Sunday, June 4, 2017

Bestseller Coverage: Boswell's top tens for the week ending June 3, 2017

Here's the Book Expo edition of the Boswell bestseller list.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Hope Chest, by Viola Shipman (Wade Rouse)
2. Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
3. Close Enough to Touch, by Colleen Oakley
4. The Leavers, by Lisa Ko (event Mon 6/12, 7 pm, at Boswell)
5. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
6. Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
7. Beren and Luthien, by Christopher Tolkien
8. Dragon Teeth, by Michael Crichton
9. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
10. Since We Fell, by Dennis Lehane

Dragon Teeth, released May 23, is the found-in-the-trunk novel from the late Michael Crichton. It's an 19th century archeological thriller, telling of two competing fossil hunters. The Booklist reviewer wrote: " The book is sure to garner a lot of attentiona posthumous book about dinosaurs from the creator of Jurassic Park, but it's more than just a literary curiosity. It's also a very good novel; in fact, taken among all Crichton's novels, it's one of his best, a beautifully detailed, scientifically engrossing, absolutely riveting story about the early days of paleontology."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken (ticketed signing Sun Jun 11, 1 pm)
2. Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris (Our Wed, June 7 reading is sold out. The signing following is free and open, and we'll stay as long as it takes, but be prepared to wait)
3. The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda
4. Coach Wooden and Me, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
5. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
6. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman (what I can say? It sometimes winds up in nonfiction because that's where our mythology books are. Plus they might not be nonfiction to some)
7. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
8. Shattered, by Jonathan Allen
9. This Fight Is Our Fight, by Elizabeth Warren
10. Perfectly Good Guitar, by Chuck Holley

We recently sold books for a UWM-sponsored appearance with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and looked at Coach Wooden and Me longingly. It's the story of Abdul-Jabbar's 50-year friendship with Wooden, starting when the future basketball legend started at UCLA. Here's Mark Medina in the Orange County Register: "Since Wooden’s passing in 2010, Abdul-Jabbar said he has developed a greater understanding of the strength of their bond. It centered on basketball but included passion for literature, history and music and a mutual respect of their different backgrounds. It took Abdul-Jabbar seven years to write that story."

One doesn't expect three political books in the top ten in June, but Boswell's bestseller list has books from two Democratic senators plus Jonathan Allen's Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign, which has been on the national bestseller lists for six weeks. The national lists also include Senator Ben Sasse's memoir and another from Condoleeza Rice. Sports and history are also represented on the national lists. If we just laid out the categories, I wonder if an expert could guess that it was two weeks before Father's Day. Here's the Shattered review in The New York Times, from Michiko Kakutani. Here's a sort of rebuttal to the book, from Politico.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma
2. The Shoemaker's Wife, by Adriana Trigiani (ticketed event for Kiss Carlo on Wed 7/12 at Wilson Center)
3. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
4. The Simplicity of Cider, by Amy E. Reichert
5. The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena
6. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
7. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
8. In This Moment, by Karma Brown
9. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (open book club discussion Mon 6/5, 7 pm, at Boswell)
10. A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle

The psychological suspense breakouts keep coming. Published by Pamela Dorman Books last year, The Couple Next Door has a nice first week at Boswell, so my guess is, based on the genre, it probably had strong sales at the outlets that are breaking out one author after another - Ruth Ware and Megan Miranda are currently in the NYT paperback top ten, while Paula Hawkins rules the hardcover list. Here's Mark Medina writing about the journey to publication in The Globe and Mail: "On Oct. 27, 2015, at exactly 9 o’clock in the evening, Shari Lapena sent an e-mail to the literary agent Helen Heller. Attached was a .doc file and PDF of a thriller called The Couple Next Door. Along with the manuscript, Lapena included three short paragraphs describing the novel, as well as her bio. 'Thank you very much for your consideration,' she wrote, 'and I look forward to hearing from you.'"

