Sunday, February 26, 2017

Annotated Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 25, 2017

Here's what sold at Boswell last week.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. On Turpentine Lane, by Elinor Lipman (signed copies available)
2. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
3. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman (OK, this week it's in fiction)
4. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee (2nd week in our top 10!)
5. News of the World, Paulette Jiles
6. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
7. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
8. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney
9. Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay
10. Autumn, by Ali Smith

Several of the authors on this week's list have come to Milwaukee for previous books. Roxane Gay came for both her novel, An Untamed State, and her first collection of essays, Bad Feminist. I'm pretty sure that George Saunders came to Schwartz for one of his story collections many years ago. I might spend a little time going through old newsletters to find the event. But it's Kathleen Rooney who we congratulate this week for her breakout novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. Rooney appeared with her childhood friend Julia Azari (whom you are probably regularly hearing as a political commentator) for her previous novel O Democracy! Here's Yvonne Zipp's review of the book, a fictionalized reimagination of a Macy's copywriter looking back on her life, in the Christian Science Monitor.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Education of Will, by Patricia B. McConnell
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond (on sale in paperback 2/28)
3. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
4. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
5. Books for Living, by Will Schwalbe (event 3/6, 7 pm)
6. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
7. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
8. The Blood of Emmett Till, by Timothy B. Tyson
9. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
10. The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking

Speaking of former guests, back when I was at Schwartz, we hosted Timothy B. Tyson for Blood Done Sign My Name, which I read at the time, and I seem to remember that one of my former bookselling colleagues had studied under him at UW. It's all a bit of a blur, but if so, it's a neat memory to transition into his new book, The Blood of Emmett Till, which Leonard Pitts Jr. described in the Miami Herald as "a work critical not just to our understanding of something that happened in America in 1955 but of what happens in America here and now."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead (thank you Carl at UWM!)
2. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
3. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
4. The Waters of Eternal Youth V25, by Donna Leon
5. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. The Sellout, by Paul Beatty (In-store Lit Group, 3/6, 6 pm)
8. Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
9. Journey to Munich V12, by Jacqueline Winspear
10. Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Arthur C Clarke Award winner)

Two of the most popular mystery writers at Boswell have paperback pops this week. From Donna Leon comes her 25th Guido Brunetti mystery, The Waters of Eternal Youth, of which, Sam Coale wrote in the Providence Journal: "The solution's a real surprise, but completely plausible and insidiously set up. Leon has done it again. And her Venice gleams and bristles with a new tale of lust, betrayal and revenge." And USA Today's Robert Bianco wrote up Jacqueline Winspear's Journey to Munich, noting "If you’ve ever read and loved a Maisie Dobbs mystery, and the two tend to go together, you should rush to buy Journey to Munich. And if you haven’t, well, this Journey, wonderful as it is, may not be the best place to start."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. My Two Elaines, by Martin Schreiber
2. Daring Greatly, Brené Brown
3. For the Love of a Dog, by Patricia B. McConnell
4. The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia B. McConnell
5. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson
6. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, and David Luhrrsen
7. In Other Words, by Jhumpa Lahiri
8. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero (ticketed event 4/25, 7 pm)
9. Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit
10. Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly

Patricia B. McConnell is responsible for four books on this week's bestseller lists, not just her three books but also Daring Greatly, the book she was recommending at her talk. It turns out that attendees didn't even wait for her to talk about the book, but bought it just by hearing that it was McConnell's pick. Her TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability has had over 28 million hits in seven years.

Books for Kids:
1. Two Friends, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Susan Qualls and Selina Alko
2. Miss Paul and the President, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Nancy Zhang
3. Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly, by Dan Richards, with illustrations by Jeff Newman
4. The Boys, written and illustrated by Jeff Newman
5. Dog Man Unleashed V2, by Dav Pilkey
6. Mighty Mighty Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld
7. The Crayons Book of Colors, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
8. The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
9. That's Me Loving You, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, with illustrations by Teagan White
10. The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown

Wow are our kids bestsellers (that's books for kids, not belonging to kids, which is why I don't use the apostrophe) skewing young. Eight of our top 10 are picture books with one middle grade and one early chapter book rounding out the list. Just out is Mighty Mighty Construction Site, the follow up to Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site. This one has a focus on team building. Interestingly the original came out before The Day the Crayons Quit, which already has had a sequel out for a year. Next up in the picutre book sequel game is Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel, which is out in May.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Elfrieda Abbe reviews Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, Tokyo, Venice, and London, by Lauren Elkin. This is the story of one woman's own walks and a historical look at famous walking women. Abbe, who will be at Boswell on March 9 in conversation with Margaret George, notes that the book is "Richly layered with references to books, art and film, the writing meanders from place to place and time frame to time frame. But as an excursion of discovery, it’s an engaging, often surprising, read about women who knew the “liberating possibilities of a good walk.” Flâneuse comes out February 28.

Also at the Journal Sentinel, Erin Kogler reviews Otherwise Known as Possum, a novel for readers 8 and older, written by the late Maria D. Laso, who died of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It's the story of a young woman who, grieving for her mom and baby brother, has to go to school for the first time. Kogler's case: "Laso’s book, written in first person from Possum’s perspective during the 1930s, includes a lovely, well drawn cast of characters. Possum Porter is a spunky, intelligent, and thoughtful heroine. It’s difficult not to draw comparisons between Possum and Harper Lee’s Scout. Both are the reporters of their story, and both draw connections and make observations without fully understanding the weight of the circumstances."

And finally, there is Jim Higgins reviews the reissue of Golden Legacy: The Story of Golden Books, by Leonard S. Marcus. Hear from Higgins: "It's a fascinating American business story. Initially, many librarians and booksellers looked down their noses at Little Golden Books, which sold for a budget-priced 25 cents, so Western and its partners made strenuous efforts to get books into other outlets, such as department stores. Western came close to treating the books as commodities that filled slots rather than individual works of creativity. Yet this distinctly commercial enterprise produced many lasting gems."

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