Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bestsellers! Lots of new releases, sales of past and future events, a big movie opening, and the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page

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

Hardcover Fiction:
1. George and Lizzie, by Nancy Pearl
2. A Legacy of Spies, by John LeCarre
3. Glass Houses, by Louise Penny
4. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent
5. One of the Boys, by Daniel Magariel
6. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
7. Dinner at the Center of the Earth, by Nathan Englander
8. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
9. Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta
10. August Snow, by Stephen Mack Jones (at Boswell on November 3, 7 pm, with Danny Gardner. At Murder and Mayhem Milwaukee on November 4)

The numbers in hardcover fiction are up this week, not just at the top (where we had our ticketed event with Nancy Pearl) but in the middle, where we had our best numbers for titles ranked from 2-10 for non-event books in a while. Nathan Englander's Dinner at the Center of the Earth and Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing, if I have my calculations correct, are the second and third novel respectively for these talented writers. I read the previous novels from both writers, but I'm behind in their newest entries.

David L. Ulin in the Los Angeles Times calls Englander's latest: "a kaleidoscopic fairy tale of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation … or its inverse. Shifting fluidly among characters and settings, the book divides its action between 2002 and 2014."

And Carter Hillyer in Biloxi's Sun Herald wrote: "Jessy Ward’s previous novel, Salvage the Bones, won the 2011 National Book Award for fiction. Sing, Unburied, Sing is better and should be a contender in awards season, not to mention a potential best-seller. Some reviewers identified the influences of other, great writers in Ward’s new novel: stream-of-consciousness and horror techniques found in both Faulkner’s and Stephen King’s fiction; the magic realism of Garcia Marquez; the harsh pathos of Dickens."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Happy Accidents, by David Ahearn
2. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
3. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
4. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken
5. The Driftless Reader, by Curt Meine and Keeley Keefe
6. Wisconsin Sentencing in the Tough-on-Crime Era, by Michael O'Hear
7. Getting Tough, by Juilly Kohler-Hausmann
8. Hue 1968, by Mark Bowden
9. The World Broke in Two, by Bill Goldstein (event Mon 9/11, 7 pm)
10. Crash Override, by Zoe Quinn

The Driftless Reader is a new anthology of a collection of work from Native people, explorers, scientists, historians, farmers, songwriters, journalists, and poets. Contributors include Black Hawk, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frank Lloyd Wright, Aldo Leopold, and David Rhodes. We're still hoping to have one or both of the editors come to Boswell.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
2. Bernie Weber and the Riemann Hypothesis, by Matthew Flynn
3. Pryme Knumber, by Matthew J. Flynn
4. Swing Time, by Zadie Smith (In-Store Lit Group Mon Dec 4, 7 pm)
5. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
6. News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
7. It, by Stephen King
8. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy
9. The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
10. The Atomic Weight of Love, by Elizabeth J. Church (In-Store Lit Group Mon Nov 6, 7 pm)

It opened in theaters Friday to bigger-than-expected box office. From Deadline: " Stephen King’s It has been gathering up the records like a handful of balloons: The best opening day ever for a horror title ($51M), the highest pre-show for a horror film ($13.5M), the highest three-day opening record weekend for the genre and the second-highest opening for an R-rated pic (behind Deadpool's $132.4M), the best September opening for any genre which means the best September opening to date for the studio, and likely more records coming as New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. sorts through all of their stats early this AM."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Education of Kevin Powell, by Kevin Powell
2. Two Dollars a Day, by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Schaefer
3. The Black Male Handbook, edited by Kevin Powell
4. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
5. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
6. Sheet Pan Suppers, by Molly Gilbert
7. Kinnikinnic Avenue, by Lisa Ann Jacobsen
8. Pigeon Tunnel, by John LeCarre
9. Optimism Over Despair, by Noam Chomsky
10. How to Bake Pi, by Eugenia Cheng

Pigeon Tunnel was released in paperback to coincide with A Legacy of Spies, the first Smiley book in more than 25 years and #2 on our hardcover fiction list. Of Legacy, Robert McCrum writes in the Guardian: "A Legacy of Spies achieves many things. Outstandingly, it is a defiant assertion of creative vigour. There had been rumours of work abandoned, a professional crisis, but in these pages there is no faltering. Le Carré’s storytelling remains close to top form." And here's Walter Isaacson's review in The New York Times Book Review for Pigeon Tunnel.

Books for Kids:
1. Little i, by Michael Hall
2. Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties, by Dav Pilkey
3. Frankencrayon, by Michael Hall
4. Wonderfall, by Michael Hall
5. Perfect Square, by Michael Hall
6. Patina, by Jason Reynolds
7. Mari's Hope, by Sandy Brehl
8. Tower of Dawn, by Sarah Maas
9. Red, by Michael Hall
10. Miles Morales, by Jason Reynolds

Three upcoming events dominate the kids list with presales. First up is Michael Hall, whose Little i will be featured at the Oak Creek Public Library's Family Fun Night on September 19, 6:30 pm. He's got five books in our top ten. Kirkus Reviews called Little i "an inventive alphabet book for the perceptive reader." Then there's Jason Reynolds who will be at Boswell on Friday, September 15, 6:30 pm. Both his new novels, Patina and Miles Morales, the latter a Spider Man novel, score. And finally there's Sandy Brehl, who will be at Boswell on Thursday, September 14, 7 pm, for Mari's Hope, the third novel in her Norwegian historical saga.

Here's Jason Reynolds talking to Shelly Diaz at School Library Journal about getting the call to write Miles Morales: "I wish I could give you all a better answer for this question - one filled with drama and magic - but the truth is, Marvel and Disney reached out to my agent. That’s all. I know - not very exciting. But, trust me, when you get a call about writing Spider-Man, it doesn’t matter how it comes. They could’ve texted me, or sent me a telegram, or even broken into my home, and it wouldn’t have changed the feeling for me. It was mind-blowing!"

Here's what's reviewed this week in the Journal Sentinel TapBooks section:

1. Journal Sentinel contributing writer Mike Fischer covers Nicole Krauss's Forest Dark, which he's calling the best novel he's read this year. It's hard to get a chunk of review that explains the book and what Fischer feels about it, but let's try the opening: "Having gradually lost her faith in language, Nadia in Great House has come to distrust herself. In Forest Dark, Nicole – who shares numerous biographical details with Krauss and reminds one of those narrating doubles in Philip Roth – tells us that she can’t write because 'in my work and my life, 'I had become distrustful of all the possible shapes tat I might give things.' Nicole isn’t alone. While she flounders in Brooklyn, where her writing has stalled and her marriage is failing, alternating chapters in “Forest Dark” feature a third-person narrative revolving around Jules Epstein, a 68-year-old New York lawyer whose story might be the one Nicole is trying to write as a means of finding herself."

2. Originally appearing in the Seattle Times, Moira MacDonald profiles Sue Grafton. MacDonald writes: "In Y Is for Yesterday, in which Kinsey gets pulled into a decade-old case involving a sexual assault at an elite private school, you get a sense of a soon-coming final farewell, like the cast of a musical assembling on stage for one last number. But Grafton says she's resisting bringing back too many old characters...and that she doesn't yet know exactly how Z Is for Zero will end."

3. Charles Finch in USA Today reviewed Bill Goldstein's literary history, reprinted in today's Journal Sentinel. He writes: "The real strength of The World Broke in Two lies not in its overarching vision, but in its beautiful mosaic work. Goldstein pieces thousands of lovely quotations and long-neglected anecdotes together, arranging them to precise effect, describing in rich detail Forster's dying first love, Woolf's endless acuity, Lawrence's tormented mind, Eliot's rigid depression." He goes on to call it an "imperfect book with something perfect on every page, a line, a story, a joke." Did we mention (more than once) that Bill will be at Boswell tomorrow, September 11, 7 pm?

4. And while its not a review, we'll take that blow-up photo of Jason Reynolds for his Friday night at event at Boswell anytime. Don't forget, Friday, September 15, 6:30 pm, at Boswell, cosponsored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

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