Sunday, November 28, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending November 27, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending November 27, 2021

People are really taking the advice to shop early this year. We're out of a number of items that are in high demand; many we expect to come back into stock, but there are plenty more which are gone for the season. Like most other stores, we did stock up on a number of titles. Fortunately, the publishers put in place a lot of dating offers to help bookstores make this happen. That said, it's always a bit of a crapshoot.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich
2. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
3. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles
4. Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone V9, by Diana Gabaldon
5. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
6. Our Country Friends, by Gary Shteyngart
7. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
8. Oh William!, by Elizabeth Strout
9. Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen
10. State of Terror, by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny

The Washington Post picked its top 10 for the year, and of the five fiction titles, two made our top ten - Klara and the Sun and Crossroads.

The top debut in hardcover fiction was Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, by Diana Gabaldon. I learned its been seven years since the last major Outlander novel, which has now run to six seasons on Starz. It is clearly the middle of a series, because if you are an outsider, your first question is, why do the bees want to know you're gone? When asked by Maureen Lee Lenker in Entertainment Weekly why it took so long, she answered: "In my own defense, I must note that I wrote four other books during this time period, which I don't normally do. The other thing was that the show started right when the eighth book was published. I'm a consultant on the show, which means that they show me everything and invite my comment on it, which means while they're filming, I get all of the scripts and eight iterations or so of each script as they come in, and I read them all."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. These Precious Days, by Ann Patchett (Tickets for December 7 virtual event here)
2. The Midwest Survival Guide, by Charlie Berens (Tickets for January Riverside events here - provided as a service)
3. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
4. The 1619 Project, by Nikole Hannah-Jones
5. Taste, by Stanley Tucci (Fresh Air interview here)
6. The Storyteller, by Dave Grohl
7. Carnival of Snackery, by David Sedaris (Tickets for December 10 event here)
8. Baking with Dorie, by Dorie Greenspan (Register for December 1 event here)
9. Gastro Obscura, by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras
10. The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story, by Ron Faiola

I don't recall linking to quite so much programming in December. Leading the pack, at least for us, is the first week of Ann Patchett's These Precious Days. You don't have to buy the book to join our event (there's a $5 option, with the proceeds going to BINC, the nonprofit to help booksellers in need - including comic book employees, by the way), but many people have. From Michele Filgate's review in The Washington Post: "To read this piece is to be suspended in the intimacy and connection and collaboration of a friendship between two artists inhabiting the liminal space of terminal illness. Every second is, indeed, precious, and Patchett’s prose is as welcoming and comforting as the chickpea stew Sooki cooks for her."

Paperback Fiction: 
1. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich (a double category number one this week!)
2. The Anomaly, by Herve Le Tellier
3. The Searcher, by Tana French
4. Dune, by Frank Herbert
5. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
6. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
7. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
9. Best American Short Stories 2021, edited by Jesmyn Ward
10. Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

No less than five of this week's top 10 fiction are at least three years old - so much for immediate paperback reprint success. But our top debut, The Anomaly, is actually a 2020 publication in its original French - that's pretty fast for a translated title (thank you, Adriana Hunter!) - and it's even a Prix Goncourt winner. This speculative thriller, one of Jason's top picks for the year, is set in an alternate 2021 and concerns a mysterious Paris-to-New-York flight. From the Kirkus review: " Hunter's brilliant translation from the French - her fifth collaboration with Le Tellier - transforms Le Tellier's distinct French voice into a distinct English one. More importantly, Hunter captures the playful exhilaration with which Le Tellier marries his audacious plot to a deep concern for existentialist philosophy."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. 111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
4. Walking Milwaukee, by Royal Brevvaxling and Molly Snyder
5. Tacky, by Rax King
6. Voices of Milwaukee Bronzeville, by Sandra E Jones
7. The Electricity of Every Living Thing, by Katherine May
8. Sapiens a Graphic History V2, by Yuval Noah Harari
9. Wisconsin Farms and Farmers Markets, by Kristine Hansen
10. Humankind, by Rutger Bregman

What do you know? Humankind: A Hopeful History is a relatively recent paperback on the list selling of the new paperback table. Frans de Waal explains it best: "Humankind is an in-depth overview of what is wrong with the idea is that we humans are by nature bad and unreliable. In vivid descriptions and stories, Rutger Bregman takes us back to the questionable experiments that fed this idea and offers us a more optimistic view of mankind." The book, translated from the Dutch (original title: De Meeste Mensen Deugen) by Erica Moore and Elizabeth Manton, was named the Sapiens of 2020, with the book appearing on several year-end best-of lists. Weirdly enough, that pronouncement from The Guardian is accompanied by the book's only bad review on Bookmarks - also from The Guardian.

Books for Kids:
1. The Fastest Girl on Earth, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley
2. Thank You Dr Salk, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Mike Dutton
3. Mambo Mucho Mambo, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Eric Velasquez
4. Big Shot V16, by Jeff Kinney
5. Norman Didn't Do It, by Ryan T Higgins
6. The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson, with illustrations by Nikkolas Smith
7. The Beatryce Prophecy, by Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by Sophie Blackall
8. The Ones We're Meant to Find, by Joan He (register for December 1 event here)
9. Pony, by RJ Palacio
10. Woodland Dance, by Sandra Boynton

Dean Robbins dominates the top 3 with new picture books connected to a recent series of virtual school visits. The fourth isn't quite out yet. Read the Journal Sentinel piece on Dean's productive year here). The Fastest Girl on Earth is about Kitty O'Neil, a deaf, part-Cherokee stunt driver who broke the woman's land speed record and held it until 2019. From School Library Journal: "Young race fans and car enthusiasts will appreciate these details. There are also author's notes which, like the facts and details, are written with young readers in mind. With exciting prose and positive representation, this book would be an excellent addition to biography collections."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Carole E Barrowman highlights three new mysteries: 
--My Sweet Girl, by Amanda Jayatissa 
--The Ghost Tracks, by Celso Hurtado 
--Death Under the Perseids, by Teresa Dovalpage

Up tomorrow - We've got events again.

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