Sunday, July 26, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending July 25, 2020

Boswell bestsellers, for the week ending July 25, 2020 

Hardcover fiction:
1. Lakewood, by Megan Giddings (look for an Access event soon)
2. The Boy, The Horse, the Fox, and the Mole, by Charlie Mackesy
3. The Lives of Edie Pritchett, by Larry Watson (Watch Watson's Boswell video here)
4. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
5. Axiom's End, by Lindsay Ellis
6. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
7. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
8. The Second Home, by Christina Clancy
9. Utopia Avenue, by David Mitchell
10. The Pull of the Stars, by Emma Donoghue
11. The Only Good Indians, by Stephen Graham Jones
12. Crooked Hallelujah, by Kelli Jo Ford (Register for Ford's Boswell July 27 conversation here)

We had a very strong first week on Hamnet, the new novel by Maggie O'Farrell, which imagines the life of Shakespeare to Anne (or Agnes) Hathaway and the early death of one of his children. Geraldine Brooks reviews the story for The New York Times Book Review: "In Hamnet, Shakespeare’s marriage is complicated and troubled, yet brimming with love and passion. Hathaway is imagined as a free-spirited young woman, close to the natural world and uncannily intuitive. She attracts the ardor of a repressed, restless teenager still in search of his life’s purpose. In this telling, Will, with his disgraced father and uncertain prospects, is no catch; it is Agnes, given her degree of social and financial independence, who is seen as making the poorer match with this 'feckless, tradeless boy.'"

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Too Much and Never Enough, by Mary Trump
2. The King of Confidence, by Miles Harvey (register for Harvey's July 30 conversation here)
3. The Answer Is, by Alex Trebek
4. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
5. Remain in Love, by Chris Frantz
6. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X Kendi
7. Big Friendship, by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
8. The Room Where It Happened, by John Bolton
9. Begin Again, by Eddie S Glaude
10. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Our 2nd week of sales for Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close, increased substantially over week one. Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman "make the bold and compelling argument that a close friendship is the most influential and important relationship a human life can contain-helping you improve as a person and in your relationships with others." They cohost the Call Your Girlfriend podcast. Sow tells Julie Beck in The Atlantic what a big friendship is: "I always make the distinction between someone who is my friend and someone who I am friendly with. I think those two things are very different. One of the reasons for writing Big Friendship was that a lack of vocabulary for what a friend is, or what a long-term, meaningful relationship with a friend is, was something that we had both struggled with. The key to figuring out what we meant to each other really lay in unlocking that vocabulary."

Paperback fiction:
1. Death Overdue, by David S Pederson
2. Normal People, by Sally Rooney
3. The Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler
4. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
5. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
6. Late Love, by Paula Goldman (Register for this September 10 event with Susan Firer here)
7. Time's Convert, by Deborah Harkness
8. The Relentless Moon V3, by Mary Robinette Kowal
9. American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson
10. Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim

The Relentless Moon continues the Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal, who received the Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Awards for best novel for the first book in the series, The Calculating Stars. Adrienne Martini reviewed the book for Locus, starting with a quibble: "While I heap praise upon those books, a small criticism I’ve had is that they sometimes feel performative, meaning that Kowal does a such a thoughtful job at building inclusive characters and illustrating power dynamics that it can feel rote. I applaud her commitment to inclusivity, mind, but moments felt less organic to the world and more rigidly rooted to an outline. That isn’t to insult outlines, but they aren’t a substitute for story. That response never once popped to mind in The Relentless Moon. Perhaps that is because the plot is more straightforward than the first two books. Rather than tracing Elma’s path through the politics of a NASA-like workplace, The Relentless Moon is a straight-up spy thriller. Nicole Wargin, one of the astronautettes in Elma’s cohort, takes center stage here as she works to untangle who is sabotaging the space program. The Relentless Moon shows what was happening on Earth and in its near orbit during the same time period as The Fated Sky, which we learned about from Elma’s perspective. Now we’re deep in the conflict."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Make Me, by Eric Toshalis
2. The Color of Love, by Marra B Gad (Register for JCC July 28 virtual event - details below)
3. Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Maree Brown
4. An Altar in the World, by Barbara Brown Taylor
5. My Father's Shadow, by Myles Hopper (Register for Hopper's July 28 event here)
6. The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, by Incite! Women of Color Against Violence
7. Four Arguments, by Don Miguel Ruiz
8. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
9. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
10. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stephenson

The JCC Tapestry is hosting a Zoom program with Marra B Gad for The Color of Love on Tuesday, July 28 at 7:30 pm. Per the organizers: "The Color of Love is an unforgettable memoir about a mixed-race Jewish woman who, after fifteen years of estrangement from her racist great-aunt, helps bring her home when Alzheimer’s strikes. The Color of Love explores the idea of yerusha, which means 'inheritance' in Yiddish. At turns heart-wrenching and heartwarming, this is a story about what you inherit from your family—identity, disease, melanin, hate, and most powerful of all, love." You'll see when you buy the book (10% off through at least the August 3) that there's also a recommendation from me.

Books for Kids:
1. Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
2. Antiracist Baby picture book, by Ibram X Kendi, with illustrations by Ashley Uananiau Lukashevsky
3. Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer, by Gillian Goerz
4. The Story of Civil Rights Hero John Lewis, by Kathleen Benson and Jim Haskins, illustrated by Aaron Boyd
5. You Matter, by Christian Robinson
6. Alfie, by Thyra Heder
7. Julian Is a Mermaid, by Jessica Love
8. Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
9. Shadow and Bone V1, by Leigh Bardugo
10. The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander

Canadian cartoonist Gillian Goerz offers up Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer, a new graphic novel that's available in paperback and hardcover too. Kirkus Reviews notes: "When Jamila Waheed meets fellow 10-year-old Shirley Bones at a garage sale, she's hopeful she's made her first neighborhood friend. Shirley's mother is sending her to camp for the summer, against her will. When Jamila confesses that she's in the same situation, Shirley, who's a bit of an oddball, says that she'll convince her mother to convince Jamila's mother to let them skip camp and spend time together instead. Jamila is skeptical, but Shirley comes through, and before long, the two girls are spending their days together on the nearby basketball court. But instead of practicing, like Jamila, Shirley makes it her home base for doing detective work. When Jamila joins Shirley, the two begin to forge a true friendship - one that their latest case puts to the test."

Jim Higgins reviews Larry Watson's The Lives of Edie Pritchard in the Journal Sentinel: "Like Watson’s earlier novel Orchard, The Lives of Edie Pritchard is a story about a woman whom men try to possess, but rarely make an effort to understand or even listen to. More than once in this new novel, Edie feels exasperated by the rutting stags around her: 'They were fighting to impress her; she knows this. And she wasn’t impressed; she was disgusted. Yet that didn’t matter at all. She didn’t matter either, not really, not her disapproval or her anger. The fight was over her, yet they didn’t even need her there.'" If you missed our event with Watson, you can tune in to Books & Company's program on July 29 (register here) or watch ours on video.

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