Sunday, May 19, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending May 18, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending May 18, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Real Americans, by Rachel Khong (signed copies)
2. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
3. All Fours, by Miranda July
4. Funny Story, by Emily Henry
5. Kittentits by Holly Wilson (Boswell May 23 event)
6. Table for Two, by Amor Towles
7. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
8. Long Island, by Colm Toibin
9. James, by Percival Everett
10. Remarkably Bright Creatures, by Shelby Van Pelt

It's seven raves on BookMarks for All Fours, the second novel from Miranda July. I read something, but apparently that was a short story collection. From Shelf Awareness: "Whether it's directing films or performing in them, fashioning visual art, or writing, Miranda July (The First Bad Man) has demonstrated she's a multitalented creative. That talent manifests itself again in her second novel, All Fours, an unconventional but engaging story about one woman's attempt to navigate the sometimes perilous passage through the middle years"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Look Away, by Jacob Kushner
2. The Demon of Unrest, by Erik Larson
3. Burn Book, by Kara Swisher
4. A Short Guide to a Happy Life, by Anna Quindlen
5. The Situation Room, by George Stephanopoulos
6. Rebel Girl, by Kathleen Hanna
7. Six Pack, by Brad Balukjian
8. My Life in Seventeen Books, by Jon M Sweeney
9. The Age of Magical Overthinking, by Amanda Montell
10. This Is Water, by David Foster Wallace

Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk chronicles Kathleen Hanna's life in the bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Library Journal called it "a raucous, rousing tale about the power of music and activism." And from Michael Calderone in Vanity Fair: "Rebel Girl is Hanna in full: politically radical, funny, and fearless. Just as Hanna has never held back as a performer, she writes unflinchingly." Three raves and three positives in BookMarks, but the publisher has several annotations on their website that haven't been captured, including a positive one from Town and Country, which is a bit ironic, isn't it?

Paperback Fiction:
1. Goodbye, Vitamin, by Rachel Khong
2. Can't Spell Treason Without Tea V1, by Rebecca Thorne
3. Birnam Wood, by Eleanor Catton
4. This Summer Will Be Different, by Carley Fortune
5. Venomous Lumpsucker, by Ned Beauman
6. When the Moon Hatched, by Sarah A Parker
7. The Cartographers, by Peng Shepherd (Boswell July 11 event)
8. A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J Maas
9. Honey Witch, by Sydney J Shields
10. Rouge, by Mona Awad

Rebecca Thorne's bestseller features a queen and her private guard who open a book and tea shop. From Booklist: "Can't Spell Treason without Tea might best be described by quoting the grandfather from cult classic The Princess Bride, since the book does contain 'fighting, torture, revenge . . .monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles.' This book was a self-publishing hit that has now gotten the full Bramble treatment, including turquoise edges. For fans of the Travis Baldree cozy fantasies.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Master Slave Husband Wife, by Ilyon Woo
2. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond
3. The Philosophy of Walking, by Frédéric Gros
4. Dear Readers and Riders, by Lettie Teague (Boswell June 5 event)
5. Milwaukee in Stone and Clay, by Raymond Wiggers
6. Sweet, Wild and Vicious, by Jim Higgins
7. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
8. Beyond Ethnic Loneliness, by Prasanta Verma
9. Pathogenesis, by Jonathan Kennedy
10. The Light We Carry, by Michelle Obama

After 18 months in hardcover, Michelle Obama's second book, The Light We Carry, edges into our top ten. To me, paperback publishing is a conundrum nowadays - the longer you wait, the less of a splash you will have, but if it means a longer run for the hardcover, that probably more than makes up for it. Long gone are the days of paperback contracts, where publication a year after hardcover pub date was a common clause. I am also intrigued that her photo was on the hardcover, but the paperback jacket is a type design. From Douglas Brinkley in The Boston Globe: "A complex, accomplished life recounted with confidence and candor . . . Every page sparkles with directness and grace."

Books for Kids:
1. The One and Only Family V4, by Katherine Applegate (signed copies)
2. The One and Only Bob V2, by Katherine Applegate
3. The One and Only Ivan V1, by Katherine Applegate
4. Everything Sad Is Untrue, by Daniel Nayeri
5. Finding Things, by Kevin Henkes, illustrations by Laura Dronzek (Boswell event today at 4 pm)
6. Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay
7. Dear You, Dream Big, by Baptiste Paul, illustrations by Toni D Chambers
8. Buffalo Fluffalo, by Bess Kalb, illustrations by Erin Kraan
9. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, illustrations by Renée Graef
10. Dog Man V1: The Scarlet Shredder, by Dav Pilkey

In addition to her public event at Brookfield East Elementary, Katherine Applegate also visited two area schools to talk about her beloved series of novels based on a real gorilla. The One and Only Family is the final entry in the One and Only series and one should caveat that in real life, Ivan wasn't able to have kids. From the starred Booklist: " This is a satisfying send off, and readers will want to reread the whole series to share the laughs and the tears surrounding this memorable band of buddies one more time.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending May 11, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending May 11, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Funny Story, by Emily Henry
2. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
3. Table for Two, by Amor Towles
4. James, by Percival Everett
5. Real Americans, by Rachel Khong (Boswell event May 15)
6. Long Island, by Colm Tóibín
7. The Ministry of Time, by Kaliane Bradley
8. The Paris Novel, by Ruth Reichl
9. The Hunter, by Tana French
10. The Women, by Kristin Hannah

