Sunday, June 20, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending June 19, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending June 19, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
2. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
3. The Bombay Prince, by Sujata Massey
4. The Maidens, by Alex Michaelides
5. The Chosen and the Beautiful, by Nghi Vo
6. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
7. That Summer, by Jennifer Weiner
8. The Other Black Girl, Zakiya Dalila Harris
9. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox
10. The Sweetness of Water, by Nathan Harris

Jennifer Weiner follows Big Summer, her biggest hit (at least for us) in years with That Summer. Maureen Corrigan in The Washington Post writes: "Weiner has made a major literary career out of writing engrossing popular novels that take women seriously. At their most basic, all of her stories are about women trying to hold on to themselves in a world intent on diminishing them. That Summer is more explicitly a political novel than most in that its plot is informed by the rise of the #MeToo movement and the seismic shift in attitudes toward men who claim their actions should be excused because of their youth or because their victims were drunk or dressed provocatively or . . . just because. The intertwined story lines of That Summer concern two women, both named Diana, who have been harmed in different ways by a man. And that’s only the beginning of what these 'two Dianas' have in common."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten House, by Nicholas D Hayes
2. Finding the Mother Tree, by Suzanne Simard
3. The Bomber Mafia, by Malcolm Gladwell
4. Anthopocene Reviewed, by John Green
5. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
6. The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee
7. Shape, by Jordan Ellenberg
8. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
9. The Secret to Superhuman Strength, by Alison Bechdel
10. Noise, by Daniel Kahneman

With the release of Japanese Breakfast's new album, it seems like Crying in H Mart has had a second wind of sales momentum. Here's Jillian Mapes in Pitchfork reviewing Jubilee: " Some have positioned Taylor Swift’s folklore as the great nexus of pop music and indie culture, but an album like Jubilee is a more interesting example of pop’s fluidity: a true blue rock star tempered in the waters of shoegaze, Pacific Northwest rock, and twee, making music that naturally bridges the gap between dream pop and electropop. It’s an exuberant listen that feels of the moment and also steeped in classic indie sensibilities, packed with Zauner’s sharp observations and frank desires."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
2. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
3. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
4. One Last Stop, by Casey McQuiston
5. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession
6. Circe, by Madeline Miller
7. Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
8. Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu
9. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
10. The Lives of Edie Pritchard, by Larry Watson (Register for June 23 summer reading event here)

If you saw the actual numbers, you would probably big deal us, but remember we're just one independent bookstore and it isn't Christmas. That said, I think our paperback fiction bestsellers have the most vibrant all around numbers that I've seen since 2019. Helping things along is the release of Mexican Gothic, the breakout bestseller from Silvia Moreno Garcia. Jessica P Wick wrote on the NPR website: "There is a gradual rise of dread in Mexican Gothic. It never quite falls off, even at the end, which I loved for its satisfying ambiguity; this is a novel that will leave you wary even after the last page. Mexican Gothic touches on racial, class, and labor inequity, the way these things fester, infusing the landscape and blighting generations. High Place is haunted by memory. The very air is possessed. This is Silvia Moreno-Garcia's greatness as a storyteller: She makes you uneasy about invisible things by writing around them. Even when you think you know what lurks, the power to unsettle isn't diminished. Secrets brought to light stay disquieting."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
2. Healing the Human Body with God's Remedies, by Lester Carter
3. American Nations, by Colin Woodard
4. Undocumented Americans, by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
5. The Brothers, by Stephen Kinzer
6. Growing Old, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
7. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
8. Spirit Run, by Noé Alvarez
9. Welcome to our World, by Sarah Williams Goldhagen
10. Backroads and Byways of Wisconsin, by Kevin Revolinski

Out in April in paperback was The Undocumented Americans, by Karla Cornejo Vilvicencio. Finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, it was also shortlisted for the Porchlight Business Book Award. Natasha Walter offers this in The Guardian: "I have never read anything that so captures the pain of the migrant child of migrants. This book bears witness to the great violence of our times: the violence of borders, which has seeped into all our lives. It also reveals the empathy and courage we might need to move beyond these dark years."

Books for Kids:
1. Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
2. One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
3. Weird but True Animals, By National Geographic Kids
4. Q and U Call It Quits, by Stef Wade, with illustrations by Jorge Martin
5. Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Boulley (Register for June 29 event here)
6. What Is God Like, by Rachel Held Evans
7. The Box in the Woods, by Maureen Johnson
8. When Lola Visits, by Michelle Sterling
9. Peacemaker, by Joseph Bruchac
10. Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo

Milwaukee-area writer Stef Wade has another winner in Q and U Call It Quits, her third picture book. From the starred School Library Journal review: "This humorous and punny alphabet book highlighting letter blends features colorful and vibrant digitally rendered illustrations. Letter blends within the text are appropriately highlighted in red, making it easy to share examples with young readers. Wade's quirky story pairs well with the personified letters in Anne Marie Houppert's What About X? An Alphabet Adventure."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews The Witness for the Dead, the latest fantasy from Katherine Addison, whom you also know as Sara Monette. He writes: "Set in the same universe but not a direct sequel, the Madison writer's new novel Witness for the Dead centers on Thara Celehar, a middle-aged cleric living in a provincial city. He's absented himself from the imperial capital both because of a personal scandal and because he solved the assassination of the previous emperor, upsetting some. His past and enemies still make trouble for him." It's "satisfying mystery fiction" and "strong fantasy," with a "probing character study" and a "fascinating and involving treatment" of religion.

Higgins talks to Addison/Monette on July 7. Register here.

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