Sunday, August 29, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending August 28, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending August 28, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Madness of Crowds, by Louise Penny
2. Lightning Strike, by William Kent Krueger (Register September 2 virtual event here)
3. Shoulder Season, by Christina Clancy
4. The Blacktongue Thief, by Christopher Buehlman (signed copies available)
5. The Love Songs of WEB Du Bois, by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
6. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
7. Billy Summers, by Stephen King
8. Damnation Spring, by Ash Davidson
9. The Last Thing He Told Me, by Laura Dave
10. The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix

Once again, a new Louise Penny trounces all comers. The Madness of Crowds is Gamache #17, and goodness, I still remember selling #1 at Schwartz and talking to the sales rep about how well we were doing. Booklist's starred review notes the setup: "It begins when Chief Inspector Gamache is ordered to provide security for a lecture by controversial statistics professor Abigail Robinson, who argues that further pandemics can be eliminated by a program of mandatory euthanasia targeting at-risk groups, including the elderly and the disabled."

I should note that The Love Songs of WEB DuBois from Honorée Fanonne Jeffers was just noted as the best reviewed fiction on LitHub's Bookmarks program this week with seven rave reviews, and that doesn't include Oprah. One is from Veronica Chambers in The New York Times, who wrote, "The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is quite simply the best book that I have read in a very, very long time. I will avoid the cliché of calling it 'a great American novel.' Maybe the truest thing I could say is that this is an epic tale of adventure that brings to mind characters you never forget"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
2. Hero of Two Worlds, by Mike Duncan
3. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, by Rebecca Donner (In person at capacity - we'll have a virtual registration by Monday)
4. Finding the Mother Tree, by Suzanne Simard
5. Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green
6. This Is Your Mind on Plants, by Michael Pollan
7. All In, by Billie Jean King
8. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
9. Dopamine Nation, by Anna Lembke
10. Refugee High, by Elly Fishman (Register to attend August 31 event here. Register to watch the event virtually here.)

Podcaster Mike Duncan had a very strong first-week showing for Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution, but he couldn't outperform the Giannis bio. Publishers Weekly called this "a comprehensive and accessible biography" while Booklist notes that "Duncan offers solid historical research in a hip, humorous, and appealing voice."

Paperback Fiction
1. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
2. Dune (two editions), by Frank Herbert
3. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
4. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
5. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
6. Circe, by Madeline Miller
7. People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
8. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
9. The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix
10. The Paris Connection, by Lorraine Brown

The Paris Connection once again proves the adage that putting the Eiffel Tower on any book automatically increases sales. The publisher is calling this the One Day in December for 2021. Per the publisher, Brown "was one of 11 mentees chosen to be part of Penguin Random House UK’s 2017 WriteNow program, which aims to launch the careers of writers from under-represented communities."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1 .The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
2. In the Shadow of Powers, by Patrick Bellegarde-Smith
3. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
4. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
5. Agent Sonya, by Ben Macintyre
6. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
7. Van Gogh, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
8. Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, by Christopher De Hamel
9. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
10. Wisconsin Farms and Farmers Markets, by Kristine Hansen

Price point pressure - it's interesting to note that five of the top 10 paperbacks on this list are priced at over $20 and only #1, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, is as low as $17, which used to be the de facto for nonfiction narrative paperbacks. It's now $18-19, by the way. Is it unrelated that we're struggling to break out paperback nonfiction? Ben McIntyre's latest, Agent Sonya: The Spy Next Door has its best showing it its fifth week of paperback sale. Its paperback sales have now surpassed its hardcover total - that can be tough in nonfiction.

Books for Kids:
1. Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson
2. Pigeon Has to Go to School, by Mo Willems
3. Rite of Passage, by Richard Wright
4. Oh the Places You'll Go, by Dr Seuss
5. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake (Register for September 15 virtual event here)
6. Mindful Mr. Sloth, by Katy Hudson
7. Regina Is Not a Little Dinosaur, by Andrea Zuill
8. Three Cheers for Kid McGeer, by Sherri Duskey Rinker
9. Turtle in a Tree, by Neesha Hudson
10. We Don't Eat Our Classmates, by Ryan T Higgins

A lesson on mindfulness appears in the new picture book release, Mindful Mr. Sloth, by Katy Hudson, author of Bear and Duck and Too Many Carrots. I should note that this is Hudson's bestselling book to date at Boswell. Publisher notes that "story themes of mindfulness and friendship combine perfectly with SEL core competencies of social awareness and relationship skills."

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