Sunday, April 9, 2017

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending April 8, 2017, plus Journal Sentinel book links

Here's what's been selling at Boswell. We're mystery heavy this week in fiction.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
2. Earthy Remains, by Donna Leon
3. In This Grave Hour, by Jacqeline Winspear
4. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
5. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
6. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
7. The Idiot, by Elif Batuman
8. Everything You Want Me to Be, by Mindy Mejia
9. Prussian Blue, by Philip Kerr
10. American War, by Omar El-Akkad

Elif Batuman has another good week on the bestseller list with The Idiot. It's the story of a disengaged first-generation Turkish immigrant at Harvard in the 1990s who starts a complicated email relationship with a Hungarian graduate student. Elaine Margolin at The Washington Post found it "quirky" and a bit "rambling" while Constance Grady in Vox called it "chilly" and "playful" and notes that the story is about semiotics. But whatever people think, it's the debut that everyone is writing about - she's a New Yorker writer, so that makes sense. For I think the best explanation of why you might love this book, try Mike Fischer's review in the Journal Sentinel.

And we should note that if you were waiting for A Gentleman in Moscow to come out in paperback this fall, or even summer (as was once planned), you should readjust. Due to continuing demand, Amor Towles's beloved novel has been pushed back. And I should note that word of mouth really is amazing on this book - we get so many customers coming back to talk about it.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Truth About Your Future, by Ric Edelman
2. The Kim Kardashian Principle, by Jeetendr Sehdev
3. Hallelujah Anyway, by Anne Lamott
4. Wisconsin Sentencing in the Tough-on-Crime Era, by Michael O'Hear
5. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams
8. The Education of Will, by Patricia McConnell
9. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
10. Dear Ijeawele, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie

Chimananda Ngozi Idichie has another bestseller in her second short work of nonfiction, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. Zoe Greenberg in The New York Times calls this "a 63-page blueprint for achieving that reality. Written as a letter to a friend, the book offers a set of guidelines for how to raise a feminist daughter." The profile goes onto note her literary superstardom: "She took the stage in front of a sold-out crowd at Cooper Union, and there was 'this kind of unanimous scream,' said Robin Desser, a Knopf editor who has worked with Ms. Adichie for 12 years. 'I really have never seen anything like this,” Ms. Desser said. “And I’ve published people who are really popular.'"

Paperback Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. Bertrand Court, by Michelle Brafman
3. The Little Red Chairs, by Edna O'Brien (In Store Lit Group 5/1, 7 pm)
4. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
5. The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton
6. The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett
7. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
8. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
9. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
10. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Boswellian Jane tells me that her latest Literary Journeys program at the Whitefish Bay Library sold out within the week. It's been building in popularity but Ernest Hemingway (hence the bestseller appearance for The Sun Also Rises) put it over the edge. It's been a big week for paperback releases, with the three year wait for All the Light We Cannot See finally over. We're also pleased to see Jane Hamilton's The Excellent Lombards place the first week out, helped by a big recommendation from Jim Higgins at his event for Wisconsin Literary Luminaries, our #1 nonfiction book this week. Look for a big event involving Hamilton to be announced later this week by our email newsletter.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Wisconsin Literary Luminaries, by Jim Higgins (event at Whitefish Bay Library Wed 5/10, 6:30 pm)
2. Borchert Field, by Bob Buege (event at Books and Company in Oconomowoc Thu 5/11, 7 pm)
3. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
4. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, David Luhrssen
5. Requiem for the American Dream, by Noam Chomsky
6. My Two Elaines, by Martin Schreiber
7. Live and Let Live, by Evelyn Perry
8. The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman (playing at the Downer Theater, see offer below)
9. On Reading, Writing, and Living with Books, edited by Pushkin Press
10. KL, by Nikolaus Wachsmann

The Zookeeper's Wife, based on Diane Ackerman's book, has been playing at the Downer Theater for a week. Katie Walsh in the Chicago Tribune wrote: "The Holocaust film has become a genre unto itself, and sadly, there are more than enough stories from that era to continue the trend. Against ever-shifting, polarized political landscapes, the lessons gleaned from the horrors of this very recent past are never not relevant. But too often, many of these biopics fall prey to well-trod norms and conventions. In Niki Caro's The Zookeeper's Wife, the backdrop of a Warsaw zoo offers a new angle, and features a show-stopping performance from Jessica Chastain as the real-life Antonina Zabinski, but it otherwise follows a familiar path."

The studio sent us totes and pens celebrating the release. Show us your ticket receipt and get a tote or pen or both, while supplies last.

Books for Kids:
1. Jake the Fake Keeps It Real, by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach, with illustrations by Keith Knight
2. Bently and Egg, by William Joyce
3. Oh Ick, by Joy Masoff and Jessica Garrett
4. Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo, by William Joyce
5. A Day with Wilbur Robinson, by William Joyce
6. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Adam Rex (Drew Daywalt at Wauwatosa Public Library, Thu May 4, 4 pm)
7. Spy School, by Stuart Gibbs
8. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
9. Forge V2, by Laurie Halse Anderson
10. Beyond the Pond, by Joseph Kuefler (event at Boswell Fri Apr 21, 4 pm, with Miss Cupcake dirt cupcakes for attending kids)

We had a busy week with school visits, with three of our authors crisscrossing the metro area. Two other authors, Drew Daywalt and Joseph Kuefler, will be visiting area schools in the weeks to come. Kuefler is touring for Rulers of the Playground, hence the dirt cupcakes from Miss Cupcake. The pop in sales was for his previous work, Beyond the Pond. Daywalt's The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors just came out--he'd normally be coming this week, but we had to adjust for family spring break. The new book has the same playful spirit of The Day the Crayons Quit and its spinoffs. Our third picture book writer (like Kuefler, also an illustrator) is Kenneth Kraegel for Green Pants. He'll be at Boswell this Thursday, also at 4 pm, with Fox and Branch opening. It's a Green Pants dance party.

As we were moving displays, we realized it was time for our graduation table display and the alarm for publishers also went off as here come the graduation books. Turning speeches into books has been a big trend for a long time and Jim Higgins at the Journal Sentinel reviews the newest high-profile speech as book, John Waters's. He's a fan: "Make Trouble, adapted from his speech to the Rhode Island School of Design class of 2015, is a commencement address I consumed with joy, will likely read again and would be happy to give to young people — especially brooding, complicated young people. (Yes, you.) Its pleasures are enhanced by playful typography and droll, sketchy illustrations by Eric Hanson, including several delightful ones of Waters, a pencil-thin man with a pencil-thin mustache."

It's rare to see a Penguin Classic getting first-class review attention but Mike Fisher encourages people to rediscover one this week's TapBooks page: "'God help Kenya, my love.' So says Warĩĩnga, heroine of Kenyan novelist Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o’s Devil on the Cross, a classic indictment of neocolonialism and corruption in Kenya. First published in Gĩkũyũ in 1980 and then in English in 1982, it’s being republished this week as the latest addition to the Penguin African Writers Series." Whoever was chatting with me this week looking for novels about colonialism after reading Monique Roffey's The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, I hope you're reading this.

And finally, originally publisherd in the Star Tribune is a roundup of young adult novels from Trisha Collopy. Featured are:
--The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
--The Exo Project, by Andrew DeYoung
--Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, by Caren Stelson
--Just a Girl, by Carrie Mesrobian

DeYoung could have appeared at UW-Madison's Nelson Institute Earth Day conference that features a number of dystopian writers, including Emily St. John Mandel.

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