Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ali Smith's Winter and other Boswell bestsellers for the week ending January 13, plus the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page

Here are our bestsellers for the week ending January 13, 2018.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey
2. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
3. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
4. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
5. The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn
6. Winter, by Ali Smith
7. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
8. Origin, by Dan Brown
9. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
10. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead (event 1/31 for paperback)

We had a great event with Sujata Massey for The Widows of Malabar Hill, edging out sales for The Immortalists, which isn't an event until Jan 18. Massey told us of her early days touring with Laura Lippman by car when they were both reporters at the Baltimore Sun. Massey talked about the two women who were the inspiration for her character Perveen Mistry. And yes, she's already working on #2 in the series. Here's Lisa Levy's write-up with Five Crime Must-Reads in Lit Hub, where she said that Massey's latest is "a compelling look into Indian society through the eyes of a remarkable heroine." And yes, we have signed copies.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff (no, we haven't cleared our special orders yet)
2. The Gray Rhino, by Michele Wucker
3. From Here to Eternity, by Caitlin Doughty
4. Wisconsin's Own, by M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman
5. Castle Kingdom, by Christopher Knowlton
6. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
7. The Book of Joy, by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams
8. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson
9. Annotated African American Folktales, by Henry Louis Gates
10. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West is said to be a revolutionary appraisal of the historic American West. I'm not sure why the book jumped into our top ten for the first time, so many months after publication, but I can link you to The New York Times Review from Edward Dolnick: "Knowlton, a former staff writer and London bureau chief for Fortune, has a sharp eye for details — in cattle towns, boarding houses featured communal toothbrushes dangling from strings — but his real aim is the big picture. Cattle Kingdom is a cautionary tale of boom and bust. Despite the gunslingers and cowpokes, this lively history evokes the headiest days of the housing bubble of the early 2000s or the tulip mania that hypnotized Holland in the 1600s."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
2. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
3. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman (event 2/19)
4. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
5. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
6. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
7. Autumn, by Ali Smith
8. The Bear and the Nightingale, by by Katherine Arden
9. Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay
10. The Sleeping Dictionary, by Sujata Massey

Ali Smith pulls off a rare feat with a book each in hardcover fiction (Winter) and paperback fiction (Autumn). The Journal Sentinel's Mike Fischer already raved about both books. Here's his take on Winter: "The stunningly original Smith again breaks every conceivable narrative rule; reflecting her longstanding affinity for Modernism, what she gives us instead is a stylistically innovative cultural bricolage that celebrates the ecstasy of artistic influence. It demands and richly rewards close attention." We should also note the Stephanie Merritt in The Guardian called Winter "luminously beautiful."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. I Want to See, by Roc O'Connor
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
4. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
5. The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey (event 2/6 at USM)
6. In the Midst of Our Storms, by Roc O'Connor
7. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson
8. Gunslinger, by Jeff Pearlman
9. Preservation, by Christina Ward
10. Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Keni

I'm noticing that while early adoption of Janesville was more folks interested in journalism and current events, it looks like more and more, the business community it picking it up. Here James Feloni in Business Insider offered his perspective: "In the lead up to and aftermath of the election of President Donald Trump, a flood of reporters from big cities traveled to central and southern states to speak to so-called 'Real Americans' to get help understanding how so many people had totally underestimated Trump's ascension. While some great reporting came out of those trips, there were also stories that seemed to treat these citizens like zoo animals, to be observed and analyzed. Amy Goldstein's Janesville did not take such an approach, and that's part of the reason why it won the Financial Times and McKinsey's award for Business Book of the Year.

Books for Kids:
1. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
2. Dog Man and Cat Kid, by Dav Pilkey
3. The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black
4. The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown
5. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
6. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, by Karina Yan Glaser
7. The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman
8. Here We Are, by Oliver Jeffers
9. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
10. Love, by Matt de la Pena, with illustrations Loren Long

While we're all excited about the release of Holly Black's The Cruel Prince, Bustle is particularly enthusiastic. Do a news search on Google and three of the top five stories are sourced from this website, at least at the moment of writing. Here's the opening of the Bustle review from Cristina Arreola: "Every year when I travel home for the holidays, I pore over the books I accumulated in high school: The battered, dog-eared copies of Pride and Prejudice, the small stack of vampire novels (yes, I read and enjoyed Twilight as a teenager, but I fell hardest for Let the Right One In), and of course, the collection of young adult novels. When I returned to New York after this past Christmas, I brought one book back with me: Holly Black's debut novel Tithe, a gritty faerie fantasy. My copy has a torn cover and cracked spine — physical proof of the re-reads it endured throughout my high school years. I haven't had a chance to re-read it since bringing it back with me, but I did finish Holly Black's new book, The Cruel Prince. And I can honestly say I was as enraptured by her latest faerie novel as I was by her first."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviewed Light It Up. His take on Peter Ash's third adventure, what Higgins coins "a cannabis thriller": "While many states have legalized medical marijuana and some have even approved recreational pot, most federally regulated banks refuse to work with cannabis businesses, for fear of federal sanctions. So big piles of cash are accumulated and moved around. Now add the possibility of dope employees sampling the product, and everything goes up in smoke faster than you can say 'Cheech and Chong.'"

Sharon Peters reviews the newest from Kelly Corrigan, who offers a short course in Corriganese. Her Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say was originally reviewed in USA Today with 3.5 stars. The Peters praise: "The power of Tell Me More is that Corrigan is an excellent writer who knows how to tell a great story while adeptly weaving in conversational approaches that she, and most of us, never fully embraced or maybe lost track of over the years."

Also in the paper is a profile of Jan Brett from Deborah Netburn, which originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times. From Netburn: "It was 8:15 a.m. and Brett and I were in for a treat. The aquarium had invited us to have a tentacles-on interaction with Gilligan in honor of Brett’s latest book, The Mermaid, a traditional Goldilocks tale with a mermaid and three octopuses twist. As long time octopus lovers, we were both excited, but Brett was more prepared. She had been eating fish for the past three weeks, and had deliberately avoided garlic and onions."

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