Sunday, May 7, 2017

Bestseller Stuff!: Boswell's annotated list for the week ending May 6, 2017

Here's what we're selling at Boswell.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
2. Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins
3. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
4. Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
5. Trajectory, by Richard Russo
6. Fallout, by Sara Paretsky
7. The Dinner Party, by Joshua Ferris
8. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
9. The Book of Joan, by Lidia Yuknavitch
10. Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

So we have three collections of short stories on this week's top ten but George Saunders, after many collections, is ensconced with his first novel while Richard Russo (Trajectory) and Joshua Ferris (The Dinner Party) have previously placed in our top ten with novels, but here they are with story collections. Whatever Anything Is Possible is, one would say that Olive Kitteridge was the same thing. Russo and Strout both share a lot, including sometime Maine residence. In the Washington Post, Carole Burns asked Russo if he understands the Trump voter: "I do! I understand it completely. The discussion in the election was all about jobs. But it’s not just about jobs. It’s about work. It’s not just that their income has gone down. They see themselves as not being valued anymore. They don’t know what their place is in the fabric of society. "

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
2. Fearless at Work, by Molly Fletcher
3. Beyond Infinity, by Eugenia Cheng
4. Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg
5. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
8. In the Company of Women, by Grace Bonney
9. This Fight Is Our Fight, by Elizabeth Warren
10. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is the new book from Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the Director of the Hayden Planetarium who has become one of the word's most beloved scientists. Carmine Gallo profiled the author in Forbes. While the tour is not coming to Milwaukee (cities on the tour include Kansas City, Omaha, and Nashville), Tyson regularly does shows at the Riverside Theater. He'll be at the Chicago Theatre on May 16, but it looks like that event is sold out.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
2. Father's Day, by Simon Van Booy (in store lit group 7/10)
3. Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
4. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
5. Our Man in Havana, by Graham Greene
6. My Name Is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout
7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
8. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
9. The Little Red Chairs, by Edna O'Brien
10. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly

It seems we've been talking up Homegoing's paperback release for months, so it's nice to see a good sales pop on the title, though much of it was due to it being our June In-store Lit Group selection, for a sans-Daniel meeting on June 5 at Boswell. Among its many fans is Roxane Gay, who said "It is hard to overstate how much I LOVE this book." Vintage/Anchor's online reading group guide includes a family tree. If you got to see Isabelle Wilkerson at the Wauwatosa Public Library Foundation luncheon last week, you'll be interested to hear her take--here's her review in The New York Times Book Review.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Direct Action, by L.A. Kauffman
3. How to Bake Pi, by Eugenia Cheng
4. Ocean of Insight, by Heather Lyn Mann
5. Borchert Field, by Bob Buege
6. Live and Let Live, by Evelyn M. Perry
7. White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg
8. Strong Is the New Pretty, by Kate T. Parker
9. Grace in Aging, by Kathleen Dowling Singh
10. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

There's nothing like being in the middle of spring event season. Every list has memories. A highlight from last Sunday was Eugeneia Cheng's talk for Beyond Infinity, which also spurred sales for How to Bake Pi. In fact, we sold out of backlist, and I brought in more of her earlier book than I usually do for events. I would so love to help bring Cheng back for a math concert (yes, she does these!) with perhaps a school visit too. Since this would be after the book publication period, the ball's now in your court. Do you work with a group that would love to invest in a visit? Contact me and I can give you details. Here's Cheng on Chicago Tonight, in conversation with Eddie Arruza.

Books for Kids:
1. Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle V1 (paperback), by N.D. Wilson
2. Outlaws of Time: The Song of Glory and Ghost V2, by N.D. Wilson
3. Rulers of the Playground, by Joseph Kuefler
4. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, by Joseph Kuefler
5. Beyond the Pond, by Joseph Kuefler
6. Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle (hardcover), by N.D. Wilson
7. The Good for Nothing Button, by CheriSe Mericle Harper, with illustrations by Mo Willems
8. The Someday Birds, by Sally J. Pla
9. Posted, by John David Anderson
10. The Thank You Book, by Mo Willems

It's one of those weeks where every book in the top ten is tied into school visits. Let's talk a little about N.D. Wilson's Outlaws of Time series, partly because signed copies are still available. Wilson, also known as Captain Awesome Sauce, tells a little about his style on his website: "Not everything I write is for children, but all of it is childish. I love the dark flavor of Flannery O’Connor and the supra-realism of Borges, though I can’t help but try to add the laughter of G. K. Chesterton. P. G. Wodehouse and C. S. Lewis have been with me my entire life, and always will be. J. R. R. Tolkien cannot be imitated." Here's the Publishers Weekly review of The Legend of Sam Miracle.

Over at the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page, Jim Higgins profiles Sara Paretsky, the famed creator of detective V.I Warshawski. Her latest book is Fallout, and she will be at teh UWM Golda Meir Library on May 11. Here's the Higgins take: "Paretsky's tale of a big-city private investigator who turns a small town inside out put me in mind of Dashiell Hammett's classic Red Harvest. But here's a key difference: Hammett's Continental Op deliberately sets out to tear the burg apart. Warshawski's destabilizing magic is just the byproduct of the convoluted thread she keeps yanking — and of her passion for the underdog. Along the way, many locals make a point of telling her she's an outsider who knows nothing about them. But Vic has a good nose for when they're hiding something from her." Registration required using this link:

And then there's Mike Fisher's Journal Sentinel review: "Men Without Women, a new collection of seven stories by Haruki Murakami, could best be summed up by the title of the second one: 'Yesterday.' As one might expect from an author whose breakout novel is named Norwegian Wood, this story’s title refers to the aching Beatles song pining for a receding past. Or, in this new collection, a time before these stories’ male protagonists lost the women they’d most loved." Fischer notes that in these "wise stories," "the past in such stories can become a catalyst for transformation" and should come with "an acceptance of loss."

Finally, in the print edition, Sarah Gish profiles Javaka Steptoe's Radiant Child. You might recognize this review from the Kansas City Star because I linked to it last week when I was highlighting children's book bestsellers.

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