Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Boswell Book Company annotated sales list for week ending June 8, 2019

Here's what's selling at Boswell.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Summer Country, by Lauren Willig (signed copies available)
2. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
3. Murder in Bel Air V19, by Cara Black (Register for event Wed Jun 12, 7 pm)
4. Fall; or Dodge in Hell, by Neal Stephenson
5. City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
6. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
7. Normal People, by Sally Rooney
8. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
9. Walking Backwards, by John Koethe
10. This Storm, by James Ellroy

We had a great sales pop this week on Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, perhaps due to last week's front page New York Times Book Review plus profile plus several NPR writeups, including a review from Maureen Corrigan on Fresh Air: "Like so many immigrant writers before him, Vuong has taken the English he acquired with difficulty and not only made it his own — he's made it better." Boswellian Olivia Valenza called it her favorite book of 2019.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda
2. Educated, by Tara Westover
3. The British Are Coming, by Rick Atkinson
4. Siege: Trump Under Fire, by Michael Wolff
5. Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou
6. An American Summer, by Alex Kotlowitz
7. Working, by Robert A Caro
8. Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered, by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Harstack
9. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
10. Spying on the South, by Tony Horwitz

Father's Day means the big guns of history come out, and this week we're selling a good amount of Rick Atkinson's The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777, the first in a trilogy about the American Revolution. From the Winchester Star (syndicated by the Washington Post) - George Will's take on Atkinson's take: "Atkinson is clear: No George Washington, no United States." And here is Scott Simon's NPR interview - thanks Minnesota Public Radio.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurain (read last week's blog post)
2. The Bostonians, by Henry James
3. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan (In-Store Lit Group Mon Aug 5, 7 pm)
4. Milkman, by Anna Burns (In-Store Lit Group Mon Jul 1, 7 pm)
5. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
6. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
7. There There, by Tommy Orange
8. Ohio, by Stephen Markley
9. The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
10. The Overstory, by Richard Powers

Out in paperback this week is Stephen Markley's Ohio, which is one of Boswellian Chris Lee's favorite books of 2018, if not his favorite. He calls it "a portrait of incredible depth that tells the truth of a generation doomed from the start but still swinging for the fences as they run out the strings of their wrecked lives." I still have my copy waiting to be read! From Michael Schaub on the NPR website: "There's a lot going on in Ohio — a sprawling cast of main and supporting characters, and a series of interconnected events that doesn't come together until the book's shocking conclusion. But Markley handles it beautifully; the novel is intricately constructed, with gorgeous, fiery writing that pulls the reader in and never lets go. It's obvious that Markley cares deeply about his characters, even the unsympathetic ones — he treats them with respect, never writing condescendingly about these people whose lives have been battered and bruised by circumstances they don't quite understand."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Calypso, by David Sedaris (signed copies available)
2. Great Lakes Water Wars, second edition, by Peter Annin
3. The Mueller Report, by US Department of Justice and Washington Post
4. Black Theology and Black Power, by James H Cone
5. Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris
6. Revenge of the She Punks, by Vivien Goldman
7. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
8. The Untethered Soul, by Michael A Singer
9. Healing the Thryoid with Ayurveda, by Marianne Teitelbaum (event at Boswell Mon Jun 10, 7 pm)
10. The End-of-Your-Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe

Osher Lifelong Learning at UWM is doing a summer focus on water, which is possibly why we have three books on water and the Great Lakes in our top 10. I'm actually doing a talk on water books on June 24, so I'll have to go beyond things like Great Lakes Water Wars and Milwaukee: A City Built on Water. I warned them that I will doing a lot of cramming novels into the theme - so expect me to discuss We're All in This Together, by Amy Jones, set on Lake Superior. I should have a blog that talks more about this book this week (if I have the writing time and energy).

Revenge of the She Punks is reviewed on the NPR website by Marissa Lorusso: "There's a thread of messiness that runs throughout She-Punks: songs that could easily slip from one of the book's chapter-defining themes to another...But attempting to encompass the entirety of this broad view of punk — and the diversity of women's lives — in one volume is an ambitious mission. And for it to succeed, that messiness is inevitable; it only further underscores Goldman's central argument that women's contributions to punk are too important and varied to fit neatly into a clichéd article or two about 'women who rock'; that womanhood is too complex and rich to be so easily categorized."

Books for Kids:
1. The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Sean Rubin
2. The Littlest Mountain, by Barb Rosenstock
3. Margaret and the Moon, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Lucy Knisley
4. Two Friends, by Dean Robbins, with illustrations by Sean Qualls
5. Hollow Earth V1, by John Barrowman and Carole E Barrowman
6. Celebrate You, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, with illustrations by An Kang
7. Through the Window, by Barb Rosenstock
8. Just Jaime, by Terri Libenson
9. Nevermoor V1: The Trials of Morrigan Crown, by Jessica Townsend
10. The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, by America's Test Kitchen

Terri Libenson, who visited Milwaukee-area schools with Boswell for Positively Izzy, is back with Just Jaime, a graphic novel about two seventh graders, one whom is upset that her best friend has found new friends and interests, and the other who thinks that her friend is "positively babyish." Booklist writes: "this story is simultaneously incredibly original and utterly universal. The emotional roller-coaster of navigating friendships as they change shape, particularly in middle school, is portrayed with admirable sincerity, gentle humor, heartbreaking pain, and of course plenty of texts and emojis."

Featured in the Journal Sentinel this week is Amy Schwabe's feature with children's books focusing on women's suffrage. Featured titles:
--Elizabeth Leads the Way, by Tanya Lee Stone
--Around America to Win the Vote, by Mara Rockliff
--Miss Paul and the President, by Dean Robbins
--Marching with Aunt Susan, by Claire Rudolf Murphy
--A Lady Has the Floor, by Kate Hannigan
--I Could Do That!, Linda Arms White
--Lillian's Right to Vote, by Jonah Winter
--Bold and Brave, by Kristin Gillibrand
--Madam President, Catherine Thimmesh
--She Persisted, by Chelsea Clinton
--Little Dreamers, by Vashti Hamilton
--What is the Women's Rights Movement?, by Deborah Hopkinson

Carole E Barrowman rounds up her favorite books of the season. Check out this list!
--Black Jersey, by Jorge Zepeda Patterson
--Recursion, by Blake Crouch
--The Satapur Moonstone, by Sujata Massey
--One Small Sacrifice, by Hilary Davidson
--Bad Axe Country, by John Galligan
--Speaking of Summer, by Kalisha Buckhannon
--The Need, by Helen Phillips
--The Churchgoer, by Patrick Coleman
--Miami Midnight, by Alex Segura

Mark Athitakis reviews Mary Miller's Biloxi, originally published in USA Today: "Miller, with two story collections and a novel behind her, has crafted a Southern version of ’80s minimalists like Ann Beattie and Raymond Carver. Her prose is clear and resonant as a church bell, and her critique of blinkered men like Louis is natural and collected." Note that Mary Miller will be at Boswell for her mini Live Through This tour of the Upper Midwest on Saturday, July 13, 6 pm.

From the Associated Press is Tracee Herbaugh's Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life, a memoir about growing up as a Jehovah's Witness. On how she and her husband tried to reinvigorate their marriage: "Jehovah’s Witness activities are illegal in China, so the pair had to conduct their missionary work in secret. The couple’s proselytizing most often started as an outside-the-faith relationship and this is where things unfurled."

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