Sunday, September 19, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending September 18, 2021

Another exciting fall week at Boswell - here are the bestsellers for the week ending September 18, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
2. Beautiful World, Where Are You, by Sally Rooney
3. Apples Never Fall, by Liane Moriarty
4. Matrix, by Lauren Groff (NBA Longlist)
5. The Paper Palace, by Miranda Cowley Heller
6. The Love Songs of WEB Du Bois, by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers (NBA Longlist)
7. Velvet Was the Night, by Silvia Moreno Garcia
8. Slow Fire Burning, by Paula Hawkins
9. Lightning Strike, by William Kent Krueger
10. The Guide, by Peter Heller

Another week of high-profile new releases is led by Colson Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle, his take on a mystery. Bookmarks collected 16 raves and 4 positives on his latest, which also got a great recommendation by Tim at Boswell. From Clifford Thompson in The Wall Street Journal: "The book might be called 'Colson Comes to Harlem,' because in bringing his singular gifts to this storied place, the novelist turns to the crime genre ... In his eminently enjoyable new novel, Mr. Whitehead’s various powers have attained something like equilibrium. The humor and flashes of the old word-wizardry are there, as is the philosophical subtext; race, while not foregrounded the way it is in The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, is woven inextricably into the background, like subtle but effective film music."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Fuzz, by Mary Roach (Register for September 27 event here)
2. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
3. Feed the Wolf, by Jon M Sweeney (Register for September 30 event here)
4. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, by Rebecca Donner (Register for September 23 event here)
5. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
6. Let's Do Dinner, by Antoni Porowski
7. The Reckoning, by Mary Trump
8. Redeeming Justice, by Jarrett Adams (Register for September 24 event here)
9. The Bomber Mafia, by Malcolm Gladwell
10. Wintering, by Katherine May

It usually seems like we have more bestsellers on the fiction side linked to upcoming events, but nonfiction takes the crown this week with four slots linked to programming. At the head of the pack is Mary Roach's Fuzz - the Fuzz patch give-away certainly helped. We're not quite out yet.

Peter Fish in The San Francisco Chronicle, with his of-the-moment comparison: "Mary Roach is the Deborah Vance of science writing. As played by Jean Smart in the HBO series Hacks, Vance is the raucous, sequin-suited Las Vegas comic who’s made a career mining laughs out of cheating husbands, sleazy boyfriends and botched plastic surgery. And Roach? She’s built her impressive literary presence in part by mining laughs out of topics that fascinate us but also make us squirm. In Stiff, the Oakland author explored what happens to our bodies after we die. (Spoiler alert: nothing pretty.)... Here is Roach’s and Vance’s shared secret: Beneath laughter lies wisdom. What the two grasp is that to truly understand life, death, sex, love and the other mysteries of the universe, it helps to wield some killer jokes."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
2. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo (The current Literary Journeys selection)
3. People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
5. Circe, by Madeline Miller
6. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox (Register for September 28 event here)
7. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
8. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
9. The Book of Two Ways, by Jodi Picoult
10. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell

Our bestselling Louise Erdrich hardcover (since we opened in 2009, and going back a little further looking at the Downer Schwartz numbers) remains The Round House by a bit, but It won't be too much longer until The Night Watchman tops that National Book Award winner in paperback sales. It becomes a question of when the award is given and how that falls into the paperback release schedule.

For its second week on sale, the paperback of Jodi Picoult's The Book of Two Ways jumps into our top ten. I can't say whether she's done this before, but this is Picoult's Sliding Doors novel, or should I now call it her Midnight Library novel, about a woman who has two possible futures after a crash landing. Karin Tanabe wrote in The Washington Post, "In the mood to contemplate your own mortality? Then Jodi Picoult has the book for you...The Book of Two Ways is a return for Picoult to the themes of her earliest books - motherhood, complicated romantic love...Picoult, at this point in her career, could skillfully build tension in a broom closet, but the best part of this book is not the suspense; it’s the look at the complexity of a woman as she enters middle age." If you love Picoult, her next book, Wish You Were Here, is coming late November. You might wish to put off preordering for a few weeks - fingers crossed.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Gift of Years, by Joan Chittister
2. My Meteorite, by Harry Dodge
3. New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes, by Sam Sifton
4. We Keep the Dead Close, by Becky Cooper
5. The Lazy Genius Way, by Kendra Adachi
6. Milwaukee River Greenway, by Eddee Daniel
7. On Story Parkway, by Jim Cryns
8. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
9. The Dressmakers of Auschwitz, by Lucy Adlington
10. Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr

There's a story for just about every book in the top 10. We could shout out We Keep the Dead Close, a true crime book that had strong sales and several great recommendations from Boswellians. Or I could note that Milwaukee Greenway (we're getting this book indexed for our website still) inspired a walk with my friend John along the Milwaukee River on Saturday - we found steps to nowhere that probably were the remnants of a path from the train tracks down to the river, where there were several shacks in the past.

Congrats to Jim Cryns for getting his book On Story Parkway: Remembering County Stadium in our top 10 - he's written all kinds of books, but this is selling the best for us of the last few. It's a good year to have a Milwaukee baseball book - The New York Times just profiled Craig Counsell. On Story Parkway has 152 never-seen-before photos.

Books for Kids:
1. Fast Pitch, by Nic Stone
2. Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
3. Defy the Night, by Brigid Kemmerer
4. Egg Marks the Spot, by Amy Timberlake and Jon Klassen
5. The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race V7, by Max Brallier
6. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse and Renee Graef
7. How to Find What You're Not Looking For, by Veera, Hiranandani
8. Eyes of the Forest, by April Henry
9. Playing with Fire, by April Henry
10. Room on the Broom board book, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Speaking of baseball, Jenny's been working on a school program for Nic Stone, the author of Dear Martin and other Boswell favorites. Fast Pitch is a middle grade (8 and up) story of the Fulton Firebirds, a girl's softball team and a pitcher, Shenice Lockwood, whose aiming for a regional championship, who is given her Great Grampy JonJon's baseball mitt and uncovers a mystery about his life. Kirkus writes, "This energetic, engaging, complex novel will appeal to readers whether or not they are fans of baseball. A grand slam of an adventure." And Publishers Weekly proclaimed, "Black Girl Magic hits a home run in Stone's latest novel." 

No comments: