Sunday, September 29, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending September 28, 2019

Here's what we're selling - week ending September 28, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
2. The World We Knew, by Alice Hoffman
3. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
4. The Dutch House (event at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center on October 22 - Tickets here)
5. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
6. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
7. A Better Man, by Louise Penny
8. A Milwaukee Inheritance, by David Milofsky (event at Boswell, Monday, September 30, 7 pm)
9. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
10. The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo

I have sometimes said that publishers don't always publishe enough strong fall fiction, but it feels like this year we are drowning in riches. Setting aside all our focus on Jacqueline Woodson and Alice Hoffman (both amazing events this past week with signed copies available of Red at the Bone and The World We Knew) and Ann Patchett's The Dutch House, there's also the release this week of Ta-Neheisi Coates's much anticipated first novel.

The Water Dancer is the current Oprah Book Club pick and is winning raves everywhere - Rob Merrill in the Associated Press (through the courtesy of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette) writes, "National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about a topic - slavery - that most people would say they know something about. But we don’t, not really. How could we? How could I, a white middle-aged man in 2019, truly know the horror of human bondage and the fierce dignity it took for some to survive it? Coates’ first novel dazzles with a story firmly grounded in the harsh realities of slavery, yet elevated by a modicum of mysticism."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Year of the Monkey, by Patti Smith
2. Educated, by Tara Westover
3. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
4. Permanent Record, by Edward Snowden
5. For the Good of the Game, by Bud Selig
6. The Years That Matter Most, by Paul Tough (Event at USM on Tuesday October 15 - register here)
7. Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl
8. Ron Wolf and the Green Bay Packers, by Michael Bauman
9. Bill Cunningham On the Street, from The New York Times
10. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat (Nosrat at UWM on October 22 - tickets available to the public tomorrow)

Out top nonfiction seller, being that we had no events in that category, is Patti Smith's The Year of the Monkey. This is her third memoir, following Just Kids and M Train, but as David L Ulin notes in the Los Angeles Times review, Year of the Monkey may come billed as a memoir, but really it is less in the vein of Smith’s National Book Award-winning Just Kids than of her poetry, or impressionistic works such as M Train and Woolgathering. There, the author traces a line between the routines of existence and what she has called 'the unforeseen quantity, the muse that assails at the hidden hour.' That muse emerges via the 'silk of souls' she has assembled of the friends and family she has lost." Ken Tucker seems to argue in The New York Times that one might call it a dream journal, and I don't think he much likes dream journals.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
2. Liminal Space, by Carrie Voigt Schonhoff
3. The Overstory, by Richard Powers (In-Store Lit Group discussion, Monday, October 14, 7 pm)
4. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason
5. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennesssy
6. It, by Stephen King
7. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
8. Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
10. A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult

It seems to me that if a hardcover fiction bestseller becomes a phenomenon (meaning it goes longer than a year before paperback release), it is more likely that the paperback will come out in a window between late January and early April. Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, for example, released April 2017. But her follow-up, The Great Alone, goes against the grain and released September 24. Is your book club reading The Great Alone? Don't forget about Hannah's book club guide.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Death Wins All Wars, by Daniel Holland
2. Life of the Beloved, by Henri Nouwen
3. Chokehold, by Paul Butler
4. The Color Diet, by Dick Chudnow
5. These Truths, by Jill Lepore

A slow week here, so paperback nonfiction offered to give five slots to the kids section.

Local ComedySportz cofounder offers a goofy parody of diet books in The Color Diet, all for a good cause - Chudnayshun Fund - which supports drug abuse and prevention efforts. Dick and Jennifer Rupp (you might know her from Boswell as romance writer Jennifer Trethewey) lost their son Nick to a fentanyl overdose in 2017. They have several upcoming fundraisers. More in this Journal Sentinel article from Jim Higgins.

Books for Kids:
1. Strike Zone, by Mike Lupica
2. Lalani of the Distant Sea, by Erin Entrada Kelly
3. Cape, by Kate Hannigan
4. Hello Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly
5. The Star Shepherd, by Dan Haring and MarcyKate Connolly
6. You Go First, by Erin Entrada Kelly
7. Heat, by Mike Lupica
8. Miracle on 49th Street, by Mike Lupica
10. The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson, with illustrations by Rafael Lopez
11. Shadow Weaver, by MarcyKate Connolly
12. The Land of Permanent Goodbyes, by Atia Abawi
13. Wayward Son V2, by Rainbow Rowell
14. Dasher, by Matt Tavares
15. Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson

Sometimes our school visits peak in October for the fall season, but this year it seems like every publisher wanted to bring authors and illustrators to Milwaukee in the second half of September. Among the stars who didn't do public events are Kate Hannigan, whose new book is Cape, and Dan Haring and MarcyKate Connolly, who collaborated on The Star Shepherd. I think there are signed copies of both at Boswell.

Over at the Journal Sentinel:

--Alan Borsuk's On Education column offers a profile of Paul Tough, who will be at University School of Milwaukee on October 15 for The Years That Matter Most. Register here. Borsuk writes: "In the new book, six years in the making, Tough focuses on college – who gets in, how they get in, and the experiences of promising minority and low-income students. The profiles of the students provide compelling reading, and his depiction of the broader picture, especially how admissions systems work, raises a lot of issues. I can summarize: The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor."

--The book page features Donna Liquori from The Associated Press, weighing in on She Said from Jodi Kanter and Megan Twohey: "The book’s most compelling aspect, old-fashioned reporting – knocking on doors, obtaining records, clandestine meetings, tapping sources – is the structure that holds up this book and is what earned The New York Times’s Twohey and Kantor the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service." Co-author Twhohey reported for the Journal Sentinel from 2003 to 2007.

--Also From AP is Rasha Madkour's take on How to Raise a Reader: "Whether your child is yet-to-be born, a teenager or somewhere in between, How to Raise a Reader has some tips and a whole lot of book recommendations for you." Authors Pamela Paul and Maria Russo are parents themselves, as well as editors of The New York Times Book Review, and they draw on their experience in both realms in writing this book.

--Attica Locke's second East Texas mystery is reviewed by AP's Oline H. Cogdill: "Race, family and history converge in Heaven, My Home, Attica Locke’s second intense novel about African American Texas Ranger Darren Mathews. In this new series, as she has done in her previous novels, Locke skillfully packs Heaven, My Home with realistic and, at times, uncomfortable situations as she depicts complicated characters."

Weekly events tomorrow.

No comments: