Sunday, October 20, 2019

What's selling at Boswell? - week ending October 19, 2019

Here's what's selling at Boswell:

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
2. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
3. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
4. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
5. The Guardians, by John Grisham
6. Resistance Women, by Jennifer Chiaverini
7. The Lager Queen of Minnesota, by J. Ryan Stradal
8. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
9. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
10. Full Throttle, by Joe Hill

I'm not sure if it's geography or what, but our sales for Ann Patchett's The Dutch House in the store have been particularly strong, despite our ticket-with-book event in the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center, something that we have not seen with previous Wilson Center-featured authors. If you read the book and loved it as much as we did, there's still a chance to pick up a ticket (more info here), and the signed copy you get will make a great holiday gift. Note that HarperCollins has both the #1 fiction and nonfiction book this week.

New this week is Olive Again, Elizabeth Strout's latest. After loving Anything Is Possible so much that I went back and read My Name Is Lucy Barton, I thought I would borrow Olive I from the Milwaukee Public Library and plow through both, but alas, it was not to happen, at least yet. Emma Brockes profiles Strout in The Guardian: "Olive Kitteridge, one of the great, difficult women of American literature, became instantaneously beloved when the book was first published, somewhat to the surprise of her creator. Olive is blunt, erratic, bad-tempered."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Christ in Crisis, by Jim Wallis
2. Atlas Obscura, second edition, by Dylan Thuras, Joshua Foer, and Ella Morton
3. The New Rules of War, by Sean McFate
4. The Years That Matter Most, by Paul Tough
5. Here We Are, by Aarti Namdev Shahani
6. The Body, by Bill Bryson
7. Blowout, by Rachel Maddow
8. Catch and Kill, by Ronan Farrow
9. St. Francis of Assisi, by Jon M. Sweeney (event Wed 10/30, 7 pm, at Boswell)
10. Plagued by Fire, by Paul Hendrickson (event Mon 10/21, 7 pm - registration info here)

Please note that all the authors of this week's top five books signed stock for us. Request a signed copy if you place an order on our website.

At #6 is Bill Bryson's latest, The Body: A Guide for Occupants. David Holahan writes in USA Today: "Like an adventurer trekking the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end (as this bestselling author did for A Walk in the Woods), Bryson launches himself into the wilderness of the human anatomy armed with his characteristic thoroughness and wit. He ably dissects the knowns and unknowns of how we live and die and all the idiosyncrasies of our shared infrastructure."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason
2. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
3. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman
4. The Incendiaries, by R.O. Kwon (In-Store Lit Group discussion book for Mon 11/4, 7 pm, at Boswell)
5. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
6. The Widows of Malabar Hill V1, by Sujata Massey
7. Blackfish City, by Sam J Miller
8. Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurain
9. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
10. The Current, by Tim Johnston (event Fri 11/8, 7 pm - registration info here)

We had two literary lunches this week, which is why I've read eight books in this week's top ten. It's a little unusual for me to read my November book club book so early but since I'd already read October, I got ahead of myself. I was a little worried when I saw how many paperback copies of The Winter Soldier Jason bought for the story, but all I need is a few more of these presentations and we should sell through fine. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. It seems like word-of-mouth hardcovers have much better paperback sales pops than ones that are publicity driven.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Exceptional, by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney
2. Elizabeth the Queen, by Sally Bedell Smith
3. Health Justice Now, by Timothy Faust
4. Reflections on a Life in Exile, by J.F. Riordan
5. 111 Places in Milwaukee You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
6. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean (In-Store Lit Group discussion book for Mon 12/2, 7 pm, at Boswell)
7. God's Politics, by Jim Wallis
8. Hail to the Chin, by Bruce Campbell
9. Calypso, by David Sedaris
10. America's Original Sin, by Jim Wallis

We don't know where a Cheney was, but one of them was somewhere and an outside organization sold books for them which they got from us. Sally Bedell Smith definitely wasn't here but Leslie Goddard did a talk at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center inspired by Elizabeth the Queen. Coming in 2020 is 'Bad Blood: The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes' and other programs. More here. Why isn't someone bringing her in to do one of her department store lectures? And finally Timothy Faust was everywhere, but this was his last tour stop for Health Justice Now, in conjunction with a family. Signed copies available.

Books for Kids:
1. How to Win the Science Fair When You're Dead V3, by Paul Noth
2. The Book of Terrifyingly Awesome Technology, by Sean Connolly
3 & 4 - More Paul Noth (How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens and How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth)
5. Revenge of Magic V1, by James Riley
6, 7, & 10 - more James Riley (The Last Dragon, The Story Thieves, Half Upon a Time)
8 & 9 - more Sean Connolly (The Book of Wildly Spectacular Sports Science and Massively Epic Engineering Disasters)

Because of all the school visits, you have to dig a little deeper to find out what folks are buying in the store.
12. The Secret Commonwealth, by Philip Pullman
13. Dasher, by Matt Tavares (not in conjunction with his recent school visits)
14. Guts, by Raina Telegmeier
15. Greek Myths and Mazes, by Jan Bajtlik

That pop for Greek Myths and Mazes might be an indicator of what oversized nonfiction kids book might take off this season for us. I'm definitely one for putting tracing paper over the maze for a book like this, but where does one buy tracing paper nowadays. My mother and I used to share puzzle books by having one of us do the puzzle on this no-longer-so-common stationery product.

At the Journal Sentinel:

--Jennifer McClellan from USA Today reviews Ali Wong's Dear Girls: "Comedian and actress Ali Wong’s first book, Dear Girls, is everything her fans would expect: raunchy, real and uproariously funny. Framed as a collection of letters to her daughters, the memoir details Wong’s rebellious youth, sexual exploits and life as a wife and mother."

--AP's Molly Sprayregen takes on Zadie Smith's Grand Union, her first collection of short stories: "The book moves between narrative- driven stories and unique experimental pieces. In one, Smith takes readers on a journey through a metaphor masquerading as a lazy river. In another, she dissects a child’s Narrative Techniques worksheet in a way that will make readers begin to see meaning in places they never before thought to look."

--Delfina Barbiero gives Leigh Bardugo's Ninth House two wands up: "Set on the campus of Yale, Ninth House imagines that the school’s secret societies are no longer just boys clubs but groups that create dark magic to manipulate stock markets and The New York Times bestseller list, see into the future and more. Alex Stern is a freshman when she enters Yale’s dangerous Lethe House, one of nine secret societies that practice magic; it polices the other houses on campus."

--And Joanne Kempinger Demski looks at bookcase ideas. I offered a bookseller's take.

No comments: