Sunday, August 16, 2020

Boswell bestsellers, week ending August 15, 2020

Here are the Boswell bestseller for the week ending August 15, 2020.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
2. If I Had Two Wings, by Randall Kenan (watch our Boswell virtual event here)
3. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell (register for our 8/19, 2 pm event here)
4. Migrations, by Charlotte McConaghy
5. Three Hours in Paris, by Cara Black (watch our Boswell virtual event here)
6. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins (#2 in hardcover Bookscan sales for 2020 so far)
7. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens (#1 in hardcover fiction Bookscan sales for 2020 so far)
8. The Guest List, by Lucy Foley
9. Writers and Lovers, by Lily King
10. We Ride Upon Sticks, by Quan Barry (and yes, here's that Boswell virtual event video)

If you've been aching for the next great work of climate fiction, many critics are reccommending Migrations, from Charlotte McConaghy, which looks at a world with many extinctions. From Ellen Morton at The Washington Post: "The beauty and the heartbreak of this novel is that it’s not preposterous. It feels true and affecting, elegiac and imminent ... Franny has an irresistible gravitational pull. The mystery of her bleak grief draws you in. Her affinity for the natural world, especially birds, is nearly mythical. She seems heroically strong, but within her first-person narrative, we see she feels just as human and as helpless as the rest of us ... The fractured timeline fills each chapter with suspense and surprises, parceled out so tantalizingly that it took disciplined willpower to keep from skipping down each page to see what happens."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Caste, by Isabel Willkerson
2. It Was All a Lie, by Stuart Stevens
3. Filthy Beasts, by Kirkland Hamill (register for our 8/17, 6 pm event here)
4. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
5. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
6. Evil Geniuses, by Kurt Anderson
7. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
8. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
9. A Very Punchable Face, by Colin Jost
10. The Lazy Genius Way, by Kendra Adachi 

Hopping on our chart the first week out is Kurt Anderson's Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America, A Recent History. The author of Heyday and and Turn of the Century looks at the successful if disturbing remaking of America. Per the publisher: "Beginning in the early 1970s, by means of a long war conceived of and executed by a confederacy of big business CEOs, the superrich, and right-wing zealots, the rules and norms that made the American middle class possible were undermined and dismantled." Here's The NYT review from Anand Giridharadas.

Paperback Fiction: 
1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. All the Right Mistakes, by Laura Jamison (watch our Boswell virtual event here)
3. Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, by Kathleen Rooney (register for our 8/18, 6 pm event here)
4. A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams
5. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
6. Hamlet (Ignatius edition), by William Shakespeare
7. The Need, by Helen Phillips (register for our 10/5, 5:30 pm event here)
8. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
10. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller 

It's not easy to follow a book for us as big as Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. Just look at the books this year that hardly made a splash, after their previous books sold 100 of copies at Boswell. 
--Katherine Bivald's Welcome to the Pine Away Motel - previous book is The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
--Hannah Rothschild's The House of Trelawney, which came after The Impossibility of Love
--Audur Ava Olafsdottir's Miss Iceland, the next book after Hotel Silence
You can't call it the sophomore slump, as the books we touted were not debuts. You can blame COVID to an extent, because hand-selling is taking a beating, at least the in-store kind. Let's hope that Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey escapes this fate. 

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Don't Know Much About History, by Kenneth C. Davis
2. Wildflowers of Wisconsin, by Stan Tekiela
3. Birds of Wisconsin, by Stan Tekiela
4. Trees of Wisconsin, by Stan Tekiela
5. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe (Read the book? Register for our In-Store Lit Group discussion on 8/29 here)
6. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
7. Intimations, by Zadie Smith
8. What's Your Enneatype?, by Liz Carver
9. The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris
10. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond 

It was a savvy move to package The Truths We Hold just in advance of the vice president selection, though I suppose it would have been a less savvy one had Kamala Harris not been picked. By replacing the adult Kamala with her childhood image, I think the book looks more like a memoir than a campaign platform and recalls Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father. Note below that the Kamala Harris picture book, Kamala and Maya's Big Idea, written by her niece Meena was at one point going to be an event at Boswell today, in advance of the rescheduled DNC, before it went 99% virtual.

Books for Kids:
1. Kamala and Maya's Big Idea, by Meena Haris, with illustrations by Ana Rami Gonzalez
2. Midnight Sun, by Stephenie Harris
3. You Matter, by Christian Robinson
4. The Very Last Leaf, by Stef Wade (watch highlights from our virtual event here)
5. This Book Is Anti Racist, by Tiffany Jewell
6. Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
7. Antiracist Baby Board Book, by Ibram X. Kendi with illustrations by Ashley Lukashevsky
8. Rite of Passage, by Richard Wright
9. When We Were Very Young, by A.A. Milne
10. Queen of the Nile V3 Cleopatra in Space, by Mike Maihack 

I wasn't really aware of the Cleopatra in Space series so it's interesting to me that we had a pop on Queen of the Nile, book six in paperback - and yes, this is a real pop, not a school sale. It's a kids graphic novel series with an endorsement from one of the stars of the genre, Raina Telgemeier, who calls Cleo "A fun, fearless heroine - I'd love to explore the galaxy with her!" If you or young reader hasn't picked up the series, you might want to start with #1, Target Practice.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Margot Armbruster reviews Money, Marriage, and Madness, a biography of Anna Ott from Kim Neilsen and published by University of Illinois Press. Armbruster notes: "When Kim E. Nielsen first encountered Anna Ott, a 19-century woman who served for nearly two decades as Madison’s only female doctor, she thought Ott would occupy no more than a few paragraphs of her work. But then Nielsen learned Ott had been accused of assault, gender nonconformity and even bank robbery before being committed to an insane asylum." Please note that while this book is orderable from Boswell, it's possible that the price might be higher than the suggested list price is the same as the net price for us at our wholesaler. If you are patient, we'll likely be able to get you a copy at the price quoted. 

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