The May selections for the big national book clubs are well-represented on this week's top 10. Real Americans is the Read with Jenna/Today Show pick, Long Island is Oprah's Book Club pick, and Good Morning America selected The Ministry of Time. Kaliane Bradley's debut was also the #1 Indie Next Pick for May and it's got five raves on BookMarks. Ron Charles in The Washington Post writes: "In fact, if I could travel back in time, one of the things I’d do, after strangling baby Hitler and buying Apple stock, would be to tell younger me not to waste time reading so many novels about time travel. But Bradley has got me rethinking that prejudice. Her utterly winning book is a result of violating not so much the laws of physics as the boundaries of genre."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Look Away, by Jacob Kushner (Boswell event May 16)
2. The Demon of Unrest, by Erik Larson
3. My Life in Seventeen Books, by Jon M Sweeney (signed copies)
4. Puerto Rico, by Jorell Meléndez-Badillo (signed copies)
5. The Serial Killer's Apprentice, by Katherine Ramsland and Tracy Ullman
6. There Are Dad's Way Worse Than You, by Glenn Boozan
7. The Backyard Bird Chronicles, by Amy Tan
8. Dan County Farmers Market Cookbook, by Terese Allen (Boswell event June 6)
9. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
10. The Light Eaters, by Zoë Schlanger

First week pop for The Light Eaters: How the Unseen World of Plant Intelligence Offers a New Understanding of Life on Earth. It's got three raves (from the trades - Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist) plus a positive from Laura Miller in Slate: "Schlanger, who spends much of the book seeking confirmation from her scientist subjects that plants could be 'intelligent' and perhaps even possess 'consciousness.' The fact that there isn’t a scientific consensus on how to define either of those terms makes it especially difficult to pin them to an edge case like plants, which don’t have brains or nervous systems." The author is a staff writer at The Atlantic.


Paperback Fiction:
1. Birnam Wood, by Eleanor Catton (Lit Group June pick)
2. Trust, by Hernan Diaz
3. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, by J Ryan Stradal
4. Just for the Summer, by Abby Jimenez
5. I Have Some Questions for You, by Rebecca Makkai
6. This Summer Will Be Different, by Carley Fortune
7. The Bodyguard, by Katherine Center
8. When in Rome, by Liam Callanan
9. Abyss, by Pilar Quintana
10. Penance, by Eliza Clark

Despite reviews being all over the place (3 raves, 5 positives, 2 mixed, 2 pans), Eliza Clark's Penance has a first-week paperback sale edges into the top ten. Clark broke out with her indie debut Boy Parts and has been named one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists 2023. One of the raves is from Matt Rowland Hill in The Guardian: "Any lingering suspicions that Clark is a mere provocateur will be banished by Penance, which – though it won’t appeal to all tastes – is a work of show-stopping formal mastery and penetrating intelligence."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Sweet, Wild and Vicious: Listening to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, by Jim Higgins
2. Highly Irregular, by Arika Okrent
3. Puerto Rico (Spanish language edition), by Jorell Meléndez-Badillo
4. Milwaukee in Stone and Clay, by Raymond Wiggers
5. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. Fieldwork, by Iliana Regan
7. The Hundred Years War on Palestine, by Rashid Khalidi
8. Master Slave Husband Wife, by Ilyon Woo
9. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
10. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown

Arika Okrent appeared UWM for a talk on Highly Irregular: Why Tough, Through, and Dough Don't Rhyme - And Other Oddities of the English Language, the reprint of an Oxford book from 2021. From Choice: "In more than 40 brief, readable chapters, Okrent brings both erudition and wit to the history of English and the mechanisms of language change and all the quirky consequences. With illustrations by talented cartoonist Sean O'Neill (of Rocket Robinson fame) on almost every page, Highly Irregular is the sort of book that can be read either at a slow pace (a chapter a day) or straight through. Okrent organized the material into thematic sections around the quirks, such as the spelling of colonel and the illogic of parkway versus driveway; the influences of Scandinavian, French, and the printing press; and the roles of both snobbery and human creativity. Every language should have a book like this one."

Books for Kids
1. The One and Only Family, by Katherine Applegate (Alas, this event is at capacity)
2. Things That Shimmer, by Deborah Lakritz
3. Summer Is Here, by Renée Watson, illustrations by Bea Jackson
4. Look How Much I've Grown in Kindergarten, by Vera Ahiyya, illustrations by Joey Chou
5. Tryouts, by Sara Sax
6. Buffalo Fluffalo, by Bess Kalb, illustrations by Erin Kraan
7. The Outdoor Scientist, by Temple Grandin
8. Dog Man V12: The Scarlet Shredder, by Dav Pilkey
9. May You Love and Be Loved, by Cleo Wade
10. Orris and Timble V1: The Beginning, by Kate DiCamillo, illustrations by Carmen Mok

Kate DiCamillo's new chapter book series features a friendship by a rat and an owl. From Kirkus on The Beginning: Orris and Timble V1: "Orris the rat seems quite comfortable nested amid his gathered treasures, which include a special marble, a cozy red velvet slipper, and a sardine can with the phrase 'Make the good and noble choice!!' That pesky moral imperative proves its worth when, after crawling out to investigate a cry for help, Orris finds himself, against his better judgment, negotiating with a trapped young owl named Timble by telling him part of the story of the Lion and the Mouse and then actually helping to free the owl's trapped claw."

