Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Bestseller Post--How Many Times Can I Mention Karen Thompson in a Post? Have I Mentioned She's Coming on Tuesday?

Hardcover fiction:
1. A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers
2. Tenth of December, by George Saunders
3. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
4. Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini
5. The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers

Alas, in the world of sales pops, there's not one this week among the new releases in hardcover fiction. George Saunders (and at a smaller level, Jennifer Chiaverini) have continued their sales momentum. You can read an exuberant review of the collection of Tenth of December pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey style, but Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker didn't break into the traditional book page in a big way, relying more on blogs word of mouth, and a little movie called "Lincoln." Here's a review in The Washingtonian by John Wilwol, which calls the book "enlightening" and calls attention to the details that Chiaverini "does so well." But maybe it's not so bad to just have non-review stories written about your book--I've got to think this New York Times article on Elizabeth Keckley helped.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Far from the Tree, by Andrew Solomon
2. Pukka's Promise, by Ted Kerasote
3. My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
4. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, by Jeanne Theoharis
5. The Plan, by Lyn-Genet Recitas

Several folks have wondered if Jeane Theoharis might be visiting Milwaukee on her tour for The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, a new book that's gotten a lot of attention from an author with Milwaukee ties.  One of the things folks don't always understand about how authors make bookstore appearances (we get a lot of requests from customers to host particular authors) is that either the publisher or the author need to front the costs for a visit, and for many authors, that also involves waiving speaking fees. Alas, we simply don't have the budget to pay those fees, and we're incredibly grateful to all the authors and publishers who supply us with wonderful (and almost all free) programming. And while we love working with Beacon Press, as a nonprofit, they can't generally finance traditional tours. But I can tell you that Beacon author Anita Hill will be at the UWM Women's Leadership Conference on March 15. Buy your ticket here!

The great news is that according to Ms. Theoharis's father, the renowned historian/professor emeritus at Marquette Athan Theoharis, it's likely that either UWM or Marquette (or both) will be bringing the author to town in the coming semester. If it's an open event and we get the details, we'll be sure to let you know about it. For more about the book, read Charles M. Blow's op-ed column in The New York Times.

Paperback fiction:
1. The Hunters, by John Bolger
2. The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker (event is Tuesday, Feb. 12)
3. Leon and Louise, by Alex Capus
4. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
5. What is the What, by Dave Eggers

We had a wonderful event with John Bolger on Friday (signed copies of The Hunters are available), but our Eggers' signing also peppered our bestseller list with his backlist. Leon and Louise gets a book club pop (which we're discussing on Monday, March 4) and of course we're all gearing up for our great event with Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles, on this coming Tuesday. You can pre-order a signed paperback, or even trade up to a hardcover. Alas, we do not have first editions at this point!

Paperback nonfiction:
1. To Fight Aloud is Very Brave, by Faith Barrett
2. Invisible, by Ruth Silver
3. Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers
4. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers
5. When I was a Child, I read Books, by Marilynne Robinson

Ditto on Eggers nonfiction, plus double ditto on a great event with Faith Barrett on Saturday. And it's nice to see folks picking up When I Was a Child I Read Books off the front table (and possibly for a book club). If you are picking book club selections, let me quote from Roxana Robinson's review in The Washington Post: "Taut, eloquent and often acerbically funny, these essays present a formidable response to slack scholarship, an indignant refutation of the policies of punitive frugality toward the poor and a challenge to anyone who denies the power, mystery and significance of the human soul." Robinson's new novel Sparta arrives in June, and we had a great response to posting her essay on vanished New York bookstores on Facebook so I'll link it here too.

Books for kids:
1. Game Changers Book 2: Play Makers, by Mike Lupica
2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 7: The Third Wheel, by Jeff Kinney
3. My Brother's Book, by Maurice Sendak
4. Pride and Prejudice, A Counting Primer, by Jennier Adams and Alison Oliver
5. Good Night Wisconsin, by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper

Said to be the last book Maurice Sendak finished before his death, My Brother's Book is dedicated to his brother Jack, with whom he credited his passion for writing and drawing. If you haven't read Stephen Greenblatt's essay in The New York Times on the connection between Maurice Sendak and William Shakespeare, he notes that "it is still more a secret sharing, an instinctive fascination with some of the same half-hidden springs of human aggression, fear and longing."

In today's Journal Sentinel, Karen Thompson Walker shares her reading list with Jim Higgins, offering selections from Ray Bradbury, Virginia Woolf, and Nathaniel Philbrick.  Did I mention she's coming on February 12?

Contributing reviewer Mike Fischer weighs in on the heavily praised story collection from Karen Russell, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, calling her a writer "who has once again mapped the dark country between our everyday and more primal selves." Just last night, our friend Rose Ann came in with Mr. Fischer's review of Detroit City is the Place to Be, which is why we love reviews so much.

And finally Jim Higgins reviews the new edition of Mikhail Bulgakov's A Country Doctor's Notebook. According to Higgins, there's also an interesting introduction from translator Michael Glenny. Higgins calls this a worthy choice for Melville House's expanding Neversink Library.

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