Sunday, July 1, 2012

What's Selling This Week at Boswell? Between Karen Thompson Walker, Lev Grossman, Christopher Moore, Suzanne Collins, and Ray Bradbury, a Lot of Speculation.

Hardcover nonfiction
1. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
2. Barack Obama: The Story, by David Maraniss
3. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen
4. Imagine, by Jonah Lehrer
5. London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets, by Peter Ackroyd

Ackroyd's book, London Under, came out last fall, and we've had a nice steady sale since release, but a featured place on our London table led it to a bestseller pop. Ackroyd's history covers the ancient springs, Roman ampitheaters, Victorian sewers, and the modern tubes. It reminds me a bit of Robert Sullivan's Rats, only with less focus on rats. His new book, My American Revolution, is coming in September.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Canada, by Richard Ford
2. Mission to Paris, by Alan Furst
3. Sacré Bleu, by Christopher Moore
4. A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers
5. The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker

Stacie called my attention to a literary duel of sorts that is going on between critics, over the merits of The Age of Miracles, with Kakutani raving over this much-anticipated novel in The New York Times, at the expense of Tom Perotta's The Leftovers, but Ron Charles in the Washington Post parried with a jab at Walker's novel, claiming Perrotta as the victor.

I'm one of those folks that would choose not to fight at all. And we at Boswell are pretty hot on The Age of Miracles. Both Jason and Shane's recs are included in Stacie's rec roundup in The Boswellians.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Anatalian Days and Nights, by Joy Stocke and Angie Brener
2. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
3. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, by Nina Sankovitch
4. Bossypants, by Tina Fey
5. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, by Alexandra Fuller

A nice pop for Nina Saknovitch's memoir, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, about the power of books to help with her grief over the death of her sister. Anne was a fan of this in hardcover, and we've had book clubs picking it up.

Oh, and I should also mention that at our event for Anatolian Days and Nights, Stacie mentioned that one of the attendees had met the women in their Turkish travels, and found out about the book from the mention in the Shepherd Express. For anyone else who ran into Joy and/or Angie who knows where, we have some signed copies.

Paperback fiction:
1. Pryme Knumber, by Matthew Flynn
2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
3. The Kid, by Sapphire
4. Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James
5. Fifty Shades Darker, by E.L. James
6. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
7. The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht
8. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
9. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
10. The Magician King, by Lev Grossman

Our memorial table space is getting a bit crowded, with Nora Ephron joining Ray Bradbury, Carlos Fuentes, Maurice Sendak, and Barry Unsworth. Unsworth has been the only one without much of a pop, which would make David Schwartz sad. Without his handselling, it has always been hard to sell Unsworth, aside from Sacred Hunger, his Booker winner. Fahrenheit 451 is one of two tee shirts we're selling that are now effectively, memorial, the other being one for In The Night Kitchen.

I've now become obsessed with new paperback jackets, and I have to say that with Julian Barnes's latest, The Sense of an Ending, I'm absolutely neutral. I like the hardcover and paperback jackets about the same. But there are at least two paperback releases of high-profile novels where I absolutely dislike the paperback treatments. We'll see if either one of them blinks.

Books for Kids:
1. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
2. Eloise at the Wedding, by Kay Thompson
3. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
4. Good Night Wisconsin, by Adam Gamble and Joe Veno
5. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce with Joe Bluhm also getting illustration.

As Publishers Weekly noted, books that romanticize the printed word in this era of potential irrelevance, or perhaps doom. But what does it say about The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore that it was an iPad app and Academy Award winning short film before it was a picture book? Sorry, I'll have to pass on that one as I choose not to get too philosophical on Sundays.

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