Sunday, April 13, 2014

Annotated Bestsellers from Boswell, Week Ending April 13, 2014.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Visitors, by Patrick O'Keeffe
2. In Paradise, by Peter Matthiessen
3. Can't and Won't, by Lydia David
4. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler
5. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

Lydia Davis had an early New York Times review, which led to several folks coming in to find Can't and Won't (FSG). In the Sunday NYT review, Peter Orner wrote "To read Davis is to become a co-­conspirator in her way of existing in the world, perplexity combined with vivid observation. Our most routine habits can suddenly feel radically new." And in that daily review that came out on April 1, with the book scheduled for April 8, Dwight Garner noted "Lydia Davis’s short stories are difficult to describe, but people like to try. A friend of mine likens them to mosquitoes. Some you swat away, he says. Others draw blood."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Astoria, by Peter Stark
2. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
3. Living with a Wild God, by Barbara Ehrenreich
4. Jesus, by James Martin
5. Wisconsin Supper Clubs, by Ron Faiola

Some may remember that our 2009 Barbara Ehrenreich appearance was our first try at a ticketed Alverno College event. For her new book, Living with a Wild God (Twelve) this author-journalist-activist chronicles her quest to make sense of the universe. Slate write Hannah Rosin ponders the packaging that appears to recall Wild and Proof of Heaven, but Ehrenreich, as NPR notes, is "nonbeliever (who) tries to make sense of the visions she had as a teen." Here's her Fresh Air interview.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Interestings, by Meg Woliter (our event is April 24)
2. Second Person Singular, Sayed Kashua
3. Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline
4. Dancing Arabs, by Sayed Kashua
5. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

I'm so excited that folks are getting as excited about our upcoming event with Meg Wolitzer for The Interestings, on April 24. We're hoping to get a lot of book clubs to come; Jane and I just made a presentation to club on Friday who got the bug to come together and then discuss the book. One of the books that Jane presented was Orphan Train. I noted that the book was a paperback original, and the publisher in Publishers Weekly credited Target for helping break the book out. They have a monthly pick similar to the Pennie's Pick at Costco. I was curious as to what their current pick is, but I can't quite figure out what it is from their website.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Empathy Exams, by Leslie Jamison
2. The Girls of Atomic City, by Denise Kiernan
3. 101 Things to Do in Milwaukee Parks, by Barbara Ali
4. 12 Years a Slave, by Solomon Northrup (Penguin Classic edition)
5. The Austistic Brain, by Temple Grandin.

How nice to see the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize winner pop in sales, and that's why you see The Empathy Exams (Graywolf) at the top of her nonfiction chart. I thought maybe this was a bulk order, but I looked it up and all sales were individual. The sales pop was not just limited to us as the publishers are out of the book everywhere. The jumping off point for Jamison's book is her life as a medical actor. She also had a novel called The Gin Closet, which won the Art Seindenbaum First Fiction award. Olivia Laing called the book "extraordinary and exacting" in The New York Times Book Review.

Books for Kids:
1. Hollow Earth, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
2. Noggin, by John Corey Whaley (pizza party on April 30)
3. The Gospel of Winter, by Brendan Kiely (pizza Party on April 30)
4. When I was the Greatest, by Jason Reynolds (pizza party on April 30)
5. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
6. Flora and Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo
7. When Audrey Met Alice, by Rebecca Behrens
8. Bird, by Crystal Chan
9. Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
10. The Hunt for the Golden Book, by "Geronimo Stilton"

It's always nice to see continuing sales for authors' books post event, like we did for Crystal Chan and Rebecca Behrens, where one school chose When Audrey Met Alice (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) for their book club, after one of the teachers saw the author speak at Boswell. Even Lydia Kang's Control (Dial)( had a pop of sale last week, and our event with her was all the way in Oak Creek, and we were just the bookseller of record for that one.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins gives a thumbs up to Mona Simpons' Casebook. Of course the review writer doesn't write the headline (no, journalism hasn't come to this, but the writers are more responsible for copy editing than they used to be), but "novel finds humanity in boy spying on his mother" seems like a nice description. Simpson's novel is on sale Tuesday, April 15.

From Hector Tobar, originally in the Los Angeles Times, comes a review for Roosevelt's Beast (Henry Holt), a new novel from Louis Bayard. Using inspiration from the famous "river of Doubt" expedition, which also became a nonfiction book from Candice Millard, Tobar notes "Bayard's linguistic gifts are ample and on display repeatedly in Roosevelt's Bearst. Those readers willing to suspend belief in the name of adventure will likely enjoy the wild ride on which he takes them." Did you know Bayard appeared in Milwaukee for his second novel? Roosevelt's Beast is his seventh. Several of us had dinner at Albanese's after. Ah, memories!

Sonja Bolle writes this week's paging through young adult books column, which originally appeared in Newsday. Based on her selections, including A Snicker of Magic (Scholastic) and Ghosts of Tupelo Landing (Kathy Dawson), she should become friends with Hannah. Her other choice is Lauren Oliver's Panic (HarperCollins). I knew Bolle back in my publishing days, when she worked at Publishers Weekly, and always enjoyed talking to her. I suspect if we shared a meal somewhere, that restaurant is also out of business.

Finally, don't forget that Chris Foran had a dual book review that appeared in the Journal Sentinel's Thursday Cue section. It's The Little Girl who Fought Great Depression, a Shirley Temple biography from John F. Kasson, paired with John Wayne (Simon and Schuster), by John Eyman. The latter seems to have had a bit of a sales pop, as one of our wholesalers was completely out of books. It could be from this Peter Bogdanovich review in The New York Times.

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