Sunday, August 1, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending July 31, 2021

The hits from coast to coast!* Boswell top tens for the week ending July 25, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Godspeed, by Nickolas Butler (Conversation video)
2. The Women's March, by Jennifer Chiaverini (Register for August 5 event here)
3. The Book of Accidents, by Chuck Wendig (Conversation video)
4. The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix
5. The Midnight Library, By Matt Haig (Conversation video)
6. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
7. The Comfort of Monsters, by Willa C Richards (Conversation video)
8. Shoulder Season, by Christina Clancy (Conversation video)
9. The Cellist, by Daniel Silva
10. Great Circle, by Maggie Shipstead (Conversation video)

It's our perception that sales are up at Boswell, but betseller numbers are down. But when I looked at Daniel Silva's The Cellist, pretty much the only author in our top ten that had a comparable title last year, his numbers tracked identical to the first two weeks of The Order, which is now out in paperback. From Olivia Flores Alvarez in Houston Magazine: "Lots of books and movies use the 'torn from the headlines' tag line. It’s usually just PR, but, in this case, it’s a literal description of The Cellist."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. I Alone Can Fix It, by Carol Leoning and Philip Rucker
2. Effortless, by Greg McKeown
3. Athropocene Reviewed, by John Green
4. How the Word Is Passed, by Clint Smith
5. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
6. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
7. This Is Your Mind on Plants, by Michael Pollan
8. What Happened to You, by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey
9. The Orphans of Davenport, by Marilyn Brookwood
10. Frankly We Did Win This Election, by Michael C Bender

While we did not have a huge sales pop for What Happened to You?:Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, sales have been fairly consistent since. They were on Brené Brown's podcast last May.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
2. The People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
3. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
4. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession (conversation video)
5. Circe, by Madeline Miller
6. Northernmost, by Peter Geye (conversation video)
7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
8. How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig
9. Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi
10. The Restaurant Inspector, by Alex Pickett (Register for August 17 event here)

Larry Watson, in a recent conversation, reinforced that he doesn't write Western Fiction, despite being connected to Montana. Like Louise Erdrich (#1 paperback this week), he considers his closest literary state tie to be North Dakota, and champions the cause of Northern Fiction. You'd probably add Nickolas Butler to that list, whose previous books were in Wisconsin, but currently has a #1 Wyoming-set bestseller here, and Peter Geye, whose latest novel, Northernmost, takes place in Minnesota and Norway (corrected). Urban Waite in the San Francisco Chronicle called the book "an intricate and beautifully written story" about surviving nature and darkness, but also "the story of love, marriage and, in the broader sense, life."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, by Anna Lardinois (event video)
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. Superior, by Angela Saini
4. The Beauty in Breaking, by Michele Harper
5. Sacred Path Companion, by Lauren Artress
6. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
7. Four Chinese Classic, by David Hinton
8. Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X Kendi
9. From Coin Toss to Championship, by Rick Schabowski
10. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson

While The Beauty in Breaking had a nice pop on the hardcover bestseller lists, it's ensconced on the paperback list for a long haul. Doctor narratives have had long and storied bestseller runs, and Harper, telling the story from a less-told perspective of a Black Woman, breaks new ground. You'll find the book on our book club recommendation table at Boswell. From my staff rec: "In each chapter, she treats patients through the prism of her own experience – her abusive father, her failed marriage, her lifeline of meditation and yoga, the compassion she’s learned, and the racism and sexism she’s experienced...Dr. Harper eloquently chronicles her own life experiences as we learn valuable life lessons, and that’s the beauty in The Beauty in Breaking.

Books for Kids:
1. Mightier than the Sword, by Rochelle Melander (conversation video)
2. What Is God Like, by Rachel Held Evans
3. Saint Spotting, by Chris Raschka
4. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer (conversation video)
5. What Are the Summer Olympics, by Gail Herman
6. All Our Hidden Gifts, by Caroline O'Donoghue
7. Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas
8. Gods and Monsters, by Shelby Mahurin
9. Paz, by Baptise Pauland Miranda Paul (yes, this is the Spanish-language version)
10. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake (Register for September 15 event here)

Whatever the Olympics are, they are different this year than they are normally. In What Are the Summer Olympics?, Gail Herman explains the games' history, starting in 775 BC and revived in 1896. The book came out for 2016, but our buyer brought some in to repromote for the 2021 games.

We have to do another shout out here, for All Our Hidden Gifts, the Young Adult novel from Caroline O'Donoghue, "an emotionally rich novel of loneliness, friendship, and sacrifice," per Boswellian Jenny Chou.

Jenny got to interview O'Donoghue for The Boswellians blog. Here she talks about her long-time interest in tarot cards, which connects to the story: "I got my first pack of tarot cards when I was twelve, and much like Maeve, brought them into class and read for anyone. I was terrible, I didn’t really understand the point of tarot cards at all, but it didn’t matter because all the girls in my class were immediately swept up in the romance of them. Years later, in my 20s, I got back into them again and they became a huge hobby and interest of mine. I love their history, how open for interpretation they are, how wonderful they are as a tool for self reflection."

This is a reference to American Top 40, which I listened to regularly for many years growing up. Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee River? Rock River? Hard to say.

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