Sunday, October 11, 2020

Here's what sold at Boswell for the week ending October 10, 2020.

Here's what sold at Boswell for the week ending October 10, 2020

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Searcher, by Tana French
2. Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam
3. Crooked Hallelujah, by Kelli Jo Ford
4. Saving Ruby King, by Catherine Adel West
5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by VE Schwab
6. All the Devils Are Here, by Louise Penny
7. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar (see below)
8. Snow, by John Banville
9. Jack, by Marilynne Robinson
10. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig (register for our October 26 event here)

Janet Maslin comes out of retirement to do what she loves best - review books she loves from authors she loves. From her New York Times review of The Searcher: "French has said that she didn’t care this time about hooks or plotting. Instead, she’s interested in stripping away the police authority that Cal once took for granted and seeing how an ex-cop without power can operate on his own. She’s also interested in Cal’s fundamental sense of right and wrong, and how badly he thinks it has been distorted by the culture wars in America. That’s less a matter of politics than of one man’s effort to retrieve his moral compass after decades of following orders."

We've had several great reads on Leave the World Behind, which was just announced as a National Book Award finalist. Hillary Kelly in The New Yorker observes that Rumaan Alam's latest is a contemporary take on a disaster novel: "In most literature of this ilk, the disaster, whether rising seas or a virus, is a force of narrative tension: the reader is keen to learn how humans move from a time of upheaval to one of stability. Alam never gets there; upheaval is all his characters have. His achievement is to see that his genre’s traditional arc, which relies on the idea of aftermath, no longer makes sense. Today, disaster novels call for something different, a recognition that we won’t find a new normal, even if we’ve hoarded our Duracells and tucked ourselves behind sturdy walls in forested hideaways. The catastrophe came long ago, before Amanda went grocery shopping and the Washingtons left Manhattan, and before Clay submitted his latest piece to the Times Book Review."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Unapologetically Ambitious, by Shellye Archambeau
2. Forward, by David Jeremiah
3. The Well-Plated Cookbook, by Erin Clarke (signed copies still available)
4. 99% Invisible City, by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt
5. Modern Comfort Food, by Ina Garten
6. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
7. Is This Anything, by Jerry Seinfeld
8. Solutions and Other Problems, by Allie Brosh
9. Trust, by Pete Buttigieg
10. Humans, by Brandon Stanton

October 6 was one of the biggest release dates of fall and we saw that in lots of new appearances on this week's bestseller list. One new arrival is The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt, adapted from their very popular podcast, one of thousands that I'd probably listen to if I were paying attention. From Kenneth T. Jackson's New York Times review: "A brief review cannot do justice to such a diverse and enlightening book. The authors have sections on oil derricks, cell towers, the Postal Service, water fountains, the transcontinental telegraph, cisterns, telephone poles, emergency exits, cycling lanes, archaeological sites in Britain, national roads, zero markers, the Oklahoma land rush, cemeteries, public lighting, pigeons, raccoons and half a hundred other eccentric topics."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Every Now and Then, by Lesley Kagen
2. The Readers' Room, by Antoine Laurain (register for October 20 event here)
3. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman
4. Where We Come From, by Oscar Cásares (join our authorless book club discussion on December 7)
5. Mirror Lake, by Juneau Black (register for our October 29 event here)
6. Poems 1962-2012, by Louise Gluck
7. Dhalgren, by Samuel Delany
8. A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (register for our authorless book club discussion on October 12)
9. The Witch Elm, by Tana French
10. Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim (register for our October 16 event here)

So excited to see a nice pop in sales for The Readers' Room, the newest from Antoine Laurain. We actually were organizing an in-person event for Vintage 1954, being that it had a Milwaukee connection, but family issues prevented it from happening. When coronavirus is getting me down, I always try to remember that we're able to host authors who'd likely not appear in person. Laurain's newest is about a publishing house that discovers a writer, only to find that the murders in the book are repeating in real life. I thought I'd be clever and link to a French review, but it's too much work, so I'll just note that Publishers Weekly wrote that " The tendency of characters to wax philosophical adds to the charm of this witty and perceptive novel."

Paperback Nonfiction
1. Storied and Scandalous Wisconsin, by Anna Lardinois (more signed copies soon ask for one!)
2. Wise Aging, by Rachel Cowan
3. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
4. Pushout, by Monique W. Morris
5. March V1, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin
6. Higher Call, by Adam Makos
7. My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
8. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
9. Getting the Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix
10. Underland, by Robert MacFarlane

Needless to say, the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has led to interest in her work. My Own Words, a collection of essays (with the help of Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams) came out in 2016 and was praised by Harper's Bazaar as "a comprehensive look inside her brilliantly analytical, entertainingly wry mind, revealing the fascinating life of one of our generation's most influential voices in both law and public opinion.”

Books for Kids:
1. The Very Last Leaf, by Stef Wade, illustrated by Jennifer Davidson
2. You Matter, by Christian Robinson
3. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade, illustrated by Melanie Demmer
4. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer
5. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen (register for October 12 event here)
6. How We Got to the Moon, by John Rocco
7. Bunheads, by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey
8. Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird Wild Names, by Matthew Murrie
9. The Misadventures of Toni Macaroni in The Mad Scientist, by Cetonia Weston-Roy
10. The Tower of Nero V5, by Rick Riordan

At last, the breathtaking, action-packed finale of the #1 bestselling Trials of Apollo series is here, says the publisher. My problem with kid series is that I never quite know when they are ending. It's a stand-alone. No, it's a trilogy. Now it's a septet. Wait, there's also a spin-off series. At least with adult mystery series, it's clearer - expect this to keep going until nobody wants to buy it. Or I die. But wait, it might keep going anyway. In The Tower of Nero, the Greek God, sent down to earth in the form of teenage Lester Papadopoulos, tries to regain his place in Mount Olympus.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reports on news about a ex-Milwaukee writer making literary news: "Ayad Akhtar, who's made his bones writing fiery speeches for characters on stage and in his novels, may have to make a few speeches himself in the coming year. On Dec. 2, the Brookfield Central High School graduate will become president of the advocacy group PEN America, with the mission of standing up for writers and journalists punished for speaking truth to power." His latest book is Homeland Elegies, #7 on our bestseller list. Ask for a signed tip-in copy. Limited supply available.

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