Sunday, December 20, 2020

Boswell bestsellers, week ending December 19, 2020 - the almost no links edition

Boswell Bestsellers for the wek ending December 19, 2020 - almost no links edition

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell (#11 Edelweiss, but #1 in the Midwest)
2. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
3. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar (#1 Edelweiss)
4. The Searcher, by Tana French
5. Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline
6. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno Garcia
7. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
8. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
9. Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (#1 on Edelweiss)
10. The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter
11. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
12. Oona Out of Order, by Margarita Montimore (#1! see below)
13. The Talented Miss Farwell, by Emily Gray Tedrowe (Register for January 5 event here)
14. Crooked Hallelujah, by Kelli Jo Ford (#1 Edelweiss) 
15. The Second Home, by Christina Clancy

Jenny's favorite book of the year is Oona Out of Order, the novel about the woman who lives her years in random order, and though I haven't read it, I've just bought my second copy, once again as a gift. We both noticed that we have the #1 indie sales on the Edelweiss inventory sharing site. We're tied - help us solidify our first place run. From Mary Cadeen in USA Today: "Montimore proves an adept storyteller. Oona is a good balance between serious and silly. There are laughs, to be sure, but the author captures the essence of Kenzie's 19-year-old self in an older body without making the story slapstick. With its countless epiphanies and surprises, Oona proves difficult to put down."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
2. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
3. Modern Comfort Food, by Ina Garten (the best sales for us of her last six books)
4. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Sibley
5. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
6. The 99% Invisible City, by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt
7. Ottolenghi Flavor, by Yotam Ottolenghi
8. The Best of Me, by David Sedaris
9. Humans, by Brandon Stanton
10. Songteller, by Dolly Parton
11. The Well-Plated Cookbook, by Erin Clarke (signed copies available again - #1 Edelweiss)
12. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
13. Solutions and Other Problems, by Allie Brosh
14. The King of Confidence, by Miles Harvey (#2 Edelweiss)
15. Dirt, by Bill Buford (#4 Edelweiss)

Just finished The 99% Invisible City, which might be meant for browsing, but I tend to read these kind of books cover to cover. My rec: "Here’s proof positive that you don’t have to be obsessed with a podcast to enjoy the spinoff book. Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlsedt’s 99% Invisible has been around for ten years, but I never heard of it. This very enjoyable book (one of my customers described it as upscale bathroom reading) looks at everything from left turns to squirrels to uncomfortable benches to brick veneers. Alas, it’s not an urban planning podcast – this is just the first topic they decided to cover. Mars’s show reminds me a bit of Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge, as hosted by Rod Serling. As an aside, the publisher chose to give a different ISBN inventory code to the signed (well, initialed) edition, even putting it on the bellyband. Sometimes we have a different ordering ISBN but the book itself has the same identifying code, to make reordering easier when the signed copies run out. But in this case, the sales are separate, maybe not on national bestseller lists, but on the Edelweiss industry peer sharing site. Some stores (like Boswell) override to the unsigned IBN, but other stores clearly don’t. But to you, that’s invisible!"

Paperback Fiction:
1. Big Girl, Small Town, by Michelle Gallen (register for December 29 event here)
2. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
3. Home Body, by Rupi Kaur
4. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
5. Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stewart
6. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
7. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
8. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
9. Best American Short Stories 2020, edited by Curtis Sittenfeld
10. Circe, by Madeline Miller

Jim Higgins naming Big Girl, Small Town as one of his top ten books of 2020, combined with an upcoming event, got Gellen's novel to #1. I finished it last week and wrote my staff rec this morning. "It’s just a few years after The Troubles have wound down with the peace agreement, but it’s still not a good idea for Protestants to cross to the Catholic part of town after dark. For Majella O’Neill, it’s personal – her uncle and now her grandma has been murdered, her uncle has disappeared, and her ma’s a bit of a mess. Majella, a big woman whose comfortable in her body, works the night shift in chip shop, with the story written diary style, over the course of a week. Big Girl, Small Town is more of a character novel , so not much happens , but Majella’s presence explodes over the pages. She’s on the spectrum but keenly observant and also very funny. I’m not always crazy about reading stories in dialect, but Irish slang is fascinating, plus I didn’t really know until now that battered and fried sausage was a thing. What have I been missing? And until you read Big Girl, Small Town, I can say the same for you."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Walking Milwaukee, by Royal Brevvaxling and Molly Snyder
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. ABA Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Charles Hagner
4. The Seine, by Elaine Sciolino
5. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
6. Wow, No Thank You, by Samantha Irby
7. Vegetarian Flavors with Alamelu, by Alamelu Vairavan
8. The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris
9. Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl
10. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara

If you look at the nonfiction paperback list and the advice list of The New York Times, only two books here cross over, Braiding Sweetgrass and The Truths We Hold. That said, Wow, No Thank You did hit #1 on the nonfiction paperback list on publication and was just named one of critic Parul Sehgal's ten best books of 2020 in The New York Times. From her review: "Life has never been better to Samantha Irby. Can she still be funny? It’s a gentler kind of humor we encounter here. The drama of publishing a book or pitching a show to Netflix executives (so many chairs in the room!) can’t compete with the rawness and surreal scatological pageantry of the earlier essays. Nor must it."

Books for Kids:
1. Wishes and Wellingtons, by Julie Berry
2. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake and Jon Klassen (#1 Edelweiss)
3. No Reading Allowed, by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter
4. Scritch Scratch, by Lindsay Currie
5. Riding Chance, by Christine Kendall
6. Cat Kid Comic Club, by Dav Pilkey
7. Sun Flower Lion, by Kevin Henkes (#1 Edelweiss)
8. Fifty Adventures in the Fifty States, by Kate Siber (#2 Edelweiss)
9. The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom, by Colleen AF Venable and Lian Cho (#1 Edelweiss)
10. Snow Birds, by Kirsten Hall and Jenni Desmond
11. Every Night Is Pizza Night, by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Gianna Ruggiero
12. Everybody's Tree, by Barbara Joosse and Renée Graef
13. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls V1, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo 1
14. All Because You Matter, by Tami Charles

While we've noticed some books have cut back on having us do virtual school events, Sourcebooks has been full steam ahead, and that led to them having three of our top four books in sales this week. Scritch Scratch is a older (10+) middle grade novel of the parnormal in Chicago. Who is this Mary Downing Hahn that everyone references in their reviews? I'm intrigued. Kirkus writes "Mary Downing Hahn fans will enjoy this just-right blend of history and spooky." And Booklist wrote: "The author of The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street ventures into Mary Downing Hahn territory with a mildly eerie tale that is as much about building trust and new friendships as it is about figuring out what a soaked, importunate ghost wants."

Visit our website for more info, but alas, our order buttons are down until Christmas. Like many indie bookstores, moving half our business online has stretched us to the limit. Thank you for your patience and good humor.

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