Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bestseller Blabbing: Boswell Annotated List for the Week Ending May 27, 2017

More of an on-time bestseller list.

1. Evensong, by Kate Southwood
2. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
3. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
4. Since We Fell, by Dennis Lehane
5. Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins
6. Men Without Women, by Haruki Murakami
7. The Fix V3, by David Baldacci
8. The Book of Joan, by Lidia Yuknavitch
9. Saints for All Occasions, by J. Courtney Sullivan
10. American War, by Omar El-Akkad

Earlier this month, Since We Fell was released by Ecco, Dennis Lehane's new home at HarperCollins. Here's what Neely Tucker in The Washington Post had to say about the new book: "Dennis Lehane’s 14th novel takes the author back to his old New England stomping grounds, that fertile place of Mystic River and Shutter Island This tale, Since We Fell, basing its title on an old torch ballad, is a pleasantly twisted character study and a love story told in no particular rush. It turns, down to the last page, on the captivating heart of a disgraced television journalist named Rachel Childs."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg with Adam Grant
2. Family Matters, by Robert Evans
3. Strengths Finder 2.0, by Tom Rath
4. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Rath
5. Eat Move Sleep, by Tom Rath
6. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil Degrasse Tyson
7. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
8. Churchill and Orwell, by Thomas E Ricks
9. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
10. The Book of Joy, by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom is the new book from Pulitzer winner Thomas E. Ricks. Richard Aldous writes in The New York Times Book Review that World War II redeemed he reputations of both, having fallen out of favor in the 1930s. Aldous notes: "What comes across strongly in this highly enjoyable book is the fierce commitment of both Orwell and Churchill to critical thought. Neither followed the crowd. Each treated popularity and rejection with equal skepticism. Their unwavering independence, Ricks concludes, put them in 'a long but direct line from Aristotle and Archimedes to Locke, Hume, Mill and Darwin, and from there through Orwell and Churchill to the ‘Letter from Birmingham City Jail.'"

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon
2. In the Garden of Angels and Demons, by Stephen Anderson
3. My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter, by Aja Monet
4. The Alchemist 25th anniversary edition, by Paulo Coelho
5. LaRose, by Louise Erdrich
6. The Good Doctor, by Michael Kula
7. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
8. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (In-store Lit Group discussion Mon 6/5, 7 pm, at Boswell)
9. Those We Left Behind V1, by Stuart Neville (at Boswell Wed 6/21, 7 pm, with Cara Black)
10. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Louise Erdrich's LaRose had not been selling at the level of her last novel, The Round House, but the NBCC award has definitely increased its momentum. The Washington Post noted that Erdrich won this award 30 years ago for Love Medicine. She, along with fellow bookstore owner Emma Straub (Erdrich owns Birchbark while Straub's new store is Books Are Magic, and yes, I've been to both) provided PBS with a summer reading list.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Launch, by John Spencer
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. Unshakeable Confidence, by Mare Chapman
4. Death from the Skies, by Philip Plait
5. The Collapse of Parenting, by Leonard Sax
6. On Tyranny, by TImothy Snyder
7. Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer
8. Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be, by Frank Bruni
9. The Next American Revolution, by Grace Lee Boggs
10. My Bookstore, edited by Ronald Rice

On The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups, and NPR's Rachel Martin talked to author Leonard Sax on NPR for the hardcover edition: "So many parents think it is their job to be their child's best friend. That's not your job. Your job is to keep your child safe, make sure they get a good night's sleep and give them a grounding and confidence and help them to know who they are as human beings."

Books for Kids:
1. All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
2. Trash, by Andy Mulligan
3. The Someday Birds, by Sally J. Pla
4. There Grows the Neighborhood, by Sharp Literacy and Will Allen
5. The Great Treehouse War, by Lisa Graff
6. A Study in Charlotte V1, by Brittany Cavallaro (event Thu 6/29 at Boswell, with Mackenzi Lee)
7. The Trials of Apollo V2, by Rick Riordan
8. Oh the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss
9. Windfall, by Jennifer E. Smith
10. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, by Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Adam Rex

I always like to see what other retailers are doing with books. Target has a book club program where they do a run of books with their logo on them. Sometimes I think they are reading our blog and email newsletter, as there have been several books that they got behind that were not exactly national bestsellers. I was particularly surprised to see Jessica Chiarella's And Again, a book that folks, when they read, really love, but it's hard to get them past the premise, so I'm wondering how it does in a mass merchant, where there's no bookseller to force the issue. I also recently (and yes, this is how it comes down to the kids books comment) saw the Target Book Club*edition of A Study in Charlotte. I'm sure they've done this before, but I certainly didn't spot other YA titles on this display. So there you have it, Cavallaro's novel is a great adult cross-over, per at least one other buyer.

*Yes, I'm linking to a competitor. It's not like you couldn't do this yourself.

Journal Sentinel Book Editor Jim Higgins reviews David Sedaris's Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) (the event is sold out, but if you have patience, you can meet Sedaris on the signing line). He notes: "My gold standard for this kind of project among living writers is the Alan Bennett diaries, which the English playwright excerpts annually in the London Review of Books and which he has distilled into several books. Happily, I can report that this volume of Sedaris' entries is as good as Bennett's. Like Bennett's collations, the Sedaris diaries are laced with snark, wit and trenchant observations, personal and public; also like Bennett, Sedaris tells on himself."

At the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews The Factory Girls: A Kaleidoscopic Account of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, from Christine Seifert. It's targeted to the YA market. Fischer isn't a fan.

Laura Patten writes in the Journal Sentinel about Samantha Irby's newest, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, which also got a great read from Boswell's Sharon. From Patten: "Most of her essays will turn your cheeks scarlet. Irby is complex, riddled with hang-ups and likes talking about things that are smelly, SOMETIMES IN ALL CAPS. She shares her inner monologue whether or not we’re prepared to hear it — but not for shock value. She writes because she has something to say, in the way that only Irby can." We hosted Irby for her last collection, back when she lived in Chicago, and she's as funny (and off color) in person as she is in her book.

And on top of that, it's time for 101 books for summer reading. I'm sort of crying here, because my favorite novel of spring, Don Lee's Lonesome Lies Before Us, made the list. Lee is coming June 15.

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