Monday, January 20, 2020

Two events tonight that are both close to capacity - Candacy Taylor and Melissa Hartwig Urban (see post for details), plus Nick Petrie at Whitefish Bay Library on Wednesday and Stephen G Post at Boswell on Friday.

Boswell events this week!

Monday, January 20, 5:30 pm, at America’s Black Holocaust Museum, 401 W North Ave:
A special Martin Luther King, Jr Day event with Candacy Taylor, author of Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America

America’s Black Holocaust Museum and Boswell Book Company present Candacy Taylor for a discussion of her new book, the first to explore the historical role and residual impact of the Green Book travel guide for black motorists. Advance registration for this event has closed, but walk-ups may be accommodated, depending on space available.

Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer, and cultural documentarian. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and more. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants including The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

From Lynell George's review of Overground Railroad in the Los Angeles Times: "Taylor assiduously retraces the Green Book’s history, from 1936 to 1967, and the Denver-based writer and photographer embarked on her own cross-country road trip seeking what remains. This was a grueling, faith-testing journey of loss and heartbreak that enlarges and shapes her book’s vision. After three years of scouting nearly 5,000 locations named in the guide, she learned that fewer than 5% are still in operation. Many of the early buildings in black communities have vanished, about 75%, she reports, “destroyed in the name of urban renewal."

Please note that this event will not be miked so if you have hearing issues, please request to sit close to the author.

Monday, January 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Melissa Hartwig Urban, author of The Whole30 Friends and Family: 150 Recipes for Every Social Occasion

Boswell hosts certified sports nutritionist Melissa Hartwig Urban, cocreator and CEO of the Whole30 program and a five-time best-selling author, including the #1 bestseller The Whole30. Registration has closed for this event, which is close to capacity. We'll have standby tickets available, based on space availability.

We’re pleased to welcome two Whole30 partners at our event – Chomps, which is a Whole30-approved snack, and Cooked, a Whole30 meal delivery service. Please visit their tables for a special Whole30 treat.

After the talk, Melissa Hartwig Urban will sign copies of Whole30 Friends and Family, as well as her previous titles. She will personalize and pose for photos.

Please note that much of the store tonight will be closed to browsing.

Wednesday, January 22, 6:30 pm, at Whitefish Bay Public Library, 5420 N Marlborough Dr:
Nick Petrie, author of The Wild One.

Whitefish Bay Public Library hosts local author Nick Petrie with the latest entry of his bestselling Peter Ash thriller series, in which Ash must find a murdered woman’s son during a frigid arctic storm in the wilds of Iceland.

From the northernmost European capital to a rustbound fishing vessel to a remote farm a stone’s throw from the arctic, Ash must confront his growing PTSD and the most powerful Icelandic snowstorm in a generation to find a killer, save an eight-year-old boy, and keep himself out of an Icelandic prison - or a cold Icelandic grave. Publishers Weekly says, “This kinetic, breathless masterpiece illustrates why Petrie is here to stay.”

Nick Petrie is the author of the Peter Ash series, including Tear it Down, Light it Up, and Burning Bright. His debut The Drifter won both the ITW Thriller award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel, and was a finalist for the Edgar and the Hammett awards.

Friday, January 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Stephen G Post, author of God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness

Coauthor of the New York Times bestselling book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Post presents his memoir of his cross-country journey of spiritual discovery inspired by a dream.

Post was the perfect child and straight-A student until the day he took off in the family car, compelled by a persistent vision – his ‘blue angel dream.’ Crossing America on route 80, a path connected by synchronicities, his unlikely adventure culminated in a shocking encounter which Post perceived as guidance and proof of humanity’s fundamental oneness.

Deepak Chopra says, “In this highly readable and deeply profound book, Post shares his journey to that which is whole, holy, and healed in all of us.”

More on the upcoming event page.

Photo credits - Candacy Taylor credit Katrina Parks. Nick Petrie credit Troy Fox.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Boswell bestseller report - week ending January 18, 2020

Here's what is selling at Boswell this week.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Wild One V5, by Nick Petrie
2. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
3. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
4. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
5. The Boy, The Hose, the Fox, and the Mole, by Charlie Mackesy
6. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
7. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk
8. The Girl in the Rearview Mirror, by Kelsey Rae Dimberg
9. Long Bright River, by Liz Moore
10. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, by Zora Neale Hurston

From the lost files of Zora Neale Hurston comes Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance, which includes eight stories available for the first time. From Jabari Asim in The New York Times Book Review: "Against the backdrop of Harlem Renaissance bigwigs calling for positive depictions of high-achieving Negroes, Hurston unpacked the lives of everyday black people doing everyday things. Add her matchless powers of observation, exemplary fidelity to idiomatic speech and irresistible engagement with folklore, and the outcome is a collection of value to more than Hurston completists. Any addition to her awe-inspiring oeuvre should be met with open arms."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Magical Language of Others, by EJ Koh
2. The Book of Delights, by Ross Gay
3. The Overground Railroad, by Candacy Taylor (event Mon Jan 20 - registration through today here)
4. The Body, by Bill Bryson
5. Milwaukee Rock and Roll, 1950-2000, by David Luhrssen, Phil Naylor, and Bruce Cole
6. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
7. Atomic Habits, by James Clear
8. After Net Neutrality, by Victor Pickard
9. Let's Be Weird Together, by Brooke Barker
10. Milk Street Cookbook, by Christopher Kimball

Our buyers have noted that Valentine's Day has become a children's holiday for books, but there's often an exception and 2020 seems to be the year of Let's Be Weird Together: A Book About Love. From the Sad Animal Facts Instagrammer comes this new book, which "is a book about weird couples and the tiny two-person universes they create. It’s about accidentally wearing the exact same outfit. It’s about made-up songs. It’s about your rules for the thermostat. It’s about breakfast rituals, and funny nicknames, and long hugs, and that voice you pretend the cat has." Exciting footnote - former Boswell visitor Scott Kelly holds the record for the longest long-distance relationship.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
2. Family Trust, by Kathy Wang (In-Store Lit Group Mon Feb 3, 7 pm)
3. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
4. The Drifter V1, by Nick Petrie (both editions)
5. A Lesser Love, by EJ Koh
6. Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo (In Store Lit Group Mon Mar 2 7 pm)
7. Salvaged, by Madeleine Roux (SciFi Book Club, Mon Feb 10, 7 pm)
8. Burning Bright V2, by Nick Petrie (mass and trade)
9. Little Bookshop on the Seine, by Rebecca Raisin
10. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy

Paris + Bookstore continues to be a winning combination at Boswell as The Little Bookshop on the Seine makes our top ten. This novel from Rebecca Raisin is about a bookshop owner who does a job switch, ionkly to find that her first impressions are less than romantic: "Her expectations cool faster than her caf au lait soon after she lands in the City of Light - she's a fish out of water in Paris. The customers are rude, her new coworkers suspicious and her relationship with Ridge has been reduced to a long-distance game of phone tag, leaving Sarah to wonder if he'll ever put her first over his busy career."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. As You Wish, by Cary Elwes
2. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
3. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
4. Democracy Without Journalism, by Victor Pickard
5. Getting Tough, by Julilly Kohler Hausmann
6. Misdemeanorland, by Issa Kohler Hausmann
7. The Club, by Leo Damrosch
8. The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
9. Sapiens, by Uval Noah Harari
10. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Charles Hagner (just added - event April 2 at Schlitz Audubon)

A quick conversion into paperback for Leo Damrosch's The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age pops the book onto the paperback list just about a month after the hardcover went as high as #23. To put things in perspective, were the hardcover to sell as many copies last week, it would be #2. Of the new book, Michael Dirda wrote in The Washington Post: "There are two classic questions beloved by both interviewers and readers: What 10 books would you choose to take along if marooned on a desert island? And what five people from history would you invite to an ideal dinner party? Many potential castaways would immediately grab James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson, probably the most entertaining work of nonfiction in English literature. Interestingly enough, this greatest of all biographies also supplies a possible answer to the second question, but one that isn’t in the least fantastical." Yes, that Boswell.

Books for Kids:
1. Prisoner B-3087, by Alan Gratz
2. Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, by Judy Blume
3. Guts, by Raina Telgemeier
4. Peek a Who Too, by Elsa Mroziewicz
5. Children of Virtue and Vengeance V2, by Tomi Adeyemi
6. Endling the First V2, by Katherine Applegate
7. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
8. American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang (watch here for news next week!)
9. Black Canary Ignite, by Meg Cabot
10. Endling The Last V1, by Katherine Applegate

Is Black Canary Ignite the Black Canary from DC Comics? It is! From the publisher: "Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance knows exactly what she wants, who she is, and where she's going. First, she'll win the battle of the bands with her two best friends, then she'll join the Gotham City Junior Police Academy so she can solve crimes just like her dad. Who knows, her rock-star group of friends may even save the world, but first they'll need to agree on a band name. When a mysterious figure keeps getting in the way of Dinah's goals and threatens her friends and family, she'll learn more about herself, her mother's secret past, and navigating the various power chords of life." Bustle adds: "Dinah Lance's story will be familiar to any woman or girl who has ever been told that she's too loud, brash, and disruptive for this world."

At the Journal Sentinel courtesy of USA Today, Mark Athitakis offers his take on the just-released Little Gods: "Meng Jin’s ambitious debut novel, Little Gods, opens amid the chaos of 1989’s Tiananmen Square crackdown. As a Beijing hospital braces for wounded protesters, a woman named Su Lan arrives to give birth to her daughter. In the recovery room, she asks the nurse some peculiar questions: 'Do you believe in time? Do you believe that the past is gone and the future does not exist?...Little Gods is built from familiar tropes: love amid violence, lost parents, secrets held by those closest to us. But Jin brings a fresh imagination to them, thoughtfully leveraging the language of physics without making the narrative cold or overladen."

Emuna Elon's House of Endless Waters is the subject of a review by Emily Gray Tedrowe, also from USA Today: "Set in Amsterdam, where a fictional famed Israeli writer named Yoel Blum grapples with family secrets and loss, Elon’s book takes readers deep into the sorrowful history of wartime Jewish residents, almost three-quarters of whom, like Anne Frank, were killed by the Nazis...Elon’s great power in The House on Endless Waters is to richly evoke both sides of the tragedy – Sonia’s lived experience of persecution as well as Blum’s later attempts to absorb horrors he can barely comprehend."

Last week we used the USA Today review to highlight Tarryn Fischer's The Wives. This week the review is in the Journal Sentinel's Life section, where lays out the premise - a woman living in a plural marriage in Seattle knows little about the other wives in Portland. Mary Cadden hooks us here: "Tt is here where the story truly takes off and this review must come to an end. To share more would be a disservice to the reader and the carefully calculated story the author has crafted."

Monday, January 13, 2020

Boswell events - Nick Petrie with Bonnie North, EJ Koh with Susan Firer, Candacy Taylor at America's Black Holocaust Museum, and Melissa Hartwig Urban, which is low ticket alert

Here are this week's Boswell events!

Monday, January 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Nick Petrie, author of The Wild One, in conversation with Lake Effect's Bonnie North

Whitefish Bay author Nick Petrie returns with another thrilling installment of his award-winning Peter Ash thriller series. This time, veteran Ash must find a murdered woman’s missing son in Iceland, tracking a killer through a frigid arctic storm. Petrie will chat with WUWM Lake Effect Producer and Cohost Bonnie North. Folks who pre-ordered the book get a Nick Petrie ice scraper. While supplies last, available as well tonight.

Boswellians love The Wild One. Chris Lee writes: "The new Peter Ash thriller blends cloak (winter coat) and dagger (fishing knife) espionage-y noir with a wilderness survival story, and it’s the best book Nick Petrie has written yet. In Iceland, through a frigid arctic storm, Ash searches for a murdered woman’s missing son. The fights are crazier and the one-liners are zingy-er. Stakes are raised, powerful people commit heinous crimes, and maybe best of all, the friends and tools Peter’s leaned on in the past (including an arsenal with the ‘unlimited ammo’ cheat code) are out of reach. On his own, with nothing but his wits and the memories of wartime sins, Ash is finally forced to reckon himself - who he was before war shaped him and the things he’s done since - and decide if he can live with the man he’s become."

Starred Publishers Weekly!: "The intrepid Peter patches himself up, steals a car, eludes a squadron of police, and heads off into the wilds of Iceland searching for Óscar and his fugitive father. This is where the book begins to soar, as Peter pits his war-honed resourcefulness against the unforgiving weather and topography of Iceland, all the while being chased by a dogged police chief. This kinetic, breathless masterpiece illustrates why Petrie is here to stay"

Adds Jim Higgins in the Journal Sentinel: "The Wild One is also a love letter to Iceland and its people. During its brutal weather, which Ash foolishly underestimates, Petrie's novel characterizes it as a beautiful and civilized country. If Ash must have a dark night of the soul somewhere, he couldn't have picked a better place."

Tuesday, January 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
EJ Koh, author of The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir, in conversation with Susan Firer

EJ Koh is author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Editors Prize, and her writing has appeared in Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and World Literature Today, among others. Koh appears at Boswell with her memoir of a series of letters that helped her understand why her parents left her for another country when she was a teenager. She’ll chat with former Milwaukee Poet Laureate Susan Firer.

What a great book! Here's my rec: "When Eun Ji was a teenager, her parents left California to return for Seoul for a job, leaving EJ with her older brother. They stayed away for seven years, with only occasional trips and an attempt by Koh to live in Korea, where she trained in a Kpop training camp. Koh weaves together her own narrative with that of her relatives, telling tales of loss and survival. Punctuating the story are Koh’s mother’s letters back to America, reprinted in their original form - mostly Korean, with occasional English (sewer line) – as well as a full English translation. The voices play against each other, with the delicate and dreamlike meditations of Koh counterpointed by Mom’s earnest and matter-of-fact musings. Joined together, they form a beautiful making-of-a-poet memoir." (Daniel Goldin)

Crystal Hana Kim, author of If You Leave Me, writes “EJ Koh intricately melds her personal story with a broader view of Korean history. This memoir will pierce you.” And Don Mee Choi, author of Hardly War, praises how "remarkably and beautifully translates the language of mothers as the language of survivors."

Perfect for poets and poetry fans, folks interested in Korean history, and anyone trying to understand their mother.

Candacy Taylor, author of Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America:
Monday, January 20, 5:30 pm, at America’s Black Holocaust Museum, 401 W North Ave

America’s Black Holocaust Museum and Boswell Book Company present award-winning author, photographer, and cultural documentarian Candacy Taylor for a discussion of her new book, the first to explore the historical role and residual impact of The Green Book travel guide for black motorists. Enjoy this special Martin Luther King Jr event today with a preview event at this soon-to-reopen museum, which will feature a Green Book exhibit. This event is free. Register at

Tim McCarthy loves this book! His rec: "Taylor has done America a great service by documenting the history of The Green Book and what remains today of the locations it listed. The Green Book, published from 1936 to 1967, was a guide for black travelers, showing businesses that welcomed African Americans. It allowed them a degree of the safety and support they needed to enjoy travel despite the constant potential for being targeted with racial hatred and violence. In its later days, it also became a voice for demanding civil rights.

"Taylor’s details about the development and use of the book are fascinating, but her work entails so much more. She's created an impressive history of the African American economic progress which grew from having and working with automobiles, and from the increasing mobility and business opportunities they afforded. It's also personal for her, inspired by her stepfather Ron, a decorated Vietnam marine whose stories amazed her and moved her to travel across the country while searching for Green Book businesses and photographing them herself. Taylor is adept at using the past as a context to understand race in America today and what we can do to fight for equal treatment. Most importantly, this book is a smart and deeply affecting look at black people's long and agonizing struggle to get basic respect and justice. More than any book I've read, Overground Railroad made me understand the endless, malicious obstacles put in the way of basic living, solely because of skin color. It's a powerful book. I'm already eager to read it again."

Low ticket alert! Monday, January 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Melissa Hartwig Urban, author of The Whole30 Friends and Family: 150 Recipes for Every Social Occasion

Boswell hosts certified sports nutritionist Melissa Hartwig Urban, cocreator and CEO of the Whole30 program and a five-time best-selling author, including the #1 bestseller The Whole30. Register for this free event at or upgrade to a book-with-registration option and get 10% off the cost of The Whole30 Friends and Family and signing line priority.

Since 2009, millions of people have changed their health, habits, and relationship with food with the Whole30. It has never been easier to make Whole30 meals at home, but navigating social gatherings can feel daunting. Now there's The Whole30 Friends and Family, packed with recipes for all of life’s special moments, from birthdays to baby showers, barbecues to brunches.

All of the recipes are Whole30 compliant, designed to mix and match to create the perfect menu whether you’re hosting or contributing a dish as a guest. And in true Whole30 style, the recipes are creative, colorful, and so flavorful that your guests will never miss the added sugar. These fun, creative meals will make social gatherings a breeze and let you effortlessly share your Whole30 experience with those you love.

We're close to capacity on this event! If you're planning to come, make sure you register.

Photo credits! Nick Petrie credit Troy Fox. Candacy Taylor credit Katrina Parks.

More on the updated event grid.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Here's what sold at Boswell for the week ending January 11, 2020 - movie tie-ins, hold overs, book club picks, and yes, even some new releases

Here's what sold at Boswell for the week ending January 11, 2020.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid (second week at #1)
2. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
3. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
4. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
5. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
6. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
7. The Envious Siblings, by Landis Blair
8. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
9. Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi
10. Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson

It doesn't feel like there's a 2019 fall sleeper that is going to breakout in 2020, but it's hard to get a word in edgewise when Where the Crawdads Sing is still dominating bestseller lists. There were a couple of high-profile indie-friendly releases on January 7 (Long Bright River by Liz Moore and Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano), but alas, we didn't get rec on either. Moore had a nice write-up in the Sunday New York Times while Napolitano is the current Barnes and Noble book club pick.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee Rock and Roll, by David Luhrssen, Phil Naylor, Bruce Cole (third week at #1)
2. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
3. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
4. Climbing My Mountain, by Sheldon Lubar
5. Ultimate Veg, by Jamie Oliver
6. Successful Aging, by Daniel J Levitin
7. Educated, by Tara Westover
8. Why We Can't Sleep, by Ada Calhoun
9. Whole Food Cooking Every Day, by Amy Chaplin
10. The Overground Railroad, by Candacy Taylor (event Mon Jan 20 at ABHM - register here)

New release! From the author of This Is Your Brain on Music, a multi-week Boswell bestseller, comes Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives. From Kirkus: ". Levitin seems to underestimate his skill as an educator, and he has written a lucid explanation of brain and body function. His longevity advice has plenty of competition, especially David Sinclair's Lifespan, but this book's breadth is impressive. Excellent popular science in the service of fending off aging."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Girl Woman Other, by Bernardine Evaristo (In-Store Lit Group Mon Mar 2, 7 pm)
2. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (two Penguin Classics editions)
3. The Drifter V1, by Nick Petrie (two editions, event Mon Jan 13, 7 pm)
4. The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher
5. Family Trust, by Kathy Wang (In-Store Lit Group Mon Feb 3, 7 pm)
6. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
7. Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
8. Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurain
9. Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse
10. Sealed Off V18, by Barbara Ross

We had a nice pickup on sales for Vintage 1954 that continued into January. Although we're not #1 for reporting Indie sales for this one, we're a solid #2 and just broke the 100 book mark. Speaking of sales, we're closing in on 700 copies of The Drifter since its publication. Our event with Petrie for book #5 is tomorrow - we'll remind you about that in the next blog post.

Our buyer Jason thinks publishers have cooled on psychological suspense after flooding the market with titles, but books continue to break out. The Wives, a paperback original from Tarryn Fisher, popped off our new mystery case with her novel about a woman in a polygamous marriage who hasn't met her sister wives. As Mary Cadden notes in USA Today: "Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will revel in The Wives. In her latest novel, author Tarryn Fisher constructs not just an original story but an equally original plot twist." Up until now, Fisher's books look like they were being done by herself on publishing platforms. I had to look carefully because a few of the romance publishers are digital only and you use digital DIY if you want print copies, but I think even the digital ones were not from traditional publishers. Publishing is always looking for a breakout story like this.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
2. Flight from the Reich, by Deborah Dwork
3. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
4. Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Maree Brown
5. Just Mercy (two editions), by Bryan Stevenson
6. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
7. The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli
8. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
9. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Chuck Hagner
10. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, David Luhrssen

The Order of Time had a December release, and while he equaled these sales totals over seven-day periods in that month, it's only now, when competition dries up, that he hit our top 10. This book, a May 2018 hardcover, heralds the arrival of a new Stephen Hawking, or so I'm told. He's gotten raves from New Scientist, Science, and Nature journals. And what does Philip Pullman have to say?: "We live in an age of wonderful science writing, and Carlo Rovelli’s new book, The Order of Time, is an example of the very best. Time is something we think we know about instinctively; here he shows how profoundly strange it really is."

Books for Kids:
1. Troublemaker for Justice, by Jacqueline Houtman
2. When We Were Alone, by David A Patterson
3. Fetch-22 V8, by Dav Pilkey
4. Little Woman Anna Bond cover, by Louisa May Alcott
5. Children of Blood and Bone V1, by Tomi Adeyemi
6. Lalani of the Distant Sea, by Erin Entrada Kelly
7. Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle, by Shannon Hale
8. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
9. Curious George I Love You board book, by HA Rey
10. Arnie the Donut, by Laurie Keller

Little Women hits our bestseller list for both adult and kids. The kids cover is from Anna Bond of Rifle paper, a very popular stationery-and-more brand that is, oddly enough,  really not targeted to children. We carry their cards and prints, but not their shoes. She's best known for her florals, which is probably why the series she illustrates is called Puffin in Bloom. Per Slate, Parasite won best film from the National Society of Film Critics, but Greta Gerwig received the Best Director nod for her film adaptation.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews the latest from Nick Petrie: "The Wild One is the darkest thriller yet in Whitefish Bay novelist Nick Petrie’s series starring Peter Ash, a Marine veteran of combat in Fallujah. But it also has a stunning fight scene that reminded me of Jackie Chan, the comic master of improvisational combat. Like so many Chan characters, Ash can and will use anything to fight a bad guy. And by anything, I mean anything anything. I don't want to spoil the scene, but when Petrie writes that Ash has 'the power of literature at his fingertips,' it's not a metaphor." Our event is Monday, January 13, 7 pm. You're definitely going to want to get your Nick Petrie ice scraper!

