Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Bestseller Post for Boswell, Week Ending Feb. 15--B.J. Novak, Elizabeth Kolbert, Jo Nesbo, and Lots and Lots of Sue Monk Kidd.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
2. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
3. One More Thing, by B.J. Novak
4. The Secret Life of Bees (drop caps edition), by Sue Monk Kidd
5. Ripper, by Isabel Allende

This week's bestseller list includes a number of Sue Monk Kid titles, not just The Invention of Wings, but two other versions of The Secret Life of Bees and several nonfiction titles. Alas, one book that did not pop was Kidd's second novel, The Mermaid Chair. Enthusiasm runs much higher for her third novel.

Also on our list is national bestseller One More Thing, from television's B.J. Novak. He reveals in this Los Angeles Times review that his father was William Novak, editor of The Big Book of Jewish Humor and successful ghostwriter.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert
2. Everything I Need to Know I learned From a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
3. The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
4. Good Stock, by Sanford D'Amato
5. Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey, by Emma Rowley

The big pop this week is for Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction (Henry Holt). The New Yorker writer has gotten a lot of attention, including Rupert Darwall's review in The Wall Street Journal, with a caveat: " Ms. Kolbert's lively account is thought-provoking, whether or not you agree with its premise." And here's her interview on Fresh Air, where she recounts bats dropping dead in the caves of New England.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
2. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
3. Cockroaches, by Jo Nesbo
4. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
5. Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner

One of the stranger publishing programs I've seen of late is the Jo Nesbo republishing program. The books have come out not exactly in order. Cockroaches (Vintage) is the second book in the series. The Independent's Barry Forshaw writes "Nesbo forged something new from the cliché of the dyspeptic alcoholic copper, making Harry Hole the most successful Nordic crime export since Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Redefining Girly, by Melissa Atkins Wardy
2. 101 Things to do in Milwaukee County Parks, by Barbara Ali
3. My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
4. Firstlight, by Sue Monk Kidd
5. Traveling with Pomegranates, by Sue Monk Kidd

The Lynden Sculpture Garden's Women's Speaker Series had a great evening with Melissa Atkins Wardy, author of Redefining Girly (Chicago Review). The book's been also been getting great write ups, including this Kelly Wallace's in CNN. "Atkins Wardy often tells parents in her community that once they become aware of the stereotyping and the sexualization, they won't be able to look away. 'Once you see it, you can't unsee it,' she writes."

Books for Kids:
1. The Scar Boys, by Len Vlahos
2. Better Nate than Ever, by Tim Federle
3. Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, by Tim Federle
4. Divergent, by Veronica Roth
5. Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage

 I'd like to say that we have a clean sweep in our top five of event books, but alas, Veronica Roth ain't coming to Boswell any time soon. That said, Len Vlahos's visit to Milwaukee for The Scar Boys (Egmont) was a big hit was area schools, as was Tim Federle, with sales continuing to come post-event. We're hoping for the same reaction to Sheila Turnage, who plays Milwaukee this Wednesday, February 19, 7 pm. If her presentation is half as good as that of Len Vlahos, I highly recommend you attend. Have you seen Mel and Hannah's blog post on Sheila Turnage's The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing? If not, you should now.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins writes about Laurie Loewenstein's The Unmentionables. He writes "It's a historical, feminist romance in the positive senses of all three terms: a realistic evocation of small-town America circa 1917, including its racial tensions; a tale about standing up for the equitable treatment of women; and a story about two lonely people who overcome obstacles, including their own character defects, to find love together." Lowenstein will be at Books and Company this Wednesday.

In the blog, Jim Higgins' writes up what our Poet Laureates are up to. And in the print edition only, the Cue section features a write up of Bich Minh Nguyen's Pioneer Girl, written by Anthony Marra, originally from the San Francisco Chronicle, and Joshua Zeitz's Lincoln's Boys, reviewed by Scott Martelle in the Los Angeles Times. Of the former, Marra observes Pioneer Girl as "a surprising synthesis of the personal and the public, the intimate and the epic, the historical and the fictional." Of the latter, Zeitz "skillfully recounts what were heady days for (John) Nicolay and John (Hay), even as they were tragic days for the nation."

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