Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Boswell's Top Nonfiction Bestsellers of 2014!

A new hard drive for my laptop left me struggling to find time to get the blog out, and it didn't help that once it was complete, I had a number of problems getting my computer back up to snuff. It's still got some weird quirks, like I can no longer turn off my touchpad. I can't wait for the Milwaukee branch of Milwaukee PC to reopen. It's no longer as close to us as it was on Farwell, but fortunately, the new Jackson Street branch is not too far away. Paul, we miss you!

Our last few days confirm--warm, dry weather plus cheap gas led to more folks feeling they had extra money in their pocket and their was nothing stopping them from visiting stores. It will be interesting to see whether our holiday season was better for bricks-and-mortar stores than it looked like it would be going into fall, when a lot of projections were down, and the media was making speculations about the season based on a weak Black Friday.

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
2. The Keillor Reader, by Garrison Keillor
3. You are Here, by Chris Hadfield
4. The Future of the Mind, by Michio Kaku
5. Things that Matter, by Charles Krauthammer
6. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
7. Capital in the Twenty First Century, by Thomas Piketty
8. How Not to Be Wrong, by Jordan Ellengberg
9. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
10. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
11. Baking Chez Moi, by Dorie Greenspan
12. Astoria, by Peter Stark
13. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
14. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
15. Not that Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
16. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, by Steven Pinker
17. Milwaukee Then and Now, by Sandra Ackerman
18. A Sense of Style, by Steven Pinker
19. Prune, by Gabrielle Hamilton
20. The Happiness of Pursuit, by Chris Guillebeau
21. What If?, by Randall Munro
22. The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills
23. Good Stock, by Sanford D'Amato
24. Jesus, by James Martin
25. Tequila Mockingbird, by Tim Federle
26. Perimeter, by Kevin Miyazaki
27. Deep Down Dark, by Héctor Tobar
28. Zero to Breakthrough, by Vernice Armour
29. Make It Ahead, by Ina Garten
30. The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda
31. Small Victories, by Anne Lamott
32. The Best Cat of Book Ever, by Kate Funk
33. The Cooks Illustrated Meat Book, by America's Test Kitchen (Jack Bishop)
34. Pabst Farms, by John C. Eastberg
35. The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert
36. I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
37. Old Man Drinks, by Robert Schankenberg
38. Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren
39. Thrive, by Arianna Huffington
40. Recipes from my Home Kitchen, by Christine Ha
41. Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis
42. Great Maps, by Jerry Brotton
43. This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein
44. Schottenfreude, by Ben Schott
45. I'll Take You There, by Greg Kot
46. The Horse Lover, by Alan Day and Lynn Wiese Sneyd
47. Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
48. My Family and Other Hazards, by June Melby
49. The Invisible Bridge, by Rick Perlstein
50. Little Failure, by Gary Shteyngart

There's nothing to me that indicates more the polarization of the Milwaukee area than our nonfiction bestseller list. Despite the gush of celebrity books, there really only are a couple that made our top 50 (with Dunham and Poehler fighting it out to the end). No, its really events, awards, impulse table, a few gift picks (like Great Maps), and what were probably the biggest books on the ABA (indie) bestseller lists.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
2. The Emotional Life of Your Brain, by Richard J. Davidson
3. Healing the Soul, by Bhupendra Khatri
4. Strength for the Struggle, by Joseph Ellwanger
5. Everything that Remains, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
6. Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
7. 101 Things to Do in Milwuakee Parks, by Barbara Ali
8. Studying Wisconsin, by Martha Bergland and Paul Hayes
9. Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon
10. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
11. Shakespeare Saved my Life, by Laura Bates
12. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
13. Civil Rites Activism in Milwaukee, by Paul Geenen
14. Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo
15. Quiet, by Susan Cain
16. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
17. How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough
18. The Hidden History of Milwaukee, by Bobby Tanzilo
19. Assholes, by Jim Aaron
20. Christianity without God, by Daniel Maguire
21. Eat Bacon, Don't Jog, by Grant Petersen
22. A Food Lover's Guide to Wisconsin, by Martin Hintz
23. Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon
24. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
25. Pretty Good Joke Book, by Garrison Keillor
26. Redefining Girl, by Melissa Atkins Wardy
27. Think Happy, Be Happy, by Workman Publishing
28. The Girls of Atomic City, by Denise Kiernan
29. Going Somewhere, by Brian Benson
30. How to Eat, by Thich Nhat Hanh
31. Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah (two local high schools read this)
32. Your Living Compass, by Scott Stoner
33. The Unwinding, by George Packer
34. Age is Just a Number, by Dara Torres
35. Knocking on Heaven's Door, by Katy Butler
36. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett
37. How to Sit, by Thich Nhat Hanh
38. The Heart of Everything that is, by Bob Drury
39. Philosophy in Minutes, by Marcus Weeks
40. Graduates in Wonderland, by Rachel Kapelke Dale and Jessica Pan
41. One Summer, by Bill Bryson
42. Milwaukee Rock and Roll, by Larry Widen
43. The Empathy Exams, by Leslie Jamison
44. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
45. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
46. The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
47. After Visiting Friends, by Michael Hainey
48. Birds of Wisconsin Field Guide, by Stan Tekiela
49. The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
50. Dear Mrs. Griggs, by Genevieve McBride and Stephen Byers (event on 1/30, 4 pm)

A big shout out to Kira Henschel at Henschel Haus, who published two of our top five titles, from Khatri and Ellwanger. Our next event with her authors is for The Boys on the Porch, by June Nilssen Eastvold. We're celebrating the release on January 15, 7 pm. Events and regional books and authors are also important to this list, as is the impulse table. And for the category in general (for not just Boswell), boy did films make a difference.

A number of publishers put "review copy" stickers on their books they send us and we are respectful of this, but sometimes it pays to leave this off. Workman sent us a few comp copies (with letters) of Think Happy, Be Happy, a book we originally just represented. That was enough to get it on our impulse table where it now has sold well over 50 copies.

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