Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Boswell Bestsellers, Week Eding June 7, 2014.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
2. Midnight in Europe, by Alan Furst
3. The Vacationers, by Emma Straub
4. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
5. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler

It's a nice first week for Emma Straub's The Vacationers. I'd love to credit Sharon or my staff rec, but I would suspect that Janet Maslin's New York Times review might have helped as well.  In the Chicago Tribune, Carol Memmott writes "It's a treat to read about the people at the center of this perfect summer story, each tussling with predicaments that have them slipping and sliding toward a nuclear family implosion."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Recipes from My Home Kitchen, by Christine Ha
2. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
3. Congratulations, by the Way, by George Saunders
4. Captial in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty
5. A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren

After a May of college graduations, we're now in the midst of high school celebrations, meaning that after Father's Day, I have to come up with two new displays. It looks like George Saunders' Congratulations, by the Way, was the breakout hit of that very specific but still quite successful genre of speeches turned into books. Here's Luke Eppley in Salon on the business of commencement speeches, singling out George Saunders and David Foster Wallace as worthy talks amid the dreck. Alas, Elizabeth Toohey in the Christian Science Monitor was not a big fan of Saunders' "being nice is good" message, and suggest people jump right to the David Foster Wallace.

Nice pops for two Hachette titles this week, with a slight upsurge for The Goldfinch and a larger one for David and Goliath. I should note that if Amazon won't send Malcolm Gladwell's book to you in a timely manner, we will, and we still have some signed copies. Carolyn Kellogg summarizes the dispute in the Los Angeles Times.  There's been a lot of talk about two markets that are particularly quiet in the dispute--Washington, D.C., where the Post is now owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and Washington State, where Seattle has been the recipient of Amazon's largesse.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Rooms are Filled, by Jessica Vealitzek
2. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Joël Dicker
3. And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini
4. Song of the Shank, by Jeffery Renard Allen
5. Saving Kandinsky, by Mary Basson

I mentioned to several folks that we were struggling with how to get the word out about our Jeffery Renard Allen event before pub date, though the reviews are coming out a bit early for Song of the Shank. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has it up today (can't link to them, alas), while in the Kansas City Star, Linda Simon calls the book, as many folks have, Faulknerian.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
2. Strength for the Struggle, by Joseph Ellwanger
3. Graduates in Wonderland, by Rachel Kapelke-Dale and Jessica Pan
4. Dear Mrs. Griggs, by Genevieve McBride and Stephen Byers
5. Studying Wisconsin, by Martha Bergland and Paul Hayes (event 6/9, 6 pm, at the MPL Rare Book Room, 814 W. Wisconsin, 2nd floor)

Speaking of good news for our featured authors, Joël Dicker had a nice pop onto The New York Times at #8 on the paperback fiction list while Daniel James Brown appeared on the nonfiction paperback list at #2 for The Boys in the Boat. Brown's tale is showing up on bestseller lists all over the country, and we're getting a lot of enthusiasm for our event this Thursday, June 12. Tickets are still available.

Books for Kids:
1. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
2. The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laura Halse Anderson
3. Little Miss Muffett, by Iza Trapani
4. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell
5. The Living, by Matt de la Pena

Bulk orders are usually classics or textbooks but this week we had a good-sized order of relatively new young adult hardcovers, so I included them on our bestseller list. Laurie Halse Anderson's The Impossible Knife of Memory. In The New York Times Book Review, Jo Knowles favorably reviewed this book, which touches on PTSD. She wrote "Her protagonists battle their demons privately, sinking deeper into isolation and despair until they realize that the only way to survive is to tell their stories."

In the Journal Sentinel, the Tap (formerly Cue) section, features a review by Jim Higgins of Geoff Dyer's Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush. Higgins observes that Dyer "deftly blends two stories into one short book: a closely observed, respectful account of life and work aboard an aircraft carrier, and the comic adventure of being 'the oldest and tallest person on ship,' ducking and stooping his head constantly, struggling with the food and the noise of jets."

In the print edition, we also have a review of Sheana Ocho's Stella! Mother of Modern Acting, by Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times. It's published by Applause, which I think is owned by Milwaukee's Hal Leonard Publishing. Ochoa writes "Adler is portrayed as a complicatedly charismatic force of nature, a prickly beauty who worshipped her father to the detriment of her relationships with men." there are quibbles with the editing, and "imprecision in both its language and its factual detail, which undermines its narrative's authority."

And finally in the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins profiles Michio Kaku, who is back in Milwaukee as the featured speaker for MCFI's Spirit of Independence Awards at Discovery World on June 19. Tickets are $100-150. Higgins reports on how Kaku will speak "about the ways scientific innovation may affect the lives of people with disabilities and mental illnesses." Folks were ecstatic about Kaku's talk last time he was in time. You might not want to miss him again.

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