Douglass K Daniel reviews Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge, by Sheila Weller. He calls it "a compassionate portrait of a complex personality whose up-and-down life rivals the Hollywood travails of Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland in its mixture of charisma."

I mentioned above that Liz Moore's Long Bright River was one of this week's high-profile debuts. Oline H Cogdill notes, in her Associated Press review, that the book is solid. Her take: "The complicated relationship of two estranged sisters who choose different life paths persuasively works as a metaphor for their old neighborhood that is in transition. Deftly plotted with strong, vivid characters, Liz Moore’s outstanding Long Bright River works as solid crime fiction and an intense family thriller."

From USA Today comes Morgan Hines talks to Chuck Palaniuk, whose new book is Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different. The scoop: "He has packaged the most important lessons he learned over the years and has communicated them in a way that others can digest easily. At the start of each new lesson, Palahniuk addresses readers with the words, 'If you were my student...' He shares wisdom on the writing process, and advice on how to add texture, hold authority, build tension – the list goes on."

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Here's what's selling at Boswell for the week ending January 4, 2020 - one last week of Saturdays* before post-holiday sets in.

Here's what's selling at Boswell for the week ending January 4, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
2. The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
3. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
4. Circe, by Madeline Miller
5. Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjornsen and Moe, by Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe, translated by Tiina Nunnally
6. Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi
7. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
8. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
9. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
10. Full Throttle, by Joe Hill

It took until Saturday, but Such a Fun Age edged out The Starless Sea for the number one spot. I know that social media has been all over the book, and I think that it also helped that it was a very light release week, but we still had a lot of traffic between Christmas and New Year's Day. Reid's novel was actually scheduled for January 7 and was moved pretty late in the game. Was it for the Reese Witherspoon book club or perhaps it was shrewd date positioning. I heard that week is tough for publishers because the invoices sort of land between two years.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Martini Cocktail, by Robert Simonson
2. Milwaukee Rock and Roll, 1950-2000, by David Luhrssen, Phil Naylor, Bruce Cole
3. Climbing My Mountain, by Sheldon B Lubar
4. Blue Zones Kitchen, by Dan Buettner
5. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat
6. The Years That Matter Most, by Paul Tough
7. Quit Like a Woman, by Holly Whitaker
8. The Beautiful Ones, by Prince
9. The Education of an Idealist, by Samantha Power
10. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe

Political books in 2019 tended to pop and then quiet down quickly, but one book with legs is Samantha Powers's The Education of an Idealist, which has been on and off our top ten since its September release. I love that on the Book Marks program, which tabulates traditional reviewers from Rave to positive to mixed to pan, it listed several pans among the raves, but one of them was for the New Republic and the pull-out quote was "vivid and engaging prose." Imagine when that reviewer likes something! In any case, I mention the book not because it's in our top ten this week but because Power is mentioned in another top ten regular, The Yellow House. It was she who advised Sarah M Broom to go to Burundi to work.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
2. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
3. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman
4. The Drifter V1 (two editions), by Nick Petrie (event at Boswell Mon Jan 13, 7 pm)
5. Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami
6. Ohio, by Stephen Markley (probably too late to start for In-Store Lit Group on Jan 6!)
7. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris
8. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
9. The Librarian of Auschwitz Special Edition, by Antonio Iturbe
10. Red, White and Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston

We've been selling Red, White and Royal Blue (I am bowing to the publisher and leaving out the Oxford comma, but ampersands play havoc with writing in HTML so I'm spelling out "and") steadily, out of both new releases, fiction, and Margaret's rec shelf, so I thought I'd see how we stack up against other stores. Sales at indies are nothing short of astounding, with many stores in the triple digits and one that went full quadruple. It's a romantic comedy that imagines the son of the President of the United States (a woman from Texas) falling in love with Prince Harry. Library Journal has this review from Milwaukee Public Library's Jessica Moore: "With a diverse cast of characters, quick-witted dialog, and a complicated relationship between two young people with the eyes of the world watching their every move, McQuiston's debut is an irresistible, hopeful, and sexy romantic comedy that considers real questions about personal and public responsibility."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
2. Better World Shopping Guide, sixth edition, edited by Ellis Jones
3. Paris 1919, by Margaret MacMillan
4. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
5. The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis
6. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Charles Hagner
7. Leadership, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
8. Just Mercy (two editions), by Bryan Stevenson
9. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
10. Health Justice Now, by Timothy Faust

Large book clubs are driving sales of several titles this week. The award-winning Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, is being used by UWM's Osher continuing education program this winter. The Chicago Tribune wrote: "For anyone interested in knowing how historic mistakes can morph into later historic problems, this brilliant book is a must-read.”

One of our larger private book clubs is tackling Doris Kearns Goodwin's Leadership: In Turbulent Times. One thing to note is that books, particularly fiction, are known to transition from a text jacket in hardcover to one with an illustration in paperback. Washington Black is a particularly successful example of this. But going from an illustration in hardcover to text in paperback is so rare, but that's what Leadership did. The paperback jacket doesn't exactly look finished either, like they lost the rights to the painting at the last minute (or otherwise decided it was inappropriate) and never found a substitution.

