Sunday, July 8, 2018

Oh, to be a paperback in summer! And other bestseller observations for the week ending July 7, 2018

Oh, to be a paperback in summer! And other bestseller observations for the week ending July 7, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
2. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
3. The President Is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
4. All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin
5. Noir, by Christopher Moore
6. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones (event 7/20, register at
7. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
8. Circe, by Madeline Miller
9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
10. A Place for Us, by Fatima Faheen Mirza

Can you believe it was just Giffin's last book where she visited Boswell and her Wisconsin-based sister and her friends visited and she wondered whether Olivia S. would do her whole tour to take photos? Good times! Her latest, All We Ever Wanted, has this writeup from Good Housekeeping: “This thought-provoking novel follows two Nashville families as they struggle with the fallout from a horrible incident. Their wealthy community quickly becomes divided, with people eager to assign blame and take sides as the families struggle with loyalty and staying true to their values. It’s one of Giffin’s most topical, gripping books yet.” That said, I linked to the article and it turns out to be a click me roundup with links to buy on Amazon. Similarly, Entertainment Weekly is preview excerpt and then an interview also with buy-me links. So I'm not linking to either.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda (see Jim Higgins profile below)
2. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
3. Calypso, by David Sedaris
4. You Can't Spell Truth Without Ruth (Ginsburg), edited by Mary Zaia
5. Young Washington, by Peter Stark
6. The World As It Is, by Ben Rhodes
7. Educated, by Tara Westover
8. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara
9. Rendezvous with Oblivion, by Thomas Frank (event at Shorewood Library 7/19, more here)
10. Pops, by Michael Chabon

In a way, summer is like the mirror of Christmas in a bookstore. It's only like that sales-wise if you are lucky to be located in a high-volume tourist area. We do get some tourism business, believe it or not, but that's not really my comparison. No, it's that publishers really pull back on their release schedule, such that the books with word-of-mouth momentum really get a chance to breathe, like Tara Westover's Educated. Our sales rep noted early on that this was the main nonfiction push for spring of the Random House division (of Penguin Random House) and you can definitely say they've succeeded. Another feather in its cap was a pick of the PBS Newshour-New York Times book club. Hey reading groups, here are discussion questions.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
2. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
3. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
4. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
5. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
6. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent
7. Any Man, by Amber Tamblyn (register here for 7/13 event, 6 pm)
8. Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult (ticketed event 10/21, 3 pm-purchase tickets here)
9. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
10. News of the World, by Paulette Jiles

One of the most polarizing novels of last year, My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent, has a pop in paperback this week. It showed up on a number of best-of lists, including Stephen King's and our buyer Jason's, but I'm guessing it was also on some flip-side lists. It was on this best-of-the-month roundup from Harper's Bazaar, but once again, I wasn't really sure whether the collaborator read all 7 books, and if this is the best of the month, didn't she have to read more to judge? Plus it links to Amazon with their selling price, so the whole thing winds up being an ad for our competitor. Lauren Christensen wrote " Turtle's physical anguish to the smells and sensations of the lush California wilderness around her leap off the page—this is one of the most important books you'll pick up this decade," but then the book did not make their top 20 for the year. So I ain't linking.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
2. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
3. Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain
4. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
5. Vacationland, by John Hodgman
6. Radium Girls, by Kate Moore
7. Gulf, by Jack E. Davis
8. Hunger, by Roxane Gay
9. Lost City of the Monkey God, by Douglas Preston
10. Hard to Do, by Kelli María Korducki (event at Boswell Mon Jul 30, 7 pm - no registration necessary)

The Radium Girls was just named the #1 pick for Summer 2018 Indie Next List for Reading Groups, compiled by the American Booksellers Association. From Genevieve Valentine at the NPR website: "The fact that the radium girls faced the same battles as their Victorian predecessors is less surprising when you consider how many of those battles are still happening: Adequate health care, adequate compensation, and - crucially - effective worker protections through a legal system designed to favor corporations. Radium killed these young women, but Moore leaves no room for misunderstanding: The companies murdered them."

Books for Kids:
1. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
2. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
3. Stick Cat V1 A Tail of Two Kitties, by Tom Watson
4. Stick Cat V2 Cats in the City, by Tom Watson
5. Stick Cat V3 To Catch a Thief
6. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade (event at Boswell Fri 8/1, 7 pm)
7. Stick Dog Crashes a Party V8, by Tom Watson
8. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls V2, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
9. The Book of Dust V1 La Bell Sauvage, by Philip Pullman
10. The Burning Maze V3 The Trials of Apollo, by Rick Riordan

I'm not sure how the Jimmy Fallon book club works. What I know is there were five semifinalists and I thought they'd be reading all of them, but the audience (or well, people who vote) picked and the selection is Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi. The club is called Tonight Show Summer Reads. Shockingly enough, the website didn't just link to Amazon, but also to Barnes and Noble and the Indie Bound site. I could just cry. From The Tonight Show: "Follow Jimmy’s Instagram and The Tonight Show on Facebook for updates throughout July, using #Tonightshowsummerreads. Jimmy and the show will be checking in to give feedback on the book, answer questions and hear what you have to say about it!"

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins writes a feature on John Gurda's latest, Milwaukee: A City Built on Water. He writes: "Gurda’s history has not only flow but also a pleasing dynamic balance between humans and geology, the lives of regular people and the doings of muckety- mucks. An unabashed lake and river lover, he celebrates Milwaukee’s 21st-century reembrace of water love but reminds readers of the need for vigilance: 'The recovery is fragile and, in a world of competing demands, the danger of relapse is ever present.'"

Patty Rhule reviews Allison Pearson's How Hard Can It Be? It is the follow-up to Pearson's novel of 2002, I Don't Know How She Does It. Rhule writes: "Pearson is fiercely funny and keenly observant. But it is her poignant and powerful statements about serious topics like aging, the invisibility of older women and the impact a paycheck has on a woman’s psyche that make this novel a must-read." Originally from USA Today.

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