Sunday, April 27, 2014

Is Interest in Thomas Piketty Driving Interest in Other Political Books? Are People Getting Confused by "Pick-ety" and "Fick-ery" and the Red and Tan Color Scheme and Buying "Storied Life?" These Questions and Others on Today's Bestseller Post.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
2. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
3. The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
4. The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat, by Edward Kelsey Moore
5. The Cold Nowhere, by Brian Freeman

It's a complete win for definite articles this week, right? I've already been getting lovely notes and in-person responses and at least one phone message about how much customers are liking The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. You may have heard that the book is #15 on The New York Times bestseller list for next Sunday, so congratulation to Algonquin for that. Being that the book has been our #1 hardcover fiction bestseller for three weeks in a row, you'd think it would be a shoe in for next week, but Zevin is up against Christopher Moore's The Serpent of Venice event so I think she'll have to settle for #2.

Did you notice that The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Capital in the Twenty-First Century have a similar red and tan color scheme? Have you ever contemplated that Pick-etty and Fick-ery sound kind of similar if you pronounce both of them incorrectly? Do you think folks walk in the door, disappointed, and walk out with a similar look and sound instead of a book of either waiting or buying a different contemporary book of economics and politics? It could happen.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren
2. Everybody's Got Something, by Robin Roberts
3. The Divide, by Matt Taibbi
4. Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor
5. Milwaukee Then and Now, by Sandra Ackerman

Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance tells of the various setbacks she had on the way to becoming a senator from Massachusetts. And Matt Taibbi's The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, is said to be a look at the two sides of the justice system--"the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor." We haven't had two liberal political books pop on the same week in a while; perhaps it's folks coming in for Capital in the Twenty-First Century who don't want to go away empty-handed. Harvard's Belknap Press is being very cautious about reprinting, as they don't want to see a whole bunch of books come back at the end of the run, and I'm totally on board with that. Please have us call you when a free copy comes in.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat, by Edward Kelsey Moore
2. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
3. Saving Kandinsky, by Mary Basson (event May 9)
4. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
5. Southern Cross the Dog, by Bill Cheng (book club discussion June 2)

Yesterday's blog (which, alas, was finished this morning) posted event photos with Edward Kelsey Moore and Meg Wolitzer, so instead I've pictured the French edition, which is also the treatment for the UK paperback. We have been selling Mary "Peetie" Basson's book in advance very well--I need to get more! And we're back on track with our book club discussion for Southern Cross the Dog, which will be Monday, June 2. For those who missed our moved discussion for Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings, we're suggesting you attend on May 5, though I won't be there. It's the night of Garrison Keillor.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. All God's Dangers, by Theodore Rosengarten
2. My Bright Abyss, by Christian Wiman
3. The Third Coast, by Thomas Dyja
4. The Plantagenets, by Dan Jones
5. Detroit, by Charlie LeDuff

A quiet sales week allows several new releases from our paperback table, such as The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens who Made England, and My Bright Abyss, a book about the consolations and disappointments of religion and poetry. What an interesting customer base we have! Thomas Dyja's The Third Coast was likely helped by his appearance for the book in hardcover, while All God's Dangers is an older book that is a reading group selection.

Books for Kids:
1. Poached, by Stuart Gibbs
2. Belly Up, by Stuart Gibbs
3. Spy Camp, by Stuart Gibbs
4. Boys of Steel, by Marc Tyler Nobleman
5. Spy School, by Stuart Gibbs

Needless to say, it's a Stuart Gibbs week. Mr. Gibbs, the author of three series, visited two schools and the Oak Creek library on Wednesday. We tag-teamed driving him around. I picked him up in the morning and got him to Shorewood, Jannis brought him to his second school, and Hannah accompanied him to Oak Creek. There are two great author escort options in Milwaukee, but sometimes, this is what we need to do to make it work! Coming this fall is a new series set on Moon Base Alpha. The first in the series is Space Case. And for those of you wondering about the Superman-themed sales, The Milwaukee Rep's The History of Invulnerability runs through May 4.

Before I get to the Journal Sentinel's Sunday reviews, I have to recap the Thursday reviews. First of all there was a piece on Christopher Moore's, The Serpent of Venice, originally published in the Tampa Bay Times. I'm going to quote the review a bit, just because Colette Bancroft really explains exactly what's going on.

"Pocket is in Venice as the emissary of his queen and concert, Lear's daughter, Cordelia, now Egland's ruler. She sends him there to dissuade the city's politicians and merchants from stirring up a new Crusade to line their own pockets (Hard to imagine such a thing these days, eh?)

"Why send a fool, he asks, and she responds: 'No letter, dispatch, or herald can be even remotely as annoying as you...Only you, my darling fool, canvey just how ridiculous and bloody inconvenient I find their call to battle.'"

Yes, on top of everything else, The Serpent of Venice is a satire of contemporary war politics. Bancroft calls Shakespeare "golden material" and notes the newest continues in the spirit of his other "outrageously runny comic fantasy novels." Dareth I say tickets available here?

In addition, Thursday featured Carol Leifer's newest, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying, a funny book with real advice from a woman who's been in show business for close to forty years.

And now Sunday! First of all, Jim Higgins reports on Shauna Singh Baldwin as the featured speaker at the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch. It's not too late to get your tickets by calling 414-286-8720 or email

Moving to page 6E of the Journal Sentinel's Cue section, Chris Foran reviews Francine Prose's Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932,  by Francine Prose. It's inspired by the Brassai photograph, "Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle, 1932" and Foran says the book is at its best when it focuses on figures in the background.  He calls the book, a multi-dimensional portrait of Lou Villars, a fictionalized verion of a French athlete and race card driver who later spied for German and worked with the Nazis. He calls it "a rich portrait of a difficult age."

From Mike Fischer (yes, also in the Journal Sentinel) is a review of The Last Kind Words Saloon, by Larry McMurtry, who has now moved to the Liveright, a part of W.W. Norton. McMurtry takes the Wyatt Earp myth and deconstructs it. Fischer notes that the resulting stories "bear no relationship to our cherished fables." This is apparently a tricky thing, and the review details when it works and when it does not. This book is not out until May 7. Let us call you when it comes in!

And finally, from Sarah Bryan Miller comes a review of American Saint: The Life of Elizabeth Seton, by Joan Barthel, originally published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Using Seton's own words, Barthel has created an intriguing portrait of a strong woman with a strong faith who made a lasting difference for good" but I should also note that Miller is not happy about the book's many factual errors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

pretty nice blog, following :)