Sunday, August 12, 2018

Not-quite-back-to-school bestsellers at Boswell, week ending August 11, 2018

Not-quite-back-to-school bestsellers at Boswell, week ending August 11, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Lost Family, by Jenna Blum
2. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
3. Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce
4. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
5. The President Is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
6. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
7. Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
8. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh
9. The Incendiaries, by Ro Kwon
10. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

The #1 Indie Next pick is The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon and it also makes its first appearance on our top 10. From The New Yorker, Laura Miller offers: "Faith - ts loss, its kindling, and its susceptibility to being twisted into something monstrous - is Kwon’s theme here, but so is grief, which often drives us into faith’s arms. All of the young characters in “The Incendiaries,” students and ex-students at a liberal-arts college in the Hudson River Valley, are, like Will, in mourning, but none more flamboyantly so than John Leal. John, the sort of oddball character who often ends up kicking around college towns - he walks everywhere barefoot - gradually assembles a band of disciples who will, in the course of the novel, morph from a community of Christian seekers into a cult capable of extraordinary violence."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Calypso, by David Sedaris
2. The Fall of Wisconsin, by Dan Kaufman
3. Educated, by Tara Westover
4. Indianapolis, by Lynn Vincent
5. The Soul of America, by Jon Meacham
6. The World As It Is, by Ben Rhodes
7. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda
8. Dopesick, by Beth Macy
9. You're on an Airplane, by Parker Posey
10. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan

Nowadays, there are so many celebrity memoirs that it's hard for them to stand out. According to Laura Adamczyk in The A.V. Club, You're on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir by Parker Posey is the rare celebrity memoir worth reading: "Incorporating goofy collages (many of her dog, Gracie), tossed-off puns ('Being a vampire sucks'), and the occasional recipe (one for a Manhattan with an Atomic Fireball in it), You’re On An Airplane exemplifies Posey’s wry, devil-may-care sensibility, all while describing hobbies like yoga and ceramics, meaningful points in her wide-ranging career, apartments she’s lived in, and her upbringing in Louisiana and Mississippi."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward (In-Store Lit Group discussion Mon Aug 27, 7 pm)
2. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
3. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
4. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
5. The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry (In-Store Lit Group discussion Tue Oct 2, 7 pm)
6. Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan
7. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
8. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
9. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
10. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney

The film Crazy Rich Asians opens this week. Joey Nolfi notes in Entertainment Weekly: "Crazy Rich Asians is enjoying a wealth of adoration from critics as it helps usher in a resurgence of the romantic comedy genre. The Jon M. Chu-directed feature - featuring a predominantly Asian cast including Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, and Awkwafina - has vaulted to an impressive 100 percent fresh rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, notching 21 total positive reviews (with zero negative) thus far."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
3. The Death of Life in the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. Black Klansman, by Ron Stallworth
5. They Can't Hunt Us until They Kill Us, by Hanif Abdurraquib
6. The Long Haul, by Finn Murphy
7. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
8. Little Walks, Big Adventures, by Erin Burh (event at Boswell, Fri Aug 17, 7 pm)
9. My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
10. Democracy in Chains, by Nancy MacLean

Another big opening this week is Spike Lee's Blackklansman, based on the 2014 book Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime. DeNeen L. Brown spoke to Stallworth for The Washington Post: "Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, was scanning a local newspaper in October 1978 when he spotted a classified ad placed by the Ku Klux Klan: 'For more information,' the ad said, 'contact P.O. Box 4771, Security, Colorado.' Stallworth responded to the ad with a short note," and that was the beginning of the story.

Books for Kids:
1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
2. Illegal, by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, Giovanni Rigano
3. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
4. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
5. Click, Clack, Quack to School, by Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin
6. Endling V1, by Kathleen Applegate
7. A Tale of Two Kitties V3, by Dav Pilkey
8. Encyclopedia of Immaturity, from Klutz
9. Out of the Wild Night, by Blue Bailiett
10. Nightbooks, by J.A. Whie

While Out of the Wild Night, the latest from Blue Bailiett, came out last spring, to me, it's a classic fall title, perfect for Halloween tables. Here's Julia Keller in the Chicago Tribune: "If ghosts were ever to unionize - and can’t you just imagine Local 187 of the International Brotherhood of the Writhing and Shrieking Deceased? - among their demands would be a requirement that Out of the Wild Night be inserted into the backpacks of children everywhere. That’s because the new novel for young readers by Blue Balliett is more than just ghost-friendly. It is passionately, poetically and profoundly pro-ghost. It shimmers and shivers with beautifully wrought passages that turn ghosts into superstars."

Here's what's happening on the Journal Sentinel Tap book page.

--Mary B., by Katherine J. Chen, reviewed by Mark Athitakis (USA Today): "Once Chen leaps past Austen’s plot, Mary B becomes more fully inspired and free to upend Austen’s novel. Darcy’s storied estate, Pemberley, becomes a gilded cage for Elizabeth; Mary’s impetuous sister Lydia, who eloped to London, learns what little support society has for a woman without money or education."

--How to Love a Jamaican, by Alexia Arthurs, reviewed by Jennifer Kay (Associated Press): "A timely exploration of multigenerational waves of immigration, the impact separating families has on children and the desire to be included."

Four debuts from Asian-American writers, reviewed by Grace Li (USA Today)
--If Your Leave Me, by Crystal Hana Kim: "Maneuvers between narrators in this intergenerational saga about the Korean War of the 1950s and the lives caught in it."

--A River of Stars, by Vanessa Hua: "A migrant narrative tenderly constructed around (main character) Scarlett’s quest to carve a life for her daughter and herself at the risk of deportation."

--The Book of M, by Peng Shepherd: "One day, a man in a market in India loses his shadow, and soon, his memory with it. Very quickly, more and more follow, and entire countries collapse as the new 'shadowless' forget their families, their names and their ability to perform basic functions, such as eating. Author Peng Shepherd examines the lengths afflicted loved ones will go to stay together – or split apart."

--Half Gods, by Akil Kumarasamy: "The Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009) serves as both a backdrop and a catalyst for Akil Kumarasamy’s debut, a short-story collection flooded with inspired detail."

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