Sunday, October 6, 2019

Boswell bestsellers - week ending October 5, 2019

Here are our bestselling books for the week ending October 5, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Full Throttle, by Joe Hill  (signed copies available)
2. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
3. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
4. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
5. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
6. The Institute, by Stephen King
7. A Milwaukee Inheritance, by David Milofsky
8. Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo
9. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
10. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson (signed copies available)

Chris has been touting The Topeka School for months (congrats on his first Indie Next Pick quote) and the reviews have followed, including a front-page New York Times Book Review from Garth Risk Hallberg: "I could say more — about trauma, sex, paradox, magic — but only at the cost of further reducing this irreducible novel, which seeks instead to spread its readers beyond their borders with its fertile intelligence and its even more abundant heart. I’m probably too much a citizen of my time to predict it will “change lives,” but I’m confident in calling it a high-water mark in recent American fiction"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. When Life Gives You Pears, by Jeannie Gaffigan (signed copies available)
2. Bitcoin Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich
3. Everything You Need, by David Jeremiah
4. How to Be a Family, by Dan Kois
5. Blowout, by Rachel Maddow
6. Book of Gusty Women, by Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton
7. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
8. Hail to the Chin (hardcover), by Bruce Campbell
9. How to Be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X Kendi
10. The Year of the Monkey, by Patti Smith

I am kind of fascinated by Book Marks, the new tool on Ingram's Ipage that takes reviews and sort of rates the review - rave, positive, mixed pan. For Rachel Maddow's Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth, the consumer reviews from NPR and Washington Post were mixed to positive, but three of the four trade reviews - Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal - were raves. The PW was positive but their excerpt was "scattershot," which sounds anything but. Was this an editing error because the conclusion, "Maddow's absorbing but inconsistent exposé demonizes more than it analyzes." sounds more mixed than positive. Let's end on a rave for my review of the review aggregator - Kirkus's starred review calls it a worthy update to Daniel Yergin's The Prize.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Tinsmith 1865, by Sara Dahmen
2. Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way, by Bruce Campbell
3. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
4. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
5. NOS4A2, by Joe Hill
6. Outline V1, by Rachel Cusk
7. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
8. The Fireman, by Joe Hill
9. Strange Weather, by Joe Hill
10. Widow 1881, by Sara Dahmen

The littlest details tend to overpower me sometimes. Getting ready for the Bruce Campbell event at the Pabst, I could not for the life of me figure out which books were fiction and which were nonfiction. I think I have it right now - it turns out that while they all read like memoir, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way is, well, autofiction. And for Joe Hill's appearance on Friday, Hill was convinced that he'd been to Milwaukee once before for Heart-Shaped Box. I was buying at the time and couldn't remember, but that he should ask the audience. The audience said no, but at the same time, I texted Nancy (the marketing director of Harry W Schwartz) and she said most likely yes. And that is how the tenets of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire are disproved - but maybe this was more like question #11.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Hail to the Chin, by Bruce Campbell
2. If Chins Could Kill, by Bruce Campbell
3. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
4. These Truths, by Jill Leppore
5. 111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden

Hail to the Chin's paperback edition was the featured title Campbell appeared for. He's much happier with the paperback jacket. Signed copies available.

Books for Kids:
1. Dasher, by Matt Tavares
2. Lawrence in the Fall, by Matthew Farina, with illustrations by Doug Salati
3. Throwback, by Peter Lerangis
4. Mudball, by Matt Tavares
5. The End and Other Beginnings, by Veronica Roth
6. Red and Lulu, by Matt Tavares
7. The Great Shelby Holmes V1, by Elizabeth Eulberg
8. Lalani of the Distant Sea, by Erin Entrada Kelly
9. Cape, by Kate Hannigan
10. Hello Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly

This list is schools, schools, schools, plus Veronica Roth for The End and Other Beginnings (signed copies available). One author that did schools only is Peter Lerangis, whose bio says he's written 160 books for kids! He also was an actor at the Melody Top Theater and he and Jenny realized that she saw him in one of his productions! His latest is Throwback (also signed copies available), a kids time travel novel where our hero Corey learns he is the rare traveller who can actually change the future. It's the first of a series. How about this booklist?: "While the story weaves through three time periods, the plot centers around 9/11 and its impact on Corey's family, and despite the sf trappings, this is an emotional journey, full of heart, about family and wanting to change the past. It's the kind of story that stays with you long after reading, and it will resonate with many."

Now to the Journal Sentinel Book Page. Jim Higgins profiles Tim O'Brien for Dad's Maybe Book. O'Brien is visiting on October 23 for a ticketed event (info here) and now will be in conversation with Liam Callanan. From Higgins: "One morning, teenage Timmy asked his father, novelist Tim O’Brien, what he was writing about. 'I told him I was writing about coming home from war. My son laughed and said, "Except you never came home." “The boy has a point. Some essential part of me remains in Quang Ngai Province, still young and scared, still astonished by my own moral diminishment. Getting old hasn’t helped.'" Read the rest of the piece here.

Ed Masley at the Arizona Republic reviews the new book from Debbie Harry, of Blondie and beyond: "In her newly published memoir, Face It, Harry reflects on her role in demanding a seat at the punkrock table for uncompromising women. 'I was playing up the idea of being a very feminine woman while fronting a male rock band in a highly macho game,” she writes. “I was saying things in the songs that female singers really didn’t say back then. I wasn’t submissive or begging him to come back. … My Blondie character was an inflatable doll but with a dark, provocative, aggressive side.'”

At Associated Press, Rob Merrill takes on The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehesi Coates's debut novel: "Suffice it to say that Harriet Tubman shows up and the Underground Railroad figures prominently, if not exactly as you read about it in history class. But this is a book that needs to be experienced. Readers need to find a quiet place and lose themselves in it, letting Coates’ words work their magic as he tells a tale about 'the awesome power of memory … how it can open a blue door from one world to another.' It’s a remarkable debut novel that reminds us in a fresh way why it’s so important we remember all of humanity’s stories – from the depraved to the glorious. Or as Coates puts it in the voice of Tubman: 'To forget is to truly slave. To forget is to die.'"

Also at Ann Levin reviews The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution from Eric Foner: "Foner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning history professor emeritus at Columbia University, has written many books about the Civil War, Reconstruction and slavery, but this one seems particularly attuned to the current political moment."

Donna Liquori at Associate Press (also also) writes about The Dutch House, the latest from Ann Patchett, who visits the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts on October 22 (tickets here): "Patchett’s storytelling abilities shine in this gratifying novel, particularly as she moves toward the surprising and delightful conclusion. It’s important to note, though, that architectural history fans may feel a little slighted if they were drawn to the title looking for a story about an old vernacular Dutch house. The mansion is a hodgepodge of styles named for its inhabitants’ lineage with a few blue delft mantels 'pried out of a castle in Utrecht.'"

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