Sunday, February 25, 2018

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 24, 2018

Here are the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 24, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Philosopher's Flight, by Tom Miller
2. The Woman in the Water, by Charles Finch
3. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
4. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
5. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
6. Force of Nature, by Jane Harper
7. Down the River Unto the Sea, by Walter Mosley
8. The Power, by Naomi Alderman
9. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
10. Enigma Variations, by André Aciman

Kristin Hannah is totally dominating the hardcover fiction list for the last few weeks. Her new novel, The Great Alone, is set in 1970s Alaska. It's gotten many great reviews, including Kim Ode's in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Hannah has created an atmosphere of brooding paranoia and simmering violence that can set your heart racing. Anticipated plot twists unravel unexpectedly. Leni is, by all marks, the strong woman here. But she’s how many of us would be strong: in fits and starts, undone by errors of judgment and misplaced trust."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Educated, by Tara Westover
2. What Are We Doing Here?, by Marilynne Robinson
3. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson
4. Enlightenment Now, by Steven Pinker
5. Feel Free, by Zadie Smith
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke Harris
8. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
9. My Canadian Boyfriend Justin Trudeau, by Carrie Parker
10. Obama, by Pete Souza

My ears first perked up about Tara Westover's Educated when I heard her on Fresh Air. There are lots of reviews too, including Dan Cryer's in Newsday: "Religious fundamentalism can also generate its own freaky hazards. In Stolen Innocence, a teenage Elissa Wall is forced into polygamy by a breakaway sect of Mormons. Tara Westover, raised by Mormons in rural Idaho, cautions that her memoir, Educated, is “not about Mormonism.” But, unquestionably, it is about what happens when religious fanatics split the world into true believers and followers of Satan."

Like The Great Alone, Celine's cover is using trending muddy brown cover palette. This replaces the green hardcover, which is always blamed for any book's last of breakout bestsellerdom.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman
2. Enigma Variations, by André Aciman
3. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
4. Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
5. The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
6. Celine, by Peter Heller
7. A Separation, by Katie Kitamura
8. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
9. Nix, by Nathan Hill
10. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck

It's nice to see several books that got a nice amount of attention in hardcover get a pop in paperback. One is Peter Heller's Celine, his third novel, which is once again something new. Here's Jason Sheehan on NPR: "Celine, the novel, by Peter Heller (of Dog Stars and The Painter) is a difficult thing to get your head around. Not the subject matter (the process of finding lost people, the complications that such things can cause) because that's rote, if handled here with an odd and engaging sort of flair. And not the subject herself, because Celine (the character) comes from a long and solid tradition of aristocratic detectives; of moneyed and over-smart and ridiculously capable persons who give up society life for what thrills might be gotten from rolling around in the gutters with the rest of us."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. It's Never Too Late to Begin Again, by Julia Cameron
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby (event at Boswell, Thu 5/10, 7 pm)
4. The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t, by Fabrice Midal
5. The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams
6. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, by John Baxter (part of Liam Callanan's Paris talk for Paris by the Book)
7. Wisconsin and the Civil War, by Ronald Paul Larson
8. Waking Up White, by Debby Irving
9. Runaway Inequality, by Les Leopold
10. Light on Yoga, by BKS Iyengar

One new paperback having a sales pop in paperback nonfiction is The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. This is a theory that pops up with some frequency, at the same time that we wind up doing the opposite. Jason Mark wrote in The New York Times: "You’ve probably heard a version of this before. Two centuries ago, the Romantics trumpeted the virtues of nature as the antidote to the viciousness of industrialization. In 1984, the biologist Edward O. Wilson put a scientific spin on the idea with his book Biophilia, which posited that humans possess an innate love of nature."

Books for Kids:
1. Nephilim V2, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
2. Here We Are, by Oliver Jeffers
3. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
4. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
5. Calvin Can't Fly, by Jennifer Berne
6. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls V1, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
7. The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
8. Tower of Dawn, by Sarah J. Maas
9. Library of Fates, by Aditi Khorana
10. Thunderhead, by Neal Shusterman

This week's top 10 is YA heavy, which is in part accounted for by some school sales. One recent release is Thunderhead, the follow-up from Scythe by Neal Shusterman, who visited Milwaukee for his previous book (and spoke at the Shorewood Public Library). Shusterman is profiled by M.J. Franklin in Mashable: "The Arc of the Scythe series dives into a utopian world where death has been defeated. In this perfect world, a governing body called the Scythes decides who dies "but everyone accepts it because everybody knows that this order is made up of the most compassionate humans in the world." But all is not as it seems. Corruption has started to develop within the organization, and now it is up to two teens apprenticed to a scythe — Rowan and Citra — to investigate, but they soon learn that a perfect world comes with a heavy price."

Over at the Journal Sentinel TapBooks section, Jim Higgins reviews Kelly Barnhill's Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories. Here's a snippet: "In two stories, a clergyman has loving eyes for a woman who commands nature and the attention of animals around her, to the chagrin of regressive forces. Every man desires the attractive widow in the delightful 'Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch,' but she has rekindled romance with someone hairier. Quicker than most of his flock, the priest arrives at the Mirandan conclusion that love is love is love, and the comedy moves to a climax that is positively Franciscan.

"I think Jorge Luis Borges would have liked 'Elegy to Gabrielle — Patron Saint of Healers, Whores, and Righteous Thieves,' with its formally satisfying frame story. In this 17th-century tale, a healing woman and a pirate captain help each other, but also wage a turf war for control of her daughter, Gabrielle. Gabrielle becomes the next pirate captain, a Robin Hood who torments the Governor by stealing tax gold and freeing the occupants of slave ships."

Barnhill will be at the Lynden Sculpture Garden next Thursday, March 1, 7 pm reception, 7:30 talk. Tickets are $30 including admission, light refreshments, and a copy of Dreadful Young Ladies. Lynden members get in for $25. Visit or call (414) 446-8794.

No comments: