Sunday, October 15, 2017

What's selling on the Boswell bestseller list, week ending October 14, 2017 edition?

Here's the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 14.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Origin, by Dan Brown
2. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
3. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
4. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
5. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent
6. A Legacy of Spies, by John Le Carre
7. Complete Stories, by Kurt Vonnegut
8. Thalia, by Larry McMurtry
9. The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie
10. Paris in the Present Tense, by Mark Helprin

It's the second week of sales for Origin, and without a major hardcover fiction event, Dan Brown was able to take the top slot. Here's Peter Conrad's take in The Guardian: "I used to think Dan Brown was merely a crackpot. Now I wonder if he might not be a prophet. What once seemed to be his deranged fantasy increasingly looks like our daily reality. In our myth-maddened world, we are befuddled by bloggers peddling conspiracy theories and menaced by transactions on the dark web; we can’t cross a road without dreading some runaway act of messianic terror, and we experience an implosion of identity if we lose our smartphones or forget our passwords. In listing those perils I have summed up the plot of Brown’s new novel Origin: whether or not we read his apocalyptic thrillers, we are living inside them." Read more here.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
2. Grant, by Ron Chernow
3. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
4. Devotion, by Patti Smith
5. Sweet, by Yotam Ottolenghi
6. What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton
7. The World Broke in Two, by Bill Goldstein
8. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
9. Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown
10. The Driftless Reader, edited by Curt Meine and Keeley Keefe

The numbers are great, but for us, the first week of sales for Grant are still eclipsed by We Were Eight Years in Power. Chernow's first biography since Hamilton is getting great news, such as this from Clayton Butler in the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Reading Ron Chernow's new biography, a truly mammoth examination of the life of Ulysses S. Grant, one is struck by the humanity - both the pitiful frailty and the incredible strength - of its subject. Grant, the 18th president of the United States and one of the greatest soldiers of all time, emerges in Chernow's telling as a man of remarkable contradictions. He was a man of firm moral beliefs, steadfast loyalty to friends and family, and fundamental honesty. Yet he also suffered from an incurable naïveté when it came to business and certainly met, in the author's estimation, the clinical criteria for alcoholism." More here.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Bone, by Yrsa Daley-Ward
2. The Sun and her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
3. The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. Karolina's Twins, by Ronald H. Balson (two events on 10/24, 3 pm at Chai Point and 7 pm at Boswell)
5. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
6. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
7. Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
8. The Terranauts, by T.C. Boyle
9. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
10. The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin (Hugo Award winner)

It's a Nobel Prize party for Kazuo Ishiguro, with two books in the top ten, The Buried Giant at #3 and Never Let Me Go at #9. Carolyn Kellogg writes in the Los Angeles Times: "The Nobel Prize in literature went to Kazuo Ishiguro. Among literary handicappers Ishiguro wasn’t even on the radar (people placing bets in England had Ngugi-wa Thiong’o and Margaret Atwood as favorites). Perhaps that’s because he’s been a persistent bestseller in America and England, where he was raised, ever since the publication of his first book set there, The Remains of the Day." And here's Nicole Kobie discussing in Wired whether Ishiguro is a genre writer.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Through It All, by Heddy Keith
2. My Grandmother's Hands, by Resmaa Menakem
3. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
4. Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
5. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
6. Really Important Stuff My Cat Has Taught Me, by Cynthia L. Copeland
7. Absolutely on Music, by Haruki Murakami
8. Bad Feminist Olive Edition, by Roxane Gay
9. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
10. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

HarperCollins has a limited edition rack size (mass market) paperback line that has got some big fans on the Boswell staff. This week one, Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, hit our bestseller list. Other new releases in this series include The Known World, by Edward P. Jones; The Round House, by Louise Erdrich; and Wench, by Dolen Valdez-Perkins. All are priced at 10.00 even, which is interesting, because most other Harper titles are at the 99 price point and traditionally with publishers, the first class of books to go to 99 cents are mass markets. But this line is a very un-mass market line of mass markets, as you can see both from title selection and cover treatment.

Books for Kids:
1. The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase #3), by Rick Riordan
2. Cosmic Commandos, by Christopher Eliopoulos
3. La La La, by Kate DiCamillo (ticketed event 10/29 at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts)
4. Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green
5. Percy Jackson Mad Libs, by Leigh Olsen
6. For Magnus Chase: The Hotel Valhalla Guide to the Norse World, by Rick Riordan
7. The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1), by Rick Riordan
8. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Coloring Book, by Rick Riordan
9. I Am Gandhi, by Brad Meltzer, with illustrations by Chris Eliopoulos
10. I Am Amelia Earhart, by Brad Meltzer, with illustrations by Chris Eliopoulos

We had several authors visiting schools this week, but we were only able to fully process one of the visits before week's end. Kids loved Chris Eliopoulos, who visited to talk about Brad Meltzer's "I Am" series, the newest being I Am Gandhi and I Am Sacagawea. It's completely a coincidence that series writer Meltzer was in town last week working with Oconomowoc's Books and Company. You can here him talk about the books on WUWM's Lake Effect. Here's a video interview with Elio (that's his nickname) on Geek Speak.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins profiles Scott Kelly, who is appearing at a ticketed event at the UWM Student Union for Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery. On Mars: "Kelly's near-year in space put him in the middle of research on the effects of long-duration space travel on human bodies. 'I'd volunteer for a mission to Mars right now,' he said. He believes the physiological challenges of such a trip can be solved. 'When we do send a crew to Mars, I bet you it will be a crew of old people,' Kelly said, citing differences in permissible levels of radiation for older people, with fewer years of lifespan ahead." More here.

Tickets to this event are $32 here. The UWM Union has discounted tickets for UWM students, faculty, and staff.

Carole E. Barrowman is back from summer break with a fresh crop of mystery picks.
--Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke
--Old Scores, by Will Thomas
--The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine
--The Man in the Crooked Hat, by Harry Dolan
--The Woman From Prague, by Rob Hart

Note that The Man in the Crooked Hat doesn't come out until November 28. Why not hold a copy at Boswell and we'll call you when it comes in.

I share Barrowman's enthusiasm for Locke's latest. She writes: I’ve never bought the notion of the Great American Novel. I think when literary historians look back, they’ll realize this time had many, but if Attica Locke’s Bluebird Bluebird isn’t on the list, I’m coming back to haunt them." More here.

The print edition also has a review from Mary Ann Gwinn of The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, by cultural critic Masha Gessen. The book is a finalist for the National Book Award. Here's a link to the review, which first appeared in Newsday.

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