Sunday, February 4, 2018

Let us recap the selling of the books at Boswell for the week ending February 3, 2018.

Let us recap the selling of the books at Boswell for the week ending February 3, 2018.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Light It Up, by Nick Petrie
2. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
3. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
4. The Maze at Windermere, by Gregory Blake Smith (event at Boswell Thu 2/8, with Jane Hamilton)
5. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
6. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
7. The Odyssey, by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
8. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
9. Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie
10. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place, by Alan Bradley

The Penguin division of Penguin Random House is having a good week at Boswell, with 6 of the top 10 and 4 of the top 5 in sales. Our only new title in the top ten, however, comes from the Delacorte imprint of the Random House group (where as you can see, most imprints lost their colophon to the Random House. I miss the rooster in particular.) Alan Bradley's The Grave's a Fine and Private Place is the newest mystery featuring adolescent sleuth Flavia de Luce, in which Flavia finds a human head on an outing. Kirkus writes (in a rare these days rave): "Bradley's unquenchable heroine brings 'the most complicated case I had ever come across' to a highly satisfying conclusion, with the promise of still brighter days ahead."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Monk of Mokha, by Dave Eggers
2. Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff
3. Obama, by Pete Souza (the new printing is finally here!)
4. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
5. How Democracies Die, by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
6. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson
7. Border Country, by Martha Greene Phillips
8. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Caroline Fraser
9. The Escape Artist: Memoir of a Visionary Artist on Death Row, by William A. Noguera
10. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Last week's Journal Sentinel review from Jim Higgins presaged strong sales for Dave Eggers's The Monk at Mokha, which is his best first week since we've been open. The Circle and A Hologram for the King came close. From Barbara Lloyd McMichael in the Seattle Times: "Caffeinated Seattle readers should embrace this third book not only as a terrific read, but also as a relevant backgrounder to their daily habit. When you lift that next cup of coffee to your lips, remember to put the growers 'in front your face.'"

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
2. American War, by Omar El Akkad (event at Boswell Wed 2/14, 7 pm, with Meg Jones)
3. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman (event at Boswell Mon 2/19, 7 pm, with Suzanne Jurva)
4. Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead
5. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
6. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
9. The Anatomy of Dreams, by Chloe Benjamin (book club talk Mon 2/5, 7 pm--no author present)
10. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black

I hoped to take a picture of our event for Colson Whitehead and The Underground Railroad, but I left my phone on the podium. Alas, I haven't gotten any photos from other photographers! I was curious to see which Whitehead backlist title would come out on top and it turns out to be his coming-of-age novel Sag Harbor. And yes, we have signed copies of Whitehead's novel in paperback, as well as assorted backlist.

Also out last Wednesday, is Omar El Akkad's American War, the what-if thriller in the vein of Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. El Akkad's novel was named one of the books of year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Guardian, PopSugar, and Paste Magazine. From The Guardian's review by Laura Miller: "El Akkad, a Canadian journalist born in Egypt and raised in Qatar, has said that his intention with American War is not to make the reader admire Sarat. Rather, 'in this incredibly polarised world we live in,' he hopes that by the time the reader gets to the end of his novel, 'you’re not on her side, you don’t support her, you’re not willing to apologise for her – but you understand how she got to the place where she is.'"

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Tough As They Come, by Travis Mills
2. Waking Up White, by Debby Irving
3. Wisconsin and the Civil War, by Ronald Paul Larson
4. The Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, by Georges Perec
5. Wisconsin and the Shaping of American Law, by Joseph A. Ranney
6. Against the Deportation Terror, by Rachel Ida Buff
7. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
8. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
9. The Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande
10. The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t, by Fabrice Midal

St. John's on the Lake is reading Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race as a community read selection and has put together a series of programs to discuss Debby Irving's book. She spoke to Robin Young on WBUR's Here and Now in 2015: "Debby Irving grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts, in a predominantly white, upper middle class community. For much of her life, she hadn't given much thought to race, even though she had encountered racial tensions at work and her children's schools. Then, when she was in her 40s, Irving took a graduate school course in Race and Cultural Identity and began to comprehend how much she had benefited over the years because she was white. As Debby Irving tells Here and Now's Robin Young, 'I see what I am spared day in and day out and I am focused on how easy it is for me to just wake up and go about in a world that was constructed for me.'"

Books for Kids:
1. Rotten Ralph, by Jack Gantos (event at Boswell Thu 2/8, 4:30 pm)
2. Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos
3. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, by Jack Gantos
4. Jack Adrift, by Jack Gantos
5. Writing Radar, by Jack Gantos
6. The Distance Between Us Young Readers Edition, by Reyna Grande
7. Sally Ride, by Sue Macy
8. Dog Man and Cat Kid, by Dav Pilkey
9. The Mermaid, by Jan Brett
10. Warcross, by Marie Lu

A rare visit from Jack Gantos in conjunction with a talk at an area conference, and today's sales are from a talk at a school. His new book is Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories. Publishers Weekly writes in their starred review: "In an excellent guide for aspiring authors, Newbery Medalist Gantos distills his creative writing expertise into breezy chapters, emphasizing the value of keeping a journal - and using stories he wrote in his youth as proof." Mark your calendar for 2/8, 4:30.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Tayari Jones's An American Marriage, which goes on sale February 6. He writes: "The plot of An American Marriage – Tayari Jones’ fourth and best novel – could be aptly summarized through a single sentence from one of its three protagonists: 'I never imagined myself to be the kind of woman who would find herself with both a husband and a fiancé.'" For another look at this high-profile release, here's Ron Charles's review in The Washington Post.

Originally from USA Today and reprinted in the print edition is Steph Cha's take on Everything Here Is Beautiful, by Mira T. Lee. Cha writes: "No man is an island, as the poet says. To be human is to bond, and to bond is to share - happiness and plenty, but also hardship and misery. We are all at the mercy of the people we love, whatever misfortunes they meet or bring upon themselves. That’s the power of family, awful and wonderful, and this power ripples through the pages of Mira T. Lee’s extraordinary debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful. If you love anyone at all, this book is going to get you."

The TapBooks page also features Off the Charts, originally from Newsday, offers the following: Who qualifies as a child prodigy, and the factors behind the anointment, are at the heart of Ann Hulbert’s Off the Charts: The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies. It’s a fascinating if at times disturbing chronicle of how 15 prodigies came to the world’s attention — and at what cost. Hulbert disabuses readers of the romantic notion that prodigies are born and not made, introducing us to the cast of supporting characters that push the child’s star."

And in another book story this week, Tom Daykin wrote about some books donated to the Pabst Mansion that were found inscribed to Ida Pabst during the demolition of Rennaissance Bookshop.

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