Sunday, June 28, 2015

What's Selling This Week at Boswell, Plus the Journal Sentinel Book Page.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
3. Festival of Insignificance. by Milan Kundera
4. In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume
5. Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
6. A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson
7. Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie with illustrations by MinaLima
8. The Jesus Cow, by Michael Perry
9. The Water Knife, by Paolo Bacigalupi
10. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

Isn't it funny how Hulu streaming Seinfeld has led to any number of media stories, even ones like Nathan Rabin's in the Los Angeles Times about how Seinfeld's comedy is not changing with the times (though I should note that it is not only old White guys who are making this statement; Chris Rock said it too)? Well, here's the strangest connection yet; Jason Sheehan at NPR compared Milan Kundera's new novel, Festival of Insignificance to Seinfeld, because it is also about nothing. And sort of like Seinfeld, he writes that"The Festival Of Insignificance is, in the best possible way, like perusing the operating instructions for a civil society."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. American Mojo, by Peter D. Kiernan
2. Pirate Hunters, by Robert Kurson
3. Strong Inside, by Andrew Maraniss
4. Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
6. The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough
7. Hold Still, by Sally Mann
8. The Road to Character, by David Brooks
9. On the Move, by Oliver Sacks
10. Sick in the Head, by Judd Apatow

Speaking of comics and white books with little line drawings on them, Judd Apatow's Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy has also been getting a lot of attention. Jason Zinoman in The New York Times called the book "a love letter to stand-up comedy" (correction, that's Zinoman's headline writer) though Apatow hasn't performed stand-up in more than two decades (or because I was just reading an American history book, a score).  Steve Donoghue lays out the land of the book in The Washington Post, that some of these interviews were conducted back when Apatow was at Syosset High School on Long Island.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Euphoria, by Lily King
2. Etta and Otto and Russell and James, by Emma Hooper
3. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
4. We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas
5. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
6. The Martian, by Andy Weir
7. The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
8. The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton
9. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
10. Grey, by E.L. James

E.L. James's newest, Grey, telling the Fifty Shades of Grey story Christian's perspective, has been quite the phenomenon, though it hasn't hit the momentum at Boswell that Fifty Shades of Grey had in its heyday, making me think that the book might not have legs. The Independent writes about the huge early success of the book, and the psychology behind it and other bestsellers. And let's not smirk at this as a quirk of the masses only? Who among you has bought and not read Capital in the Twenty-First Century? We have a customer who keeps coming in to buy a used copy because "surely someone who bought it is going to figure out that they don't really want it."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Find Momo Coast to Coast, by Andrew Knapp (event today at 3 pm)
2. Milwaukee Mafia, by Gavin Schmitt (event MPL Central 7/13, 6:30 pm)
3. How Not to Be Wrong, by Jordan Ellenberg
4. Dead White Guys, by Matt Burriesci (event Monday 6/29 at 7 pm)
5. Shadow Divers, by Robert Kurson
6. The Grapes of Math, by Alex Bellos
7. The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan
8. Find Momo, by Andrew Knapp
9. The War That Ended Peace, by Margaret Macmillan
10. Loving Lardo, by Wendy R. Olsen (event July 16, 7 pm)

While its not unusual to have upcoming events on our bestseller list (we work hard to presell copies, and there is a lot of display surrounding the books), it might be a bit odd to have six of the top ten being future appearances. A run in the second half of the week left us a little short for Momo (today at 3) and Matt Burriesci (tomorrow at 7). But one author we're not having is Alex Bellos, whose new release is one of two math books in our top ten. The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life, touches on similar themes to How Not to Be Wrong, "turning the most complex math into an educating read." His last book was Here's Looking at Euclid. You gotta love it!

Books for Kids:
1. In Mary's Garden, by Tina and Carson Kugler (event 7/1 Shorewood Library, 3 pm)
2. The Thickety: A Path Begins, by J.A. White
3. The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak
4. Where's Waldo Magnificent Mini Boxed Set, by Martin Handford
5. Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen
6. One Family, by George Shannon
7. Tell Me What to Dream About, by Giselle Potter
8. Crown of Three, by J.D. Rinehart
9. I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
10. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson

The younger sister wants a story before bedtime and the older sister obliges, only younger sister translates flights of fancy into gloom. That's the concept behind Tell Me What to Dream About, by Giselle Potter. Publishers Weekly writes: "While the pacing is a series of bumps and starts as fancies are proffered and dismissed, the sisters’ bickering will be instantly recognizable. And Potter’s dream worlds, a feast of beloved fantasy elements, will lure readers back for more."

In the Journal Sentinel, the newest from former Time magazine movie critic Richard Schickel is reviewed by Chris Foran. Keepers: The Greatest Films--And Personal Favorites--Of a Moviegoing Lifetime. From Foran: "There aren't a lot of surprises in Keepers: Schickel celebrates such inevitables as Casablanca and Citizen Kane, as well as generally accepted classics such as Children of Paradise, the French fantasy shot during the Nazi occupation" but he does dismiss The Seventh Seal and The Maltese Falcon.

From Carole E. Barrowman, her monthly roundup of mysteries and thrillers!

--The Evvidence Room, by Cameron Harvey, set on the Florida Bayou. "Among the cypress 'dripping with Spanish Moss' and the bayou's 'shoreline choked with pitcher plants,' the compelling characters in this atmospheric mystery eventually must confront their shadows in unexpected ways."

--New Yorked, by Rob Hart, a hard-boiled novel told from the perspective of the son of one of New York's finest who responded after 9-11. "I loved this novel. It may be the most quixotic hard-boiled I've read in ages. With clever nods to Chandler (including giving Ash a fedora) and lots of muscular metaphors ('The two of them looked at me like I'm calculus'), Hart has written an achingly lovely farewell to one man's past."

--Let Me Die in His Footsteps, an "impressive Southern gothic" from Lori Roy. "Roy's narrative moves with measured suspense between Annie's story (as a teen) in 1952 and Aunt Juna's in 1936. Roy is masterful at teasing out tension and dripping dread across this novel. Like Annie, we, too, know something bad is coming." I don't think this is the first time that Barrowman has recommended Roy and it probably won't be the last either.

--The Convictions of John Delahunt, by Andrew Hughes. Set in 19th century Dublin and based on a true story, this is told by a killer on death row, who "is forced to have his head examined. Literally. A phrenologist examines the shape of John's scalp to determine the psychological motives for his crimes." It's hard to take a snippet of these recommendations, so my apologies for over-quoting: " I was enthralled with this historical thriller. Gallows humor and Dickensian details permeate its twisty narrative, one that takes readers to the dark heart of a series of real crimes in Victorian Dublin where shadows loom everywhere."

--and finally, Marry, Kiss, Kill, by Anne Flett-Giordano. This funny mystery is written by a writer from Cheers, "set in Santa Barbara during a film festival awash in A-list celebs and the hoity-toity of town." It's zingy!

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