Books for Kids:
1. Guts, by Raina Telgemeier
2. A to Z Menagerie, by Suzy Ultman
3. Fetch-22: Dog Man V8, by Dav Pilkey
4. The Toll V3, by Neal Shusterman
5. Greta's Story, by Valentina Camerini
6. The Crossover graphic novel, by Kwame Alexander/Dawud Anyabwile
7. Thunderhead V2, by Neal Shusterman
8. 365 Days of Wonder: Mr Browne's Precepts, by RJ Palacio
9. The Snowy Day board book, by Ezra Jack Keats
10. Bad Guys V1, by Aaron Blabey

It's not a secret that it's become very popular to turn traditional novels, particularly books for young readers, into graphic novels. Like adapting for film, the resulting books usually need to trim their text and sometimes plotlines, or the book would be 500+ pages. The Crossover is a fall 2019 release that has hit our top 10 several times. Illustrations are by Dawud Anyabwile, who previously completed a similar project for Walter Dean Myers's Monster. Here's a link to his original, Brotherman, which he put together with his brother Guy Sims.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Lynn Elbers of the Associated Press tackles Mo Rocca's Mobituaries. From the interview: " I think a lot of people confuse ‘past’ with ‘backward’ and, I’ll be transparent here, I’ve chosen to be generous with the past. I do think we need to cut the past some slack because the tendency is to disqualify people for their imperfections. I think that people are messy, and I really sought in this to embrace not only the messiness of people, but eras."

Jeff Rowe, also writing for Associated Press, reviews Heidi Blake's From Russia with Blood: The Kremlin’s Ruthless Assassination Program and Vladimir Putin’s Secret War on the West. From the review: "Heidi Blake lays out a sturdy case that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a cold, treacherous thug who runs his country like a criminal cartel. But European and Asian leaders were so eager to welcome Russia into the family of free nations – and to buy Russian gas and oil – that they looked the other way as Putin consolidated his power and his opponents started turning up dead."

Barbara VanDenburgh writes for USA Today (through Gannett's Arizona Republic), and this week she has a round-up of new releases and what Kirkus says. The books are Lost Hills, by Lee Goldberg (he's visiting Boswell on Feb 5), Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid, The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher, Tiny Habits, by BJ Fogg, and Love Lettering, by Kate Clayborn. More here.

*I like to say that during the holiday break, post-Christmas is hardly like pre-Christmas in volume; it's more like a Saturday every day.

Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 event season begins - Jacqueline Houtman on Bayard Rustin, Wednesday, January 8, at Boswell, plus Nick Petrie preview

We're easing into event season. With all the storms in late January and February, it feels like we have less touring authors this winter, or perhaps we just didn't get on the tour lists. But April is already looking pretty packed.

Monday, January 6, 7 pm: The In-Store Lit Group discusses Stephen Markley's Ohio

I am currently reading Ohio, a novel that Chris hasn't talking about since he read it in advance form close to two years ago. The problem is that now when I want to bring something up with Chris, the data files have been replaced by 100 more novels. Ohio had great reviews and won the GLIBA Great Lakes Great Reads prize for fiction.

Here's Dan Chaon on Ohio, writing in The New York Times Book Review: "Markley [does] some extraordinary things with the structure of the book . . . Casual details suddenly take on new surprising significance. There's real pleasure in this hopscotching narrative: with each new point of view, a clearer sense of the hidden story emerges as the reader slowly pieces together some shocking revelations . . . The most moving parts of the book are those that step back and let the events and the actions speak for themselves, as when one character (the shy bookish one from high school) recalls his first tours in Afghanistan. The beautifully precise details are all the more vivid for their lack of accompanying commentary. The real core of this earnestly ambitious debut lies not in its sweeping statements but in its smaller moments, in its respectful and bighearted renderings of damaged and thwarted lives. It's the human scale that most descriptively reveals the truth about the world we're living in."

While I'm not expecting you to pick up and finish a 500-page book over the weekend, it happens. I should also note that we've sold 100 copies of Ohio, so some of you may have already the book and are interested in sharing thoughts. Our in-store book clubs do not have registration, and do not require membership of any sort.

Wednesday, January 8, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Jacqueline Houtman, author of Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington

Madison author chronicles the life of Bayard Rustin for young readers, depicting his life of nonviolent activism and resistance. Great for adults and kids 13 and up. Voted a Best Book of 2019 by School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, Houtman’s biography tells the story of one of the most influential activists of our time, an early advocate for African Americans and for gay rights.

I've always wondered if this book is a new edition of Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist, which was published by Quakerpress. I assume it is! A School Library Journal piece notes how Quaker doctrine influenced Rustin, who in turn influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. They note how King had applied for a gun permit and had an armed bodyguard; The authors note: "For Rustin, getting rid of the guns was necessary to safeguard the lives of those in the movement. Rustin convinced Dr. King of the same, and the great civil rights leader soon devoted himself to nonviolence."

Troublemaker for Justice is appropriate for all ages, but targeted to younger readers. See you on Wednesday. Houtman is also visiting area schools.

And just around the corner - Monday, January 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Nick Petrie, author of The Wild One, in conversation with Bonnie North

Peter Ash goes to Iceland! So much drama. Will it pack as much punch when we get to "Peter Ash goes to the Quad Cities!"? I promise that is not the setting for #6, but still, he could have a knockout battle on the funicular.

