Sunday, February 20, 2022

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 19, 2022

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 19, 2022

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Shoulder Season, by Christina Clancy
2. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles (tickets for cosponsored May 18 event here)
3. House of Sky and Breath, by Sarah J Maas
4. Moon Witch, Spider King, by Marlon James
5. Pure Color, by Sheila Heti
6. The Family Chao, by Lan Samantha Chang (register for Feb 24 event here)
7. Violeta, by Isabel Allende
8. Under the Whispering Door, by TJ Klune
9. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
10. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir

Our two top debuts this week are second volumes in a fantasy series.

Before James started his fantasy series, he was best known as the Booker Prize winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings. Reviews on Moon Witch, Spider King have been very strong, with ten raves on Book Marks. From Gabino Iglesias in The Boston Globe: "Marlon James’s Moon Witch, Spider King, the second book in his Dark Star trilogy, is both a continuation of the narrative that began with Black Leopard, Red Wolf in 2019 and an outstanding retelling of that story that expands on what the first book started. While shifting points of view, James... enriches the existing story, and the result is a book that simultaneously celebrates African mythology while creating its own... an impressive amalgamation of folklore, magic, and mythology that weaves together several narratives, but the element that makes it memorable is James’s prose."

I'd like to share the reviews on Sarah J Maas's House of Sky and Breath but I couldn't find a Book Marks listing. I don't really understand because while not featured on the front page on the New York Review of Books or anything, it still got strong advance reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly and several consumer reviews as well. I'm assuming they decided not to do advance copies.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The 1619 Project, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times
2. Atlas of the Heart, by Brené Brown
3. The Nineties, by Chuck Klosterman
4. The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow
5. Index, a History of the, by Dennis Duncan
6. The Power of Regret, by Daniel H Pink
7. From Strength to Strength, by Arthur C Brooks
8. The Way of Integrity, by Martha Beck
9. How to Be Perfect, by Michael Schur
10. Atomic Habits, by James Avery

Several new releases this week, but probably the one I'd like to read most is Index, a History of the, by Dennis Duncan. I see it has a nice blurb from Mary Norris (fabulous) and sort of reminds me of 2020's A Place for Everything, that history of alphabetization. Indexes, like alphabetization, are things that have lost significance in the digital world, but their history is surely rich. From Steven Moore in The Washington Post: "The cleverly punctuated title of Dennis Duncan’s book, Index, A History of the, should signal that this isn’t a dry account of a small cogwheel in the publishing machine. Instead, it is an engaging tale of the long search for the quickest way to find what you need in those big, information-rich things called books. It is indeed an adventure, and 'bookish' in the most appealing sense."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black
2. Circe, by Madeline Miller
3. The Kindest Lie, by Nancy Johnson (register for March 8 event here)
4. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
5. The Second Home, by Christina Clancy
6. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox
7. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune
8. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
9. How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig
10. Grendel, by John Gardner

Lots of old friends this week, with the only two newish releases and no first week sales pops. Shady Hollow hit four regional bestseller lists in its second week. We're working on a front window, being that the second and third entries are releasing soon. 

The Kindest Lie was a hit for us in hardcover and we're continuing our promotion with a Readings from Oconomowaukee on March 8 and a coveted space on our book club table and accompanying brochure of suggested readings. From Paula L Woods in the Los Angeles Times: "The identity of the boy is revealed early on, but The Kindest Lie is less concerned with solving that mystery than examining the complex forces of racial inequity and the fateful decisions that can make or break a family, or a community. On those terms, the novel is a triumph, a deeply affecting work of truth and reconciliation over what it means to live the American Dream - and not just for the winners."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Gray Matters, by Ellyn Lem
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kemmerer
3. Maus boxed set, Art Spiegelman
4. The Electricity of Every Living Thing, by Katherine May
5. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
6. Chatter, by Ethan Kross
7. Voices of Milwaukee Bronzeville, by Sandra E Jones
8. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
9. Milwaukee River Greenway, by Eddee Daniel
10. The Stone Reader, edited by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley

Here's another paperback bestseller that had a great hardcover event - Ethan Kross spoke to Dasha Kelly Hamilton virtually. Now in paperback, Chatter looks at our inner voice - when it's best to listen to it and when it might be better to suppress it. From Katy Waldman's piece in The New Yorker: "Kross is at his most engrossing when discussing the similarities between talking to ourselves and talking to others. The two types of conversation engage much of the same mental circuitry; this is due, in part, to the principle of 'neural reuse,' the brain’s resourceful answer to size constraints imposed by the skull. The inner voice originates outside of us - with caretakers articulating values and beliefs, other early memories - and seeps in, little by little."

Books for Kids:
1. Turtle in a Tree, by Neesha Hudson
2. We Are Still Here, by Traci Sorell
3. Ain't Burned All the Bright, by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin
4. Spy School the Graphic Novel, by Stuart Gibbs
5. I Must Betray You, by Ruta Sepetys
6. Idea Makers, by Loewy Bundy Sichol
7. Me Gusta Como Soy/I Like Myself, by Karen Beaumont
8. Year We Learned to Fly, by Jacqueline Woodson
9. Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Boulley
10. Cold, by Mariko Tamaki

The latest novel by Ruta Sepetys debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list. I Must Betray You is set in 1989 Romania and follows a young man who is asked to become an informer for Nicolae Ceaușescu's government. From MJ Franklin in The New York Times Book Review: "When you think the story is going to zig, it zags and makes you question everything, and everyone, anew. And that’s the power of I Must Betray You - it doesn’t just describe the destabilizing effects of being spied on; it will make you experience them too."

Apologies that many links are paywalled. I try to give enough of a quote for you to get a feel but not too much that I am infringing on copyright.

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