Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Event Post: After Three Christopher Moore Events, We Can Definitively Say Which Backlist Book Sells Best, Plus Past and Upcoming Events, Journal Sentinel Book Coverage, and The Sadness of a Split Cover Review on The NYTBR.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Serpent of Venice, by Christopher Moore
2. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
3. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
4. Lamb (special edition), by Christopher Moore
5. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler

Note to anyone who ever hosts Christopher Moore. The bestselling backlist title is always the hardcover edition of Lamb. This time we actually didn't sell out, which is nice. No hardcover fiction pops this week, though I should note that our #6 bestseller is Eva Augustin Rumpf's In Liberty's Name, a historical novel about Haiti, and one of three local launches scheduled over the next ten days. Eva Rumpf will be appearing on Thursday, May 8, 7 pm.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Luce, by Timothy Corrigan
2. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
3. Congratulations By the Way, by George Saunders
4. Struck by Genius, by Jason Padgett
5. How Jesus Became God, by Bart Ehrman

Jason Padgett stopped by to sign copies of Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel on his way to an event in Madison. Padgett is the first documented instance of acquired savant syndrome with mathematical synesthesia. Since a violent mugging some years ago, In Padgett's head, water pours from the faucet in crystalline patterns, numbers call to mind distinct geometric shapes, and intricate fractal patterns emerge from the movement of tree branches, revealing the intrinsic mathematical designs hidden in the objects around us.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
2. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
3. The Selector of Souls, by Shauna Singh Baldwin (ticketed event at Wisconsin Club 5/8)
4. The Circle, by Dave Eggers
5. The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud

The upcoming film forces the Gone Girl release, which I assume is #1 everywhere. It's also nice to see a strong post-event pop on The Interestings. I'm sure that's in part due to signed copies, though paperbacks don't usually have that signed-copy pull that hardcovers do. It also could be from the strong word of mouth about the event, leading to some more book club selections. After various Christopher Moore backlist titles and Shauna Baldwin's other novel comes national bestseller The Orphan Train and local favorite Burial Rites.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon (event at Boswell 5/6)
2. Studying Wisconsin, by Martha Bergland and Paul Hayes (event at MPL Monday 6/9, 6 pm)
3. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo
4. The Book of Deadly Animals, by Gordon Grice
5. The Hidden History of Milwaukee, by Bobby Tanzilo (event at Boswell 5/21)

We've got lots of upcoming event books on this list, including Bobby Tanzilo's hidden history of Milwaukee (known as The Hidden History Milwaukee), which wound up shipping a little earlier than we expected. Between that and Martha Bergland and Paul Hayes talk on Increase Lapham on June 9 (for Studying Wisconsin), you can be thought of by your set as the local history expert.

Books for Kids:
1. When I Was the Greatest, by Jason Reynolds
2. Hollow Earth, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
3. The Gospel of Winter, by Brendan Kiely
4. Noggin, by John Corey Whaley
5. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

The Gentlemen of The Gentleman's tour dominated this week's list. The public event was great, and I heard our school event was perhaps even better. If you'd like Jannis to add you to our school event opportunity distribution, please let us know. We even sold some copies of Jason Reynolds' other book, My Name is Jason Too. But the book whose appearance on the list really warms my heart showed up further down--we brought in copies of the UK edition of Brandon Sanderson's The Complete Alcatraz as the Scholastic editions are no longer in print, but they missed our event by one day. I've decided to keep the faith and hold onto them, and we sold several this week.

The featured review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week is the much-loved (at least by me) Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, from Roz Chast. Jim Higgins writes that the book is "both gut wrenching and laugh-alound funny. I want to recommend it to everyone I know who has elderly parents or might have them someday." I completely agree!

As an aside, I'm excited to add that another must-read on the subject, Knocking on Heaven's Door, has just been signed up for an event for the paperback edition. Katy Butler is coming to Boswell on Tuesday, June 17, 2 pm (note the time). Yes, a weekday afternoon event might seem unusual, but we wanted to do anything we could to get an added-on event from the Chicago appearance. More to come soon.

Speaking of daytime events, we're excited to be hosting on Saturday, May 10, 2 pm, Steven Galloway, author  of The Cellist of Sarajevo and The Confabulist, his new novel about Houdini. Mike Fischer reviews The Confabulist in the Journal Sentinel this week. He notes that "the best of those confabulations pay glorious, inspiring testament ot he ineffable magic in all of us." Folks who liked Ragtime will probably want to check out the book or perhaps attend Galloway's talk and reading on the tenth.

Also in the Journal Sentinel*, Hillel Itale profiles Leslie Jamison, whose The Empathy Exams has earned critical praise, and was our recent #1 nonfiction paperback bestseller. She has achieved scucess "not through dystopian fiction or visions of the afterlife, but through a collection of poetic, painfully searching essays about violence, sex, illness, self-esteem, and self-expression."

And finally, Connie Ogle reviews Elizabeth McCracken's Thunderstruck, which she calls "as swift and true as a prizefighters blows, and often they feel just as powerful, emotionally speaking." This review originally appeared in The Miami Herald.

The New York Times Book Review features three books, James Madison: A Life Reconsidered, by Lynne Cheney, John Quincy Adams: American Visionary, from Fred Kaplan, and Louisa Catherine: The Other Mrs. Adams, by Marget M. Heffron. As a bookseller, we're not a fan of the split review, but alas, we're also not the editors of the book section.

*I'm linking to the Star Tribune, and will switch to JSonline when that link is up.

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