Sunday, January 12, 2020

Here's what sold at Boswell for the week ending January 11, 2020 - movie tie-ins, hold overs, book club picks, and yes, even some new releases

Here's what sold at Boswell for the week ending January 11, 2020.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid (second week at #1)
2. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
3. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
4. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
5. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
6. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
7. The Envious Siblings, by Landis Blair
8. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
9. Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi
10. Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson

It doesn't feel like there's a 2019 fall sleeper that is going to breakout in 2020, but it's hard to get a word in edgewise when Where the Crawdads Sing is still dominating bestseller lists. There were a couple of high-profile indie-friendly releases on January 7 (Long Bright River by Liz Moore and Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano), but alas, we didn't get rec on either. Moore had a nice write-up in the Sunday New York Times while Napolitano is the current Barnes and Noble book club pick.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee Rock and Roll, by David Luhrssen, Phil Naylor, Bruce Cole (third week at #1)
2. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
3. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
4. Climbing My Mountain, by Sheldon Lubar
5. Ultimate Veg, by Jamie Oliver
6. Successful Aging, by Daniel J Levitin
7. Educated, by Tara Westover
8. Why We Can't Sleep, by Ada Calhoun
9. Whole Food Cooking Every Day, by Amy Chaplin
10. The Overground Railroad, by Candacy Taylor (event Mon Jan 20 at ABHM - register here)

New release! From the author of This Is Your Brain on Music, a multi-week Boswell bestseller, comes Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives. From Kirkus: ". Levitin seems to underestimate his skill as an educator, and he has written a lucid explanation of brain and body function. His longevity advice has plenty of competition, especially David Sinclair's Lifespan, but this book's breadth is impressive. Excellent popular science in the service of fending off aging."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Girl Woman Other, by Bernardine Evaristo (In-Store Lit Group Mon Mar 2, 7 pm)
2. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (two Penguin Classics editions)
3. The Drifter V1, by Nick Petrie (two editions, event Mon Jan 13, 7 pm)
4. The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher
5. Family Trust, by Kathy Wang (In-Store Lit Group Mon Feb 3, 7 pm)
6. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
7. Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
8. Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurain
9. Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse
10. Sealed Off V18, by Barbara Ross

We had a nice pickup on sales for Vintage 1954 that continued into January. Although we're not #1 for reporting Indie sales for this one, we're a solid #2 and just broke the 100 book mark. Speaking of sales, we're closing in on 700 copies of The Drifter since its publication. Our event with Petrie for book #5 is tomorrow - we'll remind you about that in the next blog post.

Our buyer Jason thinks publishers have cooled on psychological suspense after flooding the market with titles, but books continue to break out. The Wives, a paperback original from Tarryn Fisher, popped off our new mystery case with her novel about a woman in a polygamous marriage who hasn't met her sister wives. As Mary Cadden notes in USA Today: "Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will revel in The Wives. In her latest novel, author Tarryn Fisher constructs not just an original story but an equally original plot twist." Up until now, Fisher's books look like they were being done by herself on publishing platforms. I had to look carefully because a few of the romance publishers are digital only and you use digital DIY if you want print copies, but I think even the digital ones were not from traditional publishers. Publishing is always looking for a breakout story like this.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
2. Flight from the Reich, by Deborah Dwork
3. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
4. Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Maree Brown
5. Just Mercy (two editions), by Bryan Stevenson
6. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
7. The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli
8. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
9. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Chuck Hagner
10. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, David Luhrssen

The Order of Time had a December release, and while he equaled these sales totals over seven-day periods in that month, it's only now, when competition dries up, that he hit our top 10. This book, a May 2018 hardcover, heralds the arrival of a new Stephen Hawking, or so I'm told. He's gotten raves from New Scientist, Science, and Nature journals. And what does Philip Pullman have to say?: "We live in an age of wonderful science writing, and Carlo Rovelli’s new book, The Order of Time, is an example of the very best. Time is something we think we know about instinctively; here he shows how profoundly strange it really is."

Books for Kids:
1. Troublemaker for Justice, by Jacqueline Houtman
2. When We Were Alone, by David A Patterson
3. Fetch-22 V8, by Dav Pilkey
4. Little Woman Anna Bond cover, by Louisa May Alcott
5. Children of Blood and Bone V1, by Tomi Adeyemi
6. Lalani of the Distant Sea, by Erin Entrada Kelly
7. Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle, by Shannon Hale
8. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
9. Curious George I Love You board book, by HA Rey
10. Arnie the Donut, by Laurie Keller

Little Women hits our bestseller list for both adult and kids. The kids cover is from Anna Bond of Rifle paper, a very popular stationery-and-more brand that is, oddly enough,  really not targeted to children. We carry their cards and prints, but not their shoes. She's best known for her florals, which is probably why the series she illustrates is called Puffin in Bloom. Per Slate, Parasite won best film from the National Society of Film Critics, but Greta Gerwig received the Best Director nod for her film adaptation.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews the latest from Nick Petrie: "The Wild One is the darkest thriller yet in Whitefish Bay novelist Nick Petrie’s series starring Peter Ash, a Marine veteran of combat in Fallujah. But it also has a stunning fight scene that reminded me of Jackie Chan, the comic master of improvisational combat. Like so many Chan characters, Ash can and will use anything to fight a bad guy. And by anything, I mean anything anything. I don't want to spoil the scene, but when Petrie writes that Ash has 'the power of literature at his fingertips,' it's not a metaphor." Our event is Monday, January 13, 7 pm. You're definitely going to want to get your Nick Petrie ice scraper!

Douglass K Daniel reviews Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge, by Sheila Weller. He calls it "a compassionate portrait of a complex personality whose up-and-down life rivals the Hollywood travails of Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland in its mixture of charisma."

I mentioned above that Liz Moore's Long Bright River was one of this week's high-profile debuts. Oline H Cogdill notes, in her Associated Press review, that the book is solid. Her take: "The complicated relationship of two estranged sisters who choose different life paths persuasively works as a metaphor for their old neighborhood that is in transition. Deftly plotted with strong, vivid characters, Liz Moore’s outstanding Long Bright River works as solid crime fiction and an intense family thriller."

From USA Today comes Morgan Hines talks to Chuck Palaniuk, whose new book is Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different. The scoop: "He has packaged the most important lessons he learned over the years and has communicated them in a way that others can digest easily. At the start of each new lesson, Palahniuk addresses readers with the words, 'If you were my student...' He shares wisdom on the writing process, and advice on how to add texture, hold authority, build tension – the list goes on."

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