Sunday, July 5, 2020

Boswell bestsellers, week ending July 4, 2020

Here are the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending July 4, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
2. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno Garcia
3. The Coyotes of Carthage, by Steven Wright
4. Death in Her Hands, by Ottessa Moshfegh
5. The Second Home, by Christina Clancy
6. Empire of Gold, by S.A. Chakraborty
7. Deacon King Kong, by James McBride
8. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
9. Rodham, by Curtis Sittenfeld
10. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett

The big new release this week is Mexican Gothic, which the publisher described as a "darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico." Boswellian Jen Steele called it "unputdownable" in our most recent email newsletter. And Jessica Wick, on the NPR website, wrote: "Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic is a thoroughly enjoyable, thought-provoking novel. I want to discuss it around tea, preferably while in the mountains, preferably somewhere well-lit. I remember placing my bookmark in the book and thinking, I should not have read this before bed."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
2. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
3. Spirit Run, by Noe Alvarez
4. Becoming Better Grownups, by Brad Mountague
5. Let the Children Play, by Pasi Sahlberg
6. The Joy of Movement, by Kelly McGonigal
7. Permission to Feel, by Marc Brackett
8. The Person You Mean to Be, by Dolly Chugh
9. The Power of Moments, by Chip Heath
10. The Room Where It Happened, by John Bolton

It's summer, and that means educational development for teachers. One of the books on this week's list is The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and Courage, by Kelly McGonigal. I was actually discussing some of the ideas in this book with my sister Merrill, whose advanced degrees are in English literature and exercise physiology. She noted that exercise and physical activity strengthens her mental health, and now I know that her opinion is backed by neuroscience and evolutionary biology. McGonigal was on Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast when the book was released earlier this year.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
2. Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks
3. House of Broken Angels, by Luis Albert Urrea
4. Queenie, by Candice Carty Williams
5. Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane
6. Dear Mrs. Bird, by A.J. Pearce
7. The Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler
8. Circe, by Madeline Miller
9. Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim
10. Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins

The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a "terrific story involving a former Jamaican slave on trial in London for the grisly murder of her employers. Did she do it? Over the course of her trial we learn Frannie's backstory as a slave to a master involved in unsavory science experiments (shades of Mary Shelly) and of her romance with the mistress of the house where she served in in London. Collins draws on Moll Flanders, Jane Eyre, and Frankenstein while morphing those themes into a story very much her own." Winner of the Costa First Novel Prize, Collins also recipient of the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize for Creative Writing.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. We Want to Do More Than Survive, by Bettina Love
2. Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi
3. Real American, by Julie Lythcott-Haims
4. Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone
5. My Grandmother's Hands, by Resmaa Menakem
6. Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels
7. Lost at School, by Ross Greene
8. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
9. Reader Come Home, by Maryanne Wolf
10. Unselfie, by Michele Borba

Educator University of Georgia Associate Professor Bettina L Love's We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom was published in February 2020, one of Beacon Press's timely books about race. Library Journal notes: "Rather than tinkering around the edges of the system in order to ensure the mere survival of children from marginalized communities, Love shows instead how schools can encourage these students to thrive."

Books for Kids:
1. Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
2. The Land of Permanent Goodbyes, by Atie Abawi
3. You Matter, by Christian Robinson
4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, by Suzanne Collins
5. The One and Only Bob, by Katherine Applegate
6. Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
7. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
8. Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi
9. How to Be a Person, by Catherine Newman
10. Love, Creekwood, by Becky Albertalli

The film Love, Simon was based on Becky Albertalli's Simon Vs. the Homo-Sapien Agenda. It's being spun off to a Hulu series called Love, Victor. And Albertalli has written a novella set in the same universe called Love, Creekwood. Regarding this story told in emails, "Readers of the Simonverse will fall in love all over again with their favorite characters (Simon, Blue, Leah, and Abby) in this epilogue novella, updating fans on their college lives and the state of their relationships—spoiler alert: still going strong."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Poet Laureates Peggy Rozga and Dasha Kelly Hamilton are interviewed by Margot Armbruster about "living in a turbulent time." Hamilton notes: "There's a thousand issues where I would, should, could respond in a poem, but I've made it a point not to ever make that how or why I write. And I don't want to be the shiny Black person, especially at a time like this. So instead it's something that is snatched out of my chest, or an abstraction that I'm figuring out how to capture between glass."

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