Sunday, March 14, 2021

What's selling at Boswell for the week ending March 13, 2021

 Here's what's selling at Boswell for the week ending March 13, 2021. It's kind of a call-and-reply thing with a lot of clauses.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Tickets for March 16 event here)
2. Brood, by Jackie Polzin (Register for March 18 event here)
3. Transient Desires, by Donna Leon
4. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox
5. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
6. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
7. The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah
8. Committed, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
9. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession
10. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

I don't know if it's because of the 30th anniversary or because our very popular event last year with Donna Leon spurred folks to rediscover the series, but we had a very nice first week for Transient Desires. Mark Saunderson called the new book "an epic achievement in the London Times (registration required to see full review). We don't have an event with Leon this year, but there's a nice ticketed one with Cara Black (another of our favorite mystery writers!) on March 18 at what my calculations make to be 11 am Central time) on March 18. Tickets here.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Beloved Beasts, by Michelle Nijhuis
2. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Ellen Sibley (still have bookplates!)
3. The Code Breaker, by Walter Isaacson
4. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
5. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
6. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, by Bill Gates
7. Three Ordinary Girls, by Tim Brady (Register for March 24 event here)
8. My Inner Sky, by Mari Andrew
9. Four Hundred Souls, edited by Ibram X Kendi and Keisha N Blain
10. Think Again, by Adam Grant

Walter Isaccson's new book is The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race. Per Sam Kean in The Washington Post, "Isaacson’s motivation for writing the book was simple. 'There’s a joy that springs from fathoming how something works,' he says. Moreover, CRISPR is the most powerful DNA-editing tool humankind has ever possessed, and 'figuring out if and when to edit our genes,' he notes, 'will be one of the most consequential questions of the twenty-first century.'" Later: "Isaacson also argues that the pandemic will permanently remake science itself, 'reminding scientists of the nobility of their mission' and reversing long-standing trends toward commercialized research. Count me skeptical: I suspect that those trends, while on pause, will continue in the After."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins (more about Boswell book-club meetings)
2. Behind the Lens, by Jeanné Sacken (Register for March 23 event here)
3. The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn
4. Normal People, by Sally Rooney
5. Act Your Age, Eve Brown V3, by Talia Hibbert
6. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
7. Deacon King Kong, by James McBride
8. The Girl with the Louding Voice (Register for March 25 event here)
9. Dune, by Frank Herbert
10. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune

Continuing the code breaker theme of hardcover nonfiction with The Rose Code, the new novel from Kate Quinn, still best known for The Alice Network. Here's Stephanie Dray (who herself has a Boswell virtual event on April 12 - ticket information available here) on The Rose Code: "Kate Quinn does it again! This rollicking tale of espionage and female solidarity is a tour de force that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. For the quirky, complicated and unforgettable women of Bletchley Park, beneath the lipstick and lace lurks a gritty life of danger and daring. From frantic efforts to decode Nazi messages to the consequences of treason and secret-keeping in the post-war jubilation, there's never a dull moment. The Rose Code is pure genius and Quinn's best... so far.” Denise Davidson profiles Quinn in The San Diego Union Tribune.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, by Julia Pandl
2. The Body is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor
3. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
4. The Adventurer's Son, by Roman Dial
5. How to Do Nothing, by Jenny Odell
6. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
7. My Grandmother's Hands, by Resmaa Menakem
8. The Rise of Wolf 8, by Rick McIntyre
9. Hidden Valley Road, by Robert Kolker
10. We Do This 'Til We Free Us, by Mariame Kaba

For those waiting for another book by Jon Krakauer, you might want to check out The Adventurer's Son by Roman Dial while you're waiting. It's the story of Alaskan adventurer Roman Dial's search for his son, who went missing in Costa Rica. From Blair Braverman's New York Times review: "It’s at this point, roughly halfway through the book, that the narrative kicks into high gear; I read the rest in one sitting. Dial traveled to Costa Rica, searching for evidence of whether his son was dead or alive: a backpack left at a hostel, a rumored sighting of a young white man walking with the infamous drug dealer Pata Lora, a mysterious phone call claiming his son had been kidnapped by a criminal, a 'black snake.' With each clue, the mystery deepens. Did Roman get caught up in the drug trade, or change his identity and run away? Did he die in the jungle of a flash flood or dengue fever, a tree fall, an injury turned septic, dehydration? Was he murdered?"

Books for Kids:
1. American Betiya, by Anuradha Rajurkar
2. Amina's Song, by Hena Khan (Cosponsored event on March 21, watch here)
3. Escape Goat, by Ann Patchett/Robin Preiss Glasser
4. Elephant in the Room, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
5. Maze Me, by Naomi Shihab Nye
6. Everywhere Babies board book, by Susan Meyers
7. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
8. Lambslide, by Ann Patchett/Robin Preiss Glasser
9. Breathless, by Jennifer Niven
10. Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander

The newest novel from Holly Goldberg Sloan (Counting by 7s, Appleblossom the Possum) is The Elephant in the Room. In this new middle grade novel, Sila misses her mom, who has gone back to Turkey to retrieve documents so that she can stay in the United States. Meanwhile, Sila and her father befriend a local man who has adopted an elephant from a disbanded circus, but the story is also about Sila's friendship with a classmate whom she is paired with and learns to overcome differences. From Kirkus: "Writing from multiple points of view, old and young, animal and human, Sloan captures the importance of compassion and bravery when facing life's challenges. While the shifts in perspective limit character development, themes of collectivity and community in the face of isolation and stigma are brought to the surface and themselves offer depth to this heartfelt and sincere story. Accessibly captures the human impact of harsh immigration laws and the power of connection." Two other reviewers liked it but found the ending to be almost unnaturally upbeat and tied together, but one of them noted that younger readers will probably appreciate this.

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