Sunday, August 6, 2017

Annotated Boswell Bestsellers, week ending August 5, 2017

Here are the annotated Boswell bestsellers for this past week.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues, by Edward Kelsey Moore
2. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy
3. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
4. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
5. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
6. Camino Island, by John Grisham
7. The Changeling, by Victor LaValle
8. Fallout, by Sara Paretsky
9. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
10. Saints for All Occasions, by J. Courtney Sullivan (sign up for the Ozaukee Family Services luncheon with Sullivan at Shully's on November 7)

Andrew Sean Greer's newest novel, Less, has been riding the wave of comic novels coming out this summer. Christopher Buckley wrote in The New York Times Book Review: "Convulsed in laughter a few pages into Andrew Sean Greer’s fifth novel, Less, I wondered with regret why I wasn’t familiar with this author. My bad. His admirers have included John Updike, Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers and John Irving. Less is the funniest, smartest and most humane novel I’ve read since Tom Rachman’s 2010 debut, The Imperfectionists." And Ron Charles in The Washington Post called Greer's latest "thoroughtly delightful."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Fully Alive, by Tyler Gage
2. Emigrant Edge, by Brian Buffini
3. Dream Differently, by Vince Bertram
4. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
5. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken
6. Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris
7. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
8. The New Cocktail Hour, by Tenaya Darlington
9. The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page
10. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

If you take out the bulk sales, our bestsellers include the usual subjects. It's sort of funny that our top selling book is Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life. But it's not that Amazon. Gage, founder of the Runa energy drink, talks about how Amazonian indigenous spirituality has informed his philosophy and business pracices. John Mackey of Whole Foods wrote: "Rich with tools and guidance for how entrepreneurs can accomplish ambitious social missions by building thriving businesses, Fully Alive offers important insight for the future of how business will be done." Note that Mackey is in the process of selling the company he controls to...Amazon (not the rainforest)

Paperback Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. Before the Fall, by Noah Hawley
3. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
4. Flight of the Maidens, by Jane Gardam
5. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy
6. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
7. Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty (meet Bob Miller, Flatiron publisher, on Wed Aug 9, 7 pm)
8. The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden
9. Perdition, by R. Jean Reid (event at Boswell Fri Aug 11, 7 pm)
10. Howard's End, by E.M. Forster

I'm all geared up to talk about Noah Hawley's Before the Fall because we're discussing it at our In-Store Lit Group meeting tomorrow (August 7) at 7. You're welcome to join. After that, we'll be discussing Here Comes the Sun from Nicole Dennis-Benn on Tuesday, September 5. We'll reveal the October book next week. In Hawley news, he announced at San Diego Comic-con that he's working on a Doctor Doom movie. And Hannah Beckerman in this April Guardian review called Before the Fall "It’s a compassionate, insightful novel, as rich thematically as it is narratively compelling."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. The Crowded Hourt, by Kevin Abing
3. Live and Let Live, by Evelyn M. Perry
4. The Emotional Life of Your Brain, by Richard J. Davidson
5. Cure, by Jo Marchant
6. Dying to Be Me, by Anita Moorjani
7. My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor
8. This Might Be a Dumb Question, but How Does Money Work?, by Joe Fazio
9. Preservation, by Christina Ward
10. Hero of the Empire, by Candice Millard

You can see we had a good amount of sales in the cateogry of what I guess you'd call health. One recent release in paperback is Jo Marchant's Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body. Jennifer Senior reviewed the book in The New York Times and though she said you've probably read this kind of "jet pack journalism" before, her book jumps ahead of the pack because of how well written it is, and because of the richness of the people she profiles. From Senior: "Ms. Marchant has chosen very moving characters to show us the importance of the research she discusses — we forget that those who turn to alternative medicine are often people in extremis — and she possesses an equal flair for finding inspirational figures. I will always like a book, at least a little, if it mentions a 102-year-old Costa Rican woman who can recite a six-minute Pablo Neruda poem from memory."

 Books for Kids:
1. Better Together, by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg
2. Worlds Collide, by Chris Colfer
3. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
4. Once and for All, by Sarah Dessen
5. Dragons Love Tacos 2, by Adam Rubin with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
6. Ladybug Girl, by David Soman with illustrations by Jackie Davis
7. The Night Gardener, by the Fan Brothers
8. Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
9. The List, by Patricia Forde
10. Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor

Our sales for Saint Anything took a nice leap when Phoebe, a great lover of contemporary YA, worked at Boswell (and honestly, I'm not sure if she actually was recommending the book, but the jump was substantial--maybe it was actually Jannis), but sales have come close to holding with Once and For All, particularly because the new novel had a nice recommendation from Teasha. With Phoebe in New York and Teasha in Seattle, who will take up the Dessen directive? We considered sending Jodi Picoult an email to see if she wanted to pick up a couple of shifts but she seems pretty busy, plus she also lives 1000 miles away. Of the newest, Picoult wrote "Is there anyone who can write about what matters most to teens as well as Dessen can? I sincerely doubt it." And we shoiuld congratulate Jodi Picoult, whose Small Great Things has sold in hardcover multiples* beyond anything we previously sold at Boswell. These kind of numbers led Random House to delay the paperback till 2018.

Here are the Journal Sentinel books reviewed in the TapBooks section.

Jim Higgins reviews Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the World of Bookstores, edited by Otto Penzler. He writes: "Otto Penzler's entertaining new anthology Bibliomysteries puts a book or books - or a bookstore or library - at the heart of 15 engaging stories. Penzler, owner of New York's Mysterious Bookshop and founder of Mysterious Press, commissioned these tales from name-brand genre writers, including Laura Lippman, Jeffery Deaver and Ken Bruen."

From the Los Angeles Times, Agatha French covers So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley, which is sort of an oral history from Roger Steffens. Steffens states: "Composed from interviews with more than 75 friends, family and confidants of Marley and amassed over several decades, So Much Things to Say is the biographical equivalent of a statistical mean: a way to compile a complete portrait of the musical legend from the experiences of the people who knew him best." Steffens also appeared on Joy Cardin's WPR Show.

Bill Daley looks at the new Prince Charles biography in a piece originally appearing in the Chicago Tribune. Sally Bedell Smith, author of Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, "is well-suited to write this book," having covered Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II. Another interesting note: "As Smith's biography makes clear, Camilla's impact on Charles has been considerable..."

Jocelyn McClurg's essay on Jenny Zhang's Sour Heart originally appeared in USA Today. Sour Heart is published under Lena Dunham's Lenny imprint. McClurg's take: "Her coming-of-age tales are coarse and funny, sweet and sour, told in language that's rough-hewn yet pulsating with energy. Her girls, like so many, are caught bewtween: different cultures, warring parents. Add assissimilation to the bucket of typical teenage woes, and good luck with that."

And finally, Sebastian Junger's Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging is profiled by David Terrant, originally from the Dallas Morning News. Terrant asks: "With our country as polarized as it is, do you see the United States as one tribe or many different tribes." Junger replies: "When one candidate or leader creates factions in the United States by saying there are enemies of the state within our borders, they're actually acting untribal. If we don't want to live as a nation, that's fine. We should divide up. As long as we're living red and blue under one tent, we have to act that way."

This is not an exaggeration. Small Great Things has sold three times as many copies as her previous top seller in hardcover at Boswell.

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