Sunday, August 14, 2022

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending August 13, 2022

Boswell Bestsellers for the week ending August 13, 2022

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Women Could Fly, by Megan Giddings (Register for August 15 event here)
2. The Good Left Undone, by Adriana Trigiani
3. Upgrade, by Bake Crouch
4. The Rabbit Hutch, by Tess Gunty
5. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, by Gabriel Zevin
6. Mercury Pictures Presents, by Antyhony Marra
7. Heat 2, by Michael Mann
8. Horse, by Geraldine Brooks
9. All This Could Be Different, by Sarah Thankam Mathews
10. Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus

Our top debut this week actually came out August 2 and hit the indie bestseller lists last week. So why were all our sales, and it was a decent number, delayed to week #2? I have no idea why. We read Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena for our In-Store Lit Group in 2013 and I enjoyed it. So I'm not sure why I didn't read Mercury Pictures Presents early, except who has the time in the day? Book Marks scores it six raves, four positives, two mixed, with one rave being from Ron Charles in The Washington Post, who was also thinking about novel #1, one of his faves.: "The author’s fans, who include former president Barack Obama, will recognize his elegant resolution of tangled disasters, his heartbreaking poignancy, his eye for historical curiosities that exceed the parameters of fiction. But the emotional range here is narrower, the record of human cruelty more subtle. And if Mercury Pictures Presents doesn’t generate the impact of  A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, well, that’s an impossibly high standard."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. A Path Lit by Lightning, by David Maraniss (Register for August 17 MPL event here)
2. Happy-Go-Lucky, by David Sedaris
3. Life on the Mississippi, by Rinker Buck (Register for August 16 event here)
4. Slenderman, by Kathleen Hale (Register for October 13 event here)
5. France, by Graham Robb
6. Plant Based India, by Sheil Shukla
7. Slaying the Dragon, by Benn Riggs
8. Life in Light, by Mary Pipher
9. I'm Glad My Mom Died, by Jennette McCurdy
10. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner

I was talking to Parker about I'm Glad My Mom Died (a big fan!) and they noted, when I brought up the Ariana Grande stuff, that this was simply clickbait and McCurdy's true thoughts about Sam and Kat were more nuanced. I don't usually think of these memoirs coming from folks who are no longer acting - one can only image if HarperCollins had published a Anna Chlumsky memoir when she temporarily left acting for University of Chicago and an editorial assistant job at Harper Voyager (or probably at the time Eos). She could have edited it herself, but where would we be without Veep? I am currently watching Veep, did you figure that out?

I'm Glad My Mom Died did not get a Book Marks listing (who makes this decision?) but it nonetheless had starred reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, which offered: " Despite the provocative title, McCurdy shows remarkable sympathy for her mother, even when she recalls discovering that the man she called Dad while growing up was not, in fact, her biological father. Insightful and incisive, heartbreaking and raw, McCurdy's narrative reveals a strong woman who triumphs over unimaginable pressure to emerge whole on the other side. Fans will be rapt." By the way, Parker also gave it a star.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
2. Book Lovers, by Emily Henry
3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
4. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. Verity, by Colleen Hover
6. Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch
7. The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner
8. Bookish People, by Susan J. Coll
9. Recursion, by Blake Crouch
10. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Yes, we've got authors with multiple books in this top ten, but no, neither is Colleen Hoover - instead it's Taylor Jenkins Reid (still BookTok) and Blake Crouch (from his visit). Our debut this week is Bookish People, by Susan J. Coll, which several customers have already talked to me about. I'm not the buyer, so I don't get the inside scoop, but Harper Muse, her imprint, is the fiction line of Harper Colins Focus, which I think is some of the collection of Nashville imprints that were at Thomas Nelson, which got combined with the Zondervan Christian imprint. The book is an August Indie Next Pick. From Jan Danielson Kaiser at Beaverdale Books (which I have visited!): "Coll captures the loveable mix of quirky customers, booksellers, and writers who bring a bookstore to life. Fast-paced, hilarious, and insightful..."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Behind the Horror, by Lee Mellors
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. Educated, by Tara Westover
4. The National's Boxer, by Ryan Pinkard (33 1/3)
5. How to Focus, by Thich Nhat Hanh
6. The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson
7. Covered with Light, by Nicole Eustace
8. When Pride Still Mattered, by David Maraniss (Register for August 17 MPL event here)
9. Little Hawk and the Lone Wolf, by Raymond C Kaquatosh
10. The Oregon Trail, by Rinker Buck (Register for August 16 event here)

Talk about off my radar! We only sold one copy of Behind the Horror: True Stories That Inspired Horror Movies in its first 6 months of sale in 2020, but since then we've sold 39 more, mostly off Madi's rec shelf. What film was based on the crimes of Wisconsin's Ed Gein? I guess I would have to read the book to find out. Or listen to the podcast. Or ask Madi.

Books for Kids:
1. Hide and Don't Seek, by Anica Mrose Rissi
2. Starfish, by Lissa Fipps 
3. Radium Girls young reader's edition, by Kate Moore
4. Rhino in Right Field, by Stacy Dekeyser
5. We're Not from Here, by Geoff Rodkey
6. Solimar, by Pam Muñoz Ryan
7. Paradise on Fire, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
8. Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai
9. Blackbird Girls, by Anne Blankman
10. Saucy, by Cynthia Kadohata

One book on this list that is fairly new is Pam Muñoz Ryan's Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs from the author of Esperanza Rising. This novel, which came out in February, has raves from the advance reviews including the Publishers Weekly critic, who notes that Ryan "wields fairy tale charm in this rousing fantasy about a young Mexican royal who must protect her home and its rich natural resources from invading forces just before her quinceañera and official coronation." School Library Journal adds: "The story is rich with vibrant imagery, suspense, and humor."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins offers a review of Slenderman - Kathleen Hale is visiting on October 13 (register here). Normally these events are close to pub date, but our event ties in to the Madison appearance at the Wisconsin Book Festival. From the piece: "In terms of reader attention and narrative sympathy, this tilts the book toward Morgan and the Geysers. In one respect, that fits what I believe is Hale's primary thesis: that from early in her life, Morgan suffered from undiagnosed and untreated schizophrenia, and was let down by the adults in her life, starting with her parents, then her teachers and school leaders, and later by the justice system. Prosecuting her as an adult, and focusing on her legal competency for trial rather than her mental illness, delayed getting her necessary treatment for her schizophrenia, Hale argues."

On Lake Effect this week, Amy Waldman talks about the book of the month - Ha Jin's A Song Everlasting. From Amy: “[The book] showed, in a way that I haven’t seen in any of the other books I’ve read, the impact of the state on an individual life and the way the personal becomes political. Even if you don’t intend it to."

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