Sunday, August 23, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending August 22, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending August 22, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Everywhere You Don't Belong, by Gabriel Bump
2. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
3. The Second Home, by Christina Clancy
4. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
5. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
6. Northernmost, by Peter Geye (register for August 26 event here)
7. Grown Ups, by Emma Jane Unsworth (not too late - register for August 23 1 pm CDT event here)
8. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno Garcia
9. Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager
10. Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, by Kathleen Rooney

Regarding Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, I haven't seen too many hardcover library editions from Penguin Random House the way we regularly see this option at HarperCollins, but we did find that for the event at least, we saw a decent amount of trade up to this edition. My guess is had we had an in-store event with a signing, we would have seen more. Also note that signed bookplates are finally coming. Ask for one.

It released on June 30, but this is the debut in our top 10 for Riley Sager's Home Before Dark, which per Brenna Erlich in Rolling Stone, is "A cross between Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places and ghost hunter heir Alexandra Holzer’s autobiography - Sager’s latest is a haunted house story - with a twist. . . . Sager is a master of the twist and the turn, and he does not hold back in his fourth book. Like any good thriller, you have to read to the very last page to find how who did what to whom and why.” Riley Sager is a pseudonym. A Wall Street Journal piece looks at why Todd Ritter used a name that might be perceived to be that of a woman for the psychological suspense genre, though I should note that this might be officially classified as horror. I should also note that the RS piece was a roundup, so you can't actually judge this as a review.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
2. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
3. Reaganland, by Rick Perlstein (info about NO Studios event here on September 22, 4 pm - a promise you a continuous assortment of great conversations that day)
4. Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad
5. The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
6. Evil Geniuses, by Kurt Anderson
7. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
8. Too Much and Never Enough, by Mary Trump
9. Big Friendship, by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
10. Becoming, by Michelle Obama

Could it be that our big pop in book sales from the DNC would be from Michelle Obama's Becoming over Kamala Harris' The Truths We Hold? Obama beat out Harris this week, at least. 

We've got a link to the NO Studios event for Rick Perlstein and his just-released (August 18) Reaganland: America's Right Turn, 1976-1980. Publishers Weekly offered this starred review: "Perlstein masterfully connects deep currents of social change and ideology to prosaic politics, which he conveys in elegant prose studded with vivid character sketches and colorful electoral set-pieces....The result is an insightful and entertaining analysis of a watershed era in American politics."   

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
2. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
3. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, by Julia Alvarez
4. A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry
5. How Long Til Black Future Month, by N.K. Jemisin
6. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
7. The Guest Book, by Sarah Blake
8. Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, by Kathleen Rooney
9. The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga
10. I Was Told It Would Get Easier, by Abbi Waxman

Our in May in paperback but new to our list is Sarah Blake's The Guest Book, which Elisabeth Egan in The New York Times described as "Thought-provoking and propulsive…Welcome to old money, new heartbreak, big secrets, and the kind of mouthwatering picnics nobody packs in real life (boiled eggs, tin of sandwiches, bottles of gin). But the North Star of Sarah Blake’s The Guest Book isn’t the Milton family - although they are fascinating, even the ghosts - it’s the Maine island cottage where they spend their summer." Once again, this is a roundup. I'm not sure what the journalist rule is on whether someone has to read all the books in a roundup or not. If you were a bookseller, you wouldn't have to.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Unselfie, by Michelle Borba
2. Winning the Green New Deal, by Guido Girgenti
3. I Knew Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
4. Teaching for Black Lives, by Dyan Watson
5. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
7. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood, by Christopher Emdin
8. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X
9. What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker, by Damon Young
10. Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi

What an interesting sales trajectory for Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants! Robin Wall Kimmerer's book has douobled in sales this year over last without a significant quantity order. It's actually increased in sales for us every year since its paperback release in 2014. No wonder Milkweed is doing an updated hardcover special edition  on October 13, "bound in stamped linen cloth with a bookmark ribbon and a deckled edge" and with "five brilliantly colored illustrations by artist Nate Christopherson."

Books for Kids:
1. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
2. Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
3. Black Boy, White School, by Brian F. Walker
4. Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds
5. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
6. Dark Sons, by Nikki Grimes
7. Sunny the Bunny Goes to Camp, by Jace Higgins
8. All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
9. Midnight Sun, by Stephenie Meyer
10. You Matter, by Christian Robinson 

Our educators are finding gems on the backlist for school libraries and classrooms. Black Boy, White School is Brian Walker's YA novel about Anthony "Ant" Jones a kid who moves from his East Cleveland public school to an elite Maine prep school, and we should note that the author went from his East Cleveland neighborhood to an East-coast prep school, and wound up teaching at Massachusetts's Weston Academy for 17 years.

No local reviews in the Journal Sentinel book section (two USA Today reprints), but you can always find a roundup of recent pieces.

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