Sunday, November 3, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending November 2, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending November 2, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Find Me, by André Aciman (tickets here for November 7 event)
2. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
3. Noah's Wife, by Lindsay Starck
4. Where the Crawdad's Sing, by Delia Owens
5. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
6. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
7. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
8. The Guardians, by John Grisham
9. Blue Moon V24, by Lee Child
10. Agent Running in the Field, by John LeCarre

I and many others have spent a lot of time comparing Nick Petrie's Peter Ash to Jack Reacher. But what of Mr. Reacher? In Blue Moon, his 24th adventure, Jack Reacher comes to the aid of an elderly couple and confronts his most dangerous opponents yet. Will there be a New York Times review from Janet Maslin with the usual hosannas? I don't know, but Jeff Ayers in The Associated Press (via the Worcester Telegram) weighs in, saying the latest "has the feel of an old Western where the town needs the sheriff to come and fight the villains to save the day."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Resistance at All Costs, by Kimberley Strassel
2. How America's Political Parties Change and How They Don't, by Michael Barone
3. Home Now, by Cynthia Anderson
4. Blowout, by Rachel Maddow
5. Educated, by Tara Westover
6. A Month in Siena, by Hisham Matar
7. Keep It Moving, by Twyla Tharp
8. Touched by the Sun, by Carly Simon
9. Be More RBG, by Marilyn Easton
10. Edison, by Edmund Morris (front page NYT review)

Hisham Matar's The Return was named a top ten book of the year by The New York Times, to say nothing of winning a Pulitzer Prize. After finishing that book, Matar journey to Italy, and now has written A Month in Siena, about eight paintings from the Sienese School that influenced his life. Peter Carey wrote: "As exquisitely structured as The Return, driven by desire, yearning, loss, illuminated by the kindness of strangers…A Month in Siena is a triumph.”

Paperback Fiction:
1. Monstrous Citadel V2, by Mirah Bolender
2. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
3. A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult
4. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
5. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason
6. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
7. The Witch Elm, by Tana French
8. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
9. Murder at the British Museum V2, by Jim Eldridge
10. Wise Man's Fear V2, by Patrick Rothfuss

Three sequels (or rather, #2 in a series) hit our top ten, which is definitely more than we usually see. St. Paul's Mirah Bolender has family in the Milwaukee area, but so far we've not been able to have her do an event at Boswell. The Monstrous Citadel has this rave in Publishers Weekly: "The complex magic system will prove difficult to parse for new readers, but series fans will be glad to be back in Amicae. Intricately crafted and exhilarating, this is a worthy continuation of the series with a denouement that promises more danger to come." So maybe you should start with City of Broken Magic.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Negotiating Latinidad, by Frances Aparicio
2. St Francis of Assisi, by Jon M Sweeney
3. The Last Ten Days, by Martha Brosio
4. Move On Up, by Aaron Cohen
5. Radical Suburbs, by Amanda Kolson Hurley
6. Upstream, by Mary Oliver
7. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean (In-Store Lit Group discussion, Monday, December 2, 7 pm)
8. When Bad Lands, by Alan Kent Anderson
9. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
10. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan

One of the things that drives me crazy about sorting bestseller lists is whether things that are shelved in drama, poetry, and humor are fiction or nonfiction. I've noticed that at least one place we report to regularly codes fictional plays as nonfiction. I also usually assume that poetry is fiction, unless it is also indexed in essays. But of course much poetry is kind of memoir too. Fortunately Mary Oliver's paperback of Upstream isn't poetry at all, so my anxiety is put off for another day. The collection, which came out in hardcover in 2016, received praise from Maureen Corrigan in Fresh Air: "There's hardly a page in my copy of Upstream that isn't folded down or underlined and scribbled on, so charged is Oliver's language. What her language is not is sentimental or confessional."

