Sunday, February 21, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 20, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 20, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox (signed copies available again soon - just ask!)
2. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession
3. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
4. The Kindest Lie, by Nancy Johnson (bookplates available)
5. No One Is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood
6. The Court of Silver Flames V4, by Sarah Maas
7. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
8. My Year Abroad, by Chang Rae Lee
9. Anxious People, by Fredrick Backman
10. City of a Thousand Gates (bookplates available)

I am often confused by bestseller categorization, but in what world is The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse a nonfiction story? That's all I have to say about that.

Meanwhile, we've got two new releases and they are both from Riverhead. Making its debut is No One Is Talking About This, which if you watch book news, has completely dominated the hardcover fiction sphere this week. I looked at the Bookmarks report this week for the title, and I don't think I've ever seen so many blocks filled in so quickly. Here's Ron Charles in The Washington Post, who also reviewed Fake Accounts, by Lauren Oyler: "You can hear in these moments Lockwood’s experience as a poet. She’s a master of startling concision when highlighting the absurdities we’ve grown too lazy to notice. 'Every day,” she writes, “their attention must turn, like the shine on a school of fish, all at once, toward a new person to hate. Sometimes the subject was a war criminal, but other times it was someone who made a heinous substitution in guacamole.'"

Adrienne Westenfeld on the Poet Laureate of the internet, in Esquire: "Never has the experience of being Extremely Online been more viscerally rendered." And so forth.

Also from Riverhead is Chang-Rae Lee's My Year Abroad, which is also getting great reviews.   

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Vanguard, by Martha S Jones (Register for our March 29 event here)
2. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley (Register for our February 23 event here)
3. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
4. The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee
5. Under a White Sky, by Elizabeth Kolbert
6. One Drop, by Yaba Blay
7. Between Two Kingdoms, by Suleika Jaouad
8. Four Hundred Souls, edited by Ibram X Kendi and Keisha N Blain
9. Think Again, by Adam Grant
10. Chatter, by Ethan Kross (bookplates available)

Not only is Ibram X Kendi represented in the anthology Four Hundred Souls, but there's also The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, about which Kendi said "This is the book I've been waiting for." McGhee, the former president of the inequality-focused thinktank Demos, has other fans, including Elizabeth Gilbert ("I am grateful for McGhee’s research, her humanity, and her never-more-important teachings") and George Saunders ("A vital, urgent, stirring, beautifully written book that offers a compassionate road map out of our present troubled moment.")

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel
2. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
3. The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins (April Daniel's Lit Group pick- more here on our Boswell-run book clubs)
4. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
5. Oona Out of Order, by Margarita Montimore (Register for March 10 event here)
6. The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste (May Daniel's Lit Group pick)
7. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
8. Writers and Lovers, by Lily King
9. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
10. Temporary, by Hilary Leichter

With a large book club, Ann Patchett scores double slots on this week's top 10 with Dutch House and the book club selection State of Wonder. Two releases that had strong sales in hardcover also arrived - The Glass Hotel, which in hardcover had the honor of being our first event to convert from in-store to virtual, and Writers and Lovers, which was also the subject of a virtual event, but not until December, when King spoke to Lisa and I. We hadn't started recording in April, but here's the Lily King video. Nice to see that they kept the iconic hardcover jackets on all three of these titles - I don't really understand when the publisher changes the jacket on a hit, unless maybe if the hardcover is all type. I tried to find a round-up of misleading mass market jackets of old, but all I found is this post from Tea and Ink Society, an amusing roundup of mostly ebook classics.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
2. Know My Name, by Chanel Miller
3. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
4. How to Do Nothing, by Jenny Odell
5. The Body, by Bill Bryson
6. Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Maree Brown
7. Weather for Dummies, by John D Cox
8. Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
9. Dreyer's English, by Benjamin Dreyer
10. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson

While all our focus with Melville House has been on Leonard and Hungry Paul, they have a national bestseller in Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (which I think we mentioned before, but nonfiction paperback bestsellers doesn't see a lot of new blood. I think what's vital for a bestseller in this category is a quote from Jia Tolentino. She talked up Patricia Lockwood above, and on Odell's debut, she wrote in The New Yorker, where she also reviewed Digital Minimalism: "She struck a hopeful nerve of possibility that I hadn't felt in a long time." That's the pull quote, but here's the caveat: "It is hard to grasp how individual acts of refusal would build collective momentum outside the platforms that they aim to refuse. Last year, after a former employee of the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica revealed that the firm had collected the data of millions of Facebook users and given that data to the Trump campaign, the hashtag #deletefacebook trended—on Twitter."

Books for Kids:
1. Escape Goat, by Ann Patchett, with illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser
2. Lambslide, by Ann Patchett, with illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser
3. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer
4. Alone in the Woods, by Rebecca Behrens
5. Premeditated Myrtle V1, by Elizabeth C Bunce
6. How to Get Away with Myrtle V2, by Elizabeth C Bunce
7. Elevator Bird, by Sarah Williamson
8. Disaster Days, by Rebecca Behrens
9. Milo Imagines the World, by Matt de la Peña with illustrations by Christian Robinson
10. Bunheads, by Misty Copeland with illustrations by Setor Flagzigbey

This week's virtual school visit focus is on Elizabeth C Bunce, whose series of kids mysteries, Premeditated Myrtle and How to Get Away with Myrtle has won raves from the trade critics, with Kirkus noting that the books feature "A saucy, likable heroine shines in a mystery marked by clever, unexpected twists." In even better news, Premeditated Myrtle is shortlisted for an Edgar Award. Now I want to read it! Contact Jenny if your school would like to participate in our virtual school visits. We even have multi-school events where we run the tech.

Check out the Shepherd Express book page for reviews and info about our upcoming event with David Allen Sibley, but note that we are now out of stock on What It's Like to Be a Bird until after the event (and we'll have very nice bookplates!). And while there's nothing new local this week, the Journal Sentinel book page has profiles and reviews as they are released.

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