Sunday, April 20, 2014

Boswell Sunday Bestseller Post, for the Week Ending April 19, 2014.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin (event 4/28)
2. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
3. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler
4. The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
5. Frog Music, by Emma Donoghue

See below for the Journal Sentinel review of Gabrielle Zevin. My sister Merrill talked to me this morning and went on about how much she liked The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.  It's also nice to see Nickolas Butler and Sue Monk Kidd, former visitors, continuing to have legs. I don't think we'll see Donna Tartt in the near future, but there is a small chance that Emma Donoghue might visit Boswell for the paperback tour of Frog Music. I'm in the midst of making fall proposals, and her name came up. We'll certainly let you know.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Capital in the Twenty First Century, by Thomas Piketty
2. Jesus, by James Martin
3. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
4. Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis
5. How Jesus Became God, by Bart D. Ehrman

We got our shipment of Capital in the Twenty First Century and promptly sold through them all. The New York Times features French economist Thomas Piketty on the front page of their Sunday business section, where he notes that income equality is likely to worsen over time.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer (event 4/24)
2. Trace, by Eric Pankey
3. Dark Eden by Chris Beckett
4. Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline
5. Saving Kandinsky, by Mary Basson (event 5/9)

We're hoping for a good showing at our event for Meg Wolitzer this coming Thursday. People are really connecting to The Interestings and we have a good number of book clubs with the book on their calendar. I'm currently reading it for our book club, which has moved from May 5 (due to Keillor) to April 24, at 6 pm, before our featured author speaks.

You may have noticed a pop in sales for Dark Eden, by Chris Beckett. This novel is an adult dystopian about a group of people called The Family who live in Eden, a group of people who must stay in the safety of The Forest and not cross into The Snowy Dark. They have to wait there until The Travelers come back for them. So of course John Redlantern breaks all the rules and you can only imagine what happens. Hey, I think I got the plot right. The book won the Arthur C. Clarke award for best science fiction novel of the year.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Wrigley Field, revised edition, by Stuart Shea
2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo
3. My Boyfriend Barfed in my Handbag, by Jolie Kerr
4. The Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande
5. On Looking, by Alexandra Horowitz

After however how long (two years?), Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers hits the paperback rack. What with most publishers doing their old paperbacks, the rule of thumb about a year spread between hard and soft no longer applies. In the old days, if a book was working, the hardcover publisher couldn't delay a paperback if they sold the rights, or rather, it was very, very hard to do so. Now there's really only one thing that forces the paperback and that is the film release. That's definitely the reason for The Fault in Our Stars and Gone Girl paperbacks, even though they are both on our bestseller list for hardcover, and that's why Unbroken will likely hit paperback this fall. 

Books for Kids:
1. The Scraps Book, by Lois Ehlert
2. The 26-Story Treehouse, by Andy Griffiths
3. The 13-Story Treehouse, by Andy Griffiths
4. Lots of Spots, by Lois Ehlert
5. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Guess who we hosted this week? If you guessed John Green, you are not only wrong, but you are dreaming. Griffiths is in the midst of a five-week tour around the United States, to hook kids on his crazy brand of humor that has become an Australian phenomenon (and yes, we chatted about our favorite Australian writers Hannah Kent (who visited last fall) and Graeme Simsion (who is coming for the paperback of The Rosie Project on June 18).

On Saturday, my niece and nephew and 80-odd other fans came to see Lois Ehlert for her new book, The Scraps Book. This is our third event with Ehlert (four if you include one at MPL) and it was more than twice the attendance we've had before. Both of us wondered whether the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter was a good time for an event. It turned out it was.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which he calls "a big wet kiss to readers and bookstore people." I'm not going to go on too much about the review here, since I just yapped on about the book on Friday, but if you need more incentive to pick up the book, Higgins offers even more reasons why the book is worth reading, including highlighting many of the vibrant secondary characters who populate the story. Don't forget, our event is April 28, and we'll have a little something extra--a little talk, a little nosh, a little toast--to celebrate our fifth anniversary.

Plus Carole E. Barrowman's monthly mystery roundup:
The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn is a "twisty and twisted comedic thriller" about a killer intern (this temp agency hires younguns to off corporate honchos who have it coming) relating his cases as he tells of his last case before his mandatory retirement at 25. "Imagine Dexter working in The Office."

The Long Shadow, by Liza Marklund is Barrowman's return to Nordic Noir after reading too much "gratuitously and graphically mtilated women" Here, Annika Bengtzon investigates the murder of Swedish hockey star and his family on the Southern coast of Spain.

Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well, by Nancy Atherton is the latest adventure of "a Miss Marplish spirit who communicates with her niece, Lori, to solve the peculiar and the puzzling." The newest concerns the death of the village recluse, and the unintended consequences of a wishing well being found on the estate. This one has "an especially witty and wonderful Agatha Christie vibe."

The Cold Nowhere, by Brian Freeman is the latest "superb psychological thriller" featuring Jonathan Stride, this one death on a giant ore boat and "a homeless teenager seeking refuge with Stride." Freeman is visiting Mystery One on Tuesday, April 22, at 5 pm, and Boswell at 7, and then on Wednesday at Books and Company, also at 7 pm.

Blood Always Tells, by Hillary Davidson, is "a striking departure from her series with travel journalist Lily Moore. This one tells of a woman trying to get even with her two-timing boyfriend who winds up in a blackmail scheme which leads to a kidnapping. Barrowman says the plot is "engrossing."

And also Mike Fischer reviews In the Light of What We Know, by Zia Hander Rahman. He notes that even though the book can be summarized as a "classic bildungsroman" moving from Bangladesh to Great Britain to the United States and then to Asia, "there's nothing simple about this dense, sprawling and thrilling ambitious debut novel, which relentlessly calls into question how much we should trust paragraphs like the one I've just written--or more generally, the stories within which we live an d through which we lull ourselves to sleep."

Collette Bancroft of The Tampa Bay Times reviews On Reading the Grapes of Wrath, by Susan Shillinglaw, on the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath, which also has an anniversary edition. She writes "Longtime Steinbeck fans and first-time readers alike will find much to enrich their understanding of The Grapes of Wrath in Shillinglaw's book.

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