Books for Kids:
1. Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament V1, by Kim Long
2. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade, with illustrations by Melanie Demmer
3. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, by Leslie Connor
4. Crunch, by Leslie Connor
5. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook, by Leslie Connor
6. Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor
7. Silly Lullaby, by Sandra Boynton
8. Just in Case Your Want to Fly, by Julie Fogliano, with illustrations by Christian Robinson
9. Map Into the World, by Kao Kalia Yang
10. A Friendship Yarn, by Lisa Moser, with illustrations by Olga Demidova (event Sat Nov 3, 11 am)

We've got a few signed copies left of Just in Case You Want to Fly, the new collaboration by Julie Fogliaro and Christian Robinson. Robinson visited Boswell last year and charmed all attendees. As has been noted, we also carry several of his greeting cards. From the Booklist starred review: "Whether the reader is leaving for kindergarten, summer camp or college, the words offer reassurance that you're free to leave home knowing there are loving arms ready and waiting for your return. In striking paint and collage artwork, Robinson uses a simple, flat perspective that employs the colors of burgundy, tan, black, and gray with punches of red and blue on pure white backdrops and to present sweet pictures with a multicultural cast of children."

Over at the Journal Sentinel

From USA Today, David Oliver profiles André Aciman for the release of Find Me, the much-anticipated sequel to Call Me by Your Name. From the piece: "Elio, the protagonist of André Aciman’s 2007 novel Call Me by Your Name, doesn’t seem all that grown up in the book’s sequel...even though we spend the majority of time with him 15 years later. 'Do you think we change, really, in life that much?' Aciman asks USA Today in an interview after we bring up the topic. He pries open the question like he’s pitting a peach. 'I wish we could change, we could become somebody totally different, but we can’t,' he says, speaking in a melodic cadence that mirrors his writing. 'We can do things better. We make the same mistakes but less frequently, that’s the best I can say.'" You can read the rest of the interview here. And here is the ticket link.

Barbara VanDenburgh reviews for the Arizona Republic Jami Attenberg's All This Could Be Yours, "an emotionally messy novel but precise in craft." Here's the set up: "Viktor was a violent man, profligate in his brutality, a criminal real estate magnate with seemingly little love for anything but power. While he mostly reserved the physical abuse for his wife, Barbra, his violence still distorts his children, daughter Alex and son Gary, now grown, seeping through the cracks in the barriers they’ve erected around their lives." Attention Snowbirds! VanDenburgh will be discussing Jami Attenberg's latest at the Frist Draft Book Club at the Phoenix location on November 20. More info here.

Gene Weingartner chronicles a seventh of a week in One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America. Michael Hill, writing for the Associated Press, offers his take: "In one sense, this is book is like the proverbial box of chocolates. Some stories are better than others. The story of a murderer’s heart being transplanted hours after his death is gripping and haunting. The tale of a girl who grew up to be a tell-all blogger is neither. But the book adds up to something greater than the individual stories. People on that long-ago winter day experienced anger, pain, tension, happiness, doubt, satisfaction and hope. At his best, Weingarten taps into the wonder of what it is to be alive." And the good news is that there are a whole bunch more days left for writers to cover!

It's not a book page without Oline H Cogdill. Her Associated Press review is for Curious Toys, a historical novel about 1915 Chicago from Elizabeth Hand. The Cogdill conclusion: "Curious Toys echoes the atrocities of H.H. Holmes during the 1893 Exposition as chronicled in The Devil in the White City. While Curious Toys doesn’t quite measure up to Erik Larson’s award-winning nonfiction, Hand’s gripping plot mines the era’s vagaries with aplomb."

And finally, we reach back to the Wednesday issue for a feature on the newest edition of The Joy of Cooking, on sale November 12 but available for preorder now. Nancy Stohs notes: "Joy of Cooking has been a family affair all along. After Irma Rombauer died in 1962, Marion assumed the Joy mantle with publication of the 1963 edition. Her son Ethan Becker helped her revise the 1975 edition and then oversaw the 1997 and 2006 editions. This latest edition was undertaken by his son, John Becker, with John’s wife, Megan Scott." Here's the story of how this came together and here are some fun facts.

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