Sunday, January 24, 2021

Boswell bestsellers - week ending January 23, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending January 23, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Pianos and Flowers, by Alexander McCall Smith (Register for January 27 event here)
2. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
3. Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam
4. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
5. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession (Register for February 12 event here)
6. The Breaker, by Nick Petrie
7. The Prophets, by Robert Jones, Jr.
8. Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters
9. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
10. Outlawed, by Anna North

Detransition, Baby is a new contemporary social comedy from Torrey Peters that is a new take on the idea of creating family, this time involving transgender and cisgender players, and its the February selection for the Roxane Gay Audacious Book Club. Noah Berlatsky in the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Reese, Ames, and Katrina can’t be slotted into a typical happy ever after nor into its opposite. They make their lives from the bits of gender and love and culture they’ve been given, and there’s no place to stand outside that messy process and anatomize, dissect, or categorize them. Detransition, Baby is that rare social comedy in which the author cuts people up not to judge them, but to show how we fail to fit together."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad
2. Land, by Simon Winchester (Tickets for January 28 event here)
3. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
4. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley (Register for February 23 event here)
5. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders
6. A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
7. Exercised, by Daniel Lieberman
8. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
9. The Best of Me, by David Sedaris
10. Keep Sharp, by Sanjay Gupta

Harvard Professor of Biological Sciences Daniel E. Lieberman's Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding had a quiet first two weeks but took off in its third, thanks to NPR's Fresh Air. Lieberman told Terry Gross, "The more we study physical activity, the more we realize that it doesn't really matter what you do," Lieberman says. "You don't have to do incredible strength training to get some benefits of physical activity. There's all different kinds of physical activity, and it's all good in different ways." Jen A. Miller reviewed the book in The New York Times.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Every Now and Then, by Lesley Kagen
2. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
3. Our Darkest Night, by Jennifer Robson (Tickets for January 25 event here)
4. The Coyotes of Carthage, by Steven Wright
5. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
6. The Home Front, by DW Hanneken (Register for January 26 event here)
7. Minus Me, by Mameve Medwed
8. The Duke and I V1, by Julia Quinn
9. The Eloquent Poem, by Elise Paschen
10. The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley

For a while it has seemed that there's a story about Bridgerton, the series created by Shonda Rimes, once an hour. We've had a little trouble getting stock, though one could tell it was headed for the bestseller list by the number of booksellers reading the series - The Duke and I is available in trade paperback or mass market. Maggie Fremont ponders the shape of season 2 in Vulture: "Like any good romance, season one of Bridgerton, Netflix’s adaptation of Julia Quinn’s steamy Regency-era novel series, gave us the happily ever after we were all rooting for... What more could you want, really? Well, you probably want more Bridgerton and it seems safe to assume that you’ll be getting much more. But since Daphne and Simon’s story wrapped up with an, ahem, satisfying ending, you might be wondering what a season two of Bridgerton would look like. We can probably look to the books for some clues."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Nichols Black Elk, by Jon M. Sweeney
3. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
4. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
5. The Way to Love, by Anthony De Mello
6. Sapiens: A Graphic History, by Uval Noah Harari
7. Walking Milwaukee, by Royal Brevvaxling and Molly Snyder
8. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
9. The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
10. This Land of Snow, by Anders Morley (Register for February 9 event here)

A virtual book club presentation led to a pop for Say Nothing, as well as several fiction titles like The Coyotes of Carthage and Red at the Bone. Several of the other titles the club chose are not quite published in paperback. The book hit many best-of lists for 2019, but I noticed the best paperback sales were in the Northeast. When the best sales are in the Midwest, publishers call that book regional. I will be continuing to push, especially with Patrick Radden Keefe's next book, Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, releases on April 13.

Books for Kids
1. Ambitious Girl, by Meena Harris, with illustrations by Marissa Valdez
2. Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas
3. Ghost Boys, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
4. Parker Inheritance, by Varian Johnson
5. Season of Styx Malone, by Kekla Magoon
6. The Birchbark House, by Louise Erdrich
7. How Tia Lola Came to Stay, by Julia Alvarez
8. Champ and Major: First Dogs, Joy McCullough, with illustrations by Sheyda Abvabi Best
9. Turtle Boy, by M. Evan Wolkenstein 
10. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer

If our bestseller list included preorders, the top would be a sweep for Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old poet (and first Youth Poet Laureate) who wowed America with her inauguration poem. There are two editions of The Hill We Climb coming, a paper-over-board coming in April and a traditional hardcover scheduled for fall. In addition, Gorman's first picture boook, Change Sings, releases in September as well.

Speaking of inaugurations, Meena Harris's Ambitious Girl tops the kids books that have actually been release. Her picture book, illustrated by Marissa Valdez, offers inspiration for anyone who has been underestimated or overshadowed. Meena Harris told Sam Gillette of People Magazine: "I hope that girls take away from this, first and foremost, that female ambition is a good thing, it's a positive thing and it's something to be celebrated, to claim, to find power in... Society tells us something entirely different. Society, and [by that I mean] patriarchal society, has made female ambition into, frankly, a dirty word, something that is used to critique women."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins highlights City Hall, the new book by photographer and writer Arthur Drooker. His book features 15 city halls and has a chapter on Milwaukee's. From Higgins: "He describes the Milwaukee building, completed in 1895, as Flemish Renaissance Revival. Designed by architect Henry C. Koch, it cost slightly more than $1 million. Made of granite, brick and terra cotta, it rises to 393 feet at the top of the flagpole in the tower. Drooker reports it was was the third-tallest building in the United States when it opened, and remained Milwaukee's tallest building until 1973."

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