Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Amiably Annotated Boswell Bestsellers, Week Ending November 15, 2014, Plus Links to Journal Sentinel Book Reviews.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews
2. Remember Me Like This, by Bret Anthony Johnston
3. All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
5. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan
6. Lila, by Marilynne Robinson
7. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami
8. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss
9. Family Furnishings, by Alice Munro
10. Revival, by Stephen King

Why knew that Alice Munro's Selected Stories only went through 1994? The new volume, Family Furnishings, is a companion, collecting stories from 1995 to 2014. Now I don't want you to think this is even remotely complete. We'll see how large that volume is someday. Unlike the first volume, where many of the early stories were overlooked by critics, by 1995 Munro was getting fairly comprehensive coverage, but David Ulin revisits them anyway in his Los Angeles Times review. He writes: "In many ways, this is the driver of Munro's writing — to portray people not at the crossroads exactly but for whom life is a series of crossroads or more accurately a narrowing."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. You are Here, by Chris Hadfield
2. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield
3. Fizz, by Ted Wright
4. The Motivation Manifesto, by Brandon Burchard
5. Moving the Needle, by Joe Sweeney
6. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
7. Small Victories, by Anne Lamott
8. The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg
9. Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
10. The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer

Crowdfunding musician Amanda Palmer, whose group The Dresden Dolls was categorized as punk-cabaret released her new book, The Art of Asking, through Grand Central, instead of doing it herself. Fortuitously it came out as the Amazon-Hachette dispute was being settled. I'm sure she's quite happy that she's only a few lines away from her spouse, Neil Gaiman. First of all, a note from her biography: "She currently avoids living in places including Boston, New York, and Melbourne with her husband, author Neil Gaiman, who is easily embarrassed." Alas, Gaiman has officially knocked Wisconsin off his list of residences.(Additional note: Mr. Gaiman confirmed that this official bio I picked up is not quite right...he still includes Wisconsin as one of his residences and does not include Melbourne.)

Paperback Fiction:
1. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
3. Missing Person, by Patrick Modiano
4. The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy
5. The Massive: Black Pacific, by Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson, Garry Brown, Dave Stewart
6. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Suspended Sentence, by Patrick Modiano
8. Dubliners, by James Joyce
9. Inherent Vice, by Thomas Pynchon
10. An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay

The Nobel sales really kick in as we now are stocked on four different titles for Patrick Modiano, and both Missing Persons and Suspended Sentence are among our bestsellers. Josephine Livingstone, culture gabfest intern in Slate magazine, puts Missing Persons among her three starter works, though admittedly Suspended Sentence was not available in English previously. The Guardian agrees that Missing Persons is probably his best known work, having won the Prix Goncourt.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. India's Organic Farming Revolution, by Sapna Thottathil
2. Milwaukee at Water's Edge, by Tom Pilarzyk
3. Eat Bacon, Don't Jog, by Grant Petersen
4. Milwaukee Bucket List, by Barbara Ali
5. Shakespeare Saved my Life, by Laura Bates
6. No Struggle, No Progress, by Howard Fuller
7. Wild Braid, by Stanley Kunitz
8. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
9. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
10. Visiting Tom, by Michael Perry

Mel is a big fan of Eat Bacon, Don't Jog, a primer from the man who visited Boswell for Just Ride. This primer upends many years of conventional wisdom about health and exercise. Per Petersen, jogging "just makes you hungry and trains muscle to tolerate more jogging while raising stressors like cortisol." His basic nutrition advice sounds, at least at first browse, Atkinsy. The book doesn't have many reviews yet (he's clearly being censored by the health police) but Fox News quotes him on this piece on butter benefits. 

Books for Kids:
1. The Long Haul Volume 9, by Jeff Kinney
2. Waiting is not Easy, by Mo Willems
3. The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
4. The Blood of Olympus Volume 5, by Rick Riordan
5. Winter is Coming, by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Jim Lamarche
6. We Were Liars, by E. Lockhardt
7. Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt
8. Animals Around the World, by Wade Cooper
9. Before After, by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui
10. The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie, by Chris Van Allsburg

Elephant and Piggie return in Waiting is Not Easy. You can find out more about the Willems' doings here. And he taped Ask Me Another on November 5. Watch for that episode soon. The current show features aforementioned Neil Gaiman. Meanwhile Winter is (indeed) Coming in Tony Johnston and Jim Lamarche's picture book. I can't argue, as we shoveled snow this morning. Here's the starred review from Kirkus.

Over in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel book section, it's been a busy week for Carole E. Barrowman. First off she reviews Stephen King's Revival, featured above in our top ten fiction list. She starts off pondering if the new novel King's "most personal novel to date." And yes, the title plays off the religious aspects of Revival as well as references to Frankenstein.

Barrowman also does her monthly mystery column, this time featuring a reissue Jack Carter and the Mafia Pigeon, number three in a series of legendary novels, the first of which became Get Carter, a 1970s film. Barrowman is struck by "the influence Lewis' novels have had on so many current hard-boiled writers," noting Lee Child's Jack Reacher as a case in point.

Up next is Colby Marshall's Color Blind, where the protagonist, Dr. Jenna Ramey (a forensic psychologist, the mos popular specialty of medical thrillers) has synesthesia, where she colors, much like Barrowman does herself. This single mom in Florida investigates a theme park killing spree and realizes the accused was not working along and may be connected to other killings, and did we mention that Ramey's mother was a serial killer? Intriguing!

Finally there is Chris Knopf's A Billion Ways to Die, is the second in the series, featuring Arthur Cathcart, a slightly brain-damaged,tech freak researcher and the blackjack dealing psychologist who takes off with his girlfriend to the Caribbean, only to be pursued by a multinational engineering company "after something the multis think Arthur knows but that Arthur doesn't know he knows." She praises the witty banter and terrifying themes.

And finally from Jim Higgins comes the new Everyman's Library collection edited by Diana Secker Tesdell, Stories of Art and Artists. His take?: "I've long admired Tesdell's Everyman's Pocket Classic thematic anthologies for their judicious story selections. Like some of the artists depicted in this one, she creates works that are pleasing, beautiful and surprising."


Neil Gaiman said...

I haven't really left, you know. But Amanda has never lived in Wisconsin, just as I I have never lived in Melbourne or New York.

Daniel Goldin said...

No, I didn't know! It's always important to get these facts correct.