Sunday, March 17, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 16, 2019 - plus Too Much Tuna - three meaty book reviews

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 16, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Lost Night, by Andrea Bartz
2. Good Riddance, by Elinor Lipman
3. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
4. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
5. Little Faith, by Nickolas Butler
6. The Batter's Box, by Andy Kutler
7. Circe, by Madeline Miller
8. The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See
9. There There, by Tommy Orange
10. A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult

It's been just about a year since Lisa See appeared at UWM Golda Meir Library for their annual Friends meeting and now she has a new novel, The Island of Sea Women. From Publishers Weekly: "See once again explores how culture survives and morphs in this story of a real-life Korean female diving collective... See perceptively depicts challenges faced by Koreans over the course of the 20th century, particularly homing in on the ways the haenyeo have struggled to maintain their way of life. Exposing the depths of human cruelty and resilience, See’s lush tale is a wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. An American Summer, by Alex Kotlowitz
2. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
3. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
4. Educated, by Tara Westover
5. Spearhead, by Adam Makos
6. Tribe, by Sebastian Junger
7. The Source of Self Regard, by Toni Morrison
8. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
9. Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher
10. The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace Wells

Toni Morrison's new collection of essays, The Source of Self Regard, has been selling well since its February 12 release. It's one of a sea of pink covers and has a style that I consider the design equivalent of normcore. Ericka Taylor writes on NPR: "Morrison turns her penetrating analysis on the mass movement of people across the globe, foreigners and foreignness, and what it means to be "exiled in the place one belongs." She takes on racism — in the media, society, and American literature — and examines how, step by deliberate step, nations move towards "its succubus twin fascism."

Paperback Fiction:
1. I Was Anastasia, by Ariel Lawhon
2. The Milkman, by Anna Burns
3. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
4. The Batter's Box, by Andy Kutler
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
6. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
7. The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
8. The Tiger Flu, by Larissa Lai
9. Us Against You, by Fredrik Backman
10. A Place for Us, by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Congratulations to Anna Burns, whose novel The Milkman just received the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. From The New School for Creative Writing, here's an interview with Burns from Audrey Moraif that has a certain resonance to me: "Initially I had the idea to take a few hundred words of notes from another book I was writing at the time to start me off into a short story to send to a magazine. These notes were about reading-while-walking which I used to do a lot. People would say to me, including strangers in clubs and shops and bars and cafés, ‘You’re that girl who reads and walks!’ I would continually be startled at having this pointed out, mainly because it seemed an activity not particularly worthy of note. And also, I was surprised to be noticed doing it by so many people. I wanted to try to write something around the possible reasons why this was being pointed out to me, rather than about the activity of reading while walking itself."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Answer Is Energy, by Jarrad Hewett
2. Fly Girls, by Keith O'Brien
3. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
4. Damn the Old Tinderbox, by Matthew J Prigge (event at Boswell Tue 3/19, 7 pm)
5. Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook, by Kristine Hansen
6. Healing the Human Body with God's Remedies, by Lester Carter
7. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
8. There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz
9. From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City, by Carl Baehr
10. Milwaukee Mayhem, by Matthew J Prigge

After a bit of a lull for regional titles, we're back to four of the top 10 being Wisconsin-themed, including a St. Patrick's Day pop for From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City. Do a search, however, and you'll get a lot of St. Patrick's Day events. We're looking forward to our event on Tuesday for Damn the Old Tinderbox: Milwaukee’s Palace of the West and the Fire that Defined an Era. I was just talking to a customer whose relative died in that fire. Matthew J Prigge also has a story in Milwaukee Noir, which comes out May 7.

Books for Kids:
1. Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You, by Marley Dias
2. The School for Good and Evil V1, by Soman Chainani
3. Beautiful Oops, by Barney Saltzberg
4. Celebrate You, by Sherri Duskey Rinker with illustrations by An Kang
5. A Crystal Of Time V5: School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
6. The Friendship War, by Andrew Clements
7. Unstinky, by Andy Rash
8. Arlo Needs Glasses, by Barney Saltzberg
9. Archie the Daredevil Penguin, by Andy Rash
10. Crazy Hair Day, by Barney Saltzberg

We're thick into spring authors-in-schools season, such that nine of our top ten bestsellers are connected to school visits, and our top seller is connected to next Saturday's Girls Summit at Alverno College. Featured lunch speaker is Marley Dias, author of Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You. Registration is still open, but you can no longer order lunch.

We've also got signed copies of several of our bestsellers, including A Crystal of Time, the latest Soman Chainani, who has spoken of the series to Selena Simmons-Duffin at NPR: "'That's where I think The School for Good and Evil came from,' he says. 'It was this desire to reclaim fairy tales and give kids an alternative to Disney set in a similar fairy tale world that looked like Disney but ultimately break it all down. And show them a way of thinking beyond the Disney good and evil matrix, which I am convinced is corrupting so much of the way kids think.'" I should note, however, that we're out of signed copies of book #1.

Too Much Tuna! Three reviews with a lot of meaty information.

At the Journal Sentinel, Chris Foran reviews Mel Brooks's Funny Man: "Everybody thinks Mel Brooks is funny. Not everybody thinks Mel Brooks is a good guy to work with — or be with... McGilligan, a Milwaukee-based biographer whose subjects have ranged from Orson Welles to Clint Eastwood, has put together a more-bitter-than-sweet portrait of a comedian whose art is powered by jealousy, a persecution complex and, sometimes, rage." We're hosting McGillian on Monday, March 25 7 pm.

Originally from the Associated Press, Ann Levin reviews Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury. Of Carolyn Burke's book, Levin writes: "But with four lives to account for, Burke, the author of biographies of Edith Piaf and Mina Loy, succumbs to the temptation to stuff too much in, stringing together one quote after another from letters, articles and other sources."

Mark Athitakis review Etaf Rum's A Woman Is No Man. He offers: "Novels about the immigrant experience often turn on the psychic trauma that families endure in a new country. Etaf Rum understands that the experience can leave physical bruises, too." This was from USA Today.

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