Sunday, February 11, 2018

Behold! The Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 10, 2018

Behold! The Boswell bestsellers awaiteth.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Undertaker's Daughter, by Sara Blædel
2. The Maze at Windermere, by Gregory Blake Smith
3. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
4. American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
5. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
6. Munich, by Robert Harris
7. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
8. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
9. The Power, by Naomi Alderman
10. Light It Up, by Nick Petrie

What do American Marriage, The Great Alone, and Little Fires Everywhere have in common, besides being both Boswell and likely national bestsellers? All three authors came to Boswell for their last novels. Both American Marriage and The Great Alone were released to great buzz, with Tayari Jones being the next Oprah Book Club pick. Both books also had recommendations from Boswell Bookseller, Jones touted by Sharon and Hannah receiving a recommendation from Kay.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke Harris
2. Battle Hardened, by Craig S. Chapman
3. Automating Inequality, by Virginia Eubanks
4. Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff
5. Everything Happens for a Reason, by Kate Bowler
6. 12 Rules for Life, by Jordan Peterson
7. Obama, by Pete Souza
8. Feel Free, by Zadie Smith
9. The Secret Lives of Color, by Kassia St. Clair
10. Chasing Light, by Amanda Lucidon

When Penguin Random House started importing their own titles from Canada, it was really a question of rights, as the books were already being shipped out of the Maryland warehouse. But we've had a few successes, and now Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, hits our top ten. Camille Paglia wrote: "Jordan Peterson is the most important and influential Canadian thinker since Marshall McLuhan." Hey Paglia, why the qualifier? We also have a Canadian import event in March with Kim Thuy. Visit our upcoming events page for more info.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Arrow The Dark Archer, by John Barrowman and Carol E. Barrowman
2. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
3. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders (In-Store Lit Group, Mon 4/2, 7 pm)
4. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman (event Mon 2/19, 7 pm, at Boswell)
5. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck (In-Store Lit Group, Mon 3/5, 7 pm)
6. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
7. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
8. Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
9. History of Wolves, by Emily Fridlund
10. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur

Big release for Lincoln in the Bardo, one of the most acclaimed books of last year. Kind of cool that the college newspaper The Trinity Tripod came up second in the search engine for news about the book. But I like this quote from senior Trip Slaymaker (and congratulations to Trip if that's not a made-up name. Thank your parents!): "The best novels defy categorization. It is difficult to completely grasp George Saunders’ Booker Prize winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo because it contains ideas and experimental ways of writing that have never been placed together before. Saunders tricks his readers into believing in a perfectly realized world by placing his experimentally written, conceptually blinding story into a fascinating, empathetically recreated moment in real-world history."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey
2. Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, by Georges Perec
3. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
4. French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t, by Fabrice Midal
5. Martin's Dream, by Clayborne Carson
6. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
7. Bad Feminist, Olive Edition, by Roxane Gay
8. Wisconsin and the Civil War, by Ronald Paul Larson
9. Genius of Place, by Justin Martin
10. Digital Dead End, by Virginia Eubanks

As my fellow booksellers have told me regarding sock selection, adding a cuss word can spur sales. I can see it's also a growth category in greeting cards. And while sorry fans, but I leave the cussing socks and cards for other retailers, when it comes to books, we don't restrict. So of course The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t: Cut the Crap and Live Your Life is in our top this week. The publisher notes: "An international bestseller (now in English for the first time), The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t by Fabrice Midal explains why the key to true mindfulness is freeing ourselves from social and often self-imposed stresses--and highlights how we can embrace life more fully by giving ourselves a break."

Books for Kids:
1. Broken Pride V1, by Erin Hunter/Gillian Philip
2. Code of Honor V2, by Erin Hunter/Gillian Philip
3. Bone Quill V2, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
4. Hollow Earth V1, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
5. Book of Beasts V3, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
6. Strongheart, by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
7. Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli
8. Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire, by John August (event Fri 2/16, 7 pm, at Boswell)
9. Writing Radar, by Jack Gantos
10. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, by Karina Yan Glaser

Our top 10 is packed with current school visits. While some authors add on a public event (like John August for Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire), some authors do schools only, like Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann for Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen. From the publisher: "For fans of Balto and other real-life dog stories, here's a heavily illustrated middle-grade novel about a canine movie star of the 1920s, dramatically told in both words and pictures by an acclaimed author and a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator." Kirkus called it "A touching, playful, and satisfying tale of a silver-screen wonder dog." We'll have signed copies after they visit on February 27.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins offers 10 books from 1968 still worth reading today. You can read what Higgins has to say about these titles:
--A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin
--Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick
--The Double Helix, by Jams D. Watson
--Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
--House Made of Dawn, by M. Scott Momaday
--Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer, by Dick Schaap
--Slouching Toward Bethlehem, by Joan Didion
--Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone, by James Baldwin
--To Be a Slave, by Julius Lester
--True Grit, by Charles Portis.

Also on the JS TapBooks page, Mike Fischer reviews The Château, the second novel from Paul Goldberg. He opens: "Once upon a time, Melsor Katzenelenbogen was a celebrated Moscow poet and Soviet-Jewish refusenik. Now he’s a right-wing octogenarian living in Florida on the proceeds of a Medicare scam, while proudly proclaiming that 'Trump reminds me of me.'" Fischer notes that "Goldberg’s mordant satire – invoking and channeling a distinguished Russian literary tradition extending back to Gogol – hits home and bites hard."

And on the website, a review of Mark Whitaker's Smoketown, reviewed by Gene Seymour, originally from USA Today. It is the story of Pittsburgh's black Renaissance.

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