Sunday, February 3, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 2, 2019

Despite the snow and cold, there is still a bestseller list! This is for the week ending February 2, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Tear It Down V4, by Nick Petrie
2. Out of the Dark V4: An Orphan X Novel, by Gregg Hurwitz
3. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
4. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
5. Kingdom of the Blind V14, by Louise Penny
6. The Current, by Tim Johnston
7. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles (big paperback announcement soon)
8. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
9. The Collector's Apprentice, by B.A. Shapiro
10. Circe, by Madeline Miller (paperback just got postponed until 2020)

It appears that in mystery, readers want a good mystery. I think you'd call fully half of the top 10 hardcover fiction titles thriller-ish. One would be B.A. Shapiro's The Collector's Apprentice, out since last October. Boswellian's Kay Wosewick said, " You’ll be swept into a quiet tale of intrigue starring a rather traumatized young lady from Europe, a savvy con artist from America, and a wealthy American amassing a huge collection of contemporary European art. The story will take you for a couple of unexpected spins before letting you go well satisfied."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
2. Make Time, by Jake Knapp
3. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, by Samin Nosrat
4. Dreyer's English, by Benjamin Dreyer
5. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
6. Educated, by Tara Westover
7. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
8. Why Religion, by Elaine Pagels
9. Maid, by Stephanie Land
10. Eat Me, by Kenny Shopskin

Just out is Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style from Benjamin Dreyer, vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief of Random House. Among his admirers is George Saunders, who wrote "A mind-blower -sure to jumpstart any writing project, just by exposing you, the writer, to Dreyer’s astonishing level of sentence-awareness.” And Amy Bloom offered this praise: "If Oscar Wilde had wanted to be helpful as well as brilliant, if E. B. White and Noël Coward had had a wonderful little boy who grew up to cherish and model clarity, the result would be Benjamin Dreyer and his frankly perfect book."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
2. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
3. The Maze at Windermere, by Gregory Black Smith
4. Burning Bright V2, by Nick Petrie
5. Snowblind V1, by Ragnar Jonasson
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
7. Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
8. The Lost Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff
9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris
10. Improvement, by Joan Silber

As always, I'm running late on doing our new book club flier, but one book that will definitely be added to the list is Gregory Blake Smith's The Maze at Windermere, one of my favorite novels of last year. From Zach Graham at Newsday: "The themes that resonate across the five narratives imbue the novel with grander meaning as a whole. Sandy and Franklin are classic cases of outsiders aspiring to a high society that will never accept them. Sandy and Prudy both experience eye-opening revelations with regard to race - Sandy in his romance with a black artist named Aisha and Prudy in her relationship with a slave girl named Ashes, inherited from her deceased mother. The revolutionary soldier falls in love with a Jewish woman, but their romance is undermined by her father, who will never accept the soldier because he is a gentile. Henry James becomes romantically entangled with a Jewish woman named Alice Taylor, an affair which certain Christian members of society view as taboo. Themes of racial tension, anti-Semitism, class dynamics, gender dynamics and sexual orientation saturate the novel, and Smith handles them with impressive clarity and nuance."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. American Advertising Cookbooks, by Christina Ward
2. Preservation, by Christina Ward
3. The Cooking Gene, by Michael W. Twitty (just announced that the Milwaukee Public Library event is at capacity)
4. Killers of the Flower Moon, by Michael W. Twitty
5. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke-Harris
6. Permission to Thrive, by Susan Angel Miller
7. Home Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari
8. From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City, by Carl Baehr
9. Raising White Kids, by Jennifer Harvey
10. Fascism: A Warning, by Madeleine Albright

Out now in paperback is The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity from Nadine Burke-Harris. The hardcover event with REDgen and Marquette University (and us) had over 500 attendees. Nadine Burke-Harris was just named California's first state Surgeon General by Gavin Newsom, per the Chronicle of Social Change.

Books for Kids:
1. How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth V2, by Paul Noth
2. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens V1, by Paul Noth
3. A Curse So Dark and Lonely, by Brigid Kemmerer
4. The Girl King, by Mimi Yu
5. Imprison the Sky V2, by AC Gaughen
6. Lulu and Rock in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse with illustrations by Renée Graef
7. Max and the Midnights, by Lincoln Peirce
8. Brawl of the Wild V6, by Dav Pilkey
9. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
10. Squirm, by Carl Hiaasen

Bloomsbury Kids winds up sweeping our top five this week, between Paul Noth's school and public visits and a YA Boswell! event with Brigid Kemmerer, AC Gaughen, and Mimi Yu. Of A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Boswell's Jenny Chou wrote: "This retelling of Beauty and the Beast captured my heart from page one through powerful storytelling and refreshing new twists on a classic story." And what's particularly interesting about this story is that the heroine has Cerebral Palsy, as does the heroine in the contemporary storyline of The Maze at Windermere. Kirkus in its starred review also offered: "Refreshingly, Harper is the undisputed hero and also not the only significant character with a disability. Avoiding disability inspiration tropes, she is a fallible, well-rounded character who fights for the vulnerable and resists being labeled as such herself despite how others perceive her."

From the Journal Sentinel: --Grace Li in USA Today reviewed What We Were Promised, by Lisa Tan. It is reprinted in the Journal Sentinel in conjunction with Lucy Tan's visit to Milwaukee on February 26, where she'll be in conversation with Chloe Benjamin in The Immortalists. From Li: "What We Were Promised glows through its intimate, skillful prose. Tan’s debut is a beautiful reckoning with the ever-changing definition of 'home' – what it means to have, lose and find family again."

--Jeff Ayers from the Associated Press: "Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz takes the reader on a journey that covers a wide range of emotions from potential love to outright terror. The relentless action and detailed mission planning make the tale both clever and smart. Hurwitz continues to profile this stellar character and improve with each new installment. This novel will be remembered as one of the best thrillers of the year."

--We Cast a Shadow, by Maurice Carlos Ruffin is reviewed by Ragan Clark, also from Associated Press: "Heart-wrenching and morally ambiguous, We Cast a Shadow explores questions of justice and self-actualization. Life’s fulfillment may seem within reach only when cultural assimilation to the most extreme degree takes place. But what is the price that is paid?"

--Sharon Peters from USA Today offers a take on Stephanie Land's Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive: "Land’s resolute honesty, while acknowledging many bad choices, envy (and sometimes contempt) toward the people whose houses she cleans, makes Maid a book with much candid detail of frustrations with the limitations of programs she relied on. Still, it is a picture of the soul-robbing grind through poverty that millions live with every day."

Visit the Boswell event page for more upcoming event information, staff recommendations, and more.

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