We're excited because The Wild One is Petrie's first starred Publishers Weekly review. That reviewer called #5 a "kinetic, breathless masterpiece." And here's Booklist: "Readers of earlier Ash novels recognize the setup for a wild ride; this novel delivers it times four. The trail leads to Iceland, letting Petrie display his gift for vivid, visceral prose. Cliffs are "caked in wind-sculpted white." A big guy has "a voice like an idling bulldozer." There are some mighty fights, one with a touch of comedy when Ash defeats a quartet of killers with a hardback novel; he muses, 'Can't do that with a paperback.'"

And here's a rave from Robert Crais: "If you're not already on the Peter Ash train, jump aboard now. The Wild One is a beautifully written novel, rich with deep, complex characters, full-throttle action, and a superbly realized setting. Nick Petrie is doing headliner work."

Once again, Petrie will be in conversation with Bonnie North. Plus our first buyers get a Nick Petrie ice scraper.

More on the upcoming events page.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The first big breakout book of 2020 - Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

One of the things that has changed about publishing is how much more in advance books are staged if the publisher is hoping for a breakout. We already have a table up promoting Christina Clancy's The Second Home, suggesting preorders for the holidays, and the solicitation for quotes came much earlier than that. Her book, by the way, is out June 2, 2020 - we'll have the first of several Milwaukee-area events at Boswell on launch day.

Similarly, the solicitation for Kiley Reid's Such a Fun Age began last spring. The book was edited by Sally Kim, who shepherded Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists to publication, and like that book, Such a Fun Age made the Book Expo buzz panel. By the time I read the book in fall, just before Reid did a meet-the-author dinner in Chicago, the line of booksellers championing this debut novel stretched out the door and around the block. It's the number one Indie Next rec for January 2020. We didn't get on the tour, but if your city did, lucky you. Here's more

It's also the new Reese Witherspoon book club pick and I'm only sad because the Reese seal sort of mars what is an absolutely fantastic jacket. Putnam knew they had a winner and made matching tote bags, something they also did with Benjamin's book. That blue! I think it's actually pretty close to the Pantone color of the year, classic blue, and it really does look great with black. I really should have worn my almost completely matching blue pants today, but instead I just have my button.

Marketing, marketing, marketing. But the thing about Such a Fun Age is that the there is there. It's really hard not to fall in love with this book, the story of a young black woman who takes a job babysitting for a wealthy, not-much-older white woman in Philadelphia.  Here's my rec:

"Emira finds that her friends are passing her by in the growing up department, but she’s enjoying babysitting (not even nannying!) for professional influencer Alix (née Alex) Chamberlain and has become particularly attached to daughter Briar. An uncomfortable grocery-store incident with racist overtones seems likely to blow up, but Emira really wants to put this behind her and convinces bystander Kelley, who recorded the incident on his phone, to not release it. When Emira and Kelley meet again, they start dating (even though she doesn’t usually date white guys), but what Emira doesn’t know is that Alix and Kelley have a past that ended poorly and they each have very different takes on it. With a story that bounces between the three viewpoints, Kiley Reed’s debut novel features a wonderfully engaging and wiser-than-she-thinks-she-is heroine, and is alternatingly inspired, infuriating, hilarious, and thought-provoking, touching on race, class, gender, friendship, dating, and motherhood, and filled with a whole mess of bad advice from everyone concerned. Lots of bad advice!"

Entertainment Weekly writes: "Kiley Reid has written the most provocative page-turner of the year." Real Simple: "This piercing social commentary on race and class manages to be, well, such a fun book to read." Vogue: "Fun is the operative word in Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid’s delectably discomfiting debut. The buzzed-about novel takes a thoroughly modern approach to the timeless upstairs-downstairs trope." And the list goes on and on.

It's a book that is of the moment that also transcends the moment. I was noticing how many books I've read this year that had nanny/babysitting elements, from Girl in the Rearview Mirror, by Kelsey Rae Dimberg (a big local hit at Boswell - nanny goes psychological suspense) to the NYT bestseller Nothing to See Here, from Kevin Wilson (nanny goes speculative, a little).  It's a new age of nanny diaries, all very different from Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus's 2012 hit. It's now a $22.99 POD book so I'm not linking to it.

Critics have praised Reid's channeling of lots of different voices, but Emira steals the show. I really liked the switching around because sometimes I read a first-person narrative where I get through a good chunk of the book, I think I need a breather. Can't someone else talk? That's not the case for Such a Fun Age. I so enjoyed this book- it's on my rec shelf, and I'm buying our first copy. Hope to sell many more!

Coming next - Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is out on January 21.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Boswell bestsellers, week ending December 28, 2019 - The ten-best effect, author bests, movie-tie ins,Petrie backlist, plus the Journal Sentinel book page

Here's what we sold at Boswell this past week (December 22-28, 2019)

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
2. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
3. The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
4. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
5. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
6. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
7. Exhalation, by Ted Chiang
8. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
9. The Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli
10. Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi

Finally the National Book Award winner Trust Exercise has started selling. It will be interesting to see whether this holds up in 2020, especially during January gift card spending. Here's what Helen McAlpin wrote on the NPR website: "Book groups, meet your next selection. Trust Exercise, Susan Choi's powerful fifth novel, will give you plenty to talk about. At 257 pages, it's not a major time commitment, but be warned that it is impossible to discuss this book meaningfully if everyone hasn't read the whole thing. It's also tricky to review, as it derives so much of its impact from audacious narrative twists that I don't want to risk spoiling."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee Rock and Roll, 1950-2000, by David Luhrssen, Phil Naylor, Bruce Cole
2. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
3. Educated, by Tara Westover
4. The Yellow House, by Sarah M Broom
5. 100 Years in Titletown, by Vernon Biever, Jim Biever
6. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat
7. Climbing My Mountain, by Sheldon Lubar
8. The Map of Knowledge, by Violet Moller
9. The Education of an Idealist, by Samantha Power
10. The Joy of Coking, by Irma S Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker, Megan Scott

It seems to be a strong hardcover Christmas for the Knopf/Doubleday division of Penguin Random House, with four of our top ten bestsellers on the fiction side and another 2 in nonfiction (plus The Guardians and The Body at #12 on their respective lists).

