Sunday, December 23, 2018

Boswell bestsellers, week ending December 22, 2018

Our holiday hours: We stay open late Sunday, December 23, until 8 pm. We open at 9 am on December 24 and close at 5 pm. We're closed Christmas day.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
2. There There, by Tommy Orange
3. Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny
4. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
5. The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
6. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason
7. The Witch Elm, by Tana French
8. Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce
9. Circe, by Madeline Miller
10. Fire and Blood, by George RR Martin
11. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
12. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan
13. The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
14. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
15. Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami

We haven't discussed yet the holiday resurgence of Madeline Miller. Despite publishing in April (where the book hit #1 on the NYT bestseller list), Circe's best month at Boswell has been December and this has also led to a resurgence in Song of Achilles, which, unlike Circe, we still have in stock, which has been back in our top 10 paperbacks. Lots of bookseller reads (including being one of Jason's favorite novels), and a lot of warm feelings from spring readers who decided to give the books as gifts. Modern Mary Renaults, one reader called them to me. Isn't it interesting how more than half our hardcover fiction bestsellers are not published fourth quarter?

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
2. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda
3. Educated, by Tara Westover
4. The Making of Milwaukee 4th edition, by John Gurda
5. You Can't Spell Truth without Ruth, edited by Mary Zaia
6. Gmorning Gnight, by Lin-Manuel Miranda
7. Calypso, by David Sedaris
8. Whose Boat Is This Boat, by Stephen Colbert
9. Frederick Douglass, by David W. Blight
10. Churchill: Walking with Destiny, by Andrew Roberts
11. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Jane De Hart
12. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
13. Almost Everything, by Anne Lamott
14. The Beastie Boys Book, by Michael Diamond
15. These Truths, by Jill Lepore

At one point on Friday, I asked us to move Whose Boat Is This Boat? to the counter because three folks came and asked for it and I was running back and fourth to the humor section. Not an issue now, as we've sold out. We had an initial pop and then it was slow, until the weekend. Lots of impulse titles selling this week, including Mary Zaia's collection of Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes. But for those who want something more series Jane De Hart's bio, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is one of the big three, selling along with Frederick Douglas and Churchill: Walking with Destiny. Simon got that reprint out for David Blight's biography just under the wire and we're grateful. It's top ten for the year for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time. And we have stock - at least on Sunday morning.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney
2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris
3. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
4. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
5. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
6. The Drifter (both paperback editions), by Nick Petrie
7. One Day in December, by Josie Silver
8. The Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz
9. Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
10. The Milkman, by Anna Burns
11. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
12. Hope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer
13. My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
14. The Fifth Season V1: Broken Earth, by NK Jemisin
15. Best American Short Stories, edited by Roxane Gay

I've been telling people that December 31 is Lillian Boxfish day, sort of a mini-Bloomsbury. That's the day in Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk when our hero goes out for New Year's dinner at Delmonico's and winds up taking a ten-mile walk that takes her back through her whole life. There might be a blog about this later this week.

Speaking of books that focus on one day in December, One Day in December by Josie Silver makes its first appearance here, after solidifying its place on the national bestseller list. It's a Reese Witherspoon book club selection and it also has a staff rec from Boswellian Rose Camara, who wrote: "It's not a typical boy-meets-girl story because Silver left me with lessons on honesty, self-cultivation, and a belief that love exists. Love, for the characters of this book, reminded me that love of self, family, friends, and a partner all influence life and fate - not to mention it's very fitting for the holiday season."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
2. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
3. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
4. From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City, by Carl Baehr
5. Prairie Fires, by Caroline Fraser
6. The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, by Thomas H Fehring
7. Cream City Chronicles, by John Gurda
8. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
9. Call Them by Their True Names, by Rebecca Solnit
10. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
11. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
12. Anxiety Journal, by Corinne Sweet (Hmmm...have to figure out how journalish this is for the list)
13. Milwaukee Ghosts and Legends, by Anna Lardinois
14. Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance
15. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

It's not a regional book (sort of) and it's not an issue book (kind of). It's fascinating to see Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder having a good Christmas in paperback. For one thing, it did win the Pultizer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and was named one of The New York Times ten best books of 2017. For another thing, it had stock issues in hardcover. But it's $22 and 656 pages and most traditional  biographies live their best lives in hardcover. So cheers for Caroline Fraser overcoming the odds.

Books for Kids:
1. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
2. National Parks of the USA, by Kate Siber, with illustrations by Chris Turnham
3. Atlas Obscura's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid, by Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco
4. Anthology of Intriguing Animals, from DK
5. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
6. P Is for Pterodactyl, by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter, with illustrations by Maria Tina Beddia
7. Baby Monkey Private Eye, by Brian Selznick
8. Meltdown V13 Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney
9. Hush Hush Forest, by Mary Casanova, with illustrations by Nick Wroblewski
10. Penguin Problems board book, by John Jory, with illustrations by Lane Smith
11. Winter Dance board book, by Marion Dane Bauer, with illustrations by Richard Jones
12. The Snowy Day board book, by Ezra Jack Keats
13. The Snowy Nap, by Jan Brett
14. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
15. Swirl by Swirl board book, by Joyce Sidman, with illustrations by Beth Krommes

Look how board book heavy the list has become in holiday time. A full five titles have bite-resistant pages and several others skew at the young end of picture book. Most are adapted from picture books. One national bestseller that had a pop in sales this week at Boswell (and might have a future as a board book) is P Is for Pterodactyl, from Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter with illustrations by Maria Tina Beddia. Haldar AKA the rapper Lushlife, uses silent letters and homophones to confound the normal alphabet book reader. I'm told its also great for ESL students.

From the Journal Sentinel:
--Jocelyn McClurg profiles Louise Penny for Kingdom of the Blind, originally from USA Today
--Alicia Rancilio looks at Joanna Gaines and her influence in Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave. If you're wondering why about two years ago, every woman on House Hunters started asking for a white kitchen, you're got your answer here. The Associated Press carried this story.

Off to work! We'll see what we have left to sell.

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