2. Maybe a Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
3. Rulers of the Playground, by Joseph Kuefler
4. Outlaws of Time #1: The Legend of Sam Miracle, by N.D. Wilson
5. Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
6. Pax, by Sara Pennypacker, with illustrations by Jon Klassen
7. Almost Everything Book, by Julie Morstad
8. Jack and the Geniuses, by Bill Nye
9. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox, with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury
10. Baby Animals, from Workman

Here's a little more about the Outlaws of Time series from N.D. Wilson, who recently came to Milwaukee to visit area schools. Of volume one, now in paperback, The Legend of Sam Miracle, the Publisher calls this "Back to the Future meets Holes" and goes on to describe it as: "a fantasy-adventure trilogy about a misfit twelve-year-old with a dangerous destiny to fulfill, a mystical time walker who is sent to protect him, and a maniacal villain with a deadly vendetta that began two hundred years ago in the heart of the Old West." Booklist wrote: "Wilson's novels are always a treat, and this first in a series is no exception, as it introduces a wide world of incredible magic." Expect to see more N.D. Wilson on next week's list, including the sequel, The Song of Glory and Ghost. We also have some signed copies.

From Journal Sentinel book editor Jim Higgins comes his take on Elizabeth Strout's Anything Is Possible, which goes on sale this Tuesday. Tickets for the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch (which include a book) are close to being sold out and this review should close out sales. Higgins writes: "Characters mentioned briefly in Lucy Barton" such as Mississippi Mary Mumford, come to the forefront in this new book, set largely in the fictional Illinois town of Amgash and neighboring communities. Neither novel nor linked story collection strikes me as adequate terms to describe this book's ingenious structure, in which characters reappear in each other's stories. In a few cases, we experience remarkable encounters from different points of view in different stories."

Last chance to register! Well, almost.

Also in the Journal Sentinel TapBooks section, Erin Kogler reviews Min Kym's Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung, which she notes may remind Milwaukeeans of Frank Almond's loss of his Stradivarius in 2014, only with quite a different ending. In the book, "Kym offers a rare glimpse into the life of the soloist in the orchestra world as she excels in her field, from finding the right teachers to working with conductors, orchestras and orchestra leaders." Also note that Kogler's other gig is Director of Communications for the Milwaukee Symphony. Talk about a great match of reviewer and subject!

Two additional reviews are in the print edition. John Reinan's review of The One Cent Magenta, originally published in the Star Tribune, is the story of a stamp that sold for nearly 9.5 million dollars lays it out: "New York Times reporter James Barron takes the reader into Stamp World, an exclusive and eccentric land whose inhabitants vie for prestige with a fierce and somewhat musty gentility that has largely managed to withstand the onslaught of new, vulgar money." Sarah Laskow's notes in The New York Times Book Review that this quest is more about a search for rare treasures than an indication that stamp collecting still holds allure. Alas, it ain't what it was when I was in grade school and a good third of us had collections.

And originally published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is Courtney Linder's review of the breakout novel from Kayla Rae Whitaker. Linder writes (and I include some bonus words that didn't make it into the print review): "The Animators is a quick read, with delightful language and quirky characters that are difficult to forget long after finishing the last few pages. It fills a literary gap, which has been waiting for a tale of millennial female friendship and love without tacky genre borders or stereotypes."

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