I wasn't much paying attention to the May-published The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found before the year-end lists. Rachel Newcomb in The Washington Post notes: "Popular opinion seems to assume an unbroken connection from the ancient Greeks to the Renaissance, but after the decline of the western Roman Empire in 476 A.D., most of what is now Western Europe was in fragments. The rise of Christianity led to the destruction of libraries and nonreligious (hence 'pagan') texts, and 'by the year 500, secular book production had effectively gone underground.' Moller enhances our understanding of the period from late antiquity until the Renaissance by highlighting the many cities where knowledge continued to thrive during the Medieval era, and where important manuscripts were lovingly translated and protected while elsewhere they had been reduced to ashes."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
2. Girl Woman Other, by Bernardine Evaristo
3. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
4. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
5. Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk
6. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
7. We're All in This Together, by Amy Jones
8. Little Women (movie-tie-in and Penguin Classic), by Louisa May Alcott
9. Ohio, by Stephen Markley
10. Light It Up V3, by Nick Petrie (trade and mass market)

We had a nice holiday pop on all of Nick Petrie's novels, not just because it's gift-giving time, but because book #5, The Wild One, is just about here. Join us for the preview launch on January 13, and if you pre-order, you'll get a discount on the book and a Nick Petrie ice scraper, being that the new book is set in Iceland. Tear It Down was actually #11 this past week.

While The Bookish Life of Nina Hill lagged a bit the last week (though we're still in the top 5 reporting indies for sales), we still had a very strong paperback original top 10, with four titles taking spots. Aside from Girl Woman Other, we're #1 or #2 on Edelweiss for reporting indies. I guess that's not surprising for Milwaukee Noir (as it's set here) or We're All in This Together (being that it seems to be off the radar of most other stores) but it is a little strange for Book Woman, a novel set in Kentucky. We'll never catch the #1 store, but we're a solid #2. I've also noticed that Book Woman (also Bookish Life) hit the #50 paperback fiction bestsellers for Milwaukee on Bookscan, which was not the case on other Midwestern market-area charts, so our enthusiasm had an impact outside the store.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
2. 111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
3. Calypso, by David Sedaris
4. Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Chuck Hagner
5. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
6. The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis
7. Classic Krakauer, by Jon Krakauer
8. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stephenson (original and tie-in edition)
9. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
10. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan

Finally, it's great to see some film tie-ins working. While our sales on I Heard You Paint Houses/The Irishman have been ok, several other books have not taken off, though I should note that fall wasn't great for adaptation success. Now we have Little Women in fiction and Just Mercy in nonfiction. Here's AO Scott's review in The New York Times, where he notes that "Just Mercy is saved from being an earnest, inert courtroom drama when it spends time on death row, where it is opened up and given depth by two strong, subtle performances, from Foxx and Rob Morgan."

Books for Kids:
1. Fetch-22 V8, by Dav Pilkey
2. Guts by Raina Telgemeier
3. Guide to Creating Comics in 3D: Dog Man, by Kate Howard
4. Children of Virtue and Vengeance V2, by Tomi Adeyemi
5. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
6. The Story Orchestra: Swan Lake, by Jessica Courtney Tickle
7. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renee Graef
8. Children of Blood and Bone V1, by Tomi Adeyemi
9. Fountains of Silence, by Ruta Septys
10. I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom, with illustration by Richard Scarry

We have several big fans of Ruta Sepetys on staff and I'm happy to tell them that The Fountains of Silence has passed her hit Salt to the Sea in hardcover sales at Boswell. We went on to have a huge sale in paperback for Salt so it will be nice to see how the latest does. From Sarah Harrison Smith in The New York Times: "Spain under Francisco Franco is as dystopian a setting as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead in Ruta Sepetys’s suspenseful, romantic and timely new work of historical fiction, The Fountains of Silence. It’s 1957, but Franco’s isolationist policies and a powerful Catholic Church ensure that Spanish women are treated like chattel, Spanish babies lack basic medical care and Republican sympathizers end their days laboring like slaves. Even in Madrid, ordinary Spaniards live in fear and poverty."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Brian Truitt of USA Today reviews the new memoir from by Anthony Daniels: "I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story is the 73-year-old British actor’s new memoir chronicling his more than 40 years spent on “Star Wars” sets playing the fan-favorite droid. The eccentric Threepio is fluent in 6 million forms of communication, and Daniels feels his book is just as universal."

Jeff Rowe of Associated Press reviews Disney’s Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park that Changed the World: "The book suggests lessons that extend to today: Passion for an idea and a plan are important, but so is research. Disney’s focus and self-confidence allowed him to push on despite family and friends who told him that an amusement park was folly."

Will Lester, also of AP, covers the political thriller Oppo, new from Tom Rosenstiel: "The novel looks at the story of Wendy Upton, a centrist Republican senator offered the VP slot by leading presidential candidates from both parties. Very soon, she gets a mysterious threatening call that could derail her career... Through the adventures of Rena and Brooks, he tells how these political dramas can play out, with a good eye for Washington detail and characters."

Addendum: Here's an article in the Journal Sentinel about the state of independent bookstores, including Boswell.