Sunday, July 20, 2014

Boswell Sunday Bestsellers, Week Ending July 20, 2014

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Book of Life: Volume 3 in the All Souls Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness (event August 4)
2. The Heist, by Daniel Silva
3. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
4. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
5. California, by Edan Lepucki (event August 1)
6. One Plus One, by Jojo Moyes
7. Midnight in Europe, by Alan Furst
8. Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
9. The Care and Management of Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear
10. The Hundred-Year House, by Rebecca Makkai

While I had to disappoint the customer who inquired whether Daniel Silva was coming to Boswell for The Heist*, I hoped they would take some solace in the fact that Deborah Harkness was visiting. Alas, that's not the way it works in these sort of inquiries. It's quite a short tour this time out, with stops in Houston (this past morning), Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Sand Diego. Here's a nice profile in the San Diego Jewish World, in advance of his event at the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture in La Jolla.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Horse Lover, by Alan Day and Lynn Wiese Sneyd
2. The Alliance, by Reid Hoffman
3. Kaiten, by Michael Mair
4. Schlitz: Brewing Art, by Paul Bialas
5. The Keillor Reader, by Garrison Keillor
6. Gapital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty
7. The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills
8. The Tastemakers, by David Sax
9. Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local, and Helped Save an American Town, by Beth Macy
10. How Jesus Became God, by Bart Ehrman

So earlier this week, Pat, one of our FOBs (Friends of Boswell) came in and ordered a copy of Factory Man, only I was having trouble entering it and somehow, when all was said and done, I had ordered her three copies. Much as she was excited about John Bassett's story, and how he chose not to offshore his business (not Bassett furniture, his family's business, but Vaughan-Bassett, a smaller company he joined when he was on the outs with his brother in law), she didn't want three copies. The good news is that we had other folks who wanted the book, which was profiled in The Wall Street Journal. 

Paperback Fiction:
1. A Piazza for Sant'Antonio, by Paul Salsini
2. Falling to Earth, by Kate Southwood
3. Quality Snacks, by Andy Mozina
4. D'Mok Revival: Retribution, Volume 2, by Michael Zummo
5. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
7. The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith
8 .Americanah, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
9. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent
10. The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers

With seven of our top ten being former event books, you'd think we'd be cocky about conquering the entire top ten, but while J.K. Rowling's odds are one in a jillion (basically winning some contest), I actually think we're likely to see Chimananda Ngozi Adichie before we see part-time Wisconsinite Neil Gaiman (we need to start entering contests for this one too). I tell myself what I told the customer who complained about us not hosting Daniel Silva above--we are so lucky to host the wonderful authors we get, whether it was the full house of Elizabeth Gilbert or the you-should-kick-yourself-for-missing it gathering of early fans for Hannah Kent's Burial Rites. She was both smart and engaging, with a wonderful sense of humor. This week we just passed the 100-copy mark for Hannah Kent's first novel. I wouldn't be surprised if we get to 200.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Everything that Remains, by Joshua Fields Millburn with notes by Ryan Nicodemus
2. Minimalism, by Joshua Fields Millburn
3. Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Reader, by Michael Edmonds
4. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
5. Going Somewhere, by Brian Benson (event 7/24)
6. The Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, by Jill Lepore
7. Those Angry Days, by Lynne Olson
8. Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario
9. Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon
10. Riverwest: A Community History, by Tom Tolan

Speaking of events we're grateful for, this week we had 240 fans for The Minimalists' memoir, Everything that Remains. Interestingly enough, the authors in some ways reminded me of Elizabeth Gilbert--all three had very intense relationships with their fans and there was a lot of hugging. There were thoughts that this might be one of the more lightly attended events, and I can't compare those numbers, but in terms of sales, we are, with just the northwest and part of Canada left to go on the 100-city tour that's been going on since January (or before), we are the #1 location for sales on Above the Treeline for the new book.

Books for Kids:
1 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
2 The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
3. Four: A Divergent Collection, by Veronica Roth
4. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
5. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
6. Count to Sleep Wisconsin, by Adam Gamble
7. The Secret of Platform 13, by Eva Ibbotson
8. The False Prince: Volume 1 of the Ascendance trilogy, by Jennifer Nielsen
9. Where's Waldo Magnificent Mini boxed set, by Martin Handford
10. Allegiant, by Veronica Roth

Following up on Good Night Wisconsin (and Michigan and Chicago and San Antonio, and so forth) is Count to Sleep Wisconsin, once again by Adam Gamble, Mark Jasper, and Joe Veno.  Apparently we count cheeseheads, cranberries, Milwaukee Brewers, and other state icons.

What's reviewed in today's Journal Sentinel? Jim Higgins reviews The Novel, by Michael Schmidt, a massive reference that has already shown up on our weekly bestseller lists. Unlike buying the book, when you review it, you actually have to read it, and that takes longer. He writes "Michael Schmidt's massive new book, The Novel: A Biography, covers nearly 700 years of prose and hundreds of writers. At 1,200 pages, it is much longer than Moby-Dick and nearly as long as War and Peace. Although it's not necessarily the last word on any given novel, as a resource, reference and stimulator, it's a bargain and a worthy addition to your home library." Read the rest of the review here.

Also from Mr. Higgins is his take on June Melby's My Family and Other Hazards. "Nerdily, I most enjoyed the passages of the book that focused on running the course and how the family coped with a routine as daily as farming, only with more night hours. June had to learn the special patience people in service and leisure jobs need to cope with customers," he writes. I was particularly taken by the ins and outs of making Sno Cones and cotton candy. Melby appears at Boswell on Tuesday, July 22, 7 pm.

From Mike Fischer is a review of Tiphanie Yanique's Land of Love and Drowning, a family saga that combines her Virgin Islands background with South American stylings. He writes "There are many parallels between Yanique's novel and Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Their magical realism. Their often radical temporal shifts within a seemingly straightforward narrative (Yanique continually foreshadows what's to come). Their symbolic use of color (especially blue and red, here). Their markedly similar openings. Their devastating hurricanes." My sister Merrill is also reading it.

*I've now taken to telling the honest truth when someone requests an author so close to or event after pub date. I used to say they'd need to help me get the numbers and sales I need to make the event work, but I now cut to the chase and say that book is budgeted out at this point, and the odds are that the only thing that would probably turn heads is full coverage of hotel, flight, author escort, and incidentals, which is likely to run around $1000, and that's if the author waives honorarium.

This is not to say you shouldn't ask, but you should understand that asking implies a financial committment, and sometimes it pays off. Veterans for Peace asked me about David Finkel, the author of Thank Your for Your Service, and we were able to add a Milwaukee date onto a midwest visit for October. The book was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle award and the Los Angeles Times book award too, plus was a top 10 book of the year for The Washington Post. He'll be at Boswell on Wednesday, October 22, 7 pm.

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