Sunday, November 14, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 13, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 13, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich
2. Our Country Friends, by Gary Shteyngart (Register for November 17 virtual event here)
3. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
4. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles
5. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
6. Oh, William!, by Elizabeth Strout
7. Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen
8. State of Terror, by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny
9. Shoulder Season, by Christina Clancy (Clancy is conversation partner for Rachel Kapelke-Dale on December 15)
10. Invisible Life of Addie Larue special edition, by VE Schwab

We had a very strong week for Louise Erdrich's The Sentence, but it wasn't a runaway #1, beating out Gary Shteyngart's Our Country Friends by one copy. Ron Charles is among the raves, this from The Washington Post: "The coronavirus pandemic is still raging away and God knows we’ll be reading novels about it for years, but Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence may be the best one we ever get. Neither a grim rehashing of the lockdown nor an apocalyptic exaggeration of the virus, her book offers the kind of fresh reflection only time can facilitate, and yet it’s so current the ink feels wet."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Woodrow on the Bench, by Jenna Blum
2. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
3. The Dawn of Everything, by David Graeber and David Wengrow
4. Red Roulette, by Desmond Shum
5. Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story, by Ron Faiola
6. Taste, by Stanley Tucci
7. Gastro Obscura, by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras (Register for November 15 virtual event here)
8. Shape, by Jordan Ellenberg
9. Lyrics: 1956 to Present, by Paul McCartney
10. Powers and Thrones, by Dan Jones

Top new nonfiction honors go to Woodrow on the Bench, which was the subject of an event at Shully's in Thiensville. Runner up is The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, written by anthropologist David Graeber (recently lost to necrotizing pancreatitis) and archeologist David Wengrow. From Jennifer Schuessler's profile in The New York Times: "In a video interview last month, Wengrow, a professor at University College London, slipped into a mock-grandiose tone to recite one of Graeber’s favorite catchphrases: 'We are going to change the course of human history - starting with the past.' More seriously, Wengrow said, The Dawn of Everything - which weighs in at a whopping 704 pages, including a 63-page bibliography - aims to synthesize new archaeological discoveries of recent decades that haven’t made it out of specialist journals and into public consciousness."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
2. Dune, by Frank Herbert (two editions)
3. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession
4. There There, by Tommy Orange
5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
6. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox
7. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
8. Circe, by Madeline Miller
9. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
10. The Chanel Sisters, by Judithe Little

This week's top ten honors includes the National Book Critics Circle Awards winner (Hamnet), two Pulitzer winners (The Overstory and The Night Watchman) and the runners up in the TikTok Choice Awards (Circe and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo), which of course lost to "anything by Colleen Hoover." But the only new book on the list is The Chanel Sisters, by Judith Little, subject of the Ozaukee Family Services brunch with Barbara Rinella at Shully's (yes, we were there twice this week). Susan Meissner said this story, about Antoinette and Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, is "beautifully told to the last page.”

Book dramatist Barbara Rinella started honing her skills when she was a teacher at New Trier High School, in order to engage her students. More here.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Life in Short, by Dasha Kelly Hamilton
2. Milwaukee River Greenway, by Eddee Daniel
3. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
4. Being Adopted, by Amy Wilkerson
5. Tacky, by Rax King
6. Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi
7. Voices of Milwaukee Bronzeville, by Dr Sandra E Jones (Register for November 18 in-store event here or register for virtual broadcast here)
8. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
9. Radical Ambivalence, by Angela O'Donnell
10. On Story Parkway, by Jim Cryns

Our newsletter landed this week and while most of the focus is on hardcovers, we have a page of featured paperbacks, including Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offer, by Rax King. Praise comes from Kristin Arnett, Samantha Irby, and Hanif Abdurraqib, who notes "The meditations in the book are equal parts comical, heartbreaking, and revelatory. A monument to uplifting the parts of popular culture that might otherwise be shrugged off and/or dismissed by those who don't have the imagination to celebrate what they might consider mundane." Plus it's a Madi rec.

Books for Kids:
1. The Fishermen, the Horse, and the Sea, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
2. Change Sings, by Amanda Gorman, with illustrations by Loren Long
3. Norman Didn't Do It, by Ryan T Higgins
4. Mindful Mr Sloth, by Katy Hudson
5. Just Be Claus, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Kimberley Barnes
6. The Snowy Day board book, by Ezra Jack Keats
7. Roxy, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman (Register for November 16 in-store event here, or watch it virtually by registering here)
8. The Animals' Santa board book, by Jan Brett
9. Big Shot V16, by Jeff Kinney
10. The Story Orchestra: The Magic Flute, by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

Top honors for the week go to Barbara Joosse, who actually has two new releases (including Just Be Claus), both in our top 10. We've just had a virtual school visit with her, but she was also a hit at Ozaukee Family Services, being that so many of the attendees have worked with her over the years. The Fishermen, the Horse, and the Sea, is based on a story about young Lester Smith who helped with a dramatic rescue at sea (in the book) and went on to found Smith Brothers (not part of this story), the beloved Port Washington fish eatery. I went there with my parents!

Tomorrow - one last packed week of events before our Thanksgiving event break.

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