Sunday, August 13, 2017

Boswell annotated bestsellers for the week ending August 12, 2017 - literary psychological suspense with Lawrence Osborne, the case for mindfulness and meditation from Robert Wright, plus Journal Sentinel book reviews

Here's what's been selling at Boswell this past week.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Dark Net, by Benjamin Percy
2. Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero
3. Ten Dead Comedians, by Fred Van Lente
4. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
5. House of Spies, by Daniel Silva
6. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
7. Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta (today's front page NYTBR)
8. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
9. Beautiful Animals, by Lawrence Osborne
10. Seven Stones to Stand or Fall, by Diana Gabaldon

Summer seems to havev a grip on the hardcover fiction bestseller list as full half the titles are either funny (comic) or scary (horror) or both. I don't include thrillers and psychological suspense here, because those genres dominate bestseller lists year-round. I was looking at Lawrence Osborne's Beautiful Animals, his 14th novel, and I noted how strong the advance reviews were, with a starred Booklist and a very positive Kirkus ("beautifully crafted and psychologically astute") though no star. A review of a previous novel compared him to early Ian McEwan, while Katie Kitamura's positive review in The New York Times Book Review for his latest notes that "Osborne is a startlingly good observer of privilege, noting the rites and rituals of the upper classes with unerring precision and an undercurrent of malice."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Innovation Code, by Jeff DeGraff
2. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
3. The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda
4. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken
5. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, by Sherman Alexie
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. Why Buddhism Is True, by Robert Wright
8. Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
9. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
10. Chuck Klosterman X, by Chuck Klosterman

Ah, a new entry! Robert Wright is known for The Moral Animal. Now he returns with Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment. Shelf Awareness notes that the book is not a polemic but more of an inquiry into mindfulness and meditation. Kirkus Reviews writes: " While critical readers may take issue with the logic underlying some of his contentions, the author presents a well-organized, freshly conceived introduction to core concepts of Buddhist thought. A cogent and approachable argument for a personal meditation practice based on secular Buddhist principles." Wright was also featured on Fresh Air.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Love Reconsidered, by Phyllis Piano
2. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
3. The Wangs vs the World, by Jade Chang
4. They May Not Mean To, But They Do, by Cathleen Schine
5. Perdition, by R. Jean Reid
6. News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
7. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
8. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave
9. Tuesday Nights in 1980, by Molly Prentiss
10. A Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman
11. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
12. Roots of Murder, by R. Jean Reid
13. The Little Red Chairs, by Edna O'Brien
14. Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Dennis-Benn (In-Store Lit Group Tue Sep 5, 7 pm, at Boswell)
15. Miss Jane, by Brad Watson

We had a very nice pop of paperback fiction sales due to the selection of titles for the year from one of our larger book clubs. This also comes as we updated our book club titles for the rear table. The Wangs vs. the World (which benefitted from both) just got a nice writeup from Entertainment Weekly in their paperback summer reads feature. The book had a lot of attention in hardcover, including this New York Times Book Review essay from Kevin Nguyen, Sylvia Brownrigg's essay in The Guardian, and Steve Inskeep's interview on Morning Edition.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Population 485, by Michael Perry (In-Store Lit Group Mon Oct 2, 7 pm, plus Perry's visiting Nov 14)
3. A Crowded Hour, by Kevin Abing
4. Hero of the Empire, by Candice Millard
5. Stop Anxiety from Stopping You, by Helen Odessky (event at Boswell Sun Sep 17, 3 pm, with REDgen)
6. Racial Justice and the Catholic Church, by Bryan Massingale
7. An Inconvenient Sequel, by Al Gore
8. Sad Riddance, by Chuck Hildebrand
9. Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, by Thomas H. Fehring
10. Milwaukee Frozen Custard, by Kathleen McCann and Robert Tanzilo

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is the book tie-in to Al Gore's new documentary. The Atlantic's Megan Garber has an essay about how the new film is as much reality television as it is a documentary. The real truth is that all the reviews are for the film, not the book. I don't think there were even any advance reviews in the trades.

Books for Kids:
1. Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
2. Worlds Collide, by Chris Colfer
3. Teacher's Pet, by Anica Mrose Rissi, with illustrations by Zachariah Ohora
4. Creepy Carrots!, by Aaron Reynolds, with illustrations by Peter Brown
5. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
6. Dark Prophecy, by Rick Riordan (tickets go on sale for his appearance on Oct 8 at the ICC on Aug 16)
7. Once and For All, by Sarah Dessen
8. Julia's House for Lost Creatures, by Ben Hatke
9. Life on Mars, by Jon Agee
10. Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri

The school year is beginning soon, with some schools starting this week. Our school outreach coordinator Todd has been frantically booking authors at area schools. Some, like Jason Reynolds, have public events (he's scheduled for 6:30 at Boswell on Fri Sep 15) but others, like Aaron Reynolds, are doing more schools instead. Sometimes publishers ask us to book schools only, so that the author can travel to their next city in the afternoon/evening. Other times we get a choice, and make the decision based on whether the author will get more bang for their efforts with a public event or an extra school. Not in contact with Todd about our authors-in-school program? You should contact him now.

Creepy Carrots! is a Caldecott Honors book so it's very exciting that Reynolds and illustrator Peter Brown have created A Creepy Pair of Underwear, released this Tuesday. Booklist's starred review is notes "Returning to their Caldecott Honor Book world of Creepy Carrots!, Reynolds and Brown put young Jasper Rabbit through even creepier, more scream-inducing horror, now with a pair of glow-in-the-dark underpants that, like the cat in the famous song (or a number of horror staples), keep . . . coming . . . back."

You've got to watch the trailer for A Creepy Pair of Underwear!

In the Journal Sentinel TapBooks section, Jim Higgins reviews The Long Haul. He writes: "Murphy is a pointed social critic. Bedbugging (trucker slang for movers) gives him a diagonal view of American life. Murphy scoffs at misty notions of truckers as 18-wheel cowboys: 'I do not for a moment think I'm a symbol of some bygone ideal of Wild West American freedom or any other half-mythic, half-menacing nugget of folk nonsense.'" Murphy and his truck will be at Boswell on Tuesday, August 15, 7 pm.

Higgins also wrote a piece about the new book from American Girl, and guess what? It's not about American Girls: "Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys, published Tuesday, follows the success of American Girl's earlier book series The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls. Guy Stuff, like the earlier books for girls, was written by pediatrician Cara Natterson, mother of a 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy."

From Mike Fischer comes a review of The Seventh Function of Language, a new novel by Laurent Binet, the author of HHhH. Fischer writes: "Walking home on Feb. 25, 1980 after lunching with future French president François Mitterand, Roland Barthes – one of the great French intellectuals of the last century – was struck by a laundry van, sustaining serious injuries. By late March he was dead. Barthes’ end has gone down as an accident. But what if he was actually murdered? That’s the question Laurent Binet asks in The Seventh Function of Language, a witty and playful novel true to the inquiring spirit of a critic who’d continually made clear that nothing we see is ever quite what it seems."

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