Sunday, January 31, 2021

What's selling at Boswell for the week ending January 30, 2021?

What's selling at Boswell for the week ending January 30, 2021?

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Mask Falling V4, by Samantha Shannon
2. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
3. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
4. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell (watch event video here)
5. Pianos and Flowers, by Alexander McCall Smith
6. The Prophets, by Robert Jones, Jr.
7. The Breaker, by Nick Petrie (Watch event video here)
8. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
9. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession (Register for February 12 event here)
10. Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline

When I heard at a publisher dinner years ago (with the author? I have no idea how this came to happen) how many volumes Samantha Shannon's Bone Season series was expected to be, I was surprised. I was used to series being signed up as two-to-three books at most. But here we are at volume four and the The Mask Falling debuts at #1. Where we are in this series, per the publisher: Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire. Publishers Weekly wrote: "Shannon expertly blends genres to create a story that is at once a political thriller, a dystopian epic, and a paranormal adventure. This bold series installment will leave fans eager for more."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Chatter, by Ethan Kross (Tickets for February 3 event here)
2. Land, by Simon Winchester
3. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley (Register for February 23 event here)
4. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
5. A Swim in the Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders
6. Just As I Am, by Cicely Tyson
7. A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
8. Wintering, by Katherine May
9. Data Feminism, by Catherine D'Ignzazio and Lauren F. Klein
10. It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, by Jason Fried

Cicely Tyson passed awa just days after the release of her memoir, Just As I Am. An actor that was a true inspiration, her breakout role was in Sounder, the Newberry Medal-winning novel by William H. Armstrong. From Tre'vell Anderson in The Washington Post: "What shines most from the memoir is how Tyson’s story, while frankly written and supremely eye-opening, isn’t just her own. It’s also the story of Black women in America, of generations past, present and yet to come, whose wills to survive are divinely gifted and ancestrally guided."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Home Front, by DW Hanneken
2. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
3. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
4. Our Darkest Night, by Jennifer Robson
5. Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler
6. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
7. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
8. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
9. The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn
10. The Coyotes of Carthage, by Steven Wright (Watch the event video here)

As I may have said before, Ecco went with a very different look on Steven Wright's The Coyotes of Carthage for the paperback. Whereas the hardcover used a stylized coyote imagery, the paperback doubles down on the soft money political operative aspect of the novel, and by linking the book visually to The Sellout, plays up the satire over the thriller. Hope this works. I know not every store was hand-selling this book in hardcover, but they should try in paperback. I've found a lot of enthusiastic readers. Tod Goldberg called Coyotes "a crackerjack debut political novel" in USA Today.

The Coyotes of Carthage was a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award, but I can't complain about the winner - it's Everywhere You Don't Belong, by Gabriel Bump, another book that I loved and championed.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Chasing My Cure, by David Fajgenbaum
2. This Land of Snow, by Anders Morley (Register for February 9 event here)
3. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
4. Falling Is Not an Option, by George Locker
5. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. Leisure: The Basis of Culture, by Josef Pieper
7. Small Wonder, by Barbara Kingsolver
8. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
9. How to Prepare for Climate Change, by David Pogue
10. A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

I was convinced Falling Is Not an Option: A Lifelong Way to Balance was a bulk sale, but no, it isn't. George Locker's book (from Bookbaby, so it's a contract-publishing success) looks at the nature of balance and how to use exercises derived from T'ai Chi to better achieve stability - downward motion is the key. Being that both my parents had balance issues in the later years of their life, I'm guessing as to why it's selling. Sure enough, this book is selling from a Jane E. Brody column in The New York Times, an enthusiastic recommendation for the book, despite Locker's perspective as a lay person: "The goal is stability by increasing one’s downward force, and the examples Mr. Locker gave of surfers, skaters and skiers made perfect sense to me. I can easily recall my stable posture when I skated on ice or pavement or skied on water or snow: a semi squat with knees and ankles bent. Although I no longer attempt these sports at age 79, my ability to remain balanced and stable is more important than ever."

Books for Kids:
1. A Thousand No's, by D.J. Corchin
2. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
3. We Are Water Protectors, by Carole Lindstrom, with illustrations by Michaela Goade
4. Unleashed V2, by Amy McCulloch
5. Quincredible V1, by Rodney Barnes
6. Ambitious Girl, by Meena Harris, with illustrations by Marissa Valdez
7. Turtle Boy, by M. Evan Wolkenstein
8. Written in Starlight, by Isabel Ibañez
9. This Is Your Time, by Ruby Bridges
10. Telephone Tales, by Gianni Rodari

The American Library Association book awards were given out this week and the winner of the Caldecott Medal is We Are Water Protectors, "told from the perspective of a Native American child, this bold and lyrical picture book written by Ojibwe/Métis author Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Tlingit artist Michaela Goade." Kirkus Reviews called the book "An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins talks to Lauren Fox about her latest novel, Send for Me, on sale this Tuesday (and yes, our copies are signed by Fox). It is inspired by a cache of letters Fox found from her grandmother. From the story, an explanation from Fox about how the novel came together: ""I've been sitting with them for such a long time," Fox said in a recent interview. "They were just always sort of in my mind and in my heart and just kind of waiting for the right moment." Two things made now the right moment. When she saw the Trump administration separating immigrant families at the U.S. border, she knew how relevant a story about forced family separation would be. Also, from a literary point of view, she realized she could be true to the letters but still write the story as fiction."

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