Sunday, March 29, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week of March 28, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 28, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Glass Hotel, by Emily St John Mandel (#1 Indie Next Pick for April)
2. The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel
3. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
4. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
5. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
6. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
7. The City We Became, by NK Jemisin
8. Writers and Lovers, by Lily King
9. In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle
10. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
11. Oona Out of Order, by Margarita Montimore (Jenny rec in the link)
12. My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell (#1 Indie Next Pick for March)
13. Deacon King Kong, by James McBride
14. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune (read our staff recs in the link)
15. We Ride Upon Sticks, by Quan Barry (likewise)

In the new physically closed-store model, we've noticed that hardcover bestsellers have fared better than paperback and kids, and fiction is doing better than nonfiction, which is why we have 15 slots in this category. Our sales are responding to both media hits and email newsletter features. We learned from our sales rep that we're doing particularly well on The Glass Hotel. I think that is partly helped because Mandel was our featured author at our 11th anniversary celebration, and also that Station Eleven was used by at least three cities/villages and one university for an all-community read.

Note here that I'm not talking about sales as a whole, but bestseller numbers.

What a difference a breakout novel makes. I really enjoyed Father of the Rain, Lily King's two-books-ago novel, but our event crowd was disappointing. After the explosive success of Euphoria, Writers and Lovers, King's return to contemporary fiction, has outsold Father's life of book sales in hardcover and paperback in just a few weeks. She might even beat Euphoria's hardcover sales at Boswell, but beating the 200+ paperback sales is a much more difficult challenge. Congrats!

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
2. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle (helped further by social media saying there were signed copies in the market)
3. Educated, by Tara Westover
4. The Sky Atlas, by Edward Brooke-Hitching
5. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by Lori Gottlieb
6. How to Do Nothing, by Jenny Odell
7. When the Words Suddenly Stopped, by Vivian L King (also available in paperback)
8. The Office, by Andy Greene (Follow the link to my rec)
9. Thinking Inside the Box, by Adrienne Raphel (And again)
10. Recollections of My Nonexistence, by Rebecca Solnit

Our buyers Jason and Amie have expanded what's discounted on Boswell Best by a substantial amount. One is The Sky Atlas, by Edward Brooke-Hitching, which you'd normally see our gift table come holiday season, but we're grateful to have it available now. Here's Brooke-Hitching talking to Meghan Bartels at on the project: "This book was designed to take the most overlooked type of map in terms of how maps have been written about, the celestial map or star map. Star maps are either viewed as the sort of technical diagrams that are only of interest to a PhD astronomer or, paradoxically, they're viewed by a lot of dealers and collectors as merely decorative things. [I wanted to] show that star maps, even though they show the world above, still reflect a lot of what's going on down below."

Both The Splendid and the Vile and Untamed are leaps and bounds ahead of #3 in sales.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Little Fires Everywhere (three editions), by Celeste Ng
2. Normal People, by Sally Rooney (link to staff rec)
3. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
4. The Overstory, by Richard Powers (link to staff rec)
5. Recursion, by Blake Crouch (link to staff rec)
6. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
7. Dear Mrs Bird, by AJ Pearce (link to staff rec)
8. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles (link to staff rec)
9. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
10. Severance, by Ling Ma (link to staff rec)

I have been trying to make sure all our staff recs are on our website, but I just realized we have a staff rec shelf talker in the store for Daisy Jones and the Six, but it never got written up for our website and to distribute to publishers and Indie Next. I think it's because the rec came after pub date. Chris or I will try to find the card and add the rec to our title listing. It was the #1 Indie Next pick for its publication month in hardcover. Here's Jerry Portwood writing about the book for Rolling Stone: "The most frustrating part about reading 300 pages about a fictional band, however, is that you don’t have a chance to immerse yourself in the music. But that will soon change. Reese Witherspoon optioned the TV rights before publication, and (a tech company I won't name here) has ordered a 13-episode run of the adaptation of the book, with writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer, The Fault In Our Stars) penning the scripts. Plus, there’s a team crafting the original music for the show."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Story of More, by Hope Jahren
2. Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain (likely a digital book club)
3. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
4. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
5. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean

The Story of More follows Hope Jahren's award-winning Lab Girl to publication. A paperback original, Geobiologist Jahren's book is based on a course she prepared on climate change, the environmental problem that we'll get back to tackling after this pause. From Booklist: "In concise chapters patterned after a course she designed and taught on climate change, Jahren dips into such topics as population growth, agricultural methods, meat consumption, and humanity's overwhelming dependence (especially in the U.S.) on electricity. Peppering the text with pertinent statistics and pointing out the flaws in potential solutions, Jahren zips along at a devastating pace, making it clear that many bad choices have led us to the current planetary predicament."

Books for Kids:
1. Stamped, Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
2. Brazen, by Penelope Bagieu
3. Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang
4. Children of Virtue and Vengeance, by Tomi Adeyemi
5. Prairie Lotus, by Linda Sue Park

For the second week in a row, our #1 book is Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, adapted from Ibram X Kendi's award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds. It would have been high on our list two weeks ago except we were still processing school visit sales then. Said Reynolds to Annabel Gutterman in Time Magazine last year when the book was announced: "Ultimately, Reynolds hopes that by reading this edition of Stamped, young people will understand their role in contributing to an ongoing dialogue about racism. 'I want them to know that they have a place, that they have a seat at the table and that they have an obligation and responsibility,' he says. 'And that my love for them — and for the adults around them — is hopefully shown by giving them this book to help them better navigate these complex ideas.'"

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins offers some recommendations from Boswell Booksellers, including (links provided if the books weren't listed above) We Ride Upon Sticks, The Coyotes of Carthage, Murder in the Mena House, Dragon Hoops, Mostly Dead Things, (paperback on sale April 21) Thinking Inside the Box, and Death in Her Hands, which we think is no longer scheduled for April 21.

Emily Gray Tedrowe reviews Beheld, a novel by TaraShea Nesbit, which comes from the USA Today network.

Associated Press writer Ann Levin covers Shakespeare in a Divided America, newly released by James Shaprio.

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