Sunday, December 15, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending December 14, 2019 - plus Journal Sentinel favorites from Jim Higgins and Carole E Barrowman

How can we not go a little deeper into this week's bestseller lists? Here are the top fifteens for the week ending December 14, 2019, with a little more for kids, grabbed from paperback nonfiction.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
2. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
3. The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
4. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
5. Exhalation, by Ted Chiang
6. Circe, by Madeline Miller
7. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
8. Girl in the Rearview Mirror, by Kelsey Rae Dimberg
9. A Very Scandinavian Christmas, edited by New Vessel Press
10. Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales, by Peter Christen Asbjornsen
11. A Better Man, Louise Penny
12. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
13. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
14. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
15. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead

The Dutch House is still leading #2 by a good margin. Olive Again get extra energy from being an Oprah Book Club pick. Are these new Apple selections going to be spaced closer together than the picks for the Oprah Winfrey Network, which seemed to number only one or two per year? We've got two Scandinavian anthologies in the top 10 - one specifically Norwegian and the other pan-Scandinavian. From the publisher of A Very Scandinavian Christmas: "A smorgasbord* of literary gifts in a vibrant, elegant hardcover volume that makes a perfect gift and an attention-getting holiday display in your store." Our newsletter is also having a bit of an impact - great to see local Kelsey Rae Dimberg hit the top 10 for Girl in the Rearview Mirror.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Body, by Bill Bryson
2. Long Way Round, by John Hildebrand
3. Climbing My Mountain, by Sheldon Lubar
4. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
5. Atlas Obscura 2E, by Dylan Thuras, Joshua Foer, and Ella Morton
6. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
7. The Yellow House, by Sarah M Broom
8. Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds, by Ian Wright
9. How To, by Randall Munroe
10. Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl
11. Edison, by Edmund Morris
12. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat
13. Midnight in Chernobyl, by Adam Higginbotham
14. Educated, by Tara Westover
15. Infused, by Henrietta Lovell

I was going to say that our two bestselling gift books this year are from Workman - Atlas Obscura and Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds - but what's a gift book anyway? It's certainly not price point. Even the more expensive Atlas has a lower list price than the Edison bio from Edmund Morris (by 50 cents). Like Atlas, our bestselling hardcover cookbook is from an author that visited Milwaukee this fall - Samin Nosrat and Salt Fat Acid Heat. One book that doesn't seem to be working as well as we hoped is the 2019 edition of The Joy of Cooking. Is it the last hurrah of the old school culinary guides?

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
2. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
3. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman
4. Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo
5. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
6. We're All in This Together, by Amy Jones
7. Ohio, by Stephen Markley
8. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
9. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
10. Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk
11. Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
12. Bearskin, by James A McLaughlin
13. Apple Tree, by Daphne DuMaurier, with illustrations by Seth
14. Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellmann
15. The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal

We just put up our sales rep recommendation list from our HarperCollins rep and one of her recommendations was Bearskin, which won the Edgar for first novel. From CJ Box: "Bearskin is visceral, raw, and compelling - filled with sights, smells, and sounds truly observed. It's a powerful debut and an absolute showcase of exceptional prose. There are very few first novels when I feel compelled to circle brilliant passages, but James McLaughlin's writing had me doing just that."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Instant Loss, by Brittany Williams
2. Where War Ends, by Tom Voss and Rebecca Anne Nguyen
3. Blindspot, by Mahzarin R Banaji
4. Classic Krakauer, by Jon Krakauer
5. Putting Government in Its Place, by David R Riemer
6. No One Is to Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
7. 111 Places in Milwaukee that You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
8. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
9. Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by American Birding Association
10. Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer

I'm guessing one of our big books for spring just got released in November. It's a new Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, cowritten by Shorewoodian Charles Hangan. That makes four out of this week's top 10 titles local interest, either in subject or author. On the national front, Greta Thunberg is #1 but we can't keep Classic Krakauer in stock.

Books for Kids:
1. Fetch-22: Dog Man V8, by Dav Pilkey
2. Peek a Who, by Elsa Mroziewicz
3. Migration, by Mike Unwin
4. Look Both Ways, by Jason Reynolds
5. Allies, by Allan Gratz
6. A Home in the Woods, by Eliza Wheeler
7. A Friendship Year, by Lisa Moser, with illustrations by Olga Demidova
8. Just Because, by Mac Barnett, with illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault
9. The Good Thieves, by Katherine Rundell
10. Strange Birds, by Celia Perez
11. Guts, by Raina Telgemeier
12. This Is My World, from Lonely Planet Kids
13. Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All, by Laura Ruby
14. Guide to Creating Comics in 3D, by Dav Pilkey
15. Swan Lake: The Story Orchestra, by Jessica Courtney Tickley
16. White Bird, by RJ Palacio
17. A to Z Menagerie, by Suzy Ultman
18. Crayon's Christmas, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
19. Anthology of Intriguing Animals, from DK
20. Prairie Boy, by Barb Rosenstock, with illustrations by Christopher Silas Neal

This year I'm not breaking out the kids into picture books and chapter books. For one thing, it takes too much time, and for another, what do you do with those oversized nonfiction books for the eight-and-up crowd. Migration: Incredible Animal Journeys is in that genre, though it is aged for five and up. It follows the migration of Arctic tern, barn swallow, bar-headed goose, ruby-throated hummingbird, osprey, wandering albatross, whooping crane, emperor penguin, African elephant, blue wildebeest, caribou, straw-colored fruit bat, humpback whale, green turtle, Southern pilchard, salmon, great white shark, monarch butterfly, globe skimmer dragonfly, and the Christmas Island red crab.

From the Journal Sentinel comes Jim Higgins's best books of 2019: Jim Higgins
--An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, by Alex Kotlowitz
--Everything Inside: Stories, by Edwidge Danticat
--Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life, by Darcey Steinke
--One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America, by Gene Weingarten
--Pay Attention, Carter Jones, by Gary D. Schmidt
--Sontag: Her Life and Work, by Benjamin Moser
--Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea, by Sarah Pinsker
--10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World, by Elif Shafak
--When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People, by Jeannie Gaffigan
--The World That We Knew, by Alice Hoffman

As a bonus, here are Carole E Barrowman's ten best:
--Heaven, My Home, by Attica Locke
--Tinfoil Butterfly, by Rachel Eve Moulton
--The New Iberia Blues, by James Lee Burke
--Women Talking, by Miriam Toews
--Ain’t Nobody, by Heather Harper Ellett
--The Need, by Helen Phillips
--Lady in the Lake, by Laura Lippman
--Conviction, by Denise Mina
--Growing Things, by Paul Tremblay
--The Au Pai,r by Emma Rous

*It's been over 50 years since I last had a true smorgasbord (I believe it was Swedish, not Norwegian), at my oldest sister's Sweet Sixteen party. Why was I there? I was too young to know.

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