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending May 4, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending May 4, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Miss Morgan's Book Brigade, by Janet Skelsien Charles (signed copies)
2. The Museum of Lost Quilts, by Jennifer Chiaverini (signed copies)
3. Funny Story, by Emily Henry
4. Real Americans, by Rachel Khong (Boswell May 15 event)
5. Table for Two, by Amor Towles
6. James, by Percival Everett
7. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
8. The Sicilian Inheritance, by Jo Piazza (Boswell May 30 event)
9. The Familiar, by Leigh Bardugo
10. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride

April 30 releases were just a palate cleanser before the May 7 deluge of new releases. Is it the official start date of summer reading? Real Americans has 12 reviews on BookMarks including four raves. From Hannah Bae in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Riveting in its unexpected turns, Real Americans is a novel about past mistakes and their echoes — and a reminder that those histories need not be binding."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger
2. The Demon of Unrest, by Erik Larson
3. An Unfinished Love Story, by Doris Karns Goodwin
4. The Backyard Bird Chronicles, by Amy Tan
5. Puerto Rico, by Jorell Meléndez-Badillo (Boswell May 8 event)
6. The Garretts of Columbia, by David Nicholson
7. The Algebra of Wealth, by Scott Galloway
8. There's Always Next Year, by Hanif Abudrraqib
9. Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent, by Judi Dench
10. The Comfort of Crows, by Margaret Renkl

An update on The Backyard Bird Chronicles from Amy Tan. Last week a paperback (verified on several websites including Edelweiss, the NYT bestsellers), but this week a hardcover (Ingram, the PRH website), these flexibind titles are tricky. Will it change lists on the NYT this week? Whatever the binding, Amy Tan's book has been met with a lot of enthusiasm, including Kirkus: "A charming bird journey with the bestselling author...An ebullient nature lover's paean to birds."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Murder at the Mena House, by Erica Ruth Neubauer (May 19 Weyenberg Library event)
2. Dune, by Frank Herbert
3. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
4. Weyward, by Emilia Hart
5. Twilight Falls, by Juneau Black (July 9 Boswell event)
6. These Burning Stars, by Bethany Jacobs
7. Horse, by Geraldine Brooks
8. I Have Some Questions for You, by Rebecca Makkai
9. Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries, by Heather Fawcett
10. In Ascension, by Martin MacInnes

These Burning Stars came out last October and recently received the Philip K Dick Award.  From Booklist: " The first in the Kindom trilogy is a space opera set a thousand years after the last humans on Earth boarded generational ships to find habitable planets...For fans of Everina Maxwell, Arkady Martine, and Becky Chambers."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Committed, by Suzanne Scanlon
2. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
3. Fentanyl Inc, by Ben Westhoff
4. Milwaukee in Stone and Clay, by Raymond Wiggers (Virtual May 10 event)
5. The Hundred Years War on Palestine, by Rashid Khalidi
6. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
7. Pathogenesis, by Jonathan Kennedy
8. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond
9. Sweet Wild and Vicious, by Jim Higgins (Boswell May 9 event)
10. The Mechanic Shop Femme's Guide to Car Ownership, by Chaya M Milchtein

We had a very nice program with Suzanne Scanlon in conversation with Meg Kissinger for Committed: On Meaning and Madwoman, and it was only at the event that I learned that the author introduced two of our now-coupled customers to each other. Scanlon has a rave from Gianni Washington in The Chicago Review of Books: "This review can only ever be a vain attempt to enumerate all that is relatable and insightful within the covers of Scanlon’s Committed. Though it appears to follow the author’s winding stream of consciousness, the catalog of her thoughts is not disorganized. Every return to a particular subject is purposeful and revelatory."

Books for Kids:
1. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, illustrations by Renée Graef
2. Death's Door, by by Barbara Joosse, illustrations by Renée Graef
3. Dog Man V12: The Scarlet Shredder, by Dav Pilkey
4. What the River Knows, by Isabel Ibanez
5. Bubbly Beautiful Kitty Corn, by Shannon Hale, illustrations by Leuyen Pham
6. Gertie the Darling Duck of World War II, by Shari Swanson, illustrations by Renée Graef
7. The Complete Chi's Sweet Home, by Konami Kanata
8. Big, by Vashti Harrison
9. The Truth About the Couch, by Adam Rubin, illustrations by Liniers
10. What Feelings Do When No One's Looking, by Tina Oziewicz, illustrations by Aleksandra Zajac

Another Independent Bookstore Day special hits the list. Bubbly Beautiful Kitty Corn (the link is to the regular edition) is part of a series by Shannon Hale and Leuyen Pham that I think started with Itty Bitty Kitty Corn. I love that the author page links to book purchases at The King's English. From the Booklist review of the new book: "Hale crafts an appealing new challenge for the duo to tackle, and Pham uses her trademark humor, memorable character expressions, and accomplished graphic-novel-style digital artwork (including terrific endpapers) to support and elevate the text. Fans of the series will be excited for an addition, but it also stands alone as a sweet friendship tail."

