Sunday, November 13, 2022

Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 12, 2022

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Racing the Light, by Robert Crais (signed copies here)
2. The Passenger, by Cormac McCarthy
3. Liberation Day, by George Saunders
4. Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver
5. Shuna's Journey, by Hayao Miyazaki, translated by Alex Dudok De Wit
6. Our Missing Hearts, by Celeste Ng
7. Nights of Plague, by Orhan Pamuk
8. Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
9. The Marriage Portrait, by Maggie O'Farrell
10. Foster, by Claire Keegan

The appearance of Shuna's Journey on our bestseller list was a bit of surprise to me, but not our buyer or many of our booksllers. Originally published in Japanese, this first-time-in-English edition has the elements that have inspired Miyazaki's films, including Princess Mononoke, the first animated film to win the Japanese Academy Prize for Picture of the Year (per Wikipedia). Linda Codega in Gizmodo called the book "an eerie and delightful piece of work that highlights Miyazaki’s gorgeous art, long before it became the Ghibli style. Longtime fans will enjoy finding the threads that tie Shuna’s Journey to his later works, from familiar creature designs to costumes to settings."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. What's for Dessert?, by Claire Saffitz (event sold out but signed copies still available)
2. Reading for Our Lives, by Maya Payne Smart
3. The Philosophy of Modern Song, by Bob Dylan
4. How We Live Is How We Die, by Pema Chödrön
5. The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, by Stacy Schiff
6. Go-To Dinners, by Ina Garten
7. Surrender, by Bono
8. Women Holding Things, by Maira Kalman
9. Life on the Mississippi, by Rinker Buck
10. Confidence Man, by Maggie Haberman

The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams is the latest biography from Stacy Schiff, profiling a man possible more well-known nowadays for the namesake beer. The book has 5 raves and 3 positive reviews on Book Page so far. The Wall Street Journal is in the rave camp. From Mark G. Spencer: " Sifting historical landfill in The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, Stacy Schiff has produced a delightfully enthralling and insightful account of an elusive Founding Father. Samuel Adams 'did not preen for posterity,' but we now know him much better than we did. Perhaps even better than he’d want us to."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, by Shehan Karunatilaka
2. Legends and Lattes, by Travis Baldree
3. Once Upon a December, by Amy E. Reichert (Register for November 30 event here)
4. She Hulk V1, by Rainbow Rowell
5. It Starts with Us, by Colleen Hoover
6. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
7. And Yet, by Kate Baer
8. Still Life, by Sarah Winman
9. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
10. Our Country Friends, by Gary Shteyngart

 Will the curse of the literary bestseller be broken with The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida be broken? We've had several breakouts from the Booker Prize in recent years, and as this is published as a paperback original, we've got the audience that would buy the book in hardcover combined with the paperback reprint crowd joining in together. Hey, we're doing our best - the book is also our In-Store Lit Group pick for February. Ron Charles writes about the surprise of a major award going to a book you've not heard of in The Washington Post: "For months, I’d been hearing tantalizing, impossibly incongruous details about this novel, which is only now being published in the United States. It’s all true: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is a murder mystery and a zany comedy about military atrocities." Yes, American success seems like a long shot - it's going to need a lot of readers crying on TikTok.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Fran Lebowitz Reader, by Fran Lebowitz
2. Owning Grief, by Gael Garbarino Cullen
3. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
4. Brewtown Tales, by John Gurda (Register for December 6 event by emailing
5. 111 Places in Milwaukee You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
6. These Precious Days, by Ann Patchett
7. The Book of Delights, by Ross Gay
8. The Shortest History of Europe, by John Hirst
9. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
10. Educated, by Tara Westover

The late Australian historian John Hirst's  The Shortest History of Europe: How Conquest, Culture, and Religion Forged a Continent is just out and selling well of our new paperback table. Looks like it was originally a UK publication. I love this stat they shared in the notes for buyers - 20,000 sold it the UK and Commonwealth, 300,000 sold in China. From the publisher: "Lays out a thesis of astonishing simplicity: just three elements - German warfare, Greek and Roman culture, and Christianity - come together to explain every major development in religion and science, war and invasion, politics and class divisions, and power and industry."

Books for Kids:
1. The Greatest in the World, by Ben Clanton
2. Scattered Showers, by Rainbow Rowell (limited stock signed copies)
3. Our World of Dumplings, by Francie Dekker
4. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea V1, by Ben Clanton
5. The Invisible Spy: Forgotten Five V2, by Lisa McMann
6. Map of Flames: Forgotten Five V1, by Lisa McMann
7. As Brave As You, by Jason Reynolds
8. Whiteout, by Dhonielle Clayton and other writers
9. Look Both Ways, by Jason Reynolds
10. Carry On Collectors Edition, by Rainbow Rowell

We hosted a virtual school event for Ben Clanton, whose The Greatest in the World offers an exciting competition between potatoes. His Narwhal and Jelly series is very popular, which is bourn out in us having 150 classrooms tune in for his event. Kirkus writes: "This tater trio, and worm, will keep readers laughing, singing, and cheering from the first page to the last."

I just want to note that I did not choose these titles based on their covers, but three of the five are yellow, which seems unusual to me.

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