Sunday, August 22, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending August 21, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending August 21, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
2. Shoulder Season, by Christina Clancy
3. The Cellist, by Daniel Silva
4. Yours Cheerfully, by AJ Pearce
5. We Were Never Here, by Andrea Bartz
6. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
7. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
8. Afterparties, by Anthony Veasna So
9. A Thousand Ships, by Natalie Haynes
10. The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix

In its third week of sales, Afterparties increases sales enough to make it into our top 10. Reviews on this posthumous collection have been spectacular, such as The Washington Post, with Rosa Boshier noting that "So’s stories allow the past to well up into the present without force or preciousness. Afterparties insists on a prismatic understanding of Cambodian American diaspora through stories that burst with as much compassion as comedy, making us laugh just when we’re on the verge of crying." And Boswellian Chris Lee says says, "Call Afterparties the Goodbye, Columbus of Californian Cambodian-American life."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
2. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, by Rebecca Donner (Register for September 23 event here)
3. Frankly We Did Win This Election, by Michael Bender
4. The Reckoning, by Mary Trump
5. Finding the Mother Tree, by Suzanne Simard
6. I Alone Can Fix It, by Carol Leoning and Philip Rucker
7. The Bomber Mafia, by Malcolm Gladwell
8. Refugee High, by Elly Fishman (Register for August 31 event here)
9. Our Own Worst Enemy, by Tom Nichols
10. World Travel, by Anthony Bourdain and Lauren Woolever

It is not common nowadays for me to be able to highlight a bestseller from Oxford, not like the old days when they had a thriving trade list where it was not unusual for their history titles to reach The New York Times top 15. Our Own Worst Enemy : The Assault from within on Modern Democracy is written by a Professor of National Security Affairs at US Naval War College and highlights the rise of illiberal and anti-Democratic movements. This Never-Trump Conservative's prescription includes more widespread military service.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Restaurant Inspector, by Alex Pickett
2. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
3. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
4. The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix
5. The People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
6. The City We Became, by NK Jemisin
7. The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
8. Dune (two editions), by Frank Herbert
9. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong (Register for August 30 book club discussion - no author)
10. The Overstory, by Richard Powers

NK Jemisin's bestselling The City We Became was nominated for the Nebula, Locus, and won the BFSA (British Science Fiction Award). It was also a big hit - we sold almost 100 copies in hardcover. Our Science Fiction Book Club will be discussing it in November. Neil Gaiman called it "a glorious fantasy, set in that most imaginary of cities, New York. It's inclusive in all the best ways, and manages to contain both Borges and Lovecraft in its fabric, but the unique voice and viewpoint are Jemisin's alone."

Paperback Nonfiction: 
1. Milwaukee River Greenway, by Eddee Daniel 
2. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah 
3. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson 
4. Hidden Valley Road, by Robert Kolker 
5. The Beauty in Breaking, by Michale Harper 
6. Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindberg 
7. ABA Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Chuck Hagner 
8. Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, by Anna Lardinois 
9. Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered, by Karen Gilbariff and Georgia Hardstark 
10. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

I was chatting with a reader about books at the store this week and recommended Hidden Valley Road off our book club table. The next day I ran into her at the coffee shop where she was reading outside. She'd already read half the book. I really enjoyed Robert Kolker's family history, but I never thought of it as a fast read. Apparently I was wrong. A relatively late review (January 2021) in Forbes from GrrlScientist notes that the book is "a skillful mix of biography, a history of mental illness and medical case studies - the author alternates, chapter-by-chapter, between sharing some of the Galvin family’s countless struggles and revealing how our scientific understanding of schizophrenia evolved rapidly during the past 50 years." I do not know why the reviewer doesn't use her name.

Books for Kids:
1. Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson
2. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer (Pre-order the paperback)
3. Mightier than the Sword, by Rochelle Melander
4. From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle
5. Peace Train, by Cat Stevens/Peter H Reynolds
6. Time for School, Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle
7. Mindful Mr Sloth, by Katy Hudson
8. Turtle in a Tree, by Neesha Hudson
9. What If, Pig?, by Linzie Hunter
10. This Is Not a Ghost Story, by Andrea Portes

What If, Pig? is a June release in the States, and is the first picture book from Linzie Hunter (born in Scotland, now in England, which as she notes, is similar but different). Publishers Weekly wrote "Lighthearted doodle-adjacent digital art in a vibrant color palette lends Hunter's 'porky panicker' protagonist levity in this cheerful picture book debut." School Library Journal noted its message: "Young readers will learn that being afraid is a common, temporary feeling, and that they can talk to others about it." Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books offered "plenty of silliness."

From Jim Higgins at the Journal Sentinel, a review of Rebecca Donner's NYT bestseller: "In the new biography All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler, Donner brings her ancestor to life through artful use of documents and interviews. Donner is also a novelist, and she tells Harnack's story with dramatic pace and vision. As the story unfolds in time, Harnack and her resistance comrades become like a small cluster of white blood cells targeting the seemingly overwhelming infection that was Nazism." Should we mention again that Donner is planning to visit on September 23? Registration required. We're working on a hybrid option.

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