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending April 27, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending April 27, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Funny Story, by Emily Henry
2. The Familiar, by Leigh Bardugo
3. Pay Dirt, by Sara Paretsky (signed copies)
4. James, by Percival Everett
5. The Girl from the Red Rose Motel, by Susan Beckham Zurenda
6. Table for Two, by Amor Towles
7. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
8. The Paris Novel, by Ruth Reichl
9. I Cheerfully Refuse, by Leif Enger
10. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange

It's not much of a contest this week - Emily Harry blows out the competition with Funny Story, her latest novel. From Booklist: "With her latest impeccably written rom-com, literary supernova Henry continues to gracefully dispense wit, whimsy, and wisdom in equal amounts. Fans of opposites-attract love stories will revel in the buoyant banter and swoonworthy romantic moments, not to mention Henry's delightful pairing of a precision-driven children's librarian and a jack-of-all-trades winery employee who could give Matthew McConaughey lessons in chill."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel, by Douglas Brunt
2. Somehow, by Anne Lamott
3. There's Always This Year, by Hanif Abdurrqib
4. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
5. Plantyou Scrappy Cooking, by Carleigh Bodrug
6. The Comfort of Crows, by Margaret Renkl
7. Puerto Rico, by Jorell Meléndez-Badillo (Boswell May 8 event)
8. The Anxious Generation, by Jonathan Haidt
9. Supercommunicators, by Charles Duhigg
10. False White Gospel, by Jim Wallis

Second week on for Anne Lamott's Somehow: Thoughts on Love - last week she was #11. Reviews on BookMarks are all over the place - but there are three raves and two positives. One rave is from Meredith Maran in The Washington Post: "No matter a Lamott book’s title, no matter the theme of the yarns that burst from its pages like clowns from a circus car, its message is the same irresistible combo of love, hope, faith and laughter."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Relative Strangers, by AH Kim
2. Just for the Summer, by Abby Jimenez
3. A Death in Door County, by Annelise Ryan
4. This Time Tomorrow, by Emma Straub
5. A Stroke of the Pen, by Terry Pratchett (IBD exclusive)
6. The Trackers, by Charles Frazier
7. Birnam Wood, by Eleanor Catton
8. Weyward, by Emilia Hart
9. The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County, by Claire Swinarski
10. The Postcard, by Anne Berest

I think this is the first placement for Charles Frazier's The Trackers since its March 26 paperback release. Let me check. Yes, that's the case and I don't know why this week's sales were substantially higher than the first four weeks. There are fans like Rob Merrill of Associated Press, who wrote: "The narrator, Val, has journeyed from Virginia to Wyoming in 1937 to paint a mural in a post office as part of the Works Progress Administration, one of FDR’s projects to employ artists in the wake of the Great Depression. His local hosts are a wealthy rancher, John Long, and his wife, Eve. Long aspires to the U.S. Senate and Eve, before she met him, rode the rails as a transient and sang in a swing band. The book’s plot accelerates when Eve disappears and Long enlists Val to find out where she went and why...Frazier deftly blends an historical perspective throughout his fictional tale."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Beyond Ethnic Loneliness, by Prasanta Verma (signed copies)
2. Murdle V1, by GT Karber
3. A Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America, by Matt Kracht (IBD exclusive)
4. Backyard Bird Chronicles, by Amy Tan
5. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond
6. Master Slave Husband Wife, by Ilyon Woo
7. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars
8. Milwaukee in Stone and Clay, by Raymond Wiggers (Virtual May 10 event)
9. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, by Bettany Hughes
10. Sweet Wild and Vicious, by Jim Higgins (Boswell May 9 event)

We had a nice first week pop on The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: An Extraordinary New Journey Through History's Greatest Treasures, by Bettany Hughes. It seems like a paperback reprint, but no, it's an original! Kirkus called it "a captivating journey with an erudite guide." And here's a nice blurb from Simon Sebag Montefiore: "A lively exploration of the ancient world, this fascinating book is brimming with stories of people and places, all told with Bettany's natural sense of wonder and adventure."

Books for Kids:
1. Big, by Vashti Harrison
2. The Bard and the Book, by Ann Bausum
3. Little Dreamers, by Vashti Harrison 
4. Dog Man V12: The Scarlet Shredder, by Dav Pilkey
5. Lights Out, by Jessica Stremer
6. Little Leaders, by Vashti Harrison
7. Buffalo Fluffalo, by Bess Kalb, illustrations by Erin Kraan
8. Very Good Hats, by Emma Straub, illustrations by Blanca Gomez
9. Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers
10. Great Carrier Reef, by Jessica Stremer, illustrations by Gordy Wright

Jenny brought Ann Bausum to several schools for The Bard and the Book: How the First Folio Saved the Plays of William Shakespeare from Oblivion. It was a hit! Kirkus writes: "An introduction to the most important book in the history of theater. Bausum focuses on the miracle that so many of Shakespeare's brilliant plays were preserved and explores how that came to happen." The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books praised it as "lively," while the starred Booklist praised it as "a beautiful, well-researched book exploring an intriguing subject."

