Sunday, June 16, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending June 15, 2019

Here are the Boswell weekly bestsellers for the period ending June 15, 2019. Happy Father's Day!

Hardcover Fiction:
1. City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Murder in Bel-Air V19, by Cara Black
3. Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane
4. Circe, by Madeline Miller
5. Recursion, by Blake Crouch
6. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
7. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
8. Fall; or Dodge in Hell, by Neal Stephenson
9. The Sentence Is Death V2, by Anthony Horowitz
10. Resistance Women, by Jennifer Chiaverni

We were lucky enough to host Elizabeth Gilbert for her previous novel, The Signature of All Things. I always like to throw in that I read and liked Gilbert's 2000 novel, Stern Men, back when none of you knew who she was. But today's story is about City of Girls, her latest novel winning praise from many reviewers, including Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly (about to go monthly), who wrote that “Gilbert stays true to her pledge that she won’t let her protagonist’s sexuality be her downfall, like so many literary heroines before her. That may be the most radical thing about a novel that otherwise revels in the old-fashioned pleasures of storytelling - the right to fall down rabbit holes, and still find your own wonderland.”

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Second Mountain, by David Brooks
2. Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered, by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Harstark
3. The Pioneers, by David McCullough
4. Educated, by Tara Westover
5. The First Wave, by Alex Kershaw
6. Cocktail Codex, by Alex Day
7. Vegetables Unleashed, by Jose Andres
8. The Making of a Justice, by John Paul Stevens
9. Songs of America, by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw
10. Spying on the South, by Tony Horwitz

There's still an imprint called Caliber at Penguin - who knew? I thought it used to be through Berkley, but it's Dutton Caliber that published Alex Kershaw's The First Wave: The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II. Does this scream Father's Day or what? I thought I had a nice Wall Street Journal review for the book but it's for The Liberator. But Publishers Weekly's reviewer writes: "Kershaw is at his evocative best describing the chaos, courage, and carnage of combat, vividly portraying the bravery of the “greatest generation.” Even readers well-read on the subject will enjoy this perspective."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
2. The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton (Books and Beer Book Club, Mon Jun 17, Cafe Hollander)
3. Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurain
4. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
5. There There, by Tommy Orange
6. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
7. The Collector's Apprentice, by B.A. Shapiro (events at Boswell and Elm Grove Library, Mon July 8, 2 and 6:30 pm respectively)
8. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
9. The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
10. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

This week's tally - I've read eight of the top ten. This is usually the only category where I have good numbers! This leaves me with nothing to talk about, because I've recently done features on The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creeks. Hope 'bout if I call out the paperback release of The Great Believers? I usually like keeping the hardcover jacket and tweaking it a little - in this case making the orange tones more yellow, but in this case, it feels a little washed out to me. Yes, I think about color every waking minute. I am very excited about my new olive green jacket*. Here's a conversation on WCAI radio (Cape Cod - it's actually part of WGBH) with Rebecca Makkai in conversation with Christopher Castellani, the author of another Daniel favorite, Leading Men.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda, by Marianne Teitelbaum
2. Writing Fiction, 10th edition, by Janet Burroway (event at Boswell Wed June 19, 7 pm)
3. Last Call, by Daniel Okrent
4. One Summer, by Bill Bryson
5. A Brotherhood of Spies, by Monte Reel
6. Amity and Prosperity, by Eliza Griswold
7. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
8. Milwaukee Anthology, edited by Justin Kern
9. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte
10. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan

Here's a paperback at Jason's new favorite price point, $18 - Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, it's about a Pennsylvania woman who fights back when she realizes that the pets and domestic animals, and then children are getting sick in her town after fracking begins nearby. From Jennifer Szalai's review in The New York Times: "...The social effects of fracking start to look truly pernicious, as the environmental fallout and the influx of money splinter a community, thereby dismantling its willingness and ability to act in a way that transcends the cynicism of individual interests."

Books for Kids:
1. Because, by Mo Willems, with illustrations by Amber Ren
2. The Story of Civil Rights Hero John Lewis, by Jim Haskins, with illustrations by Aaron Boyd
3. Don't Let Them Disappear, by Chelsea Clinton, with illustrations by Gianna Marino
4. Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
5. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, by Jeff Kinney
6. Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life, by James Dean and Kimberly Dean
7. Restart, by Gordon Korman
8. High Five, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
9. Finale, volume 3 of Carnivale, by Stephanie Garber
10. Bold and Brave, by Kirsten Gillibrand, with illustrations by Maira Kalman

Following up her Start Now!, Chelsea Clinton profiles some animals facing extinction in Don't Let Them Disappear. From School Library Journal: "Those familiar with her past works will recognize the format: a collection of factual blurbs rather than one long narrative. A spread is devoted to each animal, always accompanied by a short explanatory paragraph. The text may be sparse, but there is not one wasted word." Kirkus notes that Clinton controversially supports zoos. The line is always changing.

Jim Higgins profiles Kelsey Rae Dimberg's Girl in the Rearview Mirror in today's Journal Sentinel: "Girl in the Rearview Mirror has roots in classic noir films that Dimberg came to love while she was in graduate school at the University of San Francisco. Back then, she was writing traditional literary fiction, including what she called 'my sad guy novel,' full of emotion and angst. But after seeing a noir double bill in 2009 - Dimberg thinks it was While the City Sleeps and Shakedown — she plunged into that cinematic genre." On sale June 18!

From USA Today comes Emily Gray Tedrowe's take on the earlier-profiled Elizabeth Gilbert's City of Girls: "Whether in her unconventional household or her unconventional relationships, this character never ceases to hold our interest. City of Girls rewards Elizabeth Gilbert’s many devoted fans with a novel that provokes delight as well as thought."

Barbara VandenBurgh of the Arizona Republic, who works with Changing Hands on their First Draft Book Club, reviews Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: "Immigrant narratives and queer sexual awakenings are not unfamiliar literary fodder, even together; look at last year’s excellent America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo. But On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is irreducible by such easy categorization. There is no diagrammable plot here, no villains, no clear conflict. Vuong is pushing the boundaries of the novel form, reshaping the definition to fit the contours of his restless poetic exploration, using language to capture consciousness and being."

*It is very difficult to find a traditional jacket that is neither bomber nor athletic nor outdoors inspired. I'm also not a huge fan of elastic waists and cuffs, though I do have a very nice leaf green jacket that has both of these things, and it's such a nice color that I forgive it. I had two non-elastic, relatively lightweight (enough with the nylon and down already) ones I had kept forever (the gray one had a somewhat noticeable stain on it and the black one, with a subtle red plaid, had a rip that I'd attempted to sew up), but eventually it happened; I left one and then the other behind when I went out to a restaurant and by the time I remembered them, they was gone (on two separate occasions). Don't be smug - I know this has happened to you too, but more likely with an umbrella or gloves. This is another reason I like cold weather - you always go back to get your coat if you forget it.

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