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The South Side, by Natalie Y. Moore
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. Borchert Field, by Bob Buege (event Tue 6/20, 6:30 pm, at Tippecanoe Library on Howell and Howard, right off I-43)
4. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby
5. Heretics, by Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler (event at Boswell, Tue 6/6, 7 pm)
6. The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, by Thomas H. Fehring
7. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
8. Selma of the North, by Patrick D. Jones
9. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, David Luhrssen
10. Wisconsin Literary Luminaries, by Jim Higgins

We are so excited about our upcoming event for Borchert Field and Heretics, but on the bestseller lists, sometimes I can focus on the ones that got away. We had a great event for Samantha Irby when Meaty come out, but with her new book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, released, the former Evanstonian is no longer local and a Milwaukee appearance just couldn't work out, at least for now. Here is Betty Scott reviewing the book in the Books and Whatnot blog: "Saying that We Are Never Meeting in Real Life is full of heavy material without being burdened with pretension or melodrama understates what Irby accomplishes. The realness and candor here aren’t preachy or moralistic–Irby’s dark humor and self-deprecating style charm you into wanting to read more about how the diet industry is full of toxic garbage."

Books for Kids:
1. Viola in Reel Life V1, by Adriana Trigiani (Yes, Trigiani has written YA too. Event info for July 12 event here)
2. Viola in the Spotlight V2, by Adriana Trigiani
3. Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
4. Booked, by Kwame Alexander
5. Enchanted Air, by Margarita Engle
6. Dragons Love Tacos 2, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
7. She Persisted, by Chelsea Clinton, with illustrations by Alexandra Boiger
8. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
9. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Adam Rex
10. Margaret and the Moon, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Lucy Knisley

Just released this week, Laurel Snyder's Orphan Island is a middle grade novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island. Our HarperCollins sales rep Jennifer Sheridan was talking this up both at our educator night on May 2. After listening to her presentation, it's hard not to be excited about this book, which has been compared to Pax and The Giver. And Newberry winner Kelly Barnhill called Orphan Island "A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true." Colby Sharp in School Library Journal's The Yarn podcast wrote: "If you love this book half as much as I do, it will be your favorite book of 2017. It is that good."

Here's what's going on over at the Journal Sentinel TAPbooks page.

I am a huge fan of Don Lee's Lonesome Lies Before Us, so I was thrilled to see Jim Higgins review the book in the Journal Sentinel. Here's a teaser of the review: "Yadin Park, the memorable front man of Lee's novel, is a middle-aged alt-country singer-songwriter with his modest musical career receding in the rear-view mirror. He ekes out a living post-bankruptcy installing carpet, his future complicated by intermittent flareups of Ménière's disease, which is destroying his hearing. Yet this beleaguered fellow, in the eventful days depicted by Lee in this novel, is humbly approaching greatness of soul. In a remarkable sequence, Park happens upon a lecture about Gerard Manley Hopkins in the local library, and becomes fascinated with both Hopkins' highly compressed poetry and life as a Catholic convert and Jesuit priest." Hope you want to read more! The novel comes out on Tuesday and Lee is at Boswell on June 15, in conversation with musician Will Johnson.

Mike Fischer reviews Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, her first novel in 20 years. Fischer writes: "Ranging from the impoverished southern India of Roy’s upbringing (setting for The God of Small Things) north to the killing fields of Kashmir (one of Roy’s celebrated causes) while mostly unfolding in Delhi (where Roy lives), Ministry practices what Tilo envisions while moving from the late 1950s to the present. Much like Salman Rushdie’s similarly broad-canvassed Midnight’s Children, Ministry opens with the story of an equally unique protagonist: while Rushdie’s Saleem features an excessively large nose, Roy’s Anjum is a hermaphrodite who is classified as a hijra – a woman trapped in a man’s body."

In the print edition, Mila Koumpilova takes on Mai Neg Moua's The Bride Price: A Hmong Wedding Story. She notes: "When Moua and her husband-to-be break with the age-old Hmong practice of paying a bride price, their decision pries opens a deep rift between the author and her strong-willed mother. Moua, a Twin Cities writer and editor, is upfront about her generation’s blind spots in fully comprehending their elders’ refugee experience, in which culture was a force that hampered, grounded and sustained. The draw of her story rests in the author’s willingness to dwell in contradiction." You can read the original review in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune.

And finally, Carolyn Kellogg interviews Dennis Lehane for Since We Fell, which originally appeared the Los Angeles Times. Kellogg's introduction observes that this is "his first told from a woman’s point of view. Rachel Childs, the daughter of a difficult mother who refuses to tell her daughter who her father is, tries to find her dad, becomes a journalist who covers the earthquake in Haiti, and her experiences make her agoraphobic — or maybe she’s being gaslit by her husband? Oh, and she shoots him on the first page. "

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