Sunday, August 11, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending August 10, 2019

Here's what's selling at Boswell.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. A Dangerous Man V18, by Robert Crais (event is today at 3 pm, registration has closed but we have space for you)
2. The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo
3. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
4. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
5. The Lager Queen of Minnesota, by J. Ryan Stradal (this event is at capacity, we're checking on cancellations)
6. Chances Are, by Richard Russo
7. City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
8. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
9. The Chain, by Adrian McKinty
10. Knife V12, by Jo Nesbo

Richard Russo's Chances Are, his first stand-alone novel in a decade, hits our top 10 fiction for the second week in a row. While we've never hosted him at Boswell, I know he'd been to the Harry W. Schwartz stores and he continues to be an advocate for independent bookstores. He is one the father of Emily Russo, one of the co-owners of Print: A Bookstore, in Portland, Maine. Another friend of bookstores, Mameve Medwed, reviewed Chances Are for the Boston Globe, writing: "Along with his wry eye for irony and regret, [Russo] offers up a compelling mystery. Savvy readers who pride themselves on anticipating a plot twist, spotting a red herring, and identifying the who-did-it are in for a surprise."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Four Sacred Secrets, Preethaji and Krishnaji
2. Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink
3. Dare to Lead, by Brené Brown
4. One Country Club Drive, by Marty Peck (also in paperback)
5. Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino
6. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
7. The Bastard Brigade, by Sam Kean
8. For the Good of the Game, by Bud Selig
9. The Source of Self Regard, by Toni Morrison
10. The Second Mountain, by David Brooks

Jia Tolentino's Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, has a strong first week at Boswell. I looked at the list of the reviews and they were almost all raves (that's an official designation, by the way), including this from Kirkus: "In these nine stunning pieces, New Yorker staff writer Tolentino seamlessly melds together journalistic social criticism and revealing personal essays. To varying degrees of intimate context, she places herself within each narrative, reporting on broad social currents while revealing very specific encounters."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers (In Store Lit Group Mon Oct 14)
2. The Incendiaries, by Ro Kwon (In-Store Lit Group Mon Nov 4)
3. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
4. Death Takes a Bow V4, by David S Pederson
5. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
6. Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurian
7. Severance, by Ling Ma (Books and Beer Book Club selection, Mon Oct 21, 7 pm, at Cafe Hollander)
8. Make/Shift, by Joe Sacsteder
9. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh
10. Call Me Zebra, Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi (In Store Lit Group Mon Aug 26, Pen Faulkner Prize)

All the In-Store Lit Group meetings are at 7 pm at Boswell. Needless to say, we met last Monday, which tends to help sales. All the books are featured in our front-of-store book club case, which Kay oversees. I'm happy to say that I've been pretty good at keeping up with the shelf talkers. Now I have to dig into Call Me Zebra, which I've heard will be an interesting experience. Another table that is featured in the store celebrates the life of Toni Morrison. Her most acclaimed novel, Beloved, also had the best sales for us last week. I still remember the experience of reading it when it came out and talking to other Schwartz people, most notably Carole and Monica.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. One Country Club Drive, by Marty Peck
2. Death Wins All Wars, by Daniel Holland (event at Boswell Wed Sep 25, 7 pm)
3. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R Covey
4. 111 Places in Milwaukee You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
5. Calypso, by David Sedaris
6. Last Girl, by Nadia Murad
7. Milwaukee Jazz, by Joey Grihalva
8. The Fall of Wisconsin, by Dan Kaufman
9. Locking Up Our Own, by James Forman
10. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

With this week's sales, 111 Places in Milwaukee You Must Not Miss skirts ahead of the 2nd edition of 100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die. Both were written by local authors, but they are part of national series. We've got them displayed next to each other and we actually marketed them similar - both authors planned a number of events around town so we stepped back and gave them a feature in our newsletter. Have they ever done an event together? I guess you'd call it competitive touristing.

Books for Kids:
1. Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
2. Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson
3. London Eye Mystery, by Siobhan Dowd
4. Out of My Mind, by Sharon M Draper
5. Seedfolks, by Paul Flesichman
6. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse/Renée Graef
7. Pigeon Has to Go to School, by Mo Willems
8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book, by Eric Carle
9. I Am a Bunny board book, by Ole Risom/Richard Scarry
10. You Go First, by Erin Entrada Kelly (event Wed Sep 25, 6:30 pm, at Greenfield Public Library - register here)

As the school year gears up, some districts are turning to Boswell to fill out their classroom libraries. The most popular title this week for that was Fish in a Tree, by Lynda McNally Hunt, a 2016 story about Ally, a young student who hides her inability to read by causing trouble. But Mr. Daniels sees the bright student behind the trouble maker. From the starred Booklist review: "Offering hope to those who struggle academically and demonstrating that a disability does not equal stupidity, this is as unique as its heroine."

Speaking of review, there are some today in the Journal Sentinel.

First up is a review from Book Editor Jim Higgins, focusing on Alan Paul and Andy Aledort’s Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Steve Ray Vaughan (on sale August 13). The book is an oral history, though Higgins, like much of Wisconsin, is focused on his death after an Alpine Valley concert in 1990. It was very foggy!

Ann Levin profiles Candace Bushnell, as the women of Sex in the City near 60. Regarding her new book Is There Still Sex in the City (now with six friends reporting in), Levin notes that "it would be a mistake to dismiss this book as romantic fluff. Bushnell’s style may be breezy, but many of the characters deal with disappointment, heartbreak and perhaps just as lethal — resignation."

The latest suspenseful novel from Shari Lapena has Mary Cadden at USA Today on the edge of her seat. Set in a Hudson Valley town, which is Mayberry for ex-pat New York City dwellers, Cadden notes that Someone We Know is another hit from the author of The People Next Door: "As the story quickly progresses, so do the clever plot twists and turns. Lapena’s prose is tight and the chapters unfold in staccato, unnerving and mirroring the hurried and scattered thoughts of the characters. With each passing page, the story unfolds at an increasingly breakneck pace. The reader begins to jump to conclusions as much as the neighbors do until the final reveal confirms our worst suspicions: that we don’t really know our neighbors at all."

Barbara VanDenburgh at USA Today spotlights five new releases:
1. Lost You, by Haylen Beck
2. Trick Mirror, by Jia Tolentino (featured above)
3. The Birthday Girl, by Melissa de la Cruz
4. The Mosquito, by Timothy C Winegard
5. The Women of Copper Country, by Mary Doria Russell

See you today at one of our events - Howard Reich as at the JCC at 2 pm, while Robert Crais is in conversation with Nick Petrie at 3 pm.

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