Sunday, March 4, 2018

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 3, 2018--annotated links and Journal Sentinel reviews

Here are our bestsellers for the week ending March 3, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories, by Kelly Barnhill
2. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
3. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
4. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
5. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
6. Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday
7. Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
8. Light It Up, by Nick Petrie
9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
10. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman (event at Lynden 6/6/18)

We are definitely behind the curve on Lisa Wingate's Before We Were Yours, which has now logged 23 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. The author, who has written nearly 30 novels, was quoted in the Hoover Sun by Jon Anderson as saying :"She always knew she was going to be an author because her first-grade teacher told her so and first-grade teachers never lie." And for more about how the book came to be, her website describes the inspiration, the story of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society. It's a fascinating story and I'm not surprised this book has touched a nerve.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
2. Time Pieces, by John Banville
3. Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff (not our event but at the Riverside on May 9. Tickets here)
4. Food, by Mark Hyman
5. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke Harris
6. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
7. Directorate S, by Steve Coll
8. Strengths Finder 2.0, by Tom Rath
9. That's What She Said, by Joanne Lipman
10. Educated, by Tara Westover

The Knopf division of Penguin Random House is having a nice week with four books in the top 10 fiction paperbacks, a resurgence of Killers of the Flower Moon (if it wasn't printed already, I would expect a delay in the paperback) and a pop for John Banville's Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir. Fintan O'Toole wrote in The Irish Times: "Autobiography is inevitable, but in Banville’s case memory has always been sublimated into the pure invention of his chiselled prose. And if Banville is an unlikely memoirist, Dublin seems an even more unlikely setting. As he remarks in Time Pieces, Joyce’s imaginative hold on the city was so great that “the place was of no use to me as a backdrop for my fiction” until the late birth of his alter ego Benjamin Black. So the appearance of this utterly delightful book, called a memoir in its title but, perhaps more accurately, a 'quasi-memoir' in the body of the text, is an unexpected windfall." See our item page for Anne McMahon's recommendation.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
2. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
3. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman
4. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
5. I Like You Just Fine when You're Not Around, by Ann Garvin
6. Station Eleven, by Emily S. John Mandel
7. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
8. Autumn, by Ali Smith
9. In This Grave Hour, by Jacqueline Winspear
10. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

This year's Women's Leadership Conference is only odd in the bestseller reports because our bestseller lists are not filled with nonfiction business and self-help titles, though Strengths Finder 2.0 and That's What She Said (from the hardcover nonfiction list) were both on recommendation lists. One of the speakers was Ann Garvin, whose most recent novel, I Like You Just Fine when You're Not Around, had a sales pop. The book was published by Tyrus, which was sold by F&W to Simon and Schuster, as part of their acquisition of Adams. From the Publishers Weekly review: " Garvin’s wit and sensitivity keep her in full control of the emotional subject matter. Pinpoint details and realistic characterizations of Tig’s internal strife firmly situate readers in this eccentric, endearing story of a family coming together to face the ravages of Alzheimer’s."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Healthcare 911, by Bhupendra O. Khatri
2. Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, by Thomas H. Fehring
3. Evicted, Matthew Desmond
4. Waking Up White, by Debby Irving
5. Playing Through the Fence, by Mary J. Dowell
6. Taking Flight, by Michael Edmonds (event at Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center 3/20)
7. North Point Historic Districts, by Shirley DuFresne McArthur
8 Everybody Lies, by Seth Stephens Davidowitz
9. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissinger
10. Against the Deportation Terror, by Rachel Ida Buff

I'm a big fan of Seth Stephens-Davidowitz's Everybody Lies and it's nice to see the book having at least a small pop with its paperback release. The book has gotten a round of press for the recent article about how to correlate the popularity of a song based on its age and the age of the listener when it came out. Our early teens are the time when we wire our brain about this stuff, but that did not make me love David Geddes's "Run Joey Run" any more than I did when I was 14. That said, 1975 really was a great year for music for me. Read the whole New York Times article here and keep in mind that Everybody Lies is chock full of fascinating data analysis of this type.

Books for Kids:
1. Better Together, by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg
2. Sail Away Dragon, by Barbara Joosse with illustrations by Randy Cecil
3. Strongheart, by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
4. The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell, by Candace Fleming, with illustrations by Gaerard DuBois
5. Becoming Maria (paperback), by Sonia Manzano
6. Lovabye Dragon, by Barbara Joosse with illustrations by Randy Cecil
7. Becoming Maria (hardcover), by Sonia Manzano
8. Evermore Dragon, by Barbara Joosse with illustrations by Randy Cecil
9. Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green
10. Unwind, by Neal Shusterman

Did you figure out that we just did school events with Barbara Joosse and Candace Fleming/Eric Rohmann? We really love bringing authors to area schools. In addition to Strongheart, a middle grade novel based on a real-life Hollywood dog star, we also featured the brand-new picture book from Candace Fleming, The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell: Based on the Childhood of a Great American Artist. When I was in college, my art professor loved that I lived near Utopia Parkway in Queens, which is where Joseph Cornell lived with his mother. From the blog A Book and a Hug: "This is a beautiful testimony to the birth of a voice in a family that allowed it to grow. Cornell beat to his own drum and brought his vision forth to make our world a better place. Wonderful read aloud for children who are wondering how a voice is discovered and nourished."

From the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews Carol Wobig's The Collected Stories. Higgins reviews her fascinating story: "In 1978, she submitted a story for the first time to Redbook magazine, which rejected it. She began reading how-to books about writing but was afraid to join a critique group. 'I didn't have the confidence for that,' she said. Wobig said she seldom finished stories. She'd start one, then read a writing book and start over again. But in 2003, Wobig was diagnosed with acromegaly, a pituitary disorder that required surgery and radiation. After getting through treatment, she was less afraid to share her writing with a group. She ended up at Redbird Studio, where she said writing teacher Judy Bridges mentored her. 'I got positive feedback there and I learned a lot and made friends.' Meanwhile, Wobig worked at a Tombstone Pizza plant in Sussex, on the cleaning crew and then in the sauce room. She retired in 2003." Read more about Wobig's stories in his review.

Also in the print TapBooks page, Higgins profiles the Shorewood Reads program, which this year features Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven. There will be two discussions with the author, one at 10 am on April 10 with Lauren Fox, and another in the evening on the same day, both at Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N Murray Ave. There are also multiple Station Eleven discussions, with Hayley Johnson on March 7, with Jessie Garcia at Camp Bar on March 20, and Fox at North Shore Boulengerie on March 28.

And finally. Darcel Rockett writes about the current state of romance, originally published in the Chicago Tribune.

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