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending April 20, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending April 20, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Unsettled, by Ayana Mathis (a few real signed copies, not tip-ins)
2. I Cheerfully Refuse, by Leif Enger (signed copies)
3. Table for Two, by Amor Towles
4. Pay Dirt V22, by Sara Paretsky (Event today! Register here)
5. The Familiar, by Leigh Bardugo
6. James, by Percival Everett
7. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
8. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
9. The Hunter, by Tana French
10. Close to Death V5, by Anthony Horowitz

The Delta Memorial Endowment Fund has another successful fundraiser luncheon for college scholarships. This year's speaker, Ayana Mathis, had critical acclaim with her novel The Unsettled, with six raves and a positive on BookMarks, not including Sam Sacks in The Wall Street Journal (don't worry - I wrote to them to ask them to add the link), who wrote "The Unsettled follows Ms. Mathis’s debut, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, whose loosely assembled family vignettes also explored the ambivalent aftermath of the Great Migration north. But this is a far better book, more focused and cohesive, and also more alive. This may be because here the South is not merely a ghostly memory but, in the form of Dutchess’s riotous monologues, an expressive voice, cajoling and imploring its exiles and calling them back home."

The Unsettled arrives in paperback in June. You can preorder here.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Knife, by Salman Rushdie
2. Financial Literacy for All, by John Hope Bryant
3. An Unfinished Love Story, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
4. The Anxious Generation, by Jonathan Haidt
5. Puerto Rico, by Jorell Meléndez-Badillo (May 8 Boswell event)
6. The Age of Magical Overthinking, by Amanda Montell
7. Charlie Hustle, by Keith O'Brien
8. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
9. There's Always Next Year, by Hanif Abdurraqib
10. Come Together, by Emily Nagoski

An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s, by Doris Kearns Goodwin is a memoir/history about her life with her husband Dick Goodwin, notably his years in government with John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. BookMarks notches two raves, four positives and a mixed - including Chris Vognar in The San Francisco Chronicle, who writes: " This is not a news-breaking book, and it’s not about dish; that’s not really the Kearns Goodwin brand. But it is eminently readable, appealing especially to anyone fascinated by the period covered, and a touching invitation to eavesdrop on a long marriage between two people who had an unusual level of access to presidential policy and personality."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Monsters We Have Made, by Lindsay Starck (signed copies)
2. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis
3. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, by J Ryan Stradal
4. What the Chickadee Knows, by Margaret Noodin
5. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
6. Weweni, by Margaret Noodin
7. Weyward, by Emilia Hart
8. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
9. Virgil Wander, by Leif Enger
10. Horse, by Geraldine Brooks

It's the release week for the paperback of J Ryan Stradal's Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club. And what do you know? It was also Supper Club Week on Top Chef Wisconsin. If you are wanting a truly wonderful supper club novel, check on J Ryan's latest. Wisconsinites can tell you that the Harvey House is a more urbane version of the Supper Club experience, but that doesn't mean I don't want to eat there. I do! Here's the recap from Milwaukee Record.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Strangers No Longer, by Sergio M González (signed copies)
2. River Profiles, by Pete Hill
3. When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, by Le Ly Hayslip
4. They Called Me a Lioness, by Ahed Tamimi
5. Child of War, Woman of Peace, by Le Ly Hayslip
6. Between Two Worlds, by Suleika Jaouad
7. Reading the Room, by Paul Yamazaki
8. Mexicans in Wisconsin, by Sergio M González
9. Milwaukee in Stone and Clay, by Raymond Wiggers (May 10 virtual event)
10. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars

Alas, our event with Paul Yamazaki for Reading the Room: A Bookseller's Tale next Friday was cancelled, but Yamazaki's book recommendations continue. We've put together a display of some of the books that have particular meaning for him. From the starred Booklist review: " Yamazaki has exquisite taste and a hunger for representative viewpoints. He wears his erudition casually as part of his drive to be the Coltrane of booksellers, to curate 'twelve well-selected, serendipitous linear inches and find a universe.'"

Books for Kids:
1. The Secret Code Inside You, by Rajani Larocca, illustrations by Steven Salerno
2. Endlessly Ever After, by Laurel Snyder, illustrations by Dan Santat
3. Charlie and Mouse V1, by Laurel Synder
4. Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
5. This Again, by Adam Borba
6. The Reappearance of Rachel Price, by Holly Jackson
7. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
8. Buffalo Fluffalo, by Bess Kalb, illustrations by Erin Kraan
9. The Great Lakes, by Barb Rosenstock, illustrations by Jamey Christoph
10. Dog Man V12: The Scarlet Shredder, by Dav Pilkey

Jenny Chou's enthusiasm for a great time travel novel is contagious. She notes that "This Again is LOL funny but also a great reflection on being a good friend and doing what makes you happy rather than trying to meet what you think are other people’s expectations. "Plus Booklist wrote: "Despite being a bit zany, this novel strikes a tone that is both nostalgic and fresh." Zany as a negative - I never heard of such a thing!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Boswell bestseller blog - week ending April 13, 2024

Boswell bestsellers for the week of April 13, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Familiar, by Leigh Bardugo (signed copies)
2. James, by Percival Everett
3. Whalefall, by Daniel Kraus (signed copies)
4. Table for Two, by Amor Towles
5. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
6. I Cheerfully Refuse, by Leif Enger (Boswell April 15 event)
7. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
8. The Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo
9. Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver
10. The Divorcées, by Rowan Beaird (signed copies)

Between the endpapers and black edging, I am gaga for The Familiar's packaging. Leigh Bardugo hadn't remembered being in Milwaukee before until she checked into her hotel. Sure enough, she was part of a group Fierce Reads tour some years ago. It reminds us that these tours can be pretty tough on authors. What city am I in again? And that makes it even more special that authors such as Bardugo continue to tour. Did I mention that The Familiar was the best reviewed fiction book on LitHub's BookMarks this week? Eight raves!

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Disillusioned, by Benjamin Herold (signed copies)
2. The Wide, Wide Sea, by Hampton Sides
3. The Age of Revolutions, by Fareed Zakaria
4. Somehow, by Anne Lamott
5. In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It, by Lauren Graham
6. The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians, by James Patterson and Matt Eversmann
7. There's Always This Year, by Hanif Abdurraqib
8. The Wager, by David Grann
9. The Anxious Generation, by Jonathan Haidt
10. The False White Gospel, by Jim Wallis

Looking for something to read after The Wager? Why not try The Wide Wide Sea: Imperial Ambition, First Contact and the Fateful Final Voyage of Captain James Cook with three raves and two positives on BookMarks. From Doug Bock Clark in The New York Times: "...Sides isn’t just interested in retelling an adventure tale. He also wants to present it from a 21st-century point of view. The Wide Wide Sea fits neatly into a growing genre that includes David Grann’s The Wager and Candice Millard’s River of the Gods, in which famous expeditions, once told as swashbuckling stories of adventure, are recast within the tragic history of colonialism."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hang the Moon, by Jeannette Walls (signed copies)
2. Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham
3. The Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo
4. Just for the Summer, by Abby Jimenez
5. Dune V1, by Frank Herbert
6. Dunne Messiah V2, by Frank Herbert
7. Birnam Wood, by Eleanor Catton
8. The Three Body Problem V1, by Cixin Liu
9. The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi, by Shannon Chakraborty
10. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune

Second week out for Just for the Summer and Abby Jimenez sees a fourfold increase in sales over week one. Perhaps that's the impact from the GMA Book Club. From BookPage: "Everyone wants a shortcut to love, especially if a happily ever after is guaranteed. So it's not surprising that Justin Dahl gets a big response when he explains his gift (or curse) on Reddit: Whoever he dates goes on to meet her perfect match right after things end with him. To his shock, Justin soon hears from Emma, a woman with the same problem. What starts as a half-joking suggestion soon starts to form into a real plan - what if they date each other? Wouldn't that mean instead of being merely the gateway to love, they could finally have it for themselves... right after they break up?"

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Have I Told You This Already?, by Lauren Graham
2. Talking As Fast As I Can, by Lauren Graham
3. Purified, by Peter Annin
4. The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
5. Congrats, You're Having a Teen, by Kenneth Ginsburg
6. Raising Kids to Thrive, by Kenneth Ginsburg
7. The Mechanic Shop Femme's Guide to Car Ownership, by Chaya M Milchtein
8. The Body Keeps the Store, by Bessel van der Kolk
9. Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton
10. Beyond Ethnic Loneliness, by Prasanta Verma (Boswell April 26 event)

Peter Annin appeared at Marquette Law School to talk about his book Purified: How Recycled Sewage Is Transforming Our Water, whose publisher copy notes that "sensationalist media coverage has repeatedly crippled water recycling efforts." From a review by Sasha Harris-Lovett in Science magazine: "Vivid and engaging.... As fresh water supplies become increasingly scarce and technologies for water treatment improve, potable water reuse will likely become widespread. Annin's timely and important reporting empowers readers to understand the critical issues at hand and offers an engaging introduction to potable water reuse."

Books for Kids:
1. Gaga Mistake Day, by Emma Straub and Susan Straub, illustrations by Susan Love (signed copies)
2. Very Good Hats, by Emma Straub, illustrations by Blanca Gomez
3. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
4. Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
5. Demon in the Wood, by Leigh Bardugo
6. Oh, Are You Awake?, by Bob Shea, illustrations by Jarvis
7. Dog Man V12: The Scarlet Shredder, by Dav Pilkey
8. Louder Than Hunger, by John Schu
9. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, illustrations by Renée Graef
10. Big, by Vashti Harrison

Bob Shea collaborates with Jarvis for Oh, Are You Awake?. From Julie Roach in Horn Book: "This contentious going-to-sleep sequence between two appealing characters has all the right ingredients for sharing aloud, whether it is time for bed or simply time for a story." And Publishers Weekly: "It's a funny, visually playful bedtime battle of wills in which both beings get the resolution of their dreams."

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending April 6, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending April 6, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. James, by Percival Everett
2. Table for Two, by Amor Towles
3. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
4. The Price You Pay V8, by Nick Petrie
5. I Cheerfully Refuse, by Leif Enger (Boswell Apr 15 event)
6. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride
7. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange
8. The Hunter V2, by Tana French
9. The Great Divide, by Cristina Henríquez
10. Whalefall, by Daniel Kraus (Boswell April 8 event)

Top (and only) first week out this week is Amor Towles's Table for Two, stories and a novella. Our staff rec is from Tim, for whom this was his Towles introduction. I suspect that is rather unusual. On BookMarks, Towles got three raves and three positives - Hamilton Cain in The New York Times is one of the raves, calling it a knockout collection. From the review: "The Oscar goes to 'Eve in Hollywood,' a novella that unfolds during the filming of Gone With the Wind. Towles tricks out the Tinseltown lore in a homage to the heyday of studio moguls and the hard-boiled fiction of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, even alluding to actual legends like Errol Flynn’s use of two-way mirrors and peepholes."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The False White Gospel, by Jim Wallis (signed copies)
2. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger (Kissinger in conversation at Boswell April 30)
3. There's Always This Year, by Hanif Abdurraqib
4. The Age of Revolutions, by Fareed Zakaria
5. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
6. The Comfort of Crows, by Margaret Renkl
7. Oath and Honor, by Liz Cheney
8. Plantyou: Scrappy Cooking, by Carleigh Bodrug
9. Slow Productivity, by Cal Newport
10. Burn Book, by Kara Swisher

Top non-event debut is Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present from CNN host Fareed Zakaria. BookMarks roundup: two raves, a positive, a mixed, and a pan. I read The New Yorker view and based on other ratings BookMarks offered, I would call it mixed. From David Brooks: "Zakaria's book will help readers feel honored and grateful that we get to be part of this glorious and ongoing liberal journey. He understands that we liberals can't just offer economic benefits; we also have to make the spiritual and civic case for our way of life."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Goodbye Vitamin, by Rachel Khong (May 15 Boswell event)
2. Hang the Moon, by Jeannette Walls (April 10 Boswell event)
3. Dune V1, by Frank Herbert
4. Birnam Wood, by Eleanor Catton (Boswell-run book club checklist)
5. When Women Were Dragons, by Kelly Barnhill
6. Dune Messiah V2, by Frank Herbert
7. A Court of Thorns and Roses V1, by Sarah J Maas
8. A Court of Silver Flames V5, by Sarah J Maas
9. The Three Body Problem V1, by Cixin Liu
10. The Rule Book, by Sarah Adams

I'm sure you all know that sports romance is a hot subgenre, though The Rule Book, the latest romance from Sarah Aadms, is football-based and not the hottest of the hot sub-subs, hockey. From Publishers Weekly: Publishers Weekly: "Adams dazzles in her latest, a saucy second chance rom-com. Quirky Nora 'Mac' Mackenzie struggles to make a name for herself as a sports agent. After working her way up through the male dominated corporate ladder, she finally has a chance to represent legendary NFL tight end Derek Pender. There's just one problem: eight years ago, Nora walked away from Derek, her first love, without explanation." 

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Have I Told You This Already?, by Lauren Graham 
2. Dead Man Walking, by Helen Prejean 
3. Christ in Crisis, by Jim Wallis
4. Master Slave Husband Wife, by Ilyon Woo
5. Reading the Room, by Paul Yamazaki (Boswell event April 26)
6. River Profiles, by Pete Hill (Boswell event April 17)
7. Rand McNally Road Atlas 2025 large scale
8. Wisconsin for Kennedy, by BJ Hollars
9. Pathogenesis, by Jonathan Kennedy
10. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond

I haven't really paid attention to the Rand McNally Road Atlas in years. I had no idea that the large scale spiral bound seemingly outsells the classic, with Ingram stocking twice as many copies of the former.

Books for Kids:
1. The Mystery of Locked Rooms, by Lindsay Currie
2. Claymates, by Devorah Petty
3. Every Day's a Holiday, by Stef Wade, illustrations by Husna Aghiniya
4. Scritch Scratch, by Lindsay Currie
5. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade, illustrations by Melanie Demmer
6. Sleep Train, by Jonathan London
7. Hustle Bustle Bugs, by Catherine Bailey
8. Dog Man V12: The Scarlet Shredder, by Dav Pilkey
9. Amulet V9: Waverider, by Kazu Kibuishi
10. Nothing, by Nicholas Day

We had a wonderful day of school visits with Lindsay Currie, featuring her latest Novel, The Mystery of Locked Rooms. From Publishers Weekly: "Seventh grader Sarah and her two best friends West and Hannah call themselves the Deltas for their love of puzzles. Their unique and perfectly balanced individual skills aid in their team efforts to solve even the hardest of escape room riddles. ...Currie builds suspense via high-stakes brain teasers in dark rooms and periods of isolation as the Deltas endeavor to solve the biggest, most dangerous series of escape rooms they've ever faced."

