Sunday, January 6, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending January 5, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending January 5, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny
2. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
3. The Far Field, by Madhuri Vijay (event at Shorewood Library, Tues 1/15, 6:30 pm)
4. Virgil Wander, by Leif Enger
5. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin (event at Boswell, Tues 2/26, 7 pm)
6. In a House of Lies, by Ian Rankin
7. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
8. There There, by Tommy Orange
9. My Sister, The Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
10. The Books of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Leguin

We think the move was accidental, but moving Kingdom of the Blind (we sold out - more on Tuesday) to November from August increased Louise Penny's sales 50%. Our first thought is that Minotaur should keep this slot for Penny in the future. Then we thought that perhaps this was offset by better placement that Penny might get at mass merchants or chain bookstores.

Speaking of mysteries, it's great to see the latest from Ian Rankin hit the list. His latest, In a House of Lies, arrived 12/31, which is a very slow date for frontlist releases. Of the latest, Susan Santa writes in Library Journal: "Newcomers to the series may be drawn in by the plot twists, pithy dialog, and dark underside of Edinburgh, but readers of the previous entries will enjoy a deeper appreciation of the intricacies of the relationships and events"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Ninja Future, by Gary Shapiro
2. Educated, by Tara Westover
3. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
4. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
5. You Can't Spell Truth without Ruth, edited by Mary Zaia
6. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda
7. Sister Pie, by Lisa Ludwinski
8. Bird Songs, by Les Beletsky
9. The Making of Milwaukee 4th edition, by John Gurda
10. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan

I'm not sure if Lisa Ludwinski's Sister Pie is Olivia V.'s favorite cookbook of 2018, but it's definitely her favorite baking book. I asked her what recipes she was particularly hot on, and she replied with two favorites - sweet beet pie and carmelized onion, delicata squash, and sage hand pies.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday (In-Store Lit Group discussion at Boswell, Mon 3/4, 7 pm)
2. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
3. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney
4. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
6. Snowblind, by Ragnar Jonasson (Mystery Book Club at Boswell, Mon Feb 25, 7 pm)
7. In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende
8. Russian Winter, by Daphne Kalotay
9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris
10. The Milkman, by Anna Burns

There were a lot of out-of-stock issues with publishers this holiday season but the thing that was interesting about Asymmetry was that it was a paperback, which usually makes things easier. Not as much concern about paper quality, no special bindings or rough cut edges. In a way, it was this year's Pachinko - a book that got great reviews in hardcover earlier in the year and came out in paperback just as the year-end best-of were being announced. I feel like the book really needs to explode for this to work - if you just do ok, you might as well stay in hardcover, as many people will trade up during the holiday season. Also, you have to have copies to ship. Katy Waldman wrote about the book in The New Yorker in a piece called "Why Asymmetry Has Become a Literary Phenomenon." I think that was an early call - maybe in Manhaklyn it was - but maybe these things are more measured by social media postings than actual sales.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
2. Call Them by Their True Names, by Rebecca Solnit
3. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
4. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
5. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke Harris
6. Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari
7. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, David Luhrssen
8. Evancelicals, by Frances Fitzgerald
9. The Making of Pioneer Wisconsin, by Michael E. Stevens
10. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

It's a double listing for Yuval Noah Harari this week. Who does he think he is - Rupi Kaur? Of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Joe Thornhill writes in The Financial Times: "Few forecasters have the audacity to write like that. Fewer still have the intellectual firepower and literary skill to carry off such a monumental sweep of history, philosophy, religion, science and technology." Thornhill also writes about the lates book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century in The Financial Times.

Books for Kids:
1. Brawl of the Wild V6, by Dav Pilkey
2. Winter Is Here, by Kevin Henkes, with illustrations by Laura Dronzek
3. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
4. Chomp Goes the Alligator, by Matthew Van Fleet
5. The Third Mushroom V2, by Jennifer L. Holm
6. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
7. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls V1, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavullo
8. National Parks of the USA, by Kate Siber, with illustrations by Chris Turnham
9. A Parade of Elephants, by Kevin Henkes
10. The Snowy Nap, by Jan Brett

It's not exactly a pop up book (there is a pop component) but Chomp Goes the Alligator was definitely one of our interactive hits of the holiday season. This hungry alligator chomps their way from one to ten, identifying animal names and colors too. As Boswellian Barb says, this is an interactive book with pizzazz!" Van Fleet has a long way to go before Chomp Goes the Alligator reaches sales domination (our best numbers in our system are for Tails)

From the Journal Sentinel:

For those who were waiting for The Years of Lynden Johnson to wrap up, Robert Caro has a surprise - his next book is a memoir, Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing, which publishes in April. (Associated Press)

Per Morgan Lee, Rudolfo Anaya collaborates on a picture book, Owl in a Small Hat. I bet Amie and I will hear more about this book when we go to New Mexico for ABA's Winter Institute bookseller conference in a few weeks. (Associated Press)

Jim Higgins previews some of the new releases in winter and early spring, with a few event picks as well. What have the Nicks (Petrie and Butler) been up to anyway? Find out here.

Charles Finch (USA Today) writes up his picks from fall:
--Forever and a Day, by Anthony Horowitz
--My Sister the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
--Jeeves and the King of Clubs, by Ben Schott
--The Witch Elm, by Tana French

--From Anyssa Johnson, a profile of David and Nic Sheff's appearance at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center on January 11 for their new book High, which goes on sale Tuesday. Register here. Read the story here.

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