Sunday, December 3, 2017

Boswell's annotated bestseller list for the week ending December 2, 2017: notable books of the year and a double listing for "Pachinko"

It's time for a between Thanksgiving and Christmas bestseller list!

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
2. Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid (New York Times top 10 2017)
3. Glass Houses, by Louise Penny
4. The Rooster Bar, by John Grisham
5. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee (this book is on both hardcover and paperback list, NYT top 10 2017)
6. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
7. Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich
8. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
9. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward (New York Times and Washington Post top 10 2017)
10. The Story of Arthur Truluv, by Elizabeth Berg (event at Boswell Friday, 12/8, 7 pm)

I'm excited to note that the Los Angeles Times's fiction roundup has a few titles I read that didn't get on The New York Times, including The Leavers and Mrs. Fletcher, as well as Exit West, Sing, Unburied, Sing, and Lincoln in the Bardo, all of which are in the top 10. But what makes someone come up with a list of 19 titles?

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Not a Crime to Be Poor, by Peter Edelman
2. Lioness, by Francine Klagsbrun
3. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. Grant, by Ron Cherneow
5. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson
6. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
7. Obama, by Pete Souza
8. Going into Town, by Roz Chast
9. Everybody Lies, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
10. Montaigne in Barn Boots, by Michael Perry
11. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
12. Promise Me, Dad, by Joe Biden
13. The Driftless Reader, by Curt Meine and Keeley Keefe
14. Border Country, by Martha Greene Phillips (event at Boswell Wednesday, 12/6, 7 pm)
15. The Book Smugglers, by David E. Fishman (event at JCC, Thursday, 12/7, 7 pm)

Sales were great this week for The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, a major work from a local author whose source material was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (and if you order, note that our copies are signed) and didn't really need my help. On the other hand, all our sales for Everybody Lies, despite some nice reviews and features, were due to the placement of the book into a person's hand. Like my fiction favorite, Lonesome Lies Before Us, the book can't be in a New York Times notable because it didn't get reviewed. And I think the publicity made the book sound a bit more one-note than it actually is. I would read it again!

While we always have some sort of pop in sales for the National Book Award winner in fiction and generally don't have much of one in young people's and poetry, the nonfiction winner can be hit or miss. We're still waiting to see if there's a groundswell of interest among our customers for purchasing Masha Gessen's The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia. Here's the Christian Science Monitor's review from Bob Blaisdell.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Cold Clay, by Juneau Black
2. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black
3. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. The Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict
5. The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn
6. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (In Store Lit Group talk, Tuesday, 1/2, 7 pm)
7. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
8. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro
9. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
10. Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles

Sharon and Jocelyn's cozy mystery series, Cold Clay and its predecessor, Shady Hollow, dominate paperback fiction! We're finally seeing a book break out in a big way in paperback, and it's our own Pachinko. I'm hoping it can crack the top ten of The New York Times. We are bored with that paperback fiction list. I'm hoping to read The Other Einstein by the end of the year (dreaming big) so we can further chase sales on this historical novel that seems to have some nice word-of-mouth movement. Marie Benedict's novel has been selected as a Big Library Read last June. More details and a discussion guide here.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond (more below on this!)
2. Beer Lovers Wisconsin, By Kathy Flanigan (event with Jim Higgins at Cafe Hollander, Wednesday, 12/14, 7 pm)
3. So Rich, So Poor, by Peter Edelman
4. Bad Feminist Olive edition, by Roxane Gay
5. Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren

Sales are a little weak here, so I moved some slots over to hardcover, which has much stronger numbers. It's not surprising that folks trade up to hardcovers at gift giving time, particularly newer, more timely books. But it's also notable that we'd normally have more regional books here. Lab Girl is the next Tosa All-City Read, with most events starting in February. More info here.

Books for Kids:
1. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (volume 1), by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
2. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
3. Wonder (both editions), by R.J. Palacio
4. The Snowy Day board book, by Ezra Jack Keats
5. The Book of Dust V1: La Bell Sauvage, by Philip Pullman
6. Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green
7. Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo V1: The Road to Epoli
8. Pierre the Maze Detective: The Mystery of Empire Maze Tower, by Hiro Kamigaki
9. Red and Lulu, by Matt Tavares
10. Pup and Bear, by Kate Banks, with illustrations by Naoko Stoop

Kelli and I did a Shorewood Public Library presentation on Saturday, and her enthusiasm helped several books get into this week's top 10. In addition to The Hate U Give, Kelli touted Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli, from Ben Costa and James Parks (definitely if you or your gift recipient likes Adventure Time) and Kate Banks and Naoko Stoop's Pup and Bear, a very sweet animal story picture book. She'll continue to get books into readers' hands at her new library position in Ohio.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins offers 10 books to read after Evicted.
--Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America, by Beryl Satter
--How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York, by Jacob Riis
--Janesville: An American Story, by Amy Goldstein
--Live and Let Live: Diversity, Conflict, and Community in an Integrated Neighborhood, by Evelyn M. Perry
--Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
--Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, by Jessica Bruder
--Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America, by Peter Edelman
--Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx, by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
--The Truly Disadventaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson
--$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer
Read more about each book here.

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