Sunday, October 27, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 26, 2019

Here's what selling at Boswell for the week ending October 26, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
2. The Envious Siblings, by Landis Blair
3. Agent Running in the Field, by John LeCarre
4. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
5. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
6. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
7. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
8. Grand Union, by Zadie Smith
9. The Guardians, by John Grisham
10. A Better Man, by Louise Penny

Reviewers seem to really be liking the more experimental stories in Zadie Smith's Grand Union. I think you'd say it was one of those collections that does not read like a novel. As Rien Fertel writes in AV Club, "Nothing so obvious as a single subject or theme links the 19 stories in Smith’s first collection of short fiction, Grand Union. Nothing beyond a virtuosity for the form, a powerful imagination, and, as in her five novels and two essay collections, a striking empathy for her characters." In addition to the book being 20% off, we still have signed first editions which also come with a nice magnet.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Troubled Water, by Seth M Siegel
2. Dad's Maybe Book, by Tim O'Brien
3. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat
4. Plagued by Fire, by Paul Hendrickson
5. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, by Caitlin Doughty
6. For the Good of the Game, by Bud Selig
7. Blowout, by Rachel Maddow
8. Catch and Kill, by Ronan Farrow
9. Confirmation Bias, by Carl Hulse
10. It Feels Good to Be Yourself, by Theresa Thorn

Caitlin Doughty was officially the conversation partner for our event with Landis Blair for The Envious Siblings. She was going to leave before the signing, but once we had established a very enthusiastic and long line for Blair, she decided to sign books after all. And that's why we sold a lot of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?

Someone at Boswell asked if the book should be shelved with kids books. Here's the answer to that question from Terri Schlichenmeyer in the Mason City Globe Gazette: "It would be easy to think otherwise: the questions are kiddish, author Caitlin Doughty’s answers are nudge-and-wink funny, and lighthearted drawings accompany each chapter. Read a little, though, and you’ll see that this book is really more for young adults, at least, and grown-ups, for sure, especially those who love dark laughs. Yes, there’s serious science here, but also cultural lessons in death and dying, a little history, and a touch of gruesomeness wrapped in that shroud of sharp, witty humor."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien
2. Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk
3. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
4. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
5. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
6. Little, by Edward Carey
7. The Incendiaries, by R.O. Kown
8. The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey
9. Passing, by Nella Larsen
10. Murder Knocks Twice, by Susanna Calkins

We have a nice pop for our 2018 Nobel winner with Peter Handke has caused more strife for his viewpoints, but others have complained that the choices together are Eurocentric. I have nothing to add. We might wind up pick Flights, which also won the Man Booker International Prize, for a future In-Store Lit Group selection. Ruth Franklin noted she was on the Nobel shortlist in this New Yorker piece from this past summer: "Excavating something forgotten from Polish history and reframing it in a contemporary context has become Tokarczuk’s signature."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. When Bad Lands, by Alan Kent Anderson
2. Funny in Farsi, by Firoozeh Dumas
3. In Search of a Better World, by Payam Akhavan
4. Best American Food Writing 2019, edited by Samin Nosrat
5. Blessed Are the Organized, by Jeffrey Stout
6. The Fall of Wisconsin, by Dan Kaufman
7. Calypso, by David Sedaris
8. These Truths, by Jill Lepore
9. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval lNoah Harari
10. Embrace Your Weird, by Felicia Day

This is the second year in a row that a UWM Distinguished Lecturer had edited a Best American Anthology. Last Year Roxane Gay edited Best American Short Stories 2018 and this year Samin Nosrat took the wheel for Best American Food Writing 2019. From Food and Wine: "The shoutouts mentioned in her story include Priya Krishna, who released her debut cookbook, Indian-ish, earlier this year—one of our most anticipated spring cookbook releases of 2019. (She also recently appeared on our Communal Table podcast.) Helen Rosner, the food correspondent for The New Yorker, will also have work included, as will Soleil Ho, a restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle." Ignore the suggestion to order the book elsewhere.

Books for Kids:
1. The Happy Book, by Andy Rash
2. I Am Not Your Perfect American Daughter, by Erika L Sanchez
3. Unstinky, by Andy Rash
4. Love Hate and Other Filters, by Samira Ahmed
5. Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nozario
6. Gracefully Grayson, by Ami Polonsky
7. Archie the Daredevil Penguin, by Andy Rash
8. The Story of Civil Rights Hero John Lewis, by Jim Haskins, with illustrations by Aaron Boyd
9. Cog, by Greg Van Eekhout
10. Handimals, by Silvia Lopez, with art by Guido Daniele

Handimals: Animals in Art in Nature has a nice Booklist review: "You've got to give Italian artist Guido Daniele a hand or, in some cases, six for painting and turning this human appendage into incredibly lifelike animals. From the monarch butterfly, toucan, and sea turtle to the polar bear, royal python, and Komodo dragon, this informational picture book uses Daniele's Manimali, or Handimals in English, to highlight 16 threatened and endangered animal species around the world...Plenty of animal titles abound, but few are as quirky and enthralling as this picture book.

Over at the Journal Sentinel...

--Jim Higgins reports on the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, featuring Andre Dubus III. More here.

--Donna Liguori reviews Deborah Levy's The Man Who Saw Everything for AP, which she compares to "a beautiful shattered mirror. The reader (and Saul) have the impossible task of putting together that mirror in the second half. That’s what makes it so ambiguous and uncomfortable and irresistible. Shattered things show up throughout: mirrors, records, a string of pearls – even Saul."

--Also from AP is Kendal Weaver's take on Elizabeth Strout's Olive Again: "As before, Olive is either a central character or plays a peripheral role in each of the 13 stories. These stories unfold chronologically, for the most part, as Olive ages from her 70s into her 80s, incollection creasingly hit with the physical and emotional afflictions of her years."

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