Sunday, October 21, 2018

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 20, 2018

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 20, 2018. A whole bunch of signed copies available means we've passed the figurative hump day of the fall event season, but there's plenty more to come.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult (event is sold out, alas)
2. Virgil Wander, by Leif Enger (signed copies available)
3. Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami
4. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
5. The Witch Elm, by Tana French  (see review below)
6. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason (event at Boswell Mon Nov 5, 7 pm)
7. The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
8. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
9. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
10. There There, by Tommy Orange

Excited to have read six of the top ten this week and I'll be at seven as soon as I finish The Winter Soldier, which Anthony Doerr called "a dream of a novel." Lou Fancher in the (San Jose) Mercury News writes: "As in the Palo-Alto-based writer's previous novels (The Piano Tuner), a central character ventures to locations not found on maps and returns altered, unable to be the person each was before circumstances and experiences caused inner, outer and often calamitous change." Mason is in the Psychiatry department at Stanford. This third novel took 14 years to write. See you at Boswell on November 5.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. In the Hurricane's Eye, by Nathaniel Philbrick (Register for this AGSL event Wed 10/24, 6:30)
2. Leadership, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
3. 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die, by James Mustich
4. Educated, by Tara Westover
5. The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis
6. Ottolenghi Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi
7. Blank Panther, by Emory Douglas
8. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda
9. Dare to Lead, by Brené Brown
10. With the Wind at His Back, by Kurt Chandler (event at Boswell Mon 10/22, 7 pm)

While we have 100 people registered for Nathaniel Philbrick's talk at the American Geographical Society Library on Wed Oct 24, 6:30, we should have 200 (capacity). This is a rare treat. I know you love history talks. I know you will love the special setting that is UWM's map library. Dylan Thuras has been featuring the space in his Atlas Obscura program as one of the special places to not miss here. Mark Katkov at NPR writes: "Naval power, according to the account in his new book In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown, was central to the victory at Yorktown - but is largely overlooked because the decisive sea battle that preceded it did not involve Americans. It's a startling take on a familiar history that one might expect from this author." Register here!

Paperback Fiction:
1. Georgia, by Dawn Tripp
2. Eleanor Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
3. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney
4. Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke
5. Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger
6. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
7. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
8. The Readymade Thief, by Augustus Rose
9. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
10. In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende

If you're wondering about why Dawn Tripp's Georgia is at the top of this week's chart, it was part of an unusual event. The Sharon Lynn Wilson Center brought in a Georgia O'Keeffe living history interpreter Leslie Goddard for their annual Literary Lunch. While the program was not based specifically on Dawn Tripp's novel, we saw last year that biographical novels are a great way to read a little more about the subject, with the caveat that it's a novel.

I can't help but count these sorts of things - I read eight of our top ten bestsellers in this category. On first count, I was at 121 books read in 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die (signed copies available), but then the author explained that the sidebars were included and I jumped to at least 122. My goal is to read one more before the end of the year. I can't choose Mustich's pick for Isabel Allende because it's The House of the Spirits which I did read. But I can still put In the Midst of Winter, the story of a university professor who meets a young undocumented Guatemalan needing help during a snowstorm.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Spiritual Child, by Lisa Miller
2. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
3. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
4. However Long the Night, by Aimee Molloy
5. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
6. Admissions, by Henry Marsh
7. The Radium Girls, by Kate Moore
8. 100 Thing Bucks Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, by Eric Nehm
9. Interior States, by Meghan O'Gieblyn (event at Boswell Tue 10/23, 7 pm with Jon Sweeney)
10. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari

Here's my take on Interior States: "Whether she is pondering our vision of hell, contemplating the state of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) or visiting the Creation Museum in Kentucky, essayist Meghan O’Gieblyn has a unique perspective in the literary world – that of a woman raised Fundamentalist, home-schooled until tenth grade, and then a few years at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Her essays sort of explain everything – if we’re heading towards annihilation and not utopia (an important part of the schism that arose in the 1920s from mainstream Protestantism), why preserve the earth? If it’s important to save as many souls as possible, why not stop mentioning Hell, as has been the case in consumer-driven churching? Alcoholics Anonymous, Greenfield Village, the Pure Michigan advertising campaign, The Singularity, Madison – just about any subject is more interesting with her at once sympathetic and skeptical perceptions. A fascinating, adroitly written collection!" Our event is Tuesday, October 23, 7 pm, at Boswell, with O'Gieblyn in conversation with Jon Sweeney.

Books for Kids:
1. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
2. Carmela Full of Wishes, by Matt de la Peña with illustrations by Christian Robinson (signed copies available)
3. Dreamer, by Pam Munoz Ruyan
4. The Wall in the Middle of the Book, by Jon Agee (also signed copies available)
5. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
6. The Truth about Martians, by Melissa Savage
7. The Legend of Greg V1, by Chris Rylander
8. Lemons, by Melissa Savage
9. Bunny Money, by Rosemary Wells
10. Muse of Nightmares V2, by Laini Taylor

While we're at it, signed copies are also available of:
--The Truth about Martians
--The Legend of Greg
--Muse of Nightmares

Just announced! Rosemary Wells at the Milwaukee Public Library Central Library Betty Brinn Children's Room on Thursday, November 8, 6:30 pm. A new exhibit featuring images from the book Hand in Hand. Central Library isn't normally open on Thursday evenings so this is a special treat. Boswell will be there selling books that Wells will sign, including Sleep, My Bunny, which doesn't officially release until November 13.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Carole E Barrowman offers her quarterly take on mystery picks.This month's theme is "If you like that, try this!"

--If you enjoy the ironic wit and criminal adventures of Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr, then you’ll want to read Timothy Hallinan’s Nighttown...(Junior) Bender is hired to burgle an old Los Angeles mansion that 'hummed with malice' and smelled of 'baby powder.' The mysterious woman in a bad wig who hires him says, “I’ve even got a key. I mean what could go wrong?” How about everything?

--"If you love the ingenious points of view and the unusual plotting of Kate Atkinson’s novels, you’ll devour Tana French’s The Witch Elm ...French’s descriptions of Toby’s internal world post brain trauma are stunning and nerve-wracking and they drive the narrative forward with a claustrophobic intensity." Note that the latest French is a stand-alone, not connected to the Murder Squad series.

--If Dennis Lehane’s novels leave a profound mark on your psyche, then Lou Berney’s November Road will rock you back on your heels in awe to 1963. Set against the backdrop of Kennedy’s assassination and an America looking seriously at itself for the first time, Frank Guidry is a Goodfella, a fixer, married to the mob, and “too old to learn new tricks” because the “old ones still work just fine.” Until they don’t.

-If you like your mysteries set in English villages seething with secrets and populated with more eccentric characters than an Oscar Wilde play then you’ll love the chiming … I mean charming The Dead Ringer, the latest in M.C. Beaton’s long-running series featuring the straight-talking, hard drinking, likes to be in love, Agatha Raisin.'

--Finally, if you connect with the high-tech plots and cool characters of P.J. Tracy’s Minnesota-based Monkeewrench novels then Chicago-based Julie Hyzy’s Virtual Sabotage is worth your real time. You can read more about each of the recommendations here. Here's a reminder that Lou Berney, Julie Hyzy and many other authors are attending Murder and Mayhem on November 3. If you love mysteries, this is a one-day con that will thrill you.

 Also in the Journal Sentinel, Anika Reed offers highlights from Ellie Kemper's My Squirrel Days. Did you know Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had a working title of Tooken?

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