Sunday, July 27, 2014

Boswell's Bestsellers for the week ending Saturday, July 26: Predicting the Rise of the Shakespeare Diet, Plus Other Links and Asides.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
2. California, by Edan Lepucki (event 8/1)
3. The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
4. The Book of Life V3, by Deborah Harkness (event 8/4)
5. Evergreen, by Rebecca Rasmussen
6. The Heist V14, by Daniel Silva
7. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
8. Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King
9. The Serpent of Venice, by Christopher Moore
10. Remains of Innocence V15, by J.A. Jance (MPL event 8/12)

Putting together our order (which anyone browsing Boswell can see has come in in a big way) for J.A. Jance's event at the Milwaukee Public Library on August 12, I learned that Jance has no less than four protagonists in four series. Sometimes we try to distinguish them in our inventory by the initials of the protagonist, but we noticed it was getting confused, because Jance's most popular heroes are Joanna Brady and J.P. Beaumont, which are the same initials. They are now indicated as "BRADY" and "BEAU." Remains of Innocence is a Joanna Brady mystery (or thriller, as the publishers like to call these for the mass merchants) and it concerns a waitress whose dying mother's surprising fortune leads to a heap of trouble.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. My Family and Other Hazards, by June Melby
2. The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills
3. The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda
4. A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren
5. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thoms Piketty
6. Factory Many, by Beth Macy
7. Elephant Company, by Vicki Croke
8. Jesus, by James Martin
9. The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver
10. The Removers, by Andrew Martin

The publisher notes that Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II is the story of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s largest land animals transformed him from a carefree young man into the charismatic war hero known as Elephant Bill. Matthew Price in The Boston Globe calls the new book "splendid," pleased with author's "blending (of) biography, history, and wildlife biology."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Saving Kandinsky, by Mary Basson
2. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
3. The Infatuations, by Javier Marias
4. The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline
5. The Discovery of Witches V1, by Deborah Harkness (event 8/4)
6. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
7. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent
8. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
9. TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann
10. And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

We're having very good sales for the paperback of Javier Marias's The Infatuations, which is on Conrad's rec shelf. He writes "This is writing at its purest: elegant, stylish and subtle. The work of Javier Marias transcends such bromides as: 'I couldn't put it down!' It insists that you savor every word; that you stop and reflect on what you have just read; that you parse the sinuously snaking sentences for every nuance they reveal." Here's also The New York Times review from Edward St. Aubyn.

Paperback Nonfiction
1. Going Somewhere, by Brian Benson
2. One Summer, by Bill Bryson
3. The Boys in the Bone, by Daniel James Brown
4. Assholes, by Aaron James
5. How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, by Ken Ludwig
6. Rand McNally Road Atlas 2015
7. Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon
8. Riverwest, by Tom Tolan
9. Studying Wisconsin, by Martha Bergland and Paul Hayes
10. Milwaukee at Water's Edge, by Tom Pilarzyk

Ken Ludwig's How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare is billed as "a foolproof, enormously fun method of teaching your children the classic works of William Shakespeare." You've probably noticed from this bestseller list that you can slap Shakespeare on a decorating book and it will probably hit our bestseller list. Better than that, how about The Shakespeare Diet? It's my idea; you can't have it. You probably know Ludwig as the author of the hit plays Lend me a Tenor and Crazy for You. Here's a review of the book in Playbill (of course).

Books for Kids:
1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
2. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
3. The Fault in our Stars, by John Green
4. Paper Towns, by John Green
5. Where's Waldo: Incredible Paper Chase V7, by Martin Handford
6. The Feelings Book, by Todd Parr
7. Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold
8. The Ballpark Mysteries V1, by David A. Kelly
9. The Rules of Summer, by Shaun Tan
10. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell

The Find Waldo Local program ends this Thursday and we're celebrating with refreshments, activities, and our prize giveaway. You'll be able to pose with Waldo (costume purchased at Bartz's: The Party Store) and if you haven't yet come by since you got your 15 or more check-ins on your passport, you'll also got your coupon good for a dollar off a Where's Waldo book. So why do I mention this on our bestseller list roundup? It's because we've got another Waldo book on this week's bestseller list. Though the verdict is out on whether this year's program was as successful as last year, our sales of Waldo books more than tripled over the first promotion, and let's be frank, that's why our sponsor Candlewick puts this promotion together. If other folks found similar success, I'll suspect there will be a Find Waldo Local 2015.

This week in the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Lucky Us, Amy Bloom's first novel in seven years, that starts with a young girl and her mother heading to the home of her father who has just lost his second wife. He writes "It's a breezy and funny beginning, from a writer who has always had a wicked sense of humor. But the mood soon alters: The speaker — 12-year-old Eva Acton — learns that what Mom really wants to see is what's in this death for her. She dumps Eva on the grieving Edgar — father to both the illegitimate Eva and the legitimate, 16-year-old Iris — and disappears, except for a brief cameo late in the novel." He calls is a novel of "striking emotional depth."

Mary Louise Schumacher reviews The AIA Guide to Chicago. "It's a combination of thoughtful essays and neighborhood guides that focus on exemplary examples of certain architectural trends as well as structures that simply stand out for one reason or another."

My goal this week is to build a display around Jim Higgins second annual short-story speed dating roundup. What a treat to give space to a genre that doesn't normally get it's due. Now mind you, Higgins only reads one story in the collection, but it still gives you a taste. This session includes: --"The Last Thing We Need" by Mike McCormack from Forensic Songs
--“Collected Stories,” by Ryan O'Neill, from The Weight of a Human Heart
--“Dogs I Have Known,” by Andy Mozina, from Quality Snacks
--“Black Vodka,”by Deborah Levy, from Black Vodka
--“Going After Lovely,” by Sean Ennis, from Chase Us
--“The Favorite,” by John Brandon, from Further Joy
--“The Dog,” by Jack Livings, from The Dog

And finally, Jim Higgins notes on his blog that with the first Booker Longlist released with Americans qualifying, team USA takes four slots out of 13. More important than that to us is that two of the four visited Boswell on their tour, Karen Joy Fowler for We are All Completely Beside Ourselves and Joshua Ferris for To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. Did I tell you to read these books? Did you come to our event? Well, some of you did, I know some of you weren't paying attention to me. Next time you'll pay attention, right?

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