Sunday, April 2, 2017

What's selling at Boswell? Jessica Shattuck, Sara Baume, Ruud Gullitt all have nice sales pops, as does one book whose event had to be postponed.

Here's what sold at Boswell last week.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All Grown Up, by Jami Attenberg
2. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
3. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
4. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
5. Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
6. Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay
7. News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
8. A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline
9. The Hearts of Men, by Nickolas Butler
10. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, by Jennifer Ryan

The Women in the Castle is the #1 Indie Next Pick for April, and it has gotten a nice sales pop out of the gate. Riding a surge of World War II historical fiction (note our #1 paperback bestseller, and imminent paperback releases of mega-selling All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale), Shattuck's women are the widows whose husband's paid the price for their plot against Hitler. From her interview with Scott Simon on NPR's Morning Edition: "I loved to look at the old photo albums with my grandmother, and at some point we came across some pictures of my grandfather in Nazi uniform, and suddenly I had a whole different sense of what they had been a part of. I knew they had led these kind of agricultural youth programs, but seeing that he was wearing a Nazi uniform while leading the programs really drove home the point that their 'ordinary German' experience was that of Nazis."

Harcover Nonfiction:
1. The Truth About Your Future, by Ric Edelman
2. Marching into Darkness, by Waitman Wade Beorn
3. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. Identity Unknown, by Donna Seaman (event postponed to 4/27, 7 pm, at Boswell)
5. Good Grief, by Theresa Caputo
6. Dinner, by Melissa Clark
7. The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda
8. Listen, Liberal, by Thomas Frank
9. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
10. Richard Nixon, by John A. Farrell

Yes, Donna Seaman's event for Identity Unknown had to be postponed due to illness, but fortunately we had a great slot for her in Thursday, April 27, as the event with Heather Ann Thompson at Turner Hall (for Blood in the Water) had to be postponed to Monday, November 6, 7 pm, due to a conflict. In the meantime, if you hadn't been considering this event, why not read more about the book in Elaine Margolin's Washington Post review: "Female creators rise in all their splendor and defiance in Donna Seaman’s wonderful new book that chronicles the lives of seven American artists. These women, one of whom died only in 2007, have already been mostly forgotten by the art world, which Seaman sees as inexcusable and here does her best to correct. She claims her book, Identity Unknown, is not a work of art criticism or a feminist manifesto but her own exploration of the forces that propelled these women to create while facing obstacles their male counterparts didn’t have to consider."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave
2. Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo, by Boris Fishman
3. Transfer, by Naomi Shihab Nye
4. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
5. Spill Simmer Falter Wither, by Sara Baume
6. A Climate of Fear V9, by Fred Vargas
7. Saga V7, by Brian K. Vaughan
8. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
9. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
10. In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez (In Store Lit Group 4/3, 7 pm)

One of our event highlights of 2015 was being able to host Sara Baume, author of the beautiful Spill Summer Falter Wither, which is now out in paperback and which The Atlantic called "an unsettling literary surprise." The story of 50-something Ray and his dog, living on the Irish coast, has been compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Amy Weiss-Meyer continues: "With British critics swooning too, you might well think it’s time for an American backlash—but the book, now out in the U.S., is indeed an unsettling literary surprise of the best sort. This first novel’s voice is singular in its humility and imaginative range...Baume’s prose makes sure we look and listen. Her book insists we take notice."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Live and Let Live, by Evelyn M. Perry
2. Maybe Next Year, by Greg Pearson
3. Listen, Liberal, by Thomas Frank
4. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
5. It Chooses You, by Miranda July
6. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
7. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, and David Luhrssen
8. Secondhand Time, by Svetland Alexievich
9. Borchert Field, by Bob Buege (event 4/5, 7 pm, at Boswell)
10. How to Watch Soccer, by Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullitt's bio shows why he was the person to write How to Watch Soccer, which had a nice pop off our front tables in its second week of sale. From the publisher: "He was the captain of the Netherlands team that won the 1988 European Football Championship and played in the 1990 World Cup. He was named -European Footballer of the Year- in 1987 and -World Soccer Player of the Year- in 1987 and 1989. After he retired from the field, he managed the LA Galaxy and several other teams around the world. He currently works as a broadcaster, regularly covering soccer matches on TV in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, and across the Middle East." Please note we normally use publisher copy without quotes, but since I copied it verbatim, I thought it better to include them. And here's the Kirkus Reviews review.

