Sunday, February 2, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending Feb 1, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending Feb 1, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Everywhere You Don't Belong, by Gabriel Bump
2. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
3. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
4. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
5. The Wild One, by Nick Petrie
6. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
7. The Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende
8. The Confession Club, by Elizabeth Berg
9. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
10. Processed Cheese, by Stephen Wright

I'm not sure why this is, but we often have our first pop on a buzzed about fiction book from a new writer the week after it lands, rather than the on sale week. It happened for Long Bright River and Dear Edward and that was the case for American Dirt as well. In the case of American Dirt, there was a lot to read about the book, both positive and negative. Here's Reyna Grande talking about the controversy in The New York Times and how it it opened a conversation to diversity in the publishing industry: "Last fall, I was sent an advance copy of Jeanine Cummins’s new novel, American Dirt, and a request for an endorsement. As a Mexican-American woman and an immigrant, it was clear to me that I was not the intended audience for this story. And yet, I found it compelling. I noticed its shortcomings, the things she got wrong about our culture and experience, but saw past them. I felt that a book like this could complement the Latino immigrant literature that has and will continue to be written by Latino writers, myself included."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. A Very Stable Genius, by Philip Rucker and Carol Leoning
2. The Overground Railroad, by Candacy Taylor
3. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
4. The Body, by Bill Bryson
5. Climbing My Mountain, by Sheldon B Lubar
6. The Age of Entitlement, by Christopher Caldwell
7. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by Lori Gottlieb (tickets to Lori Gottlieb REDgen luncheon here)
8. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat
9. Imperfect Union, by Steve Inskeep
10. American Oligarchs, by Andrea Berstein

We're back in stock on The Overground Railroad and I'm glad to see that demand is still high. The book got a nice LA Times review but so far hasn't been picked up by The NY Times of The Washington Post. That said, here's an Albany Times Union article about Candacy (by the way, sort of rhymes with Stacy) Taylor doing research in New York state, searching for records of gas stations, tourist homes, and beauty parlors: "Taylor scouted more than 900 sites from the Green Book and found just 26 that still exist when she traveled from her home in Los Angeles last summer to New York, where she was a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem."

Paperback Fiction:
1. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
2. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
3. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
4. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
5. Abigail, by Magda Szabo
6. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
7. Girl Woman Other, by Bernardine Evaristo
8. Wrecked, by Joe Ide
9. Welcome to the Pine Away Motel, by Katarina Bivald
10. Family Trust, by Kathy Wang (I'm reading this today for tomorrow's book club discussion)

We had great success with The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend so we're thrilled to see the follow up, Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins. This time her story is set in Oregon and features a ghost that watches over her friends at the motel where she once worked. The truth is not every novel can be set at a bookstore. I hope that hotel book clubs will pick this one as reviews are positive. Publishers Weekly's reviewer wrote: "In a story about the lives a single person can touch, the highlight is fittingly Bivald's memorable characterizations, as she makes each person and their needs distinct and complex. This is a winning novel about the lasting impact of love."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario
2. Jesus Wasn't Killed by the Jews, by Jon M Sweeney et al
3. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. Just Kids, by Patti Smith
5. Seasonal Associate, by Heike Geissler
6. 111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
7. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
8. Fodors Costa Rica Esssentials 2020
9. Fading Ads of Milwaukee, by Adam Levin (event at Boswell Fri 2/21, 7 pm)
10. Paris 1919, by Margaret Macmillan

One of the UWM classes that has encouraged students to buy their book at Boswell has picked Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler (translated by Kevin Vennemann) as their spring read. It's a memoir about German novelist Geissler, who takes a job at an Amazon fulfillment center in Leipzig. Naomi Fry had this to say in The New Yorker: "Geissler’s aim is to communicate that beneath this abstraction, however, laborers are individuals. In that sense, Seasonal Associate belongs to the long literary tradition of social-problem novels, which includes Charles Dickens’s Hard Times, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath - all of which attempt to reveal, in their careful, humanizing treatment of character, fully realized protagonists caught within stultifying and impersonal industrial mechanisms. In a contemporary case like Geissler’s, this kind of project is no less urgent."

Books for Kids:
1. Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario
2. Where Are You From?, by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Jaime Kim
3. Becoming Kareem, by Kareem Abdul Jabbar
4. Infinite Hope, by Ashley Bryan
5. New Kid, by Jerry Craft
6. DK Explanatorium of Science
7. Fetch-22, by Dav Pilkey
8. Guts, by Raina Telgemeier
9. The Mitten board book, by Jan Brett
10. The Unteachables, by Gordon Korman

We had a nice school order for the acclaimed 2019 picture book, Where Are You From?, which among other honors, was a New York Public Library Best Book for Kids, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and won the Nerdies Fiction Picture Book Award. As Publishers Weekly notes: "Although the book begins as a gentle riposte to narrow cultural and ethnic categorizations, its conclusion reaches out to all readers, evoking both heritage and the human family: pointing to his heart."

Journal Sentinel book page

A preview of some upcoming Milwaukee author events, including Donna Leon, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Emily St John Mandel.

Mary Cadden of USA Today reviews Isabel Allende's A Long Petal of the Sea: "The book opens in 1938. Victor Dalmau, a young medic caring for the wounded during the Spanish Civil War, restores the beating heart of a young soldier with the caress of his fingers. Victor joined the Republican Army in 1936, along with his brother Guillem, while still in medical school. The war, often historically overshadowed by World War II, which quickly followed it, is a brutal precursor of the horrors to come."

Jeanine Babakian of Associated Press looks at Jess Montgomery's The Hollows: "Set in 1926 in the western foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southeastern Ohio, The Hollows is much more than a murder mystery. It weaves racial integration, labor organizing in the Appalachian coal mines, prohibition and women’s rights throughout the narrative, set against an authentic backdrop crafted by Montgomery’s careful attention to historic detail."

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