Sunday, July 30, 2017

What's black and white and green all over? The jackets featured on this week's Boswell annotated bestseller blog.

Here is the annotated Boswell bestseller list for the week ending July 29, 2017

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Hum If You Don't Know the Words, by Bianca Marais
2. Edgar and Lucy, by Victor Lodato
3. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
4. Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero
5. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
6. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
7. The Late Show, by Michael Connelly
8. Lonesome Lies Before Us, by Don Lee
9. A Distant View of Everything, by Alexander McCall Smith
10. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy

Signed copies available of Hum If You Don't Know the Words and Edgar and Lucy. Just out is a review in the Toronto Star (Marais now lives in Canada) from Rayyad Al-Shawaf. The review notes that the novel is raised above the typical historical viewed through a child's eye by the immediacy of Beauty's voice  and by young Robin's betrayal and her attempt to rectify things.

The Man Bookers shortlist was announced this week, which includes #3 on this list, Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, as well as #10, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. More in this story in The New York Times.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
2. Al Franken, by Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken
3. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
4. Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris
5. Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. Devil's Bargain, by Joshua Green
8. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
9. Henry David Thoreau, by Laura Dassow Walls
10. Hue 1968, by Mark Bowden

Once again, our nonfiction list is dominated by recent visitors, with five of the top six featured at Boswell. And we wouldn't say no to Mr. Vance. Among the non-visitors, we've seeen Henry David Thoreau reviews and publicity not only spur sales of the biography, but it's also led to folks looking at Thoreau's work as well.  Michael Sims's review in The Washington Post begins: "The new biography Henry David Thoreau: A Life is the masterpiece that the gadfly of youthful America deserves. I have been reading Thoreau and reading about him for 40 years; I’ve written a book about him myself. Yet often I responded to Laura Dassow Walls’s compelling narrative with mutterings such as 'I never knew that' and 'I hadn’t thought of it that way.' I found myself caught up in these New England lives all over again."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
2. Howard's End, by E.M. Forster
3. Mathilda Savitch, by Victor Lodato
4. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, by Stephen King
5. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
6. The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton
7. The Wangs Vs. the World, by Jade Chang
8. My Favorite Things Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris
9. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
10. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy

Classics on the list are in conjunction with a Greenfield Reads program and the new semester of Literary Journeys, the program run out of the Whitefish Bay Library. We're excited that they are reading Howard's End, because we'll be hosting Bill Goldstein, a Forster expert who has written The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and the Year That Changed Literature. He'll be talking about the book on Monday, September 11, 7 pm. The Literary Journeys class fills up fast, and might already be sold out.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. 10 Reasons Communication Brings Transformation, by Janette M. Bravermanv
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. Live and Let Live, by Evelyn M. Perry
4. You Never Told Me That!, by Kathleen Davis
5. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
6. Grunt, by Mary Roach
7. The Crowded Hour, by Kevin Abing (event Thursday, August 3, 7 pm, at Boswell)
8. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beamont, Clancy Carroll, and David Luhrssen
9. Milwaukee Frozen Custard, by Kathleen McCann and Robert Tanzilo
10. Selma of the North, by Patrick D. Jones

Mary Roach's latest book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, follows previous one-word titles such as Stiff, Gulp, Bonk, and Spook, as well as Packing for Mars. Here's this week's Puzzler: come up with a one-word substitute for that title, and Space isn't allowed, as it doesn't really capture the essence of the Mary Roach library. Meanwhile, here's Michelle Dean reviewing the book in The Guardian, who calls Roach's curiosity "infectious."

Books for Kids:
1. Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded, by Sage Blackwood
2. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
3. May I Have a Word? by Caron Levis, illustrated by Andy Rash
4. She Persisted, by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
5. Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
6. Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
7. Jedi Academy: The Force Oversleeps, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
8. Dog Man Unleashed, by Dav Pilkey
9. Dog Man, by Dav Pilkey
10. Sam's Sandwich, by David Pelham

With the contuining success of Dog Man and Dog Man Unleashed, we have an important question. Is there a third Dog Man collection coming? And in fact, Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties is out on August 29. You can hold a copy by clicking on the title and no, you do not have to be registered on our website to make a hold-in-store request. And you know how this is going to begin: "He was the best of dogs...He was the worst of dogs."

There's one review in the Journal Sentinel TapBaooks section (it's State Fair break) this week and it's from Mike Fischer. He reviews The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II. If you haven't read Nobel winner Alexievich before, you should know that in her oral histories, there's a minimum of background info--her talent is for getting the voices, and editing them together. Fischer says "It's hard not to weep," calling the oral history "alternately harrowing and inspiring." The war "would claim close to 30 million Soviet lives."

We'll have a full slate of book reviews back next week.

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