Sunday, November 22, 2020

Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 21, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for week ending November 21, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Rhythm of War: Stormlight Archive V4, by Brandon Sanderson
2. The Sun Collective, by Charles Baxter (ask for your signed bookplate)
3. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar
4. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
5. The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter
6. The Searcher, by Tana French
7. The Second Home, by Christina Clancy
8. Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
9. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
10. Dearly, by Margaret Atwood
11. Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam
12. Crooked Hallelujah, by Kelli Jo Ford
13. All the Devils Are Here, by Louise Penny
14. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
15. The Paris Hours, by Alex George

It's been three long years for Boswellian Ogi, since that was when Oathbringer, the last book in the Stormlight Archive, was released. More preorders and heightened in-house enthusiasm seemed to help first-week momentum for Rhythm of War - our sales are triple the first week of 2017's release, and other indies have posted some staggering numbers. In short, the two sides are still fighting, and apparently there's an arms race brewing.  

Much media buzz about Dearly, Margaret Atwood's first book of poetry in some time. Good second week in sales. Mary Louise Kelly talks to Atwood about steamy bug sex on All things Considered

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Promised Land, by Barack Obama
2. A Wealth of Pigeons, by Steve Martin and Harry Bliss
3. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
4. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley
5. Love Is the Way, by Bishop Michael Curry
6. Modern Comfort Food, by Ina Garten
7. His Truth Is Marching on, by Jon Meacham
8. We Keep the Dead Close, by Becky Cooper
9. Accidentally Wes Anderson, by Wally Koval
10. The Best of Me, by David Sedaris
11. The King of Confidence, by Miles Harvey
12. Thinking Inside the Box, by Adrienne Raphel
13. Quick and Simple, by Jacques Pepin
14. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
15. American Utopia, by David Byrne

Speaking of triple, The Promised Land, despite worries that the price was too high, had much higher sales for us than the first week of Becoming in 2018. My guess is that web orders are front-loading our sales, plus I know lots of folks are worried that come December, who knows what will be opened and closed and whether we'll even be able to get books. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes in The New York Times: "Barack Obama is as fine a writer as they come. It is not merely that this book avoids being ponderous, as might be expected, even forgiven, of a hefty memoir, but that it is nearly always pleasurable to read, sentence by sentence, the prose gorgeous in places, the detail granular and vivid."

On any week, we'd be blown away by first week sales of A Wealth of Pigeons, the cartoon collaboration between Steve Martin and Harry Bliss. Once again, a hard call as to whether to make this fiction or nonfiction - I'm not a fan of miscellaneous, and anyone knows that advice is nonfiction. I decided that several of the cartoons are about Martin and Bliss, and they would qualify as nonfiction. We almost had Classical Mythology from A to Z on our fiction list, but when I looked closer, it's not the myths, but a reference of mythological characters, and that seemed clearly to fall into nonfiction - it did not make the top 15 cut.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Home Body, by Rupi Kaur
2. Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stewart (Booker Prize winner)
3. Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu (National Book Award winner)
4. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
5. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
6. The Lager Queen of Minnesota, by J. Ryan Stradal
7. Where We Come From, by Oscar Cásares (Register for December 8 event here)
8. Get a Life, Chloe Brown, by Talia Hibbert
9. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
10. By a Lake Near a Moon, by DeWitt Clinton

The big fiction prizes are both paperback reprints, seemingly the only two fiction books left that came out in paperback in less than a year - so many others had publication delayed. Interior Chinatown won the National Book Award and Shuggie Bain the Booker. The In-Store Lit Group (I'm renaming it Daniel's Lit Group because it ain't in store for a while) was already reading Shuggie Bain in January; now we're reading Interior Chinatown in March. For February, we're doing Myla Goldberg's Feast Your Eyes, which recently was the subject of a JCC event. It was a NBA finalist last year.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, by Kiese Laymon
2. No One Asked for This by Cazzie David
3. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
4. ABA Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Charles Hagner
5. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
7. A Woman of No Importance, by Sonia Purnell
8. My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
9. Wow, No Thank You, by Samantha Irby
10. Love's Executioner, by Irvin Yalom

Cazzie David, the author of No One Asked for This, is the creator of the web series Eighty Sixed and as noted quite often, the daughter of Larry David. Did you know that the father of Lisa Kudrow treated Peter Frampton's IBM? It's all in Do You Feel Like I Do, which I just finished yesterday. As long as we are dropping celebrity relatives. in any case, she's got nice quotes from Amy Schumer, Chelsea Handler, and Diablo Cody, who wrote or maybe dictated, "Cazzie David is the delicious antidote to the poison of basic influencer culture. This book will make all misanthropes feel seen and loved - well, seen and tolerated."

Books for Kids:
1. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake/Jon Klassen
2. No Reading Allowed, by Raj Haldar/Chris Carpenter/Bryce Gladfelter
3. Sun Flower Lion, by Kevin Henkes
4. The True Definition of Neva Beane, by Christine Kendall (watch our interview here)
5. Everybody's Tree, by Barbara Joosse/Renee Graef (Register for December 3 event here)
6. P Is for Pterodactyl, by Raj Haldar/Chris Carpenter/Maria Tina Beddia
7. The Other Boy, by M.G. Hennessy
8. Snow Birds, by Kirsten Hall/Jenni Desmond
9. This Is Your Time, by Ruby Bridges
11. Christmas Trolls, by Jan Brett
12. Couch Potato, by Jory John/Pete Oswald
13. Cozy, by Jan Brett
14. If You Come to Earth, by Sophie Blackall
15. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer 

Raj Haldar has been doing virtual school visits for No Reading Allowed, his follow up to P Is for Pterodactyl. From Publishers Weekly: "The book began with Haldar and Carpenter devising sentences that could simultaneously teach readers about the world around them, near and far, while exploring the strangeness of homophones. 'There’s a new deli clerk who runs a pretty sorry store,' is met with 'a New Delhi clerk who runs a pretty sari store,' on the opposing page. As illustrator Bryce Gladfelter began adding images, Haldar says the phrases that he and Carpenter had come up with took on a new life. “It’s amazing how effortlessly and almost subliminally the various meanings of these words are communicated."

Thank you to Amy for taking my recommendations and purchasing Skunk and Badger, The True Definition of Neva Beane, and The Time of Green Magic, two of which are also Amie's holiday picks. That made my day. Though it was also fun listening to a customer talk about books they liked and realizing that The Lager Queen of Minnesota was the perfect book for them. When you realize it's a sure match, it gets you kind of giddy.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins will have his 40 books for holiday gift giving in the paper on November 29 but you can read it here - including sleepers like Big Girl, Small Town, kids books for all ages, books about The Beatles, Goodfellas, and the Kent State killings. Happy holidays!

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