Sunday, August 20, 2017

Annotated Boswell bestsellers (including one that isn't quite out yet), week ending August 19, 2017

Here's what's been selling at Boswell this past week.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Girl on the Leeside, by Kathleen Anne Kenney
2. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
3. House of Spies, by Daniel Silva
4. The Readymade Thief, by Augustus Rose (event at Boswell Tue Aug 22, 7 pm)
5. Sleeping in the Ground, by Peter Robinson
6. Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta
7. The Late Show, by Michael Connelly
8. The Store, by James Patterson
9. The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry
10. Girl in Snow, by Danya Kukafka

Danya Kukafka's day job is assistant editor at Riverhead Books, which can help if you're looking for folks to read your book early. Among her champions are Brit Bennett, Owen King, and Lee Child, who calls Girl in Snow "A sensational debut--great characters, mysteries within mysteries, and page-turning pace. Highly recommended." The story chronicles the death of a Colorado teen from the perspective of two fellow students and the policeman investigating the case. Boswellian Todd Wellman noted that this book is a great YA crossover, and Kakafka notes that her earlier work was even more YA focused, per this piece in Shelf Awareness.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Long Haul, by Finn Murphy
2. Why Buddhism Is True, by Robert Wright
3. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken
4. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
5. The World Broke in Two, by Bill Goldstein (event at Boswell Mon Sept 11, 7 pm)
6. We Have No Idea, by Jorge Cham
7. Caesar's Last Breath, by Sam Kean
8. Everybody Lies, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
9. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
10. We Thought This Was a Good Idea, by Alyssa Mastromonaco

From the award-winning science writer andauthor of The Disappearing Spoon comes Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us. Of this latest, Kirkus Reviews call this "a witty book that turns the science of the stuff we breathe into a delightful romp through history." Finally, someone writing for chemistry majors - why should physics and biology folks have all the fun?

Paperback Fiction:
1. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
2. The Trespasser, by Tana French
3. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
5. The Stone Sky, by Nik Jemisin
6. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
7. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
8. Underground Airlines, by Ben Winters
9. Man of Shadows, by Jeff Noon (SF Book Club, Mon Nov 13, 7 pm)
10. Escapology, by Ren Warom (SF Book Club, Mon Sep 11, 7 pm)

Like Louise Penny, it sometimes appears that Tana French's reviews get better than better. The Trespasser hit many best-of lists for the year, and we're not talking about "best mystery" but "best novel" here. Among its champions are Maureen Corrigan and Stephen King. Boswellian Sharon Nagel had the Indie Next quote for this one, which you can read in full on our link. Janet Maslin noted in The New York Times: "When you read Ms. French — and she has become required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting — make only one assumption: All of your initial assumptions are wrong."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Beer Lover's Wisconsin, by Kathy Flanigan
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X Kendi
4. Stop Anxiety from Stopping You, by Helen Odessky (event at Boswell Sun Sep 17, 3 pm, with REDgen)
5. Thousand-Miler, by Melanie Radzicki McManus
6. Rand McNally Road Altas 2018
7. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
8. Against Everything, by Mark Greif
9. Come As You Are, by Emily Nagoski
10. Optimism Over Despair, by Noam Chomsky

Beer Lovers Wisconsin is not quite out yet but we took advance orders. Usually I unsell these into an advance sale item code and release the sales when the book comes out, but in this case, I did not. The point is that we're taking preorders.

Speaking of great reviews, Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America got many of them, and also recieved the National Book Award for nonfiction. Among his admirers is David Olusoga, who cautions in The Guardian that Kendi's work does not hesitate to call out racial thinking in abolitionists and even Civil Rights heroes: "Perhaps what is most disturbing about Kendi’s work is that it shows how the same racial ideas, dressed in different period costumes, have been repeatedly used to explain away the deaths of generations of African Americans, slaves, victims of Jim Crow lynchings and, in the 21st-century, casualties of police shootings."

Books for Kids:
1. Handbook of Mortals, by Lani Sarem
2. The Absolutely Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
3. Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick
4. Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan
5. Piecing Me Together, by Renee Watson
6. Empty, by Suzanne Weyne
7. The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander
8. Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
9. The Gauntlet, by Karuna Riazi
10. Prisoner 88, by Leah Pileggi

Wonderstruck is releasing to the general public on October 20. Here's what Variety noted: "Haynes’s film stars Julianne Moore in the story of two children — one in the 1970s, one in the 1920s — whose stories overlap on separate journeys to Manhattan. The New York Film Festival is considered a key launchpad for films that become a part of the awards-season conversation, and the high profile slot for Wonderstruck there could boost the title as it hits the campaign trail. Hayne’s last film, Carol, screened at NYFF in 2015 and was nominated for six Oscars. Wonderstruck is based on a 2011 novel by Brian Selznick, whose previous book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s 2011 movie Hugo, which got its first public showcase as a secret screening at NYFF that year."

The lead review in the Journal Sentinel TAPbooks section is for a beloved Nobel Prize winner. Critic Mike Fischer writes: "On the surface, Orhan Pamuk's latest - a fable masquerading as a novel entitled The Red-Haired Woman - is an explorationn of 'the enigma of fathers and sons' that has always tangled love-hate relationship that Freud, in an essay referenced here, viewed as mysterious." Later on Fischer notes that "Turkey's slide toward dictatorship under Recep Tayyip Erdogan's nominally democratic regine is very much on Pamuk's mind..."

Bill Daley looks at What She Ate: Six Remarkable Woman and the Food That Tells Their Stories. The Daley details: "Learning Larua Shapiro's new book on women and food includes the stories of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was marked by some of the worst White House meals ever; Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler's mistress; and Helen Gurley Brown...left me startled. It's sort of like klaudinng the Lucrezia Borgia of poisonous legent for a deft hand with seasoning." But he notes the book turns out to be quite fun. This review originally appeared in Chicago Tribune.

And finally, Marion Winik called Tom Perrotta "the Jane Austen of 21st-century sexual mores" in her review: "I loved the characters of Tom Perrotta’s new novel, Mrs. Fletcher, but I was worried about them. After all, they’re in a social satire by the author of The Leftovers, Little Children, and Election, and they’re making mistakes and misbehaving right and left — surely they’d have to pay. So convinced was I that comeuppance was at hand that the surprise happy ending almost brought me to tears." Likewise, this review kind of brought me to tears. Originally published in Newsday.

No comments: