Sunday, November 18, 2018

Pre-turkey Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 11, 2018

Pre-turkey Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 11, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Night of Miracles, by Elizabeth Berg
2. The Kinship of Secrets, by Eugenia Kim
3. Sea Prayer, by Khaled Hosseini
4. There There, by Tommy Orange
5. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
6. The Reckoning, by John Grisham
7. In the House in the Dark of the Woods, by Laird Hunt
8. Dear Mrs Bird, by AJ Pearce
9. Fox 8, by George Saunders
10. Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami

No less than three books in our top ten are part of a national publishing trend towards short hardcover works. By this I don't mean quirky humor and reference books that go on our impulse table, but narrative works, basically a bound short story, or in the case of David Grann's White Darkness, a short essay. In addition to Khaled Hosseini's Sea Prayer and George Saunders's Fox 8, there's also Stephen King's Elevation, which already made an appearance. Inadvertently added to the list due to its small trim (it breaks the other rules of price point $20 or less and under $200 page count), is In the House in the Dark of the Woods, from Laird Hunt. It has had a great read at Boswell and good reviews too. Here's Eowyn Ivey in The New York Times: "It is tempting to seek a moral in the end. Maybe, don’t talk to strangers. Or, goodness prevails over evil. Or is this just a recasting of an old tale with modern sensibilities? But Hunt isn’t that predictable or didactic. Instead he has fashioned an edge-of-the-seat experience more akin to watching a horror movie. Don’t go in the cellar! Don’t eat that pig meat! Darkness is everywhere. And never assume you can trust the narrator."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
2. Churchill: Walking with Destiny, by Andrew Roberts
3. Bitten by the Blues, by Bruce Iglauer
4. Tommy: My Journey of a Lifetime, by Tommy Thompson and Doug Moe
5. Not a Crime to Be Poor, by Peter Edelman
6. Whose Boat Is This Boat?, by The Staff of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
7. Let's Go So We Can Get Back, by Jeff Tweedy
8. Almost Everything, by Anne Lamott
9. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
10. I Am Dynamite, by Sue Pridaux

Let's just say that a whole bunch of retailers are out of Becoming! We'll have more on Monday but it's best to add your name to the waiting list.
--Angie Thomas in Time Magazine
--Prachi Gupta in Jezebel: "More than just a memoir, Becoming seems written to take control of the narrative the public has built around her, walking the fine line of diplomacy required of first ladies while discussing the personal struggles she faced as a black woman moving into spaces that were not designed for her. It’s a self-aware, vulnerable, and often funny retelling of her life that doubles as a roadmap for women and girls who are similarly navigating unfamiliar territory, even with potentially lower stakes than the White House."

Lots of folks have asked us about Obama's book tour. Let's say we made a strong pitch but didn't make the cut. Based on how the rest of the tour was scheduled, my guess is that a date still might pop up at the Fiserv Forum.

Speaking of authors with Chicago ties who didn't come to Milwaukee, I kind of thought that Jeff Tweedy might come north for his new memoir, Let's Go So We Can Get Back: A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc, but there was only problem - he was just at the Pabst Theater six weeks ago. Steven Hyden, who has done events at Boswell in the past, writes in Uproxx: "The tone that carries through Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) — wry, prickly, self-deprecating, a touch misanthropic — will be familiar to anyone who pays attention to Tweedy’s interviews or between-song patter at shows." Here's more from NPR.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Olafsdottir
2. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
3. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
4. The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens
5. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
6. Alternate Side, by Anna Quindlen
7. The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway
8. Freeze Frame Revolution, by Peter Watts
9. The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce
10. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward

New in paperback is Anna Quindlen's Alternate Side, which moves from a graphic hardcover design to a more traditional tree in front of an apartment building paperback design. While you can't really compare Quindlen's jacket treatment with Less or Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine with their paperback treatments that kept the hardcover design elements, it's interesting to note that Rachel Joyce's The Music Store, which did a ten month hard-to-soft journey (Quindlen was eight months) kept its jacket for paperback publication. Because I can't get inside the head of publishers, I can only guess - I see it as a bell curve. Hugely successful books seem more likely to keep their jackets (except maybe at one notable division of PRH, where they always change) and so do books on the unsuccessful side that are lucky to get a paperback at all. In between success and failure get the change-ups. It's just a theory.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Story of Act 31, by JP Leary
2. Prayers for Healing, by Owen Maggie
3. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. Capital Vol 1, by Karl Marx
5. Call Them by Their True Names, by Rebecca Solnit
6. 52 McGs, by Robert M. Thomas
7. Look Back and Laugh, by Liz Prince
8. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
9. A General Theory of Love, by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon
10. Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance

Rebecca Solnit's latest collection, Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays), hits our top ten for the first time since its paperback release on September 4. Elaine Elinson writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Solnit, the Bay Area journalist, historian and activist, is the author of more than 20 books, including the international bestseller Men Explain Things to Me, which inspired the creation of the pitch-perfect verb “mansplaining,” now in the popular lexicon." The book recently won the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction. More about that in this NPR story.

Books for Kids:
1. Potato Pants!, by Laurie Keller
2. Arnie the Doughnut hardcover, by Laurie Keller
3. Seeing Red V12 Whatever After, by Sarah Mlynowski
4. Fierce paperback, by Aly Reisman
5. Upside Down Magic V1, by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
6. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
7. Fairest of All V1 Whatever After, by Sarah Mlynowski
8. Weather or Not V5, Upside Down Magic, by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
9. Meet the Latkes, by Alan Silberberg
10. Sleep My Bunny, by Rosemary Wells

Sarah Mlynowski visited area schools for her latest book Seeing Red, volume 12 in the Whatever After series. The series starts with Snow White (of course, it's a magic mirror) and each new volume entails Abby being plunked into a new fairy tale. In the latest, Abby wants to go to a sleepover but the magic mirror sends her to the world of Little Red Riding Hood instead. The next one comes out April 2019 and its called Spill the Beans. Guess where Abby goes next! This comes with a rec from Jane - several of her grandkids have loved this series.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins has compiled 88 books for holiday gift giving. Check out the list and count how many you've read, and maybe make a second list of which books you want to read. And why not a third with the books you're hoping to give as gifts.

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