Sunday, August 5, 2018

State Fair Edition: Boswell Bestsellers on a Stick - Week Ending August 4, 2018

State Fair Edition: Boswell Bestsellers on a Stick - Week Ending August 4, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. There, There, by Tommy Orange
2. Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, by Jo Piazza
3. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
4. Clock Dance, by Anne Tyler
5. Circe, by Madeline Miller
6. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
7. Florida, by Lauren Groff
8. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
9. Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce
10. The Other Woman, by Daniel Silva

Unlike the national bestseller lists, which had a big pop of sales on Madeline Miller's Circe, as if the book were the new installment in a thriller series, our sales have been remarkably steady since first release, more like a word-of-mouth bestseller than a branded one. We sold more copies in June than we did in April, for example. For more, visit Book Riot for Nikki Vanry's interview. Vanry's opening: "In her newest release Circe, Madeline Miller tackles one of the world’s most enduring stories from a new point of view and, in doing so, gives a voice to the woman at the sidelines of Homer’s myth. The effect is deeply personal and deeply universal, her style born of the mythological realism we all loved in her debut novel, The Song of Achilles."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. No One Tells You This, by Glynnis MacNicol
2. The Fall of Wisconsin, by Dan Kaufman
3. Backlash, by George Yancy
4. Indianapolis, by Lynn Vincent
5. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson
6. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda (event 10/1 at MPL Loos Room, 6 pm)
7. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
8. Don't Make Me Pull Over, by Richard Ratay
9. The Plant Paradox, by Steven R. Gundry
10. Calypso, by David Sedaris

This is the second week in Boswell's top ten for Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man. Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic's history of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in World War II has gotten many fine reviews. Terry Hartle in The Christian Science Monitor writes: "As with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the loss of the Indianapolis has been clouded in mystery and controversy, leading both conspiracy buffs and historians to pore over the records in an effort to understand what happened. Thanks to Indianapolis, a new book by Lynn Vincent and Sarah Vladic, we now have a complete and accessible story of this saga."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward (In-Store Lit Group discussion Mon 8/27, 7 pm)
2. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
3. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
4. Saints for All Occasions, by J. Courtney Sullivan
5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
6. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
7. A Column of Fire, by Ken Follett
8. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
9. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy
10. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid was an early recommendation by Boswell's Jen , who noted that the story "will leave you utterly absorbed and wishing Evelyn Hugo was a real-life film star." In the day, this is the kind of book that would have had a big mass market paperback auction, but nowadays, the book just gets released in paperback from the same publisher. Per Tara Block in Pop Sugar, her inspiration was Ava Gardner's memoir, only released after her death (and that of the ghostwriter too), after Frank Sinatra sort of bought her off. Other inspirations were Elizabeth Taylor (seven husbands) and Rita Hayworth, a Spanish author who changed her name and colored her hair to make her appear less ethnic.

Paperback Nonfiction
1. Graceful Leadership in Early Childhood Education, by Ann McClain Terrell
2. Life Without Pockets, by Carla Anne Ernst
3. Hard to Do, by Kelli María Korducki
4. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
5. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. A General Theory of Love, by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, Richard Lannon
8. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
9. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
10. Drawdown, by Paul Hawken

Can a bookseller's recommendation single-handedly get a book on our bestseller list? Yes, if it's A General Theory of Love from Thomas Lewis. Released in paperback in 2000, I'm pretty sure it had fallen out of the old Schwartz inventory by the time we opened in 2009. And then Boswellian Scott put the book on his staff rec shelf in early 2015 and has pretty much kept it there. And now Boswell has the second best sales at a reporting independent in the country for the last year, per Above the Treeline (soon to be Edelweiss Analytics). From Clarissa Cruz in Entertainment Weekly: "In elegant prose that keeps the dry scientific jargon to a blessed minimum, they argue why certain widely held societal beliefs (career success equals happiness; being in love means the sparks never disappear) clash with biological reality — and why we need a culture attuned to the ways of the heart."

Books for Kids:
1. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade, with illustrations by Melanie Demmer
2. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by JK Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay
4. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls V1, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
5. Here We Are, by Oliver Jeffers
6. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
7. We Don't Eat Our Classmates, by Ryan T. Higgins
8. If You Had a Jetpack, by Lisl Detlefsen with illustrations by Linzie Hunter
9. The Elephant and Piggie Biggie, by Mo Willems
10. The First Bible Story Book, from DK

It's back to school time! Ryan T. Higgins's We Don't Eat Our Classmates is the first release to hit our bestseller list. The book is on the Summer 2018 Kids Indie Next List. Here's a part of the rec from Sara Crochowski at McLean and Eakin: "Penelope, a pink-overall-clad T-rex, is exceptionally nervous about her first day of school. She’s so nervous that, after learning her classmates are all children, she eats them. Delicious! But Mrs. Noodleman is not amused. It isn’t until someone tries to make Penelope into a snack that she begins to understand just how her classmates feel." More Kids Indie Next recommendations here.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins offers "25 Books that form a portrait of Wisconsin." Some of the books included:
--The Drifted Reader, edited by Curt Meine and Keefe Keeley
--Population 485, by Michael Perry
--Mary Nohl: A lifetime in Art, by Barbara Manger and Jenine Smith
--One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake
--Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler
--Selma of the North, by Patrick D. Jones
--A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold.

More reviews!
--Give Me Your Hand, by Megan Abbott, reviewed by Oline Cogdill of the Associated Press
--The Poisoned City, by Anna Clark, reviewed by Gene Seymour for USA Today
--The Mere Wife, by Maria Dahvana Headley, reviewed by Jennifer Kay of the Associated Press

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