Sunday, July 11, 2021

Boswell bestsellers - week ending July 10, 2021

Here's what's selling at Boswell - week ending July 10, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Shoulder Season, by Christina Clancy
2. The Forest of Vanishing Stars, by Kristin Harmel (Register for July 26 event here)
3. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
4. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. The Paper Palace, by Miranda Cowley Heller
6. The Witness for the Dead, by Katherine Addison
7. Razorblade Tears, by SA Cosby (Register for July 20 event here)
8. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
9. The Paris Library, by Janet Skeslien Charles
10. The Personal Librarian, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Libraries are the new bookstores, at least when it comes to subject matter! With three library-themed novels in our top ten, we probably should give a nod to The Personal Librarian, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. I'm not sure it took me until now to realize that Marie Benedict was a pseudonym for fiction writer Heather Terrell. I can thank Karen Grisby Bates for that revelation, as well as this great review on NPR: "Benedict, who is white, and Murray, who is African American, do a good job of depicting the tightrope Belle walked, and her internal conflict from both sides — wanting to adhere to her mother's wishes and move through the world as white even as she longed to show her father she was proud of her race. Like Belle and her employer, Benedict and Murray had almost instant chemistry, and as a result, the book's narrative is seamless. And despite my aversion to the passing trope, I became hooked."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee
2. Stories to Tell, by Richard Marx
3. Finding the Mother Tree, by Suzanne Simard
4. How the Word Is Passed, by Clint Smith
5. This Is Your Mind on Plants, by Michael Pollan
6. Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten House, by Nicholas D Hayes
7. Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green
8. Somebody's Daughter, by Ashley C Ford
9. The Comfort Book, by Matt Haig
10. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle

With The Midnight Library regularly in our top 5 (and that's true for the national bestseller lists too) and How to Stop Time also seeing a sales resurgence, it's a great time for Matt Haig's latest nonfiction title, The Comfort Book. Up until his latest novel, his most popular book was a similarly packaged-to-this nonfiction title, Reasons to Stay Alive. It's got a yay from Booklist ("This is a book we all need and deserve") and a nay from Kirkus (not bothering to quote). Haig was just profiled in Entertainment Weekly by Seija Rankin, where he gives a shout out to my 6-days-a-week breakfast, toast and peanut butter*.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
2. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
3. Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu
4. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession
5. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
6. One Last Stop, by Casey McQuiston
7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
8. The People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
9. Woman 99, by Greer Macallister
10. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune

I shouldn't call Anxious People Fredrik Backman's comeback novel, but it was by far his most successful for both us, and if you look at chart performance at least, nationally, since A Man Called Ove. Our rec from Kira (now resettled in Utah) offered this praise: "His ability to really put into writing all of the facets of human nature, and to weave together a story that's at once multifaceted, compelling, laugh-out-loud funny, and utterly relatable is a gift, and I'm thankful to experience it. Anxious People and all of the ridiculous, complex characters within hold that truly perfect blend of depth and levity that Backman has perfected in his novels..."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
2. Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, by Anna Lardinois (Register for July 13 event here)
3. Plenty Good Room, by Marilyn Thornton
4. One Person, No Vote, by Carol Anderson
5. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. New York Times Cooking No Recipe Recipes, by Sam Sifton
7. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
8. Holding Change, by adrienne maree brown
9. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
10. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation is the latest in a series of books on Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown, based on the philosophical underpinnings of Octavia Butler's Earthseed books.

Books for Kids:
1. Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo
2. Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older
3. Before We Were Free, by Julia Alvarez
4. Any Way the Wind Blows, by Rainbow Rowell
5. Aru Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi
6. Storm Runner, by JC Cervantes
7. Everything You Need to Ace World History, from Workman
8. Wave, by Suzy Lee
9. Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt
10. Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, by America's Test Kitchen

Any Way the Wind Blows is the third (and final?) title in the Simon Snow trilogy. I've seen too many trilogies become a quartet to be confident that this series has ended. Everything says it's a finale! Rowell talked to Joanna Robinson for Vanity Fair, who noted: "All the same fun trappings of the first two Simon Snow books are also here, including the clever conceit that magic is found in repeating common phrases or lyrics — hence the familiar-sounding book titles. Simon, Baz, and the rest also have to deal with the rise of a new charismatic Chosen One who rushes in to fill the vacuum left by a magic-less Snow."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins profiles Willa C Richards, author of the Milwaukee-set debut, The Comfort of Monsters (on sale July 13). Higgins notes the novel "grew out of an excavation. Patricia Richards, the novelist's mother, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee anthropologist and experienced human burial excavator, was approached for help by people convinced their loved one was buried at the Milwaukee County institutional grounds. Willa volunteered to help her mother on that project. That experience got her pondering why so many cold cases remain 'intractably unsolved,' she said, even with advances in forensic science. She also considered how resources and attention for smaller cases can be subsumed by much larger ones." Our event is July 14. Register here.

*sans Marmite

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