Books for Kids:
1. Hidden Figures Young Readers Edition, by Margot Lee Shetterly
2. Famous, by Naomi Shihab Nye
3. Penguins, by Penny Arlon
4. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
5. Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper
6. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo
7. Life in Motion, by Misty Copeland
8. Pizza the Size of the Sun, by Jack Prelutsky
9. Pax, by Sara Pennypacker with illustrations by Jon Klassen
10. The Warden's Daughter, by Jerry Spinelli

Our list this week is heavily driven by school orders this week. One recently published pick is Jerry Spinelli's The Warden's Daughter, which came out in early 2017. Holly Goldberg Sloan wrote about the book in The New York Times Book Review: "But how can you profoundly miss a parent you never knew? And if you’re looking everywhere for someone to be the mother you never had, will the world present an endless series of heartbreaking disappointments? Set mainly in 1959, in a small Pennsylvania town, this latest novel by Jerry Spinelli, the author of many books for young readers including the Newbery Medal-winning Maniac Magee, explores these questions and many others with the flair of a master storyteller.

Speaking of Newbery Medal winners, over at the Journal Sentinel, the big news is an excerpt from Jim Higgins's new book, Wisconsin Literary Luminaries and the Sunday Tap section features an excerpt about Ellen Raskin, the Wisconsin cover designer who went on to write the Newbery medal winning The Westing Game. Did you know that Gillian Flynn has said she reads this book once a year? Read the excerpt now, and don't forget to come to our event with Mr. Higgins on Thursday, April 6, 7 pm. And yes, our copies arrived on Friday.

What do you know? Misty Copeland, who had a book on the kids bestseller list, also is featured in the reviews, with a piece on Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You. This essay from Moira Macdonald, originally published in the Seattle Times, observes: "In addition to practical advice about food and fitness, Ballerina Body goes deeper, in a chapter devoted to mentoring — obviously something deeply personal for Copeland (who, to this day, is still involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America). 'We’re human beings, not robots — we have days when we’re down and we need that support from people we trust and respect,' she said."

Also on the TapBooks page is local Mike Fischer's take on No One Cares about Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America, from Ron Powers. While setting off the story with the comment "And really, end of the day, who the hell wants to read about schizophrenia anyway? Not me," Fischer notes "Powers actually cares a great deal, for reasons spelled out on his first page. Kevin, the younger of his two children, hanged himself in 2005, just before turning 21. His brother Dean, two years and eight months older, experienced a psychotic break on Christmas Day 2012; the following summer, he tried to drown himself. Schizophrenia drove both boys to the brink." Our reviewer liked the book best when Powers focused on the personal.

And reprinted in the Journal Sentinel from the Los Angeles Times is a profile ow Margaret Atwood by Margaret Wappler, on the release of Angel Catbird Volume 2: To Castle Catula. Wappler offers this on the new book: "Illustrated by artist Johnnie Christmas and colorist Tamra Bonvillain, Angel Catbird is a fantasia firmly rooted in Atwood’s playful side, though not without its bleak undertones. Volume 2 follows the same cast of shape-shifting characters, including Strig Feleedus, a genetic engineer hybridized with his pet cat and a preying owl in a chemical spill-cum-car accident. He’s battling his villainous lab boss, a rat-human hell-bent on wiping out all other species, especially the cat-humans whom Angel Catbird aligns with, mostly to spend time with sexy fellow scientist Cate Leone."

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