Sunday, May 19, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending May 18, 2019, plus Journal Sentinel summer reading picks

And we're off!

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Resistance Women, by Jennifer Chiaverini (event today at Boswell, 3 pm - registration has closed by walk-ups are fine)
2. Orange World and Other Stories, by Karen Russell
3. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
4. Circe, by Madeline Miller
5. Normal People, by Sally Rooney
6. Moby Dick Pop-Up, by Herman Melville and Gerard Lo Monaco
7. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
8. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
9. The Guest Book, by Sarah Blake
10. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles (because signed books are still available)

I tend to not mention when our top five books are written by men because I'd probably get in trouble, but I'm guessing that citing a female sweep is fine. Our big debut is Orange World and Other Stories, by Karen Russell, the rare young novelist who despite the acclaimed Swamplandia, might be even better known for her New Yorker stories. I feel compelled to buy it because I haven't gotten a pretty orange book since There There last year. Booklist writes: "Heir to Shirley Jackson and a compatriot of T. C. Boyle, virtuoso Russell, gifted with acute insights, compassion, and a daring, free-diving imagination, explores the bewitching and bewildering dynamic between the voracious appetite of nature and its yawning indifference and humankind's relentless profligacy and obliviousness."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Guardian, by Thomas Pecora
2. Outer Order, Inner Calm, by Gretchen Rubin
3. My Darling Winston, edited by David Lough
4. The Pioneers, by David McCullough
5. Howard Stern Comes Again, by Howard Stern
6. A Good American Family, by David Maraniss (MPL lunch reservations for 5/29 here)
7. The Four Tendencies, by Gretchen Rubin
8. Educated, by Tara Westover
9. UWM The First Sixty Years, by John Schroeder
10. The British Are Coming, by Rick Atkinson

I could talk history, as there's a lot of it on this top ten (Pecora and Lough had events in town, while McCullough and Atkinson and flexing for Dad Day), but I'm more intrigued by the sales pop for Howard Stern Comes Again. Who knew he had an evolution? Terry Gross was so fascinated her interview aired over two days on Fresh Air. The things you don't know when you don't subscribe to Sirius radio. Per Janet Maslin in The New York Times, this book is "hefty all-star tutorial on the art of the interview."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
2. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
3. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
4. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
5. Murder Knocks Twice V1, by Susanna Calkins
6. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
7. Park Avenue Summer, by Renée Rosen
8. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
9. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
10. There There, by Tommy Orange

Dang! I missed reading our entire top 10 by one book, and it's one I promised to read at one point - The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. No lie, once I was told she wasn't traveling, I put it away for a bit to concentrate on our event titles.But we've still got something like six enthusiastic fans on staff without me, and so, even without a read, I've been doing some hand-selling. It's nice to see that the book is selling well enough that Ingram has reordered copies, the limited edition hardcover (for libraries) looks like it sold out, and the book has been showing up on the top 50 list of Bookscan for Milwaukee fiction. Publishers Weekly called it "a gem of a historical" noting that the history part isn't its strongest asset, instead noting that "readers will adore the memorable Cussy and appreciate Richardson's fine rendering of rural Kentucky life." I told the publisher we could sell 100 copies by Christmas - who doesn't love a challenge? - but I think at one point I better come back to it.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Mueller Report, by US Department of Justice and the Washington Post (Scribner)
2. Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin
3. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
4. The Milwaukee Anthology, edited by Justin Kern
5. Healing The Thyroid with Ayurveda, by Marianne Teitelbaum (event Mon 6/10, 7 pm, at Boswell)
6. Writing Fiction, tenth edition, by Janet Burroway (event Wed 6/19, 7 pm, at Boswell)
7. The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
8. Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
9. The Fire Next Time, by James A Baldwin
10. Drawdown, by Paul Hawken

From Michael Pollan comes a nice paperback pop for the release of How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. It's sometimes harder for big hardcover bestsellers to have a strong paperback showing but it seems like if they do hit again, they never leave. Who's placing bets that Educated will be in the top 10 for ten years, excluding a major scandal, and perhaps even in spite of one. What you generally won't see as much in paperbacks, bestseller or not, is an updated jacket. Pollan's paperback just adds the popular contrasting stripe and The New York Times seal of approval. It's rare that a book like this is proclaimed thrilling, but The Guardian did just that. It also has quotes from everyone from Andrew Weil to Errol Morris. I guess the former was more expected.

Books for Kids:
1. The Unbelievable Oliver and the Four Jokers V1, by Pseudonymous Bosch
2. Dactyl Hill Squad V1, by Daniel José Older
3. The Order of the Majestic V1, by Matt Myklusch
4. Freedom Fire: Dactyl Hill Squad V2, by Daniel José Older
5. Sport: Ship Dog of the Great Lakes, by Pamela Cameron with illustrations by Renée Graef
6. Dactyl Hill Squad V1 (hardcover), by Daniel José Older
7. Look Up, by Annette LeBlanc Cate
8. Tomorrow Most Likely, by Dave Eggers
9. Extraordinary Birds, by Sandy Stark McGinnis
10. Rabbit and Bear: Rabbit's Bad Habits, by Julian Gough

Who wants to start a middle-grade series? It turns out that everyone does! In addition to the authors who appeared for a public event as well as school visits, Matt Myklusch was also in town visiting schools for his new series, The Order of the Majestic. I don't normally quote the publisher pitch (as opposed to the copy), but hey, I'm speaking to adults I think would be more fascinated by this than just explaining how Joey Kopecky lands at a school with a minor in magic: "Fantasy has always provided metaphor for looking at society. The central conflict occurs between heroes who want to share hope and human connection, and an enemy who wants to control and hoard magic. The underlying theme of this action-packed plot is the message that regular kids have a magical ability of their own: they too can be forces of change in society and the world."

Over at the Journal Sentinel it's the book issue you've been waiting for, 81 books for Summer Reading, from Jim Higgins, with baseball and pop culture picks from Chris Foran. Here are the most important selections, the editor's picks
--An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, by Alex Kotlowitz
--Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers, by Fred Rogers
--Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer
--A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father, by David Maraniss
--Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
--Murder by the Book, by Claire Harman
--The Satapur Moonstone, by Sujata Massey
--Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea: Stories, by Sarah Pinsker
--Tear It Down, by Nick Petrie
--The Vanishing Man, by Charles Finch

Read the rest on the Journal Sentinel website.

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