Sunday, September 3, 2017

Annotated Boswell bestsellers, week ending September 2, 2017

Here's the Boswell bestseller list for the week ending September 2, 2017.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Glass Houses, by Louise Penny
2. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
3. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent
4. Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta
5. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy
6. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
7. Hum If You Don't Know the Word, by Bianca Marais
8. House of Spies, by Daniel Silva
9. A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline
10. The Store, by James Patterson with Richard DiLallo

Needless to say, Glass Houses was the big seller for this week, with comparable sales to last year's A Great Reckoning.

Gabriel Tallent's My Absolute Darling is probably the most touted debut of the fall. It's the #1 pick on the American Bookselles Association Indie Next List. John Evans at Diesel: A Bookstore, wrote "This is a Great American Novel: exquisitely lush language of the natural world; startlingly vivid characters; a global understanding of social context, in a particular place; and, in this case, steel-wire narrative tension stringing through the beautiful prose like piano wire." And Boswell's Kay Wosewick adds "The characters are richly drawn and it is impossible not to root for the awakening of the young girl."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken
2. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
3. Wild Things, by Bruce Handy
4. The Republic for Which it Stands, by Richard White
5. Why Buddhism Is True, by Robert Wright
6. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
7. College in Prison, by Daniel Karpowitz (event at Boswell Mon 10/30, 7 pm)
8. Devotion, by Patti Smith
9. Milwuakee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
10. Wisconsin Sentencing in the Tough-on-Crime Era, by Michael O'Hear

Just out is Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult, from Bruce Handy, contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Annalisa Smith on the NPR website writes "Bruce Handy's generous, warm voice is just the kind you would want reading you btive, with pleasant jolts of irreverence." And here's Rivka Galchen's review in The New York Times Book Review.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Howard's End, by E.M. Forster
2. The Trespasser, by Tana French
3. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
4. Blankets, by Craig Thompson
5. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
6. Bernie Weber and the Riemann Hypothesis, by Matthew Flynn (event at Boswell Thu 9/7, 7 pm)
7. Cooking for Picasso, by Camille Aubray
8. They May Not Mean To, But They Do, by Cathleen Schine
9. Close Enough to Touch, by Colleen Oakley
10. Miss Jane, by Brad Watson

Camille Aubray's novel has been out in paperback since June but it's our first appearance on our top 10. It's a historical novel with a contemporary frame, in the vein of the B.A. Shapiro novels. Then: On the French Riviera, Ondine meets Picasso when he starts eating at her mother's restaurant. Now: Ondine's granddaughter returns to France to find out the real story. Now it's not often that your book is recommended by Margaret Atwood on Twitter, but that's the case with Cooking for Picasso. The Tweet: "A tasty blend of romance, mystery, and French cooking." Bethanne Patrick in The Washington Post calls Cooking for Picasso "not a steaming pile of pigeon poop." To be clear, the quote is out of context and the review is quite good!

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
3. White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg
4. Pain Free, by Pete Egoscue
5. Stop Anxiety from Stopping You, by Helen Odessky (event with REDgen on Sun Sep 17, 3 pm)
6. Blood in the Water, by Heather Ann Thompson (Frank P Zeidler Memorial Lecture Mon 11/6, 7 pm)
7. In Lieu of Flowers, by Nancy Cobb
8. The War that Forged a Nation, by James M. McPherson
9. Quotes for Nasty Women, by Linda Picone
10. The Other Shore, by Thich Nhat Hanh

If you watch our event schedule very carefully, you might have caught that Heather Ann Thompson's talk for Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy was originally scheduled for last spring, but the date had to change when it was also the night that Thompson was awarded the Bancroft Prize. Thompson, who subsequently was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work, is rescheduled as the featured speaker at the Frank P. Zeidler Memorial Lecture, cosponsored by Milwaukee Turners, at Turner Hall. More info on this Lecture Facebook page.

