Sunday, March 11, 2018

Annotated Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 10, 2018

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 10, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
2. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
3. The House of Broken Angels, by Luis Alberto Urrea (more below)
4. The Maze at Windermere, by Gregory Blake Smith
5. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
6. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
7. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
8. Chicago, by David Mamet
9. Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday
10. Temptation of Forgiveness, by Donna Leon

It's so exciting to see the reviews coming in for The House of Broken Angels, Luis Alberto Urrea's long-awaited novel, featured at the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Spring Literary Lunch (ticket info here) on March 11. Michael Lindgren in The Washington Post wrote: "Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels is a big, sprawling, messy, sexy, raucous house party of a book, a pan-generational family saga with an enormous, bounding heart, a poetic delivery and plenty of swagger. It’s not perfect — in fact, even its flaws are big — but it stays with you, and it stands as a vital reminder of the value of fiction in defining the immigrant experience."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Uneasy Peace, by Patrick Sharkey
2. The Art of Resistance, by Shelley Drake Hawks
3. Enlightenment Now, by Steven Pinker
4. Baseball Italian Style, by Lawrence Baldassaro (event at Boswell 3/27)
5. Common Good, by Robert B. Reich
6. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
7. Sioux Chefs Indigenous Kitchen, by Shean Sherman
8. Educated, by Tara Westover
9. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara
10. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance

Patrick Sharkey appeared at a Marquette Law School conference which was, as usual, sold out, but I hope someone brings him back because his book, Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence, will be of great interest to many in Milwaukee, especially because at least one chapter is set here. Ashley Luthern noted some of his findings in this Journal Sentinel story: "In his research, Sharkey and his colleagues found in a given city with 100,000 people, 'every new organization formed to confront violence and build strong neighborhoods led to about a 1 percent drop in violent crime and murder.'"

Paperback Fiction:
1. Ru, by Kim Thúy
2. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
3. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders (In Store Lit Group 4/2)
4. Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
5. Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, by Sherman Alexie
6. Mãn, by Kim Thúy
7. Berlin Alexanderplatz, by Alfred Döblin
8. Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
9. Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
10. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

Just out from NYRB Classics is Alfred Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz, the inspiration for Rainer Werner Fassbinder's epic film, many consider it one of the most important works of 20th century literature. It's even got a Wikipedia entry. Bertold Brecht wrote: "I learned more about the essence of the epic from Döblin than from anyone else. His epic writing and even his theory about the epic strongly influenced my own dramatic art."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz
2. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
3. The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t, by Fabrice Midal
4. Healing the Human Body with God's Remedies, by Lester Carter
5. The Other Side of the River, by Alex Kotlowitz
6. Angel Wisdom, by terry Lynn Taylor
7. How to Fight, by Thich Nhat Hanh
8. Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments, by Peter Caputano
9. Healthcare 911, by Bhupendra O. Khatri
10. The Radium Girls, by Kate Moore

New this week in paperback is Kate Moore's The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women. From Genevieve Valentine's story on NPR: "The book, infuriating for necessary reasons, traces the women at two dial-making factories — the USRC in New Jersey, and Radiant Dial in Illinois. And Radium Girls spares us nothing of their suffering; though at times the foreshadowing reads more like a true-crime story, Moore is intent on making the reader viscerally understand the pain in which these young women were living, and through which they had to fight in order to get their problems recognized."

Books for Kids:
1. The Night Diary, by Veera Hirandani
2. Deadweather and Sunrise, by Geoff Rodkey
3. The Tapper Twins Go to War with Each Other V1, by Geoff Rodkey
4. The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York V2, by Geoff Rodkey
5. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
6. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
7. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
8. The Playbook, by Kwame Alexander
9. Stuck in the Stone Age, by Geoff Rodkey and The Story Pirates
10. Sacred Leaf, by Deborah Ellis

I wish there were more hours in a day so that we could have hosted Veera Hirandani for a public event for her new novel, The Night Diary, which three Boswellians have already read and loved. But between a school visit for Books & Company and Boswell, a Lake Effect taping, and a dinner for area booksellers and librarians, there was simply no time. Here's Virandani talking to Renee Montaigne on NPR: "I hope it resonates on a few levels. I think kids that I know, in my area, they learn about what a refugee is, but I don't know if they always have a specific sense of what that means for an individual person going through this. So I hope that readers will see that Nisha is a 12-year-old girl who loves her home, has a complicated relationship with her father, loves her brother — and also they fight — and she wonders what's for dinner, and she does all of these things that I think most 12-year-olds could relate to."

The Journal Sentinel TapBook page highlights some of the great upcoming literary events in Milwaukee. Included is info on:
--Liam Callanan for Paris by the Book at Boswell on April 3 - free, no registration
--Kwame Alexander for Rebound at Boswell on April 9 - register here
--Emily St. John Mandel for Shorewood Reads at the Shorewood Public Library on April 10 - free, no registration
--Lisa See at UWM Golda Meir Library for Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane on April 19 - free, no registration
--David Sedaris at the Riverside Theater on April 20 - tickets here
--Meg Wolitzer at Schlitz Audubon for The Female Persuasion on April 23 - tickets here
--Christopher Moore at Boswell for Noir on May 2 - tickets here
--Paula McLain at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for Love and Ruin on May 6 - tickets here
--Arundhati Roy at UWM Student Union for The Ministry of Utmost Happiness on May 8 - tickets here
--Luis Alberto Urrea (as noted above) at the MPL Friends Literary Lunch on May 11 - tickets here

Also in the paper is Michael Lindgren's review of Laura Lippman's Sunburn: "You don't need to be steeped in the history of noir crime to enjoy Sunburn. What makes the book so lethally seductive is Lippman's utter control over the narrative, which ticks away with relentless fatalism." This review originally appeared in Newsday.

From Hannah Wise comes a review of Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Female Friendship, by Kayleen Schaefer. Her review, which originally appeared in Dallas Morning News, notes: Women of my generation know what it means when a friend says 'Text me when you get home.' In six small words, she is speaking volumes. She wants to make sure you know the memories, witty banter, and love don't stop when you walk out the door."

Jim Higgins profiles Amy Kaufman's Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure for anything about Nick Viall, the Waukesha native who has been on four iterations of the franchise and still has not found love. Apparently it's not you, it's him.

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