Sunday, September 17, 2017

What's selling at Boswell? Big releases, hand-selling, and sales to K-12 and even a couple of college students

Here are the bestsellers for the week ending September 16, 2017

Hardcover Fiction:
1. A Legacy of Spies, by John LeCarre
2. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee (ticketed event at Lynden Sculpture Garden, Thu Sep 28, 7 pm)
3. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent
4. One of the Boys, by Daniel Magariel
5. A Column of Fire, by Ken Follett
6. Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
7. The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie
8. Glass Houses, by Louise Penny
9. Forest Dark, by Nicole Kraus
10. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

Our buyer Jason noted to me that new releases are coming out fast and furious. It's almost hard to keep up, with new releases such as Ken Follett's A Column of Fire, which came out September 12. Kirkus Reviews said: "A flying buttress of a book, continuing the hefty Kingsbridge saga historical novelist Follett began with Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. It's not that Follett's been slacking between books: he's been working away at the Century Trilogy, set centuries later, and otherwise building on the legacy of high-minded potboilers he began with Eye of the Needle . Here he delivers with a vengeance, with his Kingsbridge story, set in the shadow of a great provincial cathedral, now brought into the age of Elizabeth."

One older book that is likely to have additional appearances in the future is One of the Boys, by Daniel Magariel. Though just out in March, the novel is being read by a class that is being sent to Boswell to buy their book, which of course warrants a big, big thank you. Boswellian Chris Lee is also a big fan of One of the Boys, and wrote: "A boy, his brother, and their father leave behind an ugly divorce and remake their lives in the desert outskirts of Albuquerque. Twelve years old and stumbling through adolescence, the boy learns hard lessons about masculine bonds and the extreme limits of family ties."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Clinton is at the Riverside on November 9. Tickets here.)
2. The World Broke in Two, by Bill Goldstein
3. Dream Home, by Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott
4. Fantasyland, by Kurt Andersen
5. Cooks Illustrated Meat Book, from America's Test Kitchen
6. Braving the Wilderness, by Brené Brown
7. State of Craft Beer, by Matthew Janzen
8. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken
9. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
10. It Takes Two, by Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott

Out this past Tuesday is the newest from Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. In the Houston Chronicle, Alyson Ward wrote: "As a social scientist, Brown, a best-selling author whom Oprah once declared her soulmate, uses her research to explore the ways we hold ourselves back and separate ourselves from one another. What she's found is that we hide our true selves in order to fit in. We approach the world as 'us versus them,' shutting out people who disagree with us. And we let politics and party, fear and social media separate us from real connection and belonging." It's a particularly timely book, as Brown teaches social work at the University of Houston, which was a first-hand lab for Brown's thesis during Hurricane Harvey. The Chronicle noted that "In that moment, we were reminded of how connected we were."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Two If by Sea, by Jacquelyn Mitchard
2. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
3. The Deep End of the Ocean, by Jacquelyn Mitchard
4. News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
5. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
6. It, by Stephen King
7. Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
8. The Mercy Journals, by Claudia Casper
9. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave
10. Miss Jane, by Brad Watson

If the hardcover fiction list was influenced by Bill Goldstein, the author of The World Broke in Two (signed copies available, who hand-sold enough copies of My Absolute Darling and Pachinko to drive them up this week's bestseller list, the paperback list shows the hand of Boswellian Jane, whose picks at a Saturday book club, notably Lilac Girls, News of the World, and Miss Jane, earned higher rankings. Okay, maybe it was a team effort for Jiles and Watson! Jacquelyn Mitchard's books were featured at a dinner for ImpactInc, a fundraiser to combat opioid addiction. Read more here.

We should note that both News of the World and Miss Jane were long-listed for last year's National Book Award. So let's offer congrats to Min Jin Lee, whose Pachinko was just longlisted for the National Book Award. Lee will be at a ticketed event for the Lynden Sculpture Garden on September 28. Tickets here. And expect to see Pachinko on next year's paperback list.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Milwaukee Frozen Custard, by Kathleen McCann and Robert Tanzilo
3. Stop Anxiety from Stopping You, by Helen Odessky (event today at 3 pm at Boswell)
4. Quotes for Nasty Women, by Linda Picone
5. Kinnickinnic Avenue, by Lisa Ann Jacobsen
6. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
7. The Pigeon Tunnel, by John Le Carre
8. Tales of Two Americas, by John Freeman
9. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
10. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson

John Freeman, the editor of Freeman's (and formerly Granta) is the editor of a new collection, Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation. The publisher writes: "The brilliant minds of Edwidge Danticat, Roxane Gay, Eula Biss and others traverse the fault lines that separate rich and poor, black and white, native and undocumented to recast the story of America in their words." Jason Heller reviewed the book on the NPR website.

Books for Kids:
1. The Pout Pout Fish and the Bully Bully Shark, by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
2. The Pout Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
3. A Creepy Pair of Underwear, by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
4. Ghost, by Jason Reynolds
5. Patina, by Jason Reynolds
6. Creepy Carrots!, by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
7. Miles Morales: A Spider Man Novel, by Jason Reynolds
8. Ghost (hardcover), by Jason Reynolds
9. The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School, by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Hanna
10. Sea Monkey and Bob, by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Debbie Ohi
11. Mari's Hope, by Sandy Brehl
12. Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties, by Dav Pilkey
13. The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds
14. As Brave as You, by Jason Reynolds
15. Warcross, by Marie Lu

We have to at least feature 15 titles in the kids list, because otherwise, our school events would crowd out Marie Lu's Warcross, which had a strong first week in Boswell without a school visit. Not that we'd turn her down! Here's what Wired said about her new book: "Sci-Fi author Marie Lu sets her trilogies in shadowy realms, from a militarized police state (Legend) to a hunted secret society (The Young Elites). But as a former videogame designer for Disney Interactive Studios, Lu was conjuring up dark, fantastical worlds long before her books became best sellers. In Warcross, out this month, Lu embraces her gamer roots."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins profiles Marta McDowell, author of The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books. Higgins notes: "If McDowell could travel back in time, she would love to know how close the Ingalls fields were to their cabin, and what tools they used. She would like to know more about the wildflowers Laura saw and what the family used for medicinal herbs — she makes only sparing mentions of those herbs in her novels, McDowell said." McDowell will be at Boswell on Tuesday, September 19, 7 pm, and at Books and Company on September 20.

Also on the TapBooks page, Elfrieda Abbe reviews This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm. Of Ted Genoways's book, Abbe writes: "Insightful and empathetic, Genoways interweaves the family’s personal stories, with the factors impacting their decision making: fluctuating markets; trade deals, the rise of agribusiness and mega farms that affect profit margins; the development and widespread use of genetically modified crops, herbicides and pesticides weighed against potential long-term environmental damage; and the stress heavy irrigation places on water sources, such as the aquifer that supplies groundwater for Nebraska and eight other states from South Dakota to Texas."

From USA Today, Alisa Dastagir offers an interview with Vanessa Grigoriadis, author of Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus. Asked what reporting on the campus rape revealed, Gigoriadis noted: "The rape debate is a stalking horse for these much larger themes of gender and power and sex and that are being negotiated right now on college campuses. And we're hearing about it as rape, because that's what makes headlines."

Apologies for the typos!

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