Sunday, March 1, 2020

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 29, 2020

Leap Day Edition! Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 29, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Other Mrs, by Mary Kubica (signed copies available)
2. One Minute Out V9, by Mark Greaney
3. The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, by Michael Zapata
4. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid (register here for Mar 19 event)
5. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
6. The Wild One V5, by Nick Petrie (who interviewed Mark Greaney)
7. Weather, by Jenny Offill
8. The Boy, the Horse, the Fox, and the Mole, by Charlie Mackesy
9. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
10. The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides

I wish I knew why The Silent Patient's sales seemed to jump again in the past month. I noticed that Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls, Zoey's Extroardinary Playlist) mentioned she was reading it in The New York Times, but it was really in the mix with a lot of other books, including Emma Straub's forthcoming All Adults Here. #celebritiesreadingarcs I guess. There's also this very odd but fascinating article about how Goodreads (Amazon) was so important to the success of The Silent Patient. It did mention a bookseller and librarian mailing too - how generous!

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Memo, by Minda Harts
2. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
3. Un-Trumping America, by Dan Pfeiffer (tickets here for Mar 9 event)
4. The Yellow House, by Sarah M Broom
5. The Book of Delights, by Ross Gay
6. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
7. A Very Stable Genius, by Philip Rucker and Carol Leoning
8. Humble Pi, by Matt Parker
9. The Man in the Red Coat, by Julian Barnes
10. My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, by Jenn Shapland

Jason told me that March 3 is a big release date, but it appears that the one breakout of 2/25 is The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. From Candice Millard's New York Times review, referencing Joseph Goebbels: "What the Nazis’ minister of propaganda resented even more than the British prime minister’s stubbornness, however, were his powers of persuasion. Every time Churchill took to the airwaves it was as if he were injecting adrenaline-soaked courage directly into the British people. Still worse, Goebbels knew that growing numbers of Germans had begun listening, too."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Bachelor's Buttons, by David Southward
2. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
3. The Wanting Life, by Mark Rader (event today, Mar 1, 3 pm, at Boswell)
4. Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo (In-Store Lit Group discussion, Mon Mar 2, 7 pm, at Boswell)
5. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason (event at Boswell, Wed May 27, 7 pm)
6. The Story of a Goat, by Perumal Murugan (In-Store Lit Group discussion, Mon Apr 6, 7 pm)
7. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
8. The Last Place You Look V1, by Kristen Lepionka (Mystery Book Club discussion, Mon Mar 23, 7 pm)
9. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
10. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessey

Congratulations to former Milwaukeean Derrick Harriell, who received the Robert L Fish Memorial Award from the Mystery Writers of America (the Edgars) for "There's a Riot Goin' on," one of the entries in Milwaukee Noir. Also congrats to Tim Hennessy, who edited the piece with Harriell. Also congrats to Kim Michele Richardson, whose Book Woman of Troublesome Creek hit The New York Times bestseller list after being out for nine months. While there's no question Costco's Penny's Pick was the thing that tipped it, I should note that Boswell worked very hard on hand-selling this book and for many months, we were one of the top 3 reporting independent bookstores in the country in terms of sales, according to Edelweiss. On to the next!*

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Sick, by Porochista Khakpour
2. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
3. Jesus Wasn't Killed by the Jews, Jon M Sweeney
4. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
5. Don't Overthink It, by Anne Bogel
6. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
7. Fading Ads of Milwaukee, by Adam Levin
8. People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
9. Black Built, by Paul Wellington
10. Best American Magazine Writing 2019, edited by Sid Holt

The big paperback release this week for us is Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, which hit just about every best-of-2019 list. Not only was it both a New York Times and Washington Post top ten book of the year, it was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, longlisted for the National Book Award, Time Magazine's best nonfiction book of the year, and winner of the Orwell Prize. What's the Orwell Prize? From the site: "The Orwell Prizes aim to encourage good writing and thinking about politics. Winning entries should strive to meet Orwell’s own ambition to make political writing into an art. The Prizes are free to open and independent of any editorial agenda." There's a fiction winner too - Milkman - which is also coincidentally about Northern Ireland.

Books for Kids:
1. Listen Slowly, by Thanhhà Lại
2. Butterfly Yellow, by Thanhhà Lại
3. Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhhà Lại
4. Girl Stolen, by April Henry
5. The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, by April Henry
6. Run, Hide, Fight Back, by April Henry
7. The Girl I Used to Be, by April Henryv
8. Inside Out and Back Again (cloth), by Thanhhà Lại
9. The Lonely Dead, by April Henry
10. Caleb and Kit, by Beth Vrabel

It's a clean sweep - our entire top 10 is school visit books. We were thrilled to host Thanhhà Lại again, this time for her YA novel Butterfly Yellow. Bringing authors for YA novels can be a little tougher than middle grade. The students are harder to round up and harder to sell to - but we had a great day. Her new book is, per the publisher "the story of Hang who has made a traumatic escape from Vietnam six years after the war ends and is on a mission to find her younger brother who was 'rescued' and taken to America at the end of the war." Booklist gave Butterfly Yellow a starred review, as did Publishers Weekly, whose reviewer called it "remarkable."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, if you missed Jim Higgins's profile of Linda Sue Park for Prairie Lotus, it's in today's print edition. He notes: "Park’s new novel for middle grade readers (approximately 10 to 12 years old), is her attempt to reconcile her love for Wilder’s books with her criticism of their shortcomings. Hanna, 14, and her widowed white father arrive in Dakota Territory, where he hopes to open a dress goods store. Hanna’s late mother was Chinese. The girl “already knew from living in California that most white people didn’t like having neighbors who weren’t white themselves.” I should note that the 10 to 12 is a reading comprehension and thematic floor - the truth is that like for most kids books, there's no real upper age. Hey, both our kids buyer Amie and I read Prairie Lotus and really liked it, and don't you go around saying that sometimes I act like a ten-year-old, even if it's true. Register here for event.

From Jeff Rowe at Associated Press: "Jason Hardy’s The Second Chance Club: Hardship and Hope After Prison is a compelling story of a parole officer’s work in New Orleans that emerges as a persuasive call to action on several fronts: Devoting more resources to social services for released offenders. It produces results, but the citizenry, and politicians, often equate public safety with incarceration. Rehab programs are seen as a social service that voters don’t grumble as much about if reduced." More here.

From Lincee Ray, also at Associated Press, comes a review of Adrienne Miller's In the Land of Men: "Adrienne Miller was 22 years old when she landed a job as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine. The experience provided a solid foundation that eventually opened a door three years later for her to be the first woman to hold the title of literary editor of Esquire. For years she navigated a male-dominated world at a time when print was still king. Although she was surrounded by pompous egos and blatant sexism, Miller found sanctuary at her desk, reading a piece of literature, ready to edit." Linked to the Norfolk Daily News.

*I should note that while we were not in the top 5, our numbers were also very good for Ross Gay's The Book of Delights, which took close to a year to hit The New York Times bestseller list.

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