Sunday, September 7, 2014

Boswell Bestsellers for the Week Ending September 6, 2014--Fall Means a Weekly Major Release in Hardcover Fiction, Course Adoptions in Paperback Fiction, and School Visits in the Kids' Realm.

Welcome back to school. On the paperback list, you'll find a sprinkling of course adoption books, which I sometimes edit out from the blog list, but it feels appropriate to include at least on the first week of September. I should note we don't chase these sales, as there are many fine bookstores in town that focus on this market, but there are some professors who really push their kids to find Boswell and look around. In fact, there's a least one instructor who has been known to split his reading list amongst several nearby bookstores, and ask his kids to visit all of them; He's surprisingly convincing, as a lot of students follow the course book scavenger hunt.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
2. The Long Way Home V10, by Louise Penny
3. The Secret Place V5, by Tana French
4. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami
5. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
6 All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
7. One Kick V1, by Chelsea Cain (event is Tuesday, 9/16)
8. 1004, by Ben Lerner
9. The Liar's Wife, by Mary Gordon (event is Wednesday, 9/10)
10. O Democracy, by Kathleen Rooney

On Saturday, David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks (some signed copies still available) beat Louise Penny's first week numbers, but both lagged behind Haruki Murakami. Random House did a great job on the book's package, and the heavyweight permanent paper means this book will look great in twenty years. Jason was very excited about 10:04, the follow up to Leaving the Atocha Station. Publishers Weekly writes: "In his second novel, an associative, self-aware roman a clef that ably blends cultures high and low, Lerner explores the connections between contemporary life, art, and literary writing."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills (signed copies available, but not firsts)
2. Delivering the People's Message, by Julia Azari
3. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty
4. Liar, Tempress, Soldier, Spy, by Karen Abbott
5. Kill My Mother, by Julies Feiffer
6. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
7. Shadows in the Vineyard, by Maximillian Potter
8. The Invisible Bridge, by Rick Perlstein (event is Thursday, 11/6, at the UWM Golda Meir Library)
9. Augustus, by Adrian Goldsworthy
10. Eichmann Before Jerusalem, by Bettina Stangneth

Some time ago, two bookseller friends came up to Milwaukee to visit the store and saw our huge pile of Capital in the Twenty-First Century. "You're going to sell all that? they queried. "It's died for us after the initial pop." Well I can say that we've sold down and we're just about to reorder. I did talk to one customer, about setting up a book club discussion for the book, as she was having trouble making her way. Another person in the store piped in, "You're reading it? I thought you were just supposed to buy it."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
2. Saving Kandinsky, by Mary "Peetie" Basson
3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman 4. V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore
5. Life after Life, by Kate Atkinson
6. Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger
7. Americanah, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
8. The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy (event on Tuesday, 9/30)
9. In Case We're Separated, by Alice Mattison
10. A Sentimental Education, by Gustav Flaubert

The Kandinsky exhibit closed this week and moves on to Nashville. As Saving Kandinsky is on the Amazon platform which, surprisingly enough, offers terrible terms to booksellers, I'm hoping that some stores are able to set up consignment. And perhaps the only reason I'm including the course adoption books is that it's rather a thriller to see Alice Mattison on a bestseller list. I've read so many of her works of fiction, but alas, I haven't gotten to her most recent yet. In Case We're Separated is one of her best!

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Stuffed and Starved, by Raj Patel
2. A Brief History of Neoliberalism, by David Harvey
3. The American Way of Eating, by Tracie McMillan
4. Food Rules, by Michael Pollan
5. The Locavore Way, by Amy Cotler
6. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
7. The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got that Way, by Amanda Ripley
8. Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
9. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
10. The Guns at Last Night, by Rick Atkinson

And one of those classes obviously touches on the environment and eating, as you can see from this lineup. Back-to-school brought a pop on Amanda Ripley's The Smartest Kids in the World. There are several opportunities to see Ripley this fall in the midwest, but alas, none in Milwaukee. Drive down to St. Louis, why don't you?

Books for Kids:
1. The Unwanteds V1, by Lisa McMann
2. Found V1, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
3. Pout Pout Fish Goes to School, by Deborah Diesen and Daniel X. Hanna (event Thursday 9/18, 4 pm, at Oak Creek Library)
4. Revealed V7, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
5. Island of Silence V2, by Lisa McMann
6. Sent V2, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
7. Island of Legends V4, by Lisa McMann
8. Copper Magic, by Julia Mary Gibson
9. Risked V6, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
10. Island of Fire V3, by Lisa McMann

Can you guess the authors who visited Boswell this week? In our three school events, Margaret Peterson Haddix and Lisa McMann visited over 500 kids and we had a great in-store event as well. While Margaret Peterson Haddix has two series, all the books listed are from her current chronicle, The Missing. We have signed copies of both authors' books, including their newest, Revealed and Island of Legends, and we've got signed Copper Magic too. The first non-event book to show up is President Taft is Stuck in the Bath at #15, but come to think of it, Barnett is visiting Boswell with Jon Klassen on Tuesday, October 14 for Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.

First in the Journal Sentinel is a book that's very important to us, Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, which comes out on Tuesday, September 9. It's a post-apocalyptic story of a world after a deadly flu virus (with brings to mind the current Ebola epidemic) wipes out modern civilization, focusing in particular on a small troupe of combination actor-musicians and they bring art to various outposts some years after the devastation. Mike Fischer calls the book "haunting and riveting." He writes "Station Eleven comes to seem less like a spaceship reflecting how we'll live our dystopian future than a way of thinking about how and where we're traveling here and now. It's not just the residents of Mandel's post-collapse world who need to forge stronger connections and live for more than mere survival. So do we all." Emily St. John Mandel is coming to Boswell on September 22, appearing with the Soulstice Theatre, and at Books and Company September 23. More in a separate post.

Next up in the Journal Sentinel is Chris Foran's review of No Man’s Land: Fiction From a World at War--1914-1918. While Foran notes that many usuals are included "the standouts--as much for their novelty as their freshness-- are the many voices that likely will be new to English-speaking readers." He notes that there are more women's voices than he's seen in past collections, and remarks that taken together, it's "a sobering read."

And also in the Journal Sentinel, Erin Kogler reviews A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBride, which already has been getting some award nominations. Kogler writes: "Set in Ireland, McBride tells the story of a young woman's life and her relationship with her brother, who as a young child contracts a brain tumor. Even though the tumor is treated, it is the beginning of the painful downward spiral of her family." Noting that the novel is rather stylized, Kogler offers that "McBride has successfully crossed over from just telling a good story to creating a work of art."

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