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 30, 2024

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 30, 2024

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Secrets of a Scottish Isle V5, by Erica Ruth Neubauer (signed copies available)
2. James, by Percival Everett
3. The Women, by Kristin Hannah
4. I Cheerfully Refuse, by Leif Enger (Boswell event April 15)
5. Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange
6. The Angel of Indian Lake V3, by Stephen Graham Jones
7. How to Solve Your Own Murder, by Kristen Perrin
8. Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett
9. The Price You Pay V8, by Nick Petrie
10. Hang the Moon, by Jeannette Walls (Boswell event April 10)

The Angel of Indian Lake is the concluding volume of the Indian Lake Trilogy. From the Kirkus: "The plotlines are often steeped in urban legend, which are gleefully punctuated by Jade's rat-a-tat-tat horror movie references à la Ready Player One. That's catnip for horror fans, and the images Jones conjures would give some of the movies a run for their money. Whether it's Jade's rapist father back from the dead, a murderous child mutilating the townsfolk, a pack of rampaging bears tearing through the flames, or the titular ghost making the rounds at the local lake, it's real peek-between-your-fingers stuff--when you can work out what exactly happened. A characteristically violent denouement for a girl given hell by just about everybody."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. There's Always This Year, by Hanif Abdurraqib
2. While You Were Out, by Meg Kissinger (WCW ticketed event April 4)
3. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
4. Three Shades of Blue, by James Kaplan
5. The Wager, by David Grann
6. The Anxious Generation, by Jonathan Haidt
7. Atomic Habits, by James Clear
8. Zaytinya, by Jose Andres
9. Illiberal America, by Steve Hahn
10. Disillusioned, by Benjamin Herold (Boswell event April 12)

While we should definitely give a shout out to the Penguin Press imprint, which has three books in our top 10, the top new release goes to a different PRH imprint with There's Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension, the latest from Hanif Abdurraqib. A recommendation from Ross Gay: "Hanif Abdurraqib again shows us new ways to be a social critic, a dreamer, a historian, and a lover of hoop. But - and this feels especially moving - he shows us how he wonders about, and how he is transformed in the wondering about, what it means to belong to a place. And you know by place I mean the people, the memories, the sorrows, the tomorrows, who are that place. And you know by all that I mean the love.”

Paperback Fiction:
1. Monsters We Have Made, by Lindsay Starck (Boswell event April 19)
2. Dune V1, by Frank Herbert
3. Dune Messiah V2, by Frank Herbert
4. Weyward, by Emilia Hart
5. The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County, by Claire Swinarski
6. Old Babes in the Wood, by Margaret Atwood
7. Cascade Failure, by LM Sagas
8. Murder at the Mena House V1, by Erica Ruth Neubauer
9. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by VE Schwab
10. One Dark Window V1, by Rachel Gillig

You might know Wisconsin author Claire Swinarski from her kids books, but The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County. From Booklist: " Readers will root for the characters and get swept up in the small-town Wisconsin setting. This is a great pick for anyone who liked Saturday Night at the Late Night Supper Club. Hey, that's me!

Paperback Nonfiction
1. Easy Walks and Paddles in Milwaukee, by Jennifer Lemke and Karen Lemke
2. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond
3. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
4. All About Love, by bell hooks
5. Wisconsin Death Trip, by Michael Lesy
6. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
7. Cinema Speculation, by Quentin Tarantino
8. Capote's Women, by Laurence Leamer
9. On the Origin of Time, by Thomas Hertog
10. Beaverland, by Leila Philip

Out this week in paperback is Poverty, by America, Matthew Desmond's follow-up to Evicted. Crown chose to keep the type-forward hardcover-style jacket for the paperback, and that's probably the way to go. There are so many ways that an alternative could go wrong. NPR, The New Yorker, and Harpers loved it, but Jacobin (Socialist quarterly) gave it a pan. Jacobin did not review The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County, so I don't know what they thought.

Books for Kids:
1. Messy Roots, by Laura Gao
2. The Scarlet Shredder V12, by Dav Pilkey
3. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, illustrations by Renée Graef
4. I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom, illustrations by Richard Scarry
5. The Great Lakes, by Barb Rosenstock, illustrations by Jamey Christoph
6. Most Ardently, by Gabe Cole Novoa
7. Eclipse, by Andy Rash
8. Olivetti, by Allie Millington
9. Return of the Vengeful Queen, by CJ Redwine
10. What Feelings Do When No One's Looking, by Tina Oziewicz, illustrations by Aleksandra Zajac

Olivetti is the first novel by Allie Millington. From the starred Booklist: "An introverted boy and his missing mother's cherished typewriter plumb forgotten family stories while journeying toward acceptance in this touching middle-grade mystery...Offering a Where'd You Go, Bernadette vibe, with its unspooling of a youth perspective on the adult world, this melancholic yet hopeful pick will appeal to fans of books with nonhuman protagonists and readers who enjoy emotional stories with alternating perspectives, such as Jasmine Warga's A Rover's Story and The Lost Library."