Sunday, July 22, 2018

How will you remember the summer of '18? Boswell Bestsellers for the week of July 21, 2018

How will you remember the summer of '18? Boswell Bestsellers for the week of July 21, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones (signed copies available)
2. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh (also signed copies)
3. The Other Woman, by Daniel Silva
4. There, There, by Tommy Orange (event 9/25 - register here)
5. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
6. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
7. Noir, by Christopher Moore
8. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
9. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
10. The Bookshop of Yesterdays, by Amy Meyerson

Amy Meyerson's The Bookshop of Yesterdays was kind of a shoo-in for our bestseller list. According to the publisher, "The story is about a woman who, upon inheriting a bookstore, discovers a series of literary clues hidden inside the books that lead her to uncover long-kept secrets about her family's past. They noted, "Definitely A.J. Fikry territory. Author did research at Stories Books & Cafe, Skylight, Book Soup, Chevalier's Books, The Last Bookstore, Vroman's and Explore Booksellers." Publishers Weekly wrote: "Filled with quotes from and allusions to The Tempest, The Wizard of Oz, and Jane Eyre, Meyerson's evocative novel is a fun homage to book lovers and the eclectic spirit of L.A."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Don't Make Me Pull Over, by Richard Ratay
2. The Fall of Wisconsin, by Dan Kaufman (event 7/24 - free, no registration, come early!)
3. Rendezvous with Oblivion, by Thomas Frank (signed copies available)
4. A Modern Hair Study, by Tara Bogart
5. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda
6. You Can't Spell Truth without Ruth, edited by Mary Zaia
7. From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein
8. Educated, by Tara Westover
9. Calypso, by David Sedaris
10. A Higher Loyalty, by James Comey

From Paul Begala in The New York Times: "Beck Dorey-Stein’s addictively readable memoir, From the Corner of the Oval, carries the reader on a ride that is improbable even by White House standards. At 26, while working an array of jobs — waitressing, working the cash register at Lululemon and tutoring at the elite Quaker school Sidwell Friends, where she literally runs into Malia Obama one day — Dorey-Stein answers an ad on Craigslist for a stenographer. In the blink of an eye she finds that she is now one of President Barack Obama’s stenographers." He later calls it "CSpan meets Sex and the City."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
2. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
3. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
4. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
5. Eileen, by Ottessa Moshfegh
6. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy
7. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
8. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent
9. The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman
10. The Half-Drowned King, by Linnea Hartsuyker

New in paperback and adorned with a staff rec from Jen, The Half Drowned King from Linna Hartsuyker. Also a fan is Paula McLain, who wrote "Linnea Hartsuyker is an exciting, original voice in historical fiction, and The Half-Drowned King is nothing short of mesmerizing." Because has an implied "volume one," attached to it, I can only imagine that the audience is going to include historical fiction readers, as well as cross-over from fantasy and even YA. Here Jason Rhode in Paste Magazine calls it a Viking Game of Thrones.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Rock 'n' Roll Radio Milwaukee, by Bob Barry
3. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
5. Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdin
6. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann (In-Store Lit Group on Mon 8/6, 7 pm, at Boswell)
7. Flaneuse, by Lauren Elkin
8. Dead Girls, by Alice Bolin
9. Somos Latinas, edited by Andrea-Teresa Arenas and Eloisa Gómez
10. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari

The publisher's notes on Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession: "From essays on Joan Didion and James Baldwin to Twin Peaks, Britney Spears, and Serial, Bolin illuminates our widespread obsession with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised, and whose bodies (dead and alive) are used as props to bolster a man’s story." Despite just one book under her belt, we already pay attention to a blurb from Carmen Maria Marchado. Here's her take on Alice Bolin's new book of essays: "Bracing and blazingly smart, Alice Bolin's Dead Girls could hardly be more needed or more timely.”

Books for Kids:
1. Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe, by Jo Watson Hackl
2. Adventure Zone V1, by Clint McElroy
3. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
4. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade (event at Boswell Wed Aug 1, 6:30 pm)
5. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
6. 91-Story Treehouse V7, by Andy Griffiths
7. I Am a Bunny, by Ole Rison with illustrations by Richard Scarry
8. Moon, by Alison Oliver
9. Calling the Water Drum, by Latisha Redding, with illustrations by Aaron Boyd
10. Bob, by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Amie and Jen finally convinced me to read Bob, the middle-grade novel written by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead. It's about 10-year-old Olivia, who travels with her mother and young sibling to visit her Grandma in Australia. She opens the closet door and there they are*, dressed in a makeshift chicken suit. "What took you so long? I've been waiting for five years." Livy does not remember this at all. Are they a zombie, as guessed, a monster, an alien, or just differently creatured? All Livy knows is, she has to help Bob. All this, plus a shout out to Edward Eager's Half Magic, which you should all know is my favorite children's book**.

*Despite being named Bob, I don't think there's clear indication of the creature's gender. **Actually, Magic by the Lake and Knight's Castle give Half Magic a run for is money, but I think it's important to start at the beginning of this quartet of novels (the fourth is The Thyme Garden), so there you are.

This week's reviews in the Journal Sentinel book page, originally from USA Today
--Clock Dance, by Anne Tyler, reviewed by Charles Finch
--Hope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer, a mystery featuring Barack Obama and Joe Biden
--Astroball, by Ben Reiter, on the success of the Houston Astros
We'll be back tomorrow with a roundup of this week's events.

In a closing note, what do Ottessa Moshfegh and Tayari Jones have in common? Per what we heard at this week's author conversations, both are both fans of Anne Tyler. If I were a review assigner, I'd definitely try to get either one of them to review Clock Dance. I'm sure that they would both produce fascinating essays.

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