Sunday, November 26, 2017

What's selling at Boswell? Best-of lists make an impact, the power of sleep, out Where's Waldoing Where's Waldo, paperback fiction lull

Here's what is selling at Boswell.

Hardcover fiction:
1. Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich
2. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
3. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
4. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
5. The Rooster Bar, by John Grisham
6. Artemis, by Andy Weir
7. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
8. Sleep No More, by P.D. James
9. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
10. In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende

I'm guessing the impact of the year-end best-of lists is already having an impact on sales. The Washington Post announced their top ten and that might have had an impact on our sales of Andrew Sean Greer's Less. We also noticed an increase in sales for two other titles, Saints for All Occasions and The Power. Greer's novel was published under the Lee Boudreaux imprint, but the editor of this eponymous imprint has since moved over to Doubleday. Remaining books from the imprint will be published by Little, Brown, per Publishers Marketplace.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Obroni and the Chocolate Factory, by Steven Wallace
2. Obama, by Pete Souza
3. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
4. The Inviting Life, by Laura Calder
5. Bobby Kennedy, by Chris Matthews
6. Where the Past Begins, by Amy Tan
7. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
8. Promise Me, Dad, by Joe Biden
9. Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker
10. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben

It's our best week of sales to date for Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. The author, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, has written a book that has won praise from Daniel Gilbert, who called this "a canny pleasure that will have you turning pages well past your bedtime." Here's Mark O'Connell's review in The Guardian.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
2. Cold Clay, by Juneau Black
3. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
4. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (In-store lit group 1/2, 7 pm)
5. Miss Jane, by Brad Watson
6. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
7. The Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict
8. The Hamilton Affair, by Elizabeth Cobbs
9. Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante, by Susan Elia MacNeal
10. The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Cold Clay is the second mystery from Juneau Black, the team of current and former Boswellians Sharon K. Nagel and Jocelyn Koehler. This time ace reporter (and fox) Vera Vixen investigates a new discovery, bones found in a nearby orchard. Could they be the remains of Julia Elkin, the restless wife (and moose) of Joe, the proprietor of Joe's Mug? We had a number of readers of the first book come in when they learned the second was available.

Sales for paperback fiction tend to go down a bit in the fourth quarter, partly because shoppers trade up to hardcovers for gifts, and partly because the release schedule dries up this time of year, with paperback releases being put off till January.  Our bestseller numbers in this category are kind of blah, but it's nice to see all the talking up we've done of Pachinko really paying off. We've had several customers say it was the best book they've read this year. Because we like the hardcover edition too, we're discounting it 20% off through Christmas. You can reserve it on our website and pay in the store at the discounted price. No registration required.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
3. How to Fight, by Thich Nhat Hanh
4. Thank You for Being Late, by Thomas L. Friedman
5. Dog Whistle Politics, by Ian Haney Lopez
6. Collusion, by Luke Harding
7. Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
8. Bad Feminist (Olive Edition), by Roxane Gay
9. Healing the Human Body with God's Remedies, by Lester Carter
10. Rasputin, by Douglas Smith

This year's crop of Olive Editions, including Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, the hip looking, limited edition, rack size repackagings of Harper titles, looks like it's skewing towards college campuses, based on my guess of what classes are reading. I assume that is based on what has worked best in previous rollouts. The other selections in the class of 2017 are Gilbert King's Devil in the Grove, Zora Neale Hurston's Dust Tracks on the Road, Barathunde Thurston's How to Be Black, Edward P. Jones's The Known World, Louise Erdrich's The Round House, and Linda Hirshman's Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution, and Dolen Perkins-Valdez's Wench. I read both the Jones and Erdrich novels and recommend both.

Books for Kids:
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Getaway, by Jeff Kinney
2. The Book of Dust: La Bell Sauvage, by Philip Pullman
3. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
4. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
5. Here We Are, by Oliver Jeffers
6. Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green
7. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
8. The Nutcracker: Press the Note to Hear Tchaikovsky's Music, by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
9. Pierre the Maze Detective: The Mystery of the Empire Tower, by Hiro Kamigaki
10. Look for Ladybug in Plant City, by Katherina Manolessou

Not one but two books from the Frances Lincoln imprint hit the top ten this week. One if the latest press-to-play book from Jessica Courtney-Tickle. This one features The Nutcracker. The other is Katherina Manolessou's Look for Ladybug in Plant City. Daisy the bunny and Basil the lizard solve a series of mysteries in this new book that like Pierre the Maze Detective, sort of take on the mantle of Where's Waldo books with additional puzzles (or in the case of Pierre, mazes). Here's the Kirkus review.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins collects books for holiday gift giving. Here's the list of adult titles, and a separate one for kids. I'm hoping to have a display up this week.

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