Sunday, March 1, 2015

What's Popping on the Boswell Bestseller List This Week, Ending February 28, 2015?

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
2. Blue Stars, by Emily Gray Tedrowe
3. The Whites, by Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt (event Saturday 3/21, 2 pm)
4. Mightier than the Sword, by Jeffrey Archer
5. Prudence, by David Treuer

Nancy, one of our Friends of Boswell who drives to the store several times a week from Waukesha County, has several great loves. One of them is Jeffrey Archer. In conjunction with the release of his newest novel, Mightier than the Sword, the fifth entry in the Clifton Chronicles, Archer revealed in an interview (here's a piece in The Independent) that treatment for his prostate cancer surgery has left him impotent. It's actually quite common (50%) but nobody talks about it. Kirkus also praises his turbo-charged cliffhanger in the new book.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath
2. H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
3. Believer, by David Axelrod
4. The Brain's Way of Healing, by Norman Doidge
5. A History of Rock and Roll in Ten Songs, by Greil Marcus

It's great to see H is for Hawk take off nationally, arriving with numerous international accolades, great advance American reviews, and a nice rec from Boswellian Mel. She writes: "Hawk is a shocking, brilliant jewel of a memoir about loss and determination, as well as touching tribute to the healing power of connecting with animals. Blurring the lines between autobiography, literary criticism, and eco-poetry, this book is unlike any book you'll ever read.”

 Paperback Fiction:
1. A Replacement Life, by Boris Fishman
2. Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler (event Thursday 4/16 at Shorewood Public Library, 7 pm)
3. Mr. Palomar, by Italo Calvino
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. Redeployment, by Phil Klay

I have heard there's been a national surge in sales for To Kill a Mockingbird with the announcement of the publication of Go Set a Watchman on July 14. As folks must have realized now, the New York Times bestseller list excludes old editions in its tabulations, which is why Lee is not on the bestseller list. Otherwise, it would probably be on and off all the time. And Italo Calvino, we've got two college classes coming in to buy Mr. Palomar.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Art of Having it All, by Christy Whitman
2. We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
3. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
4. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
5. How to Sit, by Thich Nhat Hanh

The pocket edition of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All be Feminists is adopted from her TED talk, where she frames feminism in the context of illusion and awareness.

Books for Kids:
1. The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds (event Monday, April 13, East Library, 6:30 pm)
2. The Dragon and the Knight, by Robert Sabuda
3. Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai (event Wednesday, March 4, 6:30 pm, at Boswell)
4. Dragons and Monsters, by Robert Sabuda
5. Home, by Carson Ellis (event Wednesday, March 25, 7 pm, at Boswell)

If you continue our bestseller list another 10 places, you will mostly see more titles from Robert Sabuda. We're hoping for good crowds in March, when we have a lot of kids' events coming up, including National Book Award winner Thanhha Lai this Wednesday for Inside Out and Back Again, and Carson Ellis's appearance for Home on March 25. It's her first picture book that she's both written and illustrated, and happens in conjunction with a sold-out appearance of The Decembrists at the Pabst.

While on the subject of kids, don't forget, we're hosting Bridget Birdsall, author of Double Exposure, today (Sunday) at 3 pm, suggested for ages 13 and up. Here's a little more about the book, from the publisher. Fifteen-year-old Alyx Atlas was raised as a boy, yet she knows something others don't. She's a girl. And after her dad dies, it becomes painfully obvious that she must prove it now--to herself and to the world. Born with ambiguous genitalia, Alyx has always felt a little different. But it's after she sustains a terrible beating that she and her mother pack up their belongings and move from California to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to start a new life--and Alyx begins over again, this time as a girl. Alyx quickly makes new friends, earns a spot on the girls' varsity basketball team, and for the first time in her life feels like she fits in. That is, until her prowess on the court proves too much for the jealous, hotheaded Pepper Pitmani, who sets out to uncover Alyx's secret.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Lucky Alan, the new collection from Jonathan Lethem, which can sometimes veer into cerebral experiments. Fischer writes: "His preoccupation with narrative exhibits the customary ambivalence of a writer who has also always been aware that however vital our stories can be, they also potentially confine and reduce us, limiting our ability to write something new." He marks the best story in the collection as "Traveler Home."

I've just recently become obsessed with Melville House's "last interview" series and ask Jason to make sure we had a collection of titles in the series to make a display. Coincidentally, this week, Jim Higgins reviewed one of the newest, Lou Reed: The Last Interview in this week's book page. And what an interesting subject Reed makes. Higgins notes: "Unsurprisingly, (David) Fricke's discussion with Reed is the only truly successful journalistic interview in this collection of six; it was published a few months after the release of New York, his finest album and one Reed had a strong desire to promote. The other five pieces here can be described as interview-based encounters with Reed displaying varying levels of intransigence. Reed devotees will want to read and own this book; music publicists may want to use parts of it in professional development training."

And fortuitously timed to our event with Mary Doria Russell this coming Thursday, Chris Foran at the Journal Sentinel reviews Epitaph, which goes on sale this Tuesday. From his review: "Mary Doria Russell, who explored the making of one of the principal players in that famous shootout in her captivating 2011 novel Doc, wades into the O.K. Corral story with Epitaph. A sequel of sorts to Doc, Epitaph peels back all the layers of the events leading up to and following America's most storied gunfight, in a compelling, richly told narrative with complex characters, sharp context — and a number of parallels to today." He lauds her for breathing new life into a familiar tale.

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