Sunday, January 27, 2013

Boswell's Sunday Bestsellers--Saunders Chugs Along, Events Perform Well, Ian Rankin's Advance Sales Strong.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini
2. Tenth of December, by George Saunders
3. Standing in Another Man's Grave, by Ian Rankin (event Feb 1, see below)
4. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
5. The River Swimmer, by Jim Harrison

It's not surprising that The River Swimmer, Jim Harrison's new book, a collection of two novellas, has been getting great reviews. If you haven't read Harrison, Ron Carlson sort of lays it out on the table in his review in The New York Times: "Harrison is a writer of the body, which he celebrates as the ordinary, essential and wondrous instrument by which we measure the world. Without it, there is no philosophy. And with it, of course, philosophy can be a rocky test."

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Lessons from the Heartland, by Barbara Miner
2. The World Until Yesterday, by Jared Diamond
3. My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
4. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo
5. Going Clear, by Lawrence Wright

No big nonfiction release pop this week, though like in fiction with Jennifer Chiaverini, the bestseller list was dominated by our event with Barbara Miner. I listened to an interesting piece on On the Media about how Scientology has responded to Lawrence Wright's book with paidb advertising. The Atlantic apparently didn't make the boundaries between editorial and advertising clear enough for some.  And the anthropology blog Savage Minds has Rex looking at why many anthropologists are not Jared Diamond fans. It links to several other interesting pieces.

Paperback fiction:
1. Rescue the Good Stuff, by Louisa Loveridge Gallas
2. Slow Lightning, by Eduardo Corral
3. Ginkgo Light, by Arthur Sze
4. Never Let me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

While I often leave out bulk sales from our published bestsellers, it's harder to exclude our course sales, as each individual student comes into buy their books, much like an event. They certainly don't have to buy the books from us (except for some cases, when a certain web site doesn't have stock) and we're grateful for the traffic.

After The Paris Wife, you have to head past The Lanuguage of Flowers, City of Dark Magic, and State of Wonder, to get to a new release with a sales pop. The Expats, by Chris Pavone hit bestseller lists in hardcover, but I don't think I wrote it up for the blog or email newsletter.A CIA agent has traded in her badge for the life of a homemaker abroad in Luxembourg. But then another couple move into her orbit, hinting that her husband might also be what he appears to be, the first in a series of reversals in this, as Entertainment Weekly coined it, a "bombshell a minute" thriller.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. Mo, by Kate Jurgens
2. My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor
3. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, by Fiona Carnarvon
4. The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources, by Michael T. Klare
5. Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It, by Richard A. Clarke.

Jason and I were noting yesterday that our Downtown Abbey table has been selling a good amount of books, leaving us with even more regret that we didn't put one up for last season. It looks like the #1 title selling has still been Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, by Lady Fiona Carnarvon, which has been on bestseller lists since its release.  Here's an interview with the Countess on the PBS website.

Children's books:
1. Monster, by Walter Dean Myers
2. Goodnight Moon board book, by Margaret Wise Brown
3. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente
4. Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers
5. How Rocket Learned to Read, by Tad Hills

On our reported list, we included Vintage Valentines from Golden Books, but I normally remove these titles, as they really cross the line into product, and if we're going to do that, we should probably list the packaged Valentines from Peaceable Kingdom. By the way, fairies continue to be hot, but mermaids are ascendant.

One title that is selling and is clearly a book is The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Boat of Her Own Making. I am so unused to mass market pricing, as very little besides George R. R. Martin  sells in adult mass market with us, but Valente's novel, at less than half the price of the hardcover, seems to be strippable rack size. Valente's novel has been compared to Alice and Wonderland and The Golden Compass and was a Publishers Weekly best children's book title of 2011.

In the Journal Sentinel, Alex Bledsoe takes the Reading List challenge from Jim Higgins. Bledsoe is reading with Melissa Olson this Tuesday, January 29, 7 pm. His most recent novel is Wake of the Bloody Angel, while the sequel to The Hum and the Shiver will be out in early summer. His classic that matters is Heart of Darkness and his writer who deserves to be rediscovered is Jesse Hill Ford, who wrote one bestseller in the 1960s and then fade. Ford apparently captures the flavor of small-town West Tennessee, Bledsoe's home state. He now lives in Mount Horeb. Read more here and perhaps we'll see you Tuesday.

Or maybe we'll see you Friday. Also in the Journal Sentinel, Carole E. Barrowman writes about the two "masters of the mystery universe" who are coming to town this week. Robert Crais will be at Mystery One this Tuesday for his novel Suspect, while Ian Rankin will be at Mystery One on Friday, February 1, at 5 pm, and at Boswell at 7 pm.  We've had two great reads on Standing in Another Man's Grave. More on that tomorrow.

In addition, Jeff Sharlet of the San Francisco Chronicle has a review of Lawrence Wright's Going Clear, which as noted previously, is currently on our bestseller list.

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