Sunday, February 15, 2015

What's Selling at Boswell for the Week Ending February 14, 2015?

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Prudence, by David Treuer (event Friday, February 20, at Boswell)
2. Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
3. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
4. A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler
5. Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby

It's great to see a nice pop for Anne Tyler's newest, A Spool of Blue Thread (more below), but the real story is that Riverhead has three of our top five titles. The newest is Nick Hornby's Funny Girl. Joe Moran in the UK Guardian says "the book’s dialogue – and there are whole sections that consist almost entirely of direct speech – is fast and funny. In fact, while I was reading this dialogue-heavy novel about the making of a TV series, I couldn’t help thinking: this would make a great TV series." As you may know, one of Hornby's earlier novels, About a Boy, made its way from book to movie to television series."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Believer, by David Axelrod
2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
3. A Kim Jong-Il Production, by Paul Fischer (event is Monday, February 16, 7 pm, at Boswell)
4. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
5. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

Oxford and Hebrew University historian Yuval Noah Harari offers a 70,000 look at humans in Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind. Jared Diamond offered enthusiastic praise: "Here is a simple reason why Sapiens has risen explosively to the ranks of an international best-seller. It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!" Here's another take from Peter Forbes in the UK Independent.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Whistling in the Dark, by Lesley Kagen
2. The Undertaking of Tess, by Lesley Kagen
3. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler (Shorewood Reads event at the Shorewood Library on April 16)
4. TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann
5. The Days of Anna Madrigal, by Armistead Maupin

The much beloved Tales of the City series continues with the paperback release in The Days of Anna Madrigal. I still recall my college years, and seeing the first few books were dorm room staples. From the Los Angeles Times's David Ulin: "Maupin has chosen to end the series again with The Days of Anna Madrigal, a work that is less about departure than coming home. Featuring the full complement of 'Tales' regulars (with the exception of Mona, who died in the 1984 novel Babycakes), the book is an elegy — for San Francisco, for its characters, for a way of life."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Fiddle Tunes for Ukulele, by Lil' Rev and John Nicholson
2. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
3. Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe, by Simon Winder
4. Milwaukee Mafia, by Gavin Schmitt (event at Boswell March 14)
5. Good for One Mediocre Shoulder Rub: Considerate Coupons for Couples, by Meera Lee Patel

Don't be confused by Gavin Schmitt's two books - Schmitt's previous book was officially Images of America: Milwaukee Mafia while this is just Milwaukee Mafia. For Valentine's Day, one of our pops was for Good for One Mediocre Shoulder Rub. The Confessions of a Fat Girl blog offered a look at the book and a giveaway.

Books for Kids:
1. Big Magic for Little Hands, by Joshua Jay
2. Watersong #1: Wake, by Amanda Hocking
3. I am a Bunny, by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry
4. Kanin #1: Crossfire, by Amanda Hocking
5. El Deafo, by Cece Bell

We had several authors traveling through Milwaukee, though you might not have known that Joshua Jay was in town if you weren't at one of the lucky schools who hosted Joshua Jay for Big Magic for Little Hands. The evening event was private, for magicians only. If you haven't seen Jay in action, here he is on the Today Show. We still have some signed copies.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews Prudence, the novel from David Treuer which was our #1 bestseller this week. He writes: "Only one person dies in the core incident of David Treuer's novel Prudence, but everyone involved is fatally wounded. In succinct, finely tuned prose, Treuer visits the violent event from the viewpoint of each important person on the scene, revealing the assumptions and lies that shape their understanding of it — and the secret sorrows they carry from that day forward, ravaging their hearts like stray shrapnel."

Lucy Wood's Weathering was scheduled to come out from Atavist this month but the digital storytelling initiative's publishing program was ended without much notice, leaving several books orphaned. The good news is that the book is scheduled to come out in the United States, but not until 2016. Meanwhile, whet your whistle with this fabulous review from Mike Fischer (worthy of a Man Booker nomination) at the Journal Sentinel. Yes, you can import the book from the UK, but we can also take a hold from you now, giving you the opportunity to surprise yourself a year from now. You can hold it under the old ISBN (we can't guess the price but it's likely to be no more than $30).

Also this week in the Journal Sentinel is Anne Tyler's A Spool of Blue Thread. On this novel, Mike Fischer writes: "Tyler has spent her career quietly showing us how unhappy that cozy club can be. As one character observes of a family gathering in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982), 'you think we're some jolly, situation-comedy family when we're in particles, torn apart, torn all over the place.' Thematically similar to Restaurant in many ways, Blue Thread delivers plenty of situational comedy. But it's also incisive in exploring how families work — and don't."

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