Sunday, April 21, 2019

Boswell Bestsellers, week ending April 20, 2019

What's selling at Boswell?

Hardcover Fiction:
1. My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing
2. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
3. Lost Roses, by Martha Hall Kelly
4. Circe, by Madeline Miller
5. Metropolis (V14), by Philip Kerr
6. Department of Sensitive Crimes (V1 Varg), by Alexander McCall Smith
7. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
8. The Witch Elm, by Tana French
9. Leading Men, by Christopher Castellani (event Wed 4/24, with Liam Callanan and Milwaukee Opera Theatre)
10. Henry Himself, by Stewart O'Nan

Well that's crazy! Penguin Random House and its distributees account for a third of our book business, but they account for nine of our top ten hardcover fiction bestsellers. Seven of the top ten come from the Penguin division, with one each from Knopf/Doubleday and Random House. The lone outlier is Madeline Miller's Circe, which is also the only non-PRH title on our Schwartz 100 that was published in 2018. It doesn't hurt that Samantha Downing was at Boswell this past week for My Lovely Wife (signed copies available) and Chris Castellani will be here April 24.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Healing Self, by Deepak Chopra
2. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, by Deepak Chopra
3. The Second Mountain, by David Brooks
4. Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, by Alice Waters
5. Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl
6. Educated, by Tara Westover
7. The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters
8. 100 Most Jewish Foods, by Alana Newhouse
9. Genesis, by Edward O Wilson
10. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat

Same song, different lyrics on the nonfiction list. PRH dominates that list too with five titles, and with the Crown division folded into Random House, they hold all five slots, thanks to us selling books at Deepak Chopra's Pabst Theater event and a signing with Alice Waters in conjunction with her No Studios visit. What was interesting to me is that aside from Waters, we had a nice pop in cookbook sales this past week. Are Easter and Passover the second Christmas when they coincide? That might be exaggerating a tad, especially when few people are probably cooking holiday dinners out of Save Me the Plums, though I suppose you could.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Who Is the Black Panther?, by Jesse Holland
2. The Overstory, by Richard Powers (Pulitzer winner)
3. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles (we have signed copies)
4. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead (finally out of signed copies!)
5. The Milkman, by Anna Burns
6. The House of Broken Angels, by Luis Albert Urrea (event now Thu May 9, 7 pm)
7. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
8. The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
9. Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje
10. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan (he'll be here Wed for Chris Castellani

Blah, blah, blah, Penguin Random House. But when it comes to paperback fiction, my obsession is generally over how many books have I read in the top ten. My current total is six, but I'm halfway through The House of Broken Angels for our May 9 event (I didn't read it for the Library Lunch last year - it worked quite well without me) and we're tackling The Milkman for our July In-Store Lit Group. It meets July 1, which is known as Summerfest break day in Milwaukee. I was kind of thrilled to have read the Pulitzer fiction winner and both finalists. I don't think that's happened to me (reading all three before the awards were announced) in 33 years of bookselling. And just a week after we took down our 'What to Read After The Overstory' display - that might be going up again!

Paperback Nonfiction
1. The Invisibles, by Jesse Holland
2. You Are the Universe, by Deepak Chopra
3. The Milwaukee Anthology, by Justin Kern
4. Black Men Built the Capitol, by Jesse Holland
5. Quantum Healing, by Deepak Chopra
6. Super Brain, by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi
7. The Heart of a Boy, by Kate T Parker
8. Super Genes, by Deepak Chopra and Ruldoph Tanzi
9. Vote for Us, by Joshua A Douglas
10. The Big Book of Dog Tricks for the Best Dog Ever, by Larry Kay and Chris Perondi

Finally, a list with a twist - more than half the books on this list are from independent publishers (though one is distributed by PRH) and the rest are from Deepak Chopra. If we dug farther down, we'd see two more Workmans, an Orbis, and a Reedy, the new edition of 100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die. Of course they are mostly event driven, but you take the event stats you get, right? While Holland's focus title at the Delta Memorial Endowment Fund Luncheon was Who Is the Black Panther, his history books also had a good sale. His more recent is Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History in and Around Washington, D.C from Lyons Press. What a great travel/history guide for the next time I visit my niece and nephew!

Books for Kids:
1. Star Wars: Finn's Story, by Jesse Holland
2. Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick
3. Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee
4. Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee
5. Sweeping Up the Heart, by Kevin Henkes (event Sat 4/27, 2 pm)
6. Silver People, by Margarita Engle
7. The Story of Civil Rights Hero John Lewis, by Jim Haskins, with illustrations by Aaron Boyd
8. Chupacabras of the Rio Grande (V4 Unicorn Rescue), by Adam Gidwitz
9. Little White Rabbit, by Kevin Henkes
10. Sophia and Rainbow (V1 Unicorn Academy), by Julie Sykes

We had a nice sales pop for the week out in the latest entry in the Unicorn Rescue Society, the early middle-grade (ages 7 and up) from Adam Gidwitzz (with a rotating series of co-authors - this entry features David Bowles. In The Chupacabras of the Río Grande, Elliot and Uchenna are taken by Professor Fauna to the Mexican-American border to help another mystical creature in need of rescue. After all, that's what they do.

Over at the Journal Sentinel...

--David Holahan (USA Today) review A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of a Spy Who Helped Win World War II. Says Holahan: "Virginia Hall was considerably more than simply an American spy. She was, to be sure, a crackerjack infiltrator, first for the British and later for her own country. But she also was a guerrilla leader fighting the good fight against Nazi Germany four years before the allies landed at Normandy in 1944."

--Mark Athitakis (USA Today) says that Susan Choi's Trust Exercise is an update on the coming-of-age story"with remarkable command and sensitivity." The review also notes "So many books and films present teenage years as a passing phase, a hormonal storm that passes in time. Choi, in this witty and resonant novel, thinks of it more like an earthquake – a rupture that damages our internal foundations and can require."

--T.C. Boy'e's Outside Looking In is the subject of a review from Rob Merrill (Associated Press, linked to the Holland Sentinel). The setup: "Just as he did in his last novel about scientists inhabiting Arizona’s Biosphere 2 in the 1990s (The Terranauts), T.C. Boyle’s latest novel, Outside Looking In, takes a real world event — Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary’s LSD experiments in the 1960s — and imagines some of the people who went along for the trip."

No comments: