Sunday, July 13, 2014

Boswell's Sunday Bestsellers, Week Ending July 12, 2014--What popped Jordan Ellenberg? Why the Hannah Kent Surge? And of Course the Journal Sentinel Reviews.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
2. California, by Edan Lepucki
3. The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
4. Top Secret Twenty One, by Janet Evanovich
5. The Serpent of Venice, by Christopher Moore

If you catch this before the correction, you might enjoy seeing the Washington Post's granting of an unusual reward to Janet Evanovich's Top Secret Twenty One.

Meanwhile, reviews continue to come in for Edan Lepucki's California. Sam Worley in the Chicago Tribune writes: "A careful narrator, Lepucki does a wonderful job maintaining a feeling of suspense throughout her book without ever drawing a full picture of what Cal and Frida are looking at. Though there's something obviously eerie about their new home, it's also clear there are mitigating factors: Some of the apparently cruel or arbitrary rules that govern the Land and its inhabitants may in fact be reasonable responses to the cruel and arbitrary realities that govern this new world at large. And while they're understandable, we never know quite how much Cal and Frida's suspicions are justified, and how much they're a result of the paranoia that comes from being left largely in the dark about the workings of the society they've stumbled upon."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. How Not to be Wrong, by Jordan Ellenberg
2. The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda
3. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
4. Sons of Wichita, by Daniel Schulman
5. Our Declaration, by Danielle Allen

New to the list is Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Liveright), by political philosopher Danielle Allen. Per Sarah Purcell at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Ms. Al­len presents the act of read­ing the Dec­la­ra­tion as a way for any­one to be­gin to make a claim on demo­cratic cit­i­zen­ship. She wants to 'draw dif­fer­ent cir­cles of read­ers to­gether: the so­phis­ti­cate and the nov­ice; the fre­quent and the oc­ca­sional reader; the his­tory buff and the self-help seeker; the lover of de­moc­racy at home or abroad.' She suc­ceeds in mak­ing the Dec­la­ra­tion in­ter­est­ing on all those lev­els and at demon­strat­ing its mean­ing, not only for the Found­ing Fathers in the 18th cen­tury, but for any­one in our own day also."

I should also note that while How Not to be Wrong has been a national bestseller for several weeks, it had a particularly good pop at Boswell this week, so we asked Friend of Boswell Mike why he came in to buy it. Mario Livio's review in The Wall Street Journal seemed to be the source, recommending the book for how mathematics can solve common-sense problems.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent
3. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
4. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
5. TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann

The big story of course was our event with Elizabeth Gilbert and Bonnie North this past Wednesday for The Signature of All Things. I should also note that our top five paperback nonfiction titles were also part of a book club presentation on Thursday, and Burial Rites was announced as our next in-store lit group discussion (on Monday, August 4, probably relocated next door, due to the Deborah Harkness event). And here's an article in the Sydney Morning Herald which asks readers to buy Australian when they choose their next book.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Risking Everything, edited by Michael Edmonds
2. Dancing to the Precipice, by Caroline Moorehead
3. Everything that Remains, by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (event 7/16)
4. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
5. Going Somewhere, by Brian Benson (event 7/24)

If you're planning to come to Everything that Remains, buy your books now as we weren't able to source more from the publisher, as they are all print on demand. The authors are visiting on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a book club pops Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de La Tour Du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era, by Caroline Moorehead. Kirkus Reviews calls this "The sensational story of a woman whose enduring spirit encapsulates one of the most dynamic periods of modern European history." And Brenda Wineapple in The New York Times calls it an "absorbing new book, which documents with stylistic élan and meticulous detail a reeling period of French history, from the ludicrous court of Louis XVI to the Revolution of 1789 and the dictatorship of Napoleon, itself followed by the speedy restoration and deposition of Bourbon kings."

Books for Kids:
1. Sinner, by Maggie Stiefvater
2. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
3. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
4. The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
5. The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater

Friend of Boswell Jenny and I attended our Maggie Stiefvater, and together we asked some interview questions of the author before our event at the Franklin Public Library. We learned that the new book is neither a continuation of the Shiver trilogy, nor is it the start of a new series. No, Stiefvater has promised that the Mercy Falls saga is finished, but Sinner is a dintinctively Los Angeles book, and tells the story of what happened to Cole St. Clair when he moved to the City of Angels.

The Journal Sentinel book page highlights several great titles this week. Colette Bancroft offers a joint review of Joanna Rakoff's My Salinger Year and The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, from Marja Mills. The review first appeared the Tampa Bay Times.

I'm glad to say that Hector Tobar really enjoyed Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You. First appearing in the Los Angeles Times and reprinted in the Journal Sentinel, proclaims that Ng "deftly pulls together the strands of this complex, multigenerational novel. Everything I Never Told You is an engaging work that casts a powerful light on the secrets that have kept an American family together — and that finally end up tearing it apart"

I had also hoped to read Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records, from Amanda Petrusich, but wound up giving my copy to Josh, with his book background. The author is one of the few women involved in the vinyl collecting racket and her journeys take her all the way to Grafton, Wisconsin, where Paramount Records, he furniture company turned record label helped make music history. This review was also originally in the Los Angeles Times.

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