Sunday, June 10, 2018

Boswell bestsellers, week ending June 9, 2018

Here are this week's bestsellers.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The President Is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
2. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
3. There, There, by Tommy Orange
4. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
5. Florida, by Lauren Groff
6. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
7. You Think It, I'll Say It, by Curtis Sittenfeld
8. The Outsider, by Stephen King
9. Brief Cases, by Jim Butcher
10. The Word Is Murder, by Anthony Horowitz

At the top of this week's list is the high-profile ex-president collaboration, The President Is Missing, which like most James Patterson books, is released on a Monday instead of the traditional Tuesday. It's also getting some very good reviews, like this from Mark Lawson in The Guardian: "If Clinton clearly brings new details and insights to the presidential thriller, his co-writer stays closer to convention. Some elements – a Bach-loving assassin, assorted boat and car chases – could have come from almost any Patterson book. The greatest justification of the project is that the eventual revelation of the villain, which is satisfying and surprising, really does feel like the outcome of a conversation between one writer with an unusual skill at thriller plotting and another with an exceptional grasp of global politics. The literary running mates have earned a second term."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Third Door, by Alex Banayan
2. One Day You'll Thank Me, by David McGlynn
3. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke Harris
4. Calypso, by David Sedaris
5. Sex and the City and Us, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
6. You Can't Spell Truth Without Ruth, by Mary Zaia
7. The Soul of America, by Jon Meacham
8. The World as It Is, by Ben Rhodes
9. The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton
10. Barracoon, by Zora Neale Hurston

This week Oprah's new book club pick was announced and it was The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, from Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin. While the book has not yet gotten many reviews, Hinton is well known from Bryan Stephenson's book Just Mercy. As Tim Adams notes, again from The Guardian: "When Stevenson took up the case in 1999, he engaged independent firearms experts who unanimously agreed that Hinton’s mother’s gun was not that used in the murders. It took another 16 years of contested litigation, however, for Hinton’s case to be reheard by the Alabama courts, and for his acquittal."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
2. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer (ticketed event 6/15. Info here)
3. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
4. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
5. Sour Heart, by Jenny Zhang (In-Store Lit Group Mon Jul 2, 7 pm)
6. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
7. The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett
8. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
9. See What I Have Done, by Sarah Schmidt
10. The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go, by Amy E. Reichert (event 6/13 with Karma Brown)

Great to see Sarah Schmidt's See What I Have Done hit the top ten in paperback. This novel about Lizzie Borden had nice buzz in hardcover. Leah Greenblatt offered this A- review in Entertainment Weekly: "See is the product of 11 years of that obsession, and it’s a prickly, unsettling wonder: a story so tactile and feverishly surreal it feels like a sort of reverse haunting... Her protagonist comes more fully alive than almost any character in recent memory, and the final pages are a wild, mind-bending revelation."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Somos Latinas, edited by Andrea-Teresa Arenas and Eloisa Gómez
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. The View from Flyover Country, by Sarah Kendzior
4. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, by Beverly Daniel Tatum
5. Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown
6. Hollywood Heyday, by David Fantle
7. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
8. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
9. Democracy in Chains, by Nancy MacLean
10. Vacationland, by John Hodgman

As his publisher noted in Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches, John Hodgman's career was built on fake news and invented facts at The Daily Show, but nowadays, the routine doesn't seem to be so funny because everyone is doing it: "Disarmed of falsehood, he was left only with the awful truth: John Hodgman is an older white male monster with bad facial hair, wandering like a privileged Sasquatch through three wildernesses: the hills of Western Massachusetts where he spent much of his youth; the painful beaches of Maine that want to kill him (and some day will); and the metaphoric haunted forest of middle age that connects them." Erik Henriksen writes in Seattle's The Stranger: "Self-reflection—and reflections on family, and death, and what it means to be a white man in 2017—are at the core of Vacationland, except funnier than I just made them sound."

Books for Kids:
1. Grump, by Liesl Shurtliff
2. Red, by Liesl Shurtliff
3. Rump, by Liesl Shurtliff
4. Jack, by Liesl Shurtliff
5. Save the Date, by Morgan Matson
6. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
7. Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson
8. Lifters, by Dave Eggers
9. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens, by Paul Noth
10. An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir (Register for our Fri Jun 22 event here)

We say goodbye to the 2017-2018 school year the best way we know how - with our top four titles coming from Liesl Shurtliff, who visited three area schools on Monday. Her latest, The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves focuses on Borlen, whose nickname is, well, guess. Grump was reviewed by Karen Valby in The New York Times Book Review. She writes: "The premise is rich: How does one survive, let alone smile, in a world he feels desperately bound to leave? At 52 years old (a tween in a dwarf’s life cycle), Borlen is a worry to his parents and a whipping boy among his gem-crunching peers. The scenes of his marginalization are painful and true — always the pebble, never the geode in games of Pebble, Pebble, Geode. When he escapes to the forbidden Surface, and allies himself with Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.), Grump convinces himself he’s finally living his best life. But then his new bud starts kidnapping babies and demanding the murder of her stepdaughter, Snow White, and he’s back under a dark cloud."

And now here are features from the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page.

--Mary Ann Gwinn reviews Michael Ondaatje's Warlight a book that's been hitting the Boswell bestseller list for several weeks. She writes: "In Michael Ondaatje’s new book, warlight is the word for the twilight that shrouded London during the bombings of World War II, when lights were dimmed to avoid lighting the way for German bombs. It’s hard to imagine a more apt title for this dreamlike novel by the author of The English Patient, a story of secrets and revelations that unfolds like a night-blooming flower." This review originally appeared in The Seattle Times.

--From USA Today comes See You Again in Pyongyang: A Journey Into Kim Jong Un's North Korea. Chris Woodyard reviews Travis Jeppesen's unusual travel narrative: "What he (Jeppesen) finds is a land where you are almost always accompanied by escorts, a place so steeped in paranoia and leader worship that accidentally capturing a partial photo of Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, hanging on a wall poster and not deleting the image from your camera can land you in hot water." Jeppesen thinks that while Trump may indeed meet with Kim Jong Un (next week?), he finds it unlikely that North Korea's leader will ever give up supreme power or nuclear weapons.

 --I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness is the new book by Austin Channing Brown. Darcel Rocket reviews the book, with the review originally coming from the Chicago Tribune: "They’re words are about the black experience in America - about 'being calm in a world made for whiteness,' where 'half-baked efforts at diversity are enough because the status quo is fine.'" Rocket interviews Brown about her intended audience, how things have changed, and how they haven't.

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