Sunday, December 13, 2020

The next to the next to the last week of pre-holiday sales - Boswell bestsellers for the week ending December 12, 2020

The next to the next to the last week of pre-holiday sales - Boswell bestsellers for the week ending December 12, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell (watch video)
2. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
3. The Searcher, by Tana French
4. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar (watch this video)
5. Deacon King Kong, by James McBride
6. The Boy, the Mole, The Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
7. Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline
8. The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter
9. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Morena Garcia
10. The Paris Hours, by Alex George (watch this video)
11. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
12. Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam
13. Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
14. Writers and Lovers, by Lily King
15. The Coyotes of Carthage, by Steven Wright

I've read half (8) of this week's top 15 and I would say there are at least three more books I wish I had read. Only four titles match the New York Times bestsellers for this week, five if you include Mackesy's book, which the NYT files with miscellaneous. The others are The Vanishing Half, The Searcher, Anxious People, and Ready Player Two. An additional four titles are on the American Booksellers Association indie bestseller list - Hamnet, Deacon King Kong, The Cold Millions, and Mexican Gothic. On their list, Mackesy's book is nonfiction. I guess I'm going to have to look at that thing again. 

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
2. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
3. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Sibley
4. Post Corona, by Scott Galloway
5. Bag Man, by Rachel Maddow
6. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
7. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
8. Dessert Person, by Claire Saffitz
9. Modern Comfort Food, by Ina Garton
10. Vesper Flights, by Helen Macdonald
11. Rise, by Marcus Samuelsson
12. Humans, by Brandon Stanton
13. His Truth Is Marching On, by Jon Meacham
14. Superman's Not Coming, by Erin Brockovich (Register for December 16 event here)
15. Songteller, by Dolly Parton

On this list, we have six titles overlapping with NYT nonfiction - A Promised Land, Caste, The Splendid and the Vile, Untamed (yes, we have the special tip-in edition), Humans, and Songteller with the two cookbooks on miscellaneous - Modern Comfort Food and Dessert Person (Publishers Weekly gave Dessert Person a starred review), plus Mackesy. And Post Corona's on the business list. The ABA list also has What It's Like to Be a Bird. We'd be selling A Wealth of Pigeons, but since we don't expect copies before the holidays, we're not longer pre-selling it. Take out the event book and you have Bag Man and His Truth Is Marching on.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Through This Door, edited by Peggy Rozga and Angela Trudell Vasquez
2. Aimless Love, by Billy Collins
3. Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart
4. Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu
5. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
6. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
7. Big Girl, Small Town (Register for December 29 event here)
8. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
9. The Story of a Goat, by Perumal Murugan
10. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

When one looks at holiday trends, one might not immediately think poetry for Christmas, but three of our top 10 fit in that category, with Rupi Kaur bubbling under. I'm guessing Aimless Love was for a book club, but Through This Door was just reviewed in the Journal Sentinel by Jim Higgins and I should note that up until right now, the book wasn't available for ordering through our website. That said, we may run out of stock shortly.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
2. The Seine, by Elaine Sciolino
3. Life in Short, by Dasha Kelly Hamilton
4. The Rise of Wolf 8, by Rick McIntyre
5. Walking Milwaukee, by Royal Brevvaxling and Molly Snyder
6. The Yellow House, by Sarah Broom
7. Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Brown
8. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
9. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
10. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe

After six years, Braiding Sweetgrass hits #1 on a particularly busy week, no less. New on the list is Life in Short, the new collection of Dashnettes from Dasha Kelly Hamilton. Published by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, this book also straddles the lists, being sort of poetry (fiction) and sort of inspiration (nonfiction). As was the case above, I've just added this to our website so the book can be ordered here. When we do this ourselves, you don't get inventory levels. Right now we have a few left!

Books for Kids:
1. The Very Last Leaf, by Stef Wade and Jennifer Davidson (Watch this video)
2. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake and Jon Klassen (Watch this video)
3. Elevator Bird, by Sarah Williamson
4. Sun Flower Lion, by Kevin Henkes
5. No Reading Allowed, by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter
6. Every Night Is Pizza Night, by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Gianna Ruggiero
7. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade and Melanie Demmer
8. Bunheads, by Misty Copeland and Setor Fladzigbey
9. Snow Birds, by Kirsten Hall and Jenni Desmond
10. Everybody's Tree, by Barbara Joosse and Renée Graef
11. Paper Peek Animals, by Chihiro Takeuchi
12. The Snowy Day board book, by Ezra Jack Keats
13. 50 Adventures in 50 States, by Kate Siber
14. What We'll Build, by Oliver Jeffers
15. Dress Coded, by Carrie Firestone

What do our top five books (and #10) all have in common? They all did virtual school events with us, even during the Christmas season. If you're a publisher, you probably didn't send us too many authors for schools in the winter due to weather. But with virtual events, here's your chance to beat testing season. The latest is Elevator Bird, who did her first of two school visits on Friday, following a nice public event the week before. We just got our bookplates, but I'm guessing they will go fast. I really like the Richard Scarry-like page where Williamson explains what all the characters do at the hotel.

As I have mentioned in a few talks, this was not a great year for innovative board books, but we do like Paper Peek Animals, a hidden-picture book with some die-cut action too.

At the Journal Sentinel, here are Jim Higgins's top ten books of 2020:
--Big Girl, Small Town, by Michelle Gallen (Register for December 29 event here)
--Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse
--Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, by Kathleen Rooney (Watch Rooney's event here)
--Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar (Watch Akhtar's event here)
--The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, by Garth Nix
--Network Effect, by Martha Wells
--The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, by Deesha Philyaw
--The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman
--Unconquerable Sun, by Kate Elliott
--Warhol, by Blake Gopknik 

This list appears to be in alphabetical order. We just got in more stock of Big Girl, Small Town.

Here are Carole E. Barrowman's top 10 books of 2020.
--Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Watch Cosby's event with Barrowman here)
--And Now She's Gone, by Rachel Howzell
--Squeeze Me, by Carl Hiaasen
--The Ninja's Blade, by Tori Eldridge
--Out of Time, by David Klass
--Your House Will Pay, by Steph Cha
--A Song for Dark Times, by Ian Rankin
--The King's Justice, by Susan Elia MacNeal
--Survivor Song, by Paul Tremblay
--Catherine House, by Elizabeth Thomas

This list is not in alpha order, so it might be ranked. Barrowman told me that Blacktop Wasteland really his her #1 pick. 

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