Books for Kids:
1. Hollow Earth, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
2. The Bone Quill, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
3. The Book of Beasts, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
4. Nephilim, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
5. Boy21, by Matthew Quick
6. Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties, by Dav Pilkey
7. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
8. Most Dangerous, by Steve Sheinkin
9. Little Elliot, Fall Friends, by Mike Curato
10. Miles Morales: A Spider Man novel, by Jason Reynolds (event Fri 9/15, 6:30 pm, at Boswell)

Jason Reynolds has no less than three novels coming out in the three months between August and October. First was Miles Morales, the Spiderman novel. Then Patina, which just came out this week and should show up on our bestseller list shortly. Then comes Long Way Down on October 24, a novel "that takes place in sixty potent seconds--the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he's going to murder the guy who killed his brother." Here's a feature on Miles Morales in Entertainment Weekly.

Here are the TapBooks features in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

On the front page is a feature on some interesing new regional books just out or forthcoming.

The Wisconsin Capitol: Stories of a Monument and Its People, by Michael Edmonds. Higgins says "After an earlier Wisconsin Capitol building in Madison burned down in 1904, architect George B. Post won a contract to build a new, classically inspired capitol with a dome. Edmonds' book celebrates the centennial of that building, finished in 1917."

God and Starbucks: An NBA Superstar's Journey Through Addiction and Recovery, by Vin Baker with Joe Layden. Higgins: "Vin Baker was named an all-star three times during his years with the Milwaukee Bucks. But if you felt, like I did, that we weren't always seeing his full potential, his memoir helps explain why."

Danger, Man Working: Writing From the Heart, the Gut, and the Poison Ivy Patch, by Michael Perry. The take: "Like all of his prose, these pieces flow gracefully with amusing accents of self-deprecation: 'It quickly becomes obvious that I am a self-absorbed hypochondriac forever resolving to do better nutritionally and fitness-wise but my follow-through is laughable,' he writes in his introduction."

Kinnickinnic Avenue: The Heart of Bay View, WI, by Lisa Ann Jacobsen. From Higgins: "I confess to liking best this visual book's older black-and-white photographs of the developing neighborhood: the Schwarts blacksmith shop; elementary school children posed in a group photo outside St. Lucas Church; a street view of Gitzel's Department Store (including a sidewalk clock, which can now be found downtown in front of the Milwaukee County Historical Society); a 1959 portrait of the massive ore ship Edmund Fitzgerald (the subject of Gordon Lightfoot's song) visiting Milwaukee." Where the heck was Gitzel's?

A Crowded Hour: Milwaukee During the Great War 1917-1918, by Kevin J. Abing. Higgins writes: "Milwaukee's substantial percentage of German-Americans and its Socialist politicians, notably Mayor Daniel Hoan and Victor Berger, made it a complicated place during World War I, with some folks quick to questions loyalties here. Abing, a Milwaukee County Historical Society archivist, chronicles those stormy years, which also included the growing power of the temperance movement, the Milwaukee police station bombing of 1917, and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which killed nearly 1,200 Milwaukeeans."

Mike Fischer writes about Sing, Unburied, Sing, the new novel from Jesmyn Ward: "The setting and even a few characters’ cameo appearances in Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward’s poetic and moving new novel, recall Ward’s exceptional Salvage the Bones. But this new novel’s meditation on what it means to be black - and particularly a black male — in contemporary America is more apt to remind readers of Men We Reaped, Ward’s devastating memoir of her brother and four other black men she’s known who all died too young."

And back to Jim Higgins, who reviews a new collection of essays from the recently deceased Dick Gregory: "Gregory died Aug. 19 of heart failure at age 84. Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies, completed before his death, is not as definitive as the title suggests, at least not by the standards of footnoted history. But it is a fair representation of Gregory's passion for social justice and disdain for white supremacy obvious and subtle."

And finally, originally from Newsday is See What I Have Done, a review of Sarah Schmidt's new novel, from Karen R. Long. Long writes: "See What I Have Done is a barn-burning, fever-ridden first novel. It makes blistering reading out of first-rate historical fiction, which must walk the tightrope of established facts while fashioning a story anew. Hilary Mantel, in her brilliant re-creation of Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies, may be the best practitioner alive, but this book announces Schmidt as a new sister in the craft."

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