Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Boswell Bestsellinator Predicts Tomorrow's Hits After the Fact, Week Ending October 6, 2018

The Boswell Bestsellinator Predicts Tomorrow's Hits After the Fact, Week Ending October 6, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, by Hank Green
2. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason (event Mon Nov 5, 7 pm, at Boswell)
3. Transcription, by Kate Atkinson
4. There There, by Tommy Orange
5. A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult (event sold out, alas)
6. Virgil Wander, by Leif Enger (register for Wed Oct 17, 7 pm Oriental Theatre event here)
7. Sea Prayer, by Khaled Hosseini
8. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan
9. Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce
10. The Overstory, by Richard Powers

We're obviously quite excited to be hosting Daniel Mason for The Winter Soldier, one of Jane's favorite novels of the year. This week Friend-of-Boswell Nancy O. hugged the book, remembering how much she loved The Piano Tuner. Anthony Marra praised the novel in The New York Times Book Review. And here's Joan Frank in the San Francisco Chronicle: "The Winter Soldier’s settings (Vienna, countryside, peasant and military flight) are peopled by a terrific ensemble; meticulously drawn, all acted upon in their turns by the frantic compression of options during wartime. A romance seeded inside such straits can’t not take on desperate stakes — as will Lucius’ later, monumental search for Margarete. One is reminded of a dozen greats: Dr. Zhivago, The English Patient, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Event is at 7 pm on Monday, November 5 - our In-Store Lit Group will meet with him beforehand to ask spoiler questions.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die, by James Mustich
2. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda
3. Object Lessons, by Sarah Anne Carter
4. Fear, by Bob Woodward
5. The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis
6. My Own Devices, by Dessa
7. Atlas Obscura, by Dylan Thuras, Joshua Foer
8. Good and Mad, by Rebecca Traister
9. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
10. These Truths, by Jill Lepore

It's time to come clean - I have counted 122 books in 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die, up from 121, because I wasn't sure if the sidebars counted. They do, and that added The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth, which I've read twice. I've been looking for a structure to catch up on my reading of older titles (not necessarily classics, but what we call backlist) and I think James Mustich's book is going to help me. Here's one rule - when Mustich lists a series, you only need to read the first book in the series to count it. Here's Mustich on Wisconsin Public Radio, apologizing for leaving out Sand County Almanac. 

Paperback Fiction:
1. Improvement, by Joan Silber
2. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
3. The Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz
4. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
5. Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
6. Cutting for Stone, by Andrew Verghese
7. Eat the Document, by Dana Spiotta (register for Antiology Spiotta event 10/10-10/12 here)
8. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
9. The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho
10. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney

Speaking of the In-Store Lit Group, our December and January selections are #1 and #2 this week, which tends to happen after we meet. Can I give a shout out to our book club attendees who support the group by buying the book from us? I picked Hotel Silence because I think it's a great holiday book (relatively short, emotional, generous, winning raves from Boswellians) and Improvement because I have liked Joan Silber in the past, the book received the National Book Critics Circle Prize, and I always the group's reaction when there's a lot of jumping around among characters and time frames.

Here's Kamila Shamsie's opening to her review in The New York Times Book Review: "There is a category of fiction that we might as well call Berger-esque for its engagement with the John Berger line: 'Never again will a single story be told as though it were the only one.' That sentence is the epigraph to Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. Its influence can also be discerned in the works of Berger admirers such as Nadeem Aslam, Teju Cole and Ali Smith. If you keep an eye out for Berger-esque fiction, it doesn’t take you very long to identify Joan Silber’s work as belonging firmly to this category. A little sleuthing will confirm this by taking you to the interview in which she cites that very line." She calls Improvement "a novel of richness and wisdom and huge pleasure." I can't wait!

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Great Lakes Water Wars revised edition, by Peter Annin
2. Homeward, by Bruce Western
3. The Brilliance of Black Boys, by Brian L. Wright
4. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
5. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
8. Best American Food Writing 2018, edited by Ruth Reichl
9. Out of Darkness, by Russell Freedman
10. Punishment and Inequality in America, by Bruce Western

Bruce Western was just at Marquette Law School for a one-day conference on incarceration. Because his book, Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison: Life in the Year After Prison, is published by the Russell Foundation (which I usually just associate with a dorm from college) and we don't have a rep, the book slipped by us. It's price high for trade but relatively reasonable for academic ($29.95 paperback), so we'll have signed copies in store and will be featuring it on our updated what-to-read-after-Evicted table. Vann R. Woodward writes about the book in The Atlantic.

Books for Kids:
1. Stick Cat: Two Cats and a Baby V4, by Tom Watson
2. Property of the Rebel Librarian, by Allison Varnes
3. Stick Dog V1, by Tom Watson
4. Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties V1, by Tom Watson
5. Atlas Obscura's Guide for the World' Most Adventurous Kid, by Dylan Thuras, Rosemary Mosco
6. The Royal Ranger V1/V12, by John Flanagan
7. Stick Cat: To Catch a Thief V3, by Tom Watson
8. The Ruins of Gorlan V1, by John Flanagan
9. Stick Cat: Cats in the City V2, by Tom Watson
10. The Royal Rangers: The Red Fox Clan V2, by John Flanagan
11. The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, by Mackenzi Lee
12. The Early Years: Tournament at Gorlan V1, by John Flanagan
13. Two Dark Reigns V3, by Kendare Blake
14. Sawkill Girls, by Claire Legrand
15. Damsel, by Elana K. Arnold

The kids list gives you a sampling of what the last ten days have been. We're catching up with student sales for John Flanagan and Tom Watson (for Stick Cat: Two Cats and a Baby) and Allison Varnes, and next week will likely feature Jennifer H. Holm, Melissa Savage, and Lainy Taylor, all of which have school visits and Taylor has a public event at West Allis Public Library (Tuesday at 6:30) as well. Threaded through are titles from the Epic Reads Meet Up, which we hosted on Wednesday evening. There was one hitch, alas, but in general, the event, where each author spent quality time with 8-10 attendees, was a big success. It's really like everyone is a VIP.

And boy do these writers keep busy. Take Claire Legrand. This was her second new release this year, after Sourcebooks's Furyborn - and how cool was it that Katie from Sourcebooks attended the event. Legrand's Sawkill Girls got a starred review from Publishers Weekly: "Sure to win Legrand plenty of new fans, this tale, which includes an asexual character and a beautifully wrought queer romance, focuses on the power of female friendship and what it means to pit women against one another in fiction and in life.

Over at the Journal Sentinel Tap Books Page
--Jocelyn McClurg of USA Today reviews Jodi Picoult's A Spark of Light. Our event at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center with Books and Company is sold out.
--Grace Z. Li of USA Today reviews America Ferrera's American Like Me. 
--Leanne Italie of Associate Press profiles Rachel Hollis, author of the #1 bestseller, Girl, Wash Your Face.  

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