Sunday, January 7, 2018

Here are the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending January 6, 2018, plus the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page

Here are the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending January 6, 2018.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
2. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
3. The Power, by Naomi Alderman
4. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
5. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
6. The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn
7. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
8. Glass Houses, by Louise Penny
9. The Rooster Bar, by John Grisham
10. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan

Every year in January, it seems to me (I'm just a bookseller, not a pundit) the commercial fiction sales drop and the literary sales drop a bit less, leaving an opening for some books that have been selling well to climb the lists and perhaps crossover in the general marketplace. We already saw this with Sing, Unburied, Sing arriving on the national lists. I've seen several publishers do post-holiday tours, from Brit Bennett (which we got on) to Amor Towles (which we did not). If I were Little, Brown, I would have scheduled a tour for Naomi Alderman in January to get The Power over the top and into the national top 10 of the bestseller lists. It's not crazy to see this book making inroads with thriller readers, Handmaid's Tale watchers, and award book buyers. But that's just me.

Here comes the onslaught of psychological suspense novels. First pop goes to A.J. Finn's The Woman in the Window. As you've already read, this is a pseudonym for an editor at HarperCollins. Good reads! Here's Patrick Anderson in The Washington Post: "With The Woman in the Window he has not only captured, sympathetically, the interior life of a depressed person, but also written a riveting thriller that will keep you guessing to the very last sentence." Here's the NYT review.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff (no, we don't have any)
2. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
3. Grant, by Ron Chernow
4. God, by Reza Aslan
5. Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, by Dan Harris
6. The Little Book of Lykke, by Meik Wiking
7. Border Country, by Martha Greene Phillips
8. The Gray Rhino, by Michele Wucker
9. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
10. Silence, by Erling Kagge

From the new year tables comes Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, by Dan Harris. Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project writes: "If you're like many people, you're intrigued by the promise of meditation but don't know how to begin--or you've benefited from meditation in the past but need help to get started again. If so, Dan Harris has written the book for you." And here's Rachel Martin talking to the author on NPR's Morning Edition.

Paperback Fiction (book club mentions are without author):
1. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
2. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman (event on Mon 2/19, 7 pm, at Boswell)
3. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck (In-Store Lit Group Mon 3/5, 7 pm)
4. The Anatomy of Dreams, Chloe Benjamin (Event with author Thu 1/18, 7 pm, plus In-Store Lit Group, Mon 2/5, both at Boswell)
5. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel (Shorewood Reads with author, Tue 4/10, 7 pm)
6. History of Wolves, by Emily Fridlund
7. Ready Player One, by Ernest Kline
8. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
9. The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
10. The Nest, by Cynthia Sweeney

I should note that both Call Me by Your Name and Station Eleven have book clubs meeting to talk about the books, which might be helping us get early pre-event sales. Proma Khosla in Mashable makes the case why you should see the film before reading the book: "The novel is phenomenally written, but the film offers a rare opportunity to interpret two people's incredible journey of falling in love. It's an opportunity that should be experienced before reading exactly what the main character feels in the novel. Instead of poring over the text beforehand, we can savor the opportunity to witness Elio and Oliver's love without expectation, subject to our honest reactions and the actors' raw performance. And afterward – as the Oscar buzz builds – we can read the book and marvel over what inspired such a magnificent movie."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
3. The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, by Thomas H. Fehring
4. Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
5. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
6. The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t, by Fabrice Midal
7. The Marches, by Rory Stewart
8. Women and Power, by Mary Beard
9. The Little Box of Feminist Flair, by Lauren Mancuso
10. Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari

Popping off the front table is new-in-paperback The Marches: A Borderland Journey Between England and Scotland, from Rory Stewart, the author of The Places in Between. Malcolm Forbes in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune writes: "Stewart proves to be a captivating tour guide. As he clocks up miles, he covers a range of topics, from Highland dancing to Border ballads, his childhood in Malaysia to his days in Parliament (or “the nuthouse”). He brings archaic languages and traditions vividly alive, wrestles with nationalism and nationhood and, in a poignant closing section, traces his father’s war years and last days."

Books for Kids:
1. The Lost Rainforest: Mez's Magic, by Eliot Schrefer (school visits on 1/22, more below)
2. Dog Man and Cat Kid, by Dav Pilkey
3. Here We Are, by Oliver Jeffers
4. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
5. Wonder (both jackets), by R.J. Palacio
6. Pout Pout Fish board book, by Deborah Diesen with illustrations by Dan Hanna
7. After the Fall, by Dan Santat
8. Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal with illustrations by Holly Hatam
9. Far From the Tree, by Robin Benway
10. Patina, by Jason Reynolds

The publisher notes that The Lost Rainforest: Mez's Magic is the Lion King meets Wings of Fire in the magical rainforest kingdom of Caldera in this new middle grade animal fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer. Publishers Weekly wrote: "With a memorable, quick-bantering cast, this kickoff to the Lost Rainforest series, a playful departure from Schrefer's ape novels, brings fresh perspective to the magical animal subgenre. And, despite the fantasy setup, readers will come away learning quite a bit about this ecosystem and its inhabitants." For this one we're only doing school events but let us know if you'd like to purchase a signed copy!

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Winter, the new book from Ali Smith, which follows up Autumn. Yes, it's a series! He writes: As with the series-opening Autumn, Smith begins Winter by invoking Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities in the first novel, and A Christmas Carol in this one. It’s a splendid choice, reflecting Smith’s oft-expressed conviction that 'a coming back of light was at the heart of midwinter equally as much as the waning of light.'" Fischer notes that Winter can stand on its own but you should read both!

In the physical paper, there is also a profile of Colson Whitehead and his latest novel, The Underground Railroad, which is coming out in paperback on January 30. Our event with UWM is January 31. Tickets are $19 on the Brown Paper Tickets ticketing site. Specially priced tickets are available for UWM students, faculty, and staff starting January 8, only available at the UWM Union Box Office.

Here's Steve Johnson on Whitehead writing the book, as first written in the Chicago Tribune: "It was the first novel of his that does not try to be funny, and Whitehead knew he was onto something when he showed the opening 100 or so pages to those closest to him. “ ‘It’s very good,’ ” he said they told him. “ ‘It’s sort of good-er than your other books.’"

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