Sunday, June 21, 2015

Boswell Bestsellers for The Week Ending June 20, 2015--A Very Tight Race for Hardcover Fiction, More Book Club Sales, Film Tie-Ins and a Journal Sentinel Book Review, Even Without a Book Page.

The first thing I should note is that of our top 5 hardcover fiction would in most non-December weeks be our #1 book. We simply had three strong events (with four strong books) in the same category. But of course that only matters if you care about rank.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Jesus Cow, by Michael Perry
2. Summerlong, by Dean Bakopoulos
3. The Book of Aron, by Jim Shepard
4. A Winsome Murder, by James DeVita
5. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
6. Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, by Pam Federbar
7. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson
8. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
9. Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
10. Dream Lover, by Elizabeth Berg
11. Death at Gill's Rock, by Patricia Skalka
12. The Love Object, by Edna O'Brien
13. In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume
14. A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson
15. Radiant Angel, by Nelson DeMille

Edna O'Brien's latest collection of stories, The Love Object was published in the UK in 2014; you don't usually expect to see such a delay in these times on an author of this caliber but of course we don't know the behind-the-scenes machinations. And this continues, as O'Brien's next novel, The Little Red Chairs, will be published by Faber this fall in London, but has an  end-of-March street date for the Little, Brown edition.

John Casey gives a pitch for this collection in The New York Times Book Review: "Some friends of mine, eager and literate, don’t like story collections. They don’t like reading 20 pages or so and having to start all over again with what comes next. Others, reaching for a loftier aesthetic, say they want a book to be a coherent whole; they want to get to the end and have a sense of the whole in a wordless afterglow. Yes. Certainly yes. And yet these selected stories gave me that pleasure. I noticed, for example, that an old favorite, 'Sister Imelda,' is a close cousin to'Old Wounds,' the last story in the collection. There is a harmony among all these stories that makes a whole."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Man Who Painted the Universe, by Ron Legro and Avi Lank
2. Power Score, by Geoff Smart
3. The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough
4. The Road to Character, by David Brooks
5. A Lucky Life Interrupted, by Tom Brokaw
6. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
7. H is for Hawk, by Helen MacDonald
8. Peru, by Gaston Acurio
9. Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
10. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
11. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
12. One Man Against the World, by Tim Weiner
13. Seven Good Years, by Etgar Keret
14. Gumption, by Nick Offerman
15. Stalin's Daughter, by Rosemary Sullivan

Those who took my advice and read The Tastemakers, by David Sax are probably seeing the way the food trends discussed in the book play out, from Sriracha to salted caramel, but perhaps the rise of Peruvian cooking is the trend that has the most people shaking their heads and saying, "how did this happen?" But it is happening, and Gaston Acurio's beautiful Peru cookbook from Phaidon is probably helping things along, as was this interview on Morning Edition, where they discuss cerviche.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Euphoria, by Lily King
2. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
3. Etta and Otto and Russell and James, by Emma Hooper
4. The Martian, by Andy Weir
5. We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas
6. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan
7. The Monogram Murders, by Sophie Hannah, continuing the legacy of Agatha Christie
8. Meet Me Halfway, by Jennifer Morales
9. The Magician's Land, by Lev Grossman
10. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

When Sophie Hannah visited Schwartz, she had already won prizes for her poetry and was making her name with a series of a psychological suspense mysteries, which Anne, Sharon, and I had all read and enjoyed. While continuing that, she is also responsible for the new Hercule Poirot mystery, The Monogram Murders, which, as is the trend, breathers new life into an old hero, in this case, from Agatha Christie. Alexander McCall Smith discusses this at length in his New York Times Book Review review for the hardcover, and after some background, the fateful moment: "So at last we come to the crucial question: Does Sophie Hannah’s Poirot live up to our expectations? Yes, he does, and markedly so. Set in London in the winter of 1929, The Monogram Murders is both faithful to the character and an entirely worthy addition to the canon."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Cabin Lessons, by Spike Carlsen
2. Land of Milk and Uncle Honey, by Alan Guebert with Mary Grace Foxwell
3. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
4. Milwaukee Mafia, by Gavin Schmitt (event 7/13 at Central Library, 6:30pm)
5. 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimers, by Jean Carper
6. Dead White Guys, by Matt Burriesci (event 6/29 at Boswell, 7pm)
7. The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills
8. Waking Up, by Sam Harris
9. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
10. Carsick, by John Waters

We're gearing up for the moment when Go Set a Watchman comes, on July 14. We just put out a table of what to read until then, including not just To Kill a Mockingbird, but Mockingbird (a biography), Scout, Atticus, and Boo, and doing double duty, as it's also on our book club table, The Mockingbird Next Door. Since Lee shows up in In Cold Blood and Capote is a character in TKAM, we included a few of his books as well.

Books for Kids:
1. Tales from a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen, by Rachel Renee Russell
2. Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
3. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell
4. Good Morning to Me, by Lita Judge
5. Because You'll Never Meet Me, by Leah Thomas
6. In Mary's Garden, by Tina and Carson Kugler (event 7/1 at Shorewood Library, 3pm)
7. Skink: No Surrender, by Carl Hiaasen
8. We Are All Made of Molecules, by Susin Neilsen
9. Paper Towns, by John Green
10. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews

Movie tie-ins drive a lot of the young adult business of late, and the two that are on our list seem to be dominating Bookscan lists nationally as well, notably Paper Towns, which opens July 24, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which is out and getting some very good reviews. Here's the trailer for Paper Towns. Here's the in-short review from The Hollywood Reporter: "A smart-ass charmer, merciless tearjerker and sincere celebration of teenage creativity, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl got a standing ovation at its Eccles premiere today and deserved it. The tragicomic story of the friendship between a misfit teen, his pal Earl, and — uh, you get the idea — is an illness pic without the guilt-inducing mawkishness or carpe diem platitudes. Film-geek friendly but thoroughly accessible and very funny, it has the makings of a mainstream hit. What's more, the girl lives. Maybe."

It's Summerfest Week and that means the book page transforms to a music focus for the day, but when a book like Death and Mr. Pickwick comes around, I guess you find space! Mike Fischer's review of Stephen Jarvis's novel Here's his pitch: "How can I convince you to lose yourself in first-time novelist Stephen Jarvis' magnificent, 816-page Death and Mr. Pickwick? Perhaps by reminding you that "The Pickwick Papers" — the greatest phenomenon in literary history and, during its first century, the world's best known book after the Bible — was an equally big book by another rookie novelist named Charles Dickens?"

Need more convincing? Here's the Guardian review from D.J. Taylor.

One last thing, I should note that Jim Higgins has a piece about Andrew Maraniss's Strong Inside, on the Journal Sentinel website. One nugget: "Incredibly, the gauntlet of racism Wallace would run over the next four years, Maraniss reports, began in a church near the Vanderbilt campus, whose white elders told him, we're not prejudiced, but some members will write the church out of their wills if you keep attending." Our event is Monday, June 22, 7 pm.

No comments: