Sunday, October 25, 2020

Novellas, Instagram collections, MacArthur fellows, imaginary countries, stress relief, and more Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 24, 2020

Here's what is selling at Boswell this week,

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar
2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by VE Schwab
3. The Searcher, by Tana French
4. The Lost Shtetl, by Max Gross
5. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
6. Jack, by Marilynne Robinson
7. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
8. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig (Register for October 26, 3 pm CDT event here)
9. The Silence, by Don DeLillo
10. A Deadly Education, by Naomi Novik

The only newly released book that hits our top ten for hardcover fiction is The Silence, by Don DeLillo, which Chris wrote in his rec is "a piercing novella that asks: what will we grasp for when we lose that which anchors us to modernity?" Link to our sales page for it in full. Over at Book Marks, critics are mixed, with some raves and some pans. But the weirdest thing to me was on Tom Breihan's #1 blog on Stereogum where the comments section for John Parr's "Man in Motion" became a conversation about Don DeLillo sparked by a post about White Noise, which came out in 1985 and continues to be the only DeLillo book I ever finished. I should I note here that I read more pages in Underworld than there actually are in The Silence. But my thought was, was this an organic conversation or was that post placed there in conjunction with The Silence's release?

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey
2. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
3. Thinking Inside the Box, by Adrienne Raphel (Register for November 10, 7 pm CDT event here)
4. I'm Still Here, by Austin Channing Brown (Register for November 17 book club event with ABHM here)
5. Accidentally Wes Anderson, by Wally Koval'
6. Home Style Cookery, by Matty Matheson
7. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
8. Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown, by John Lithgow
9. Is This Anything?, by Jerry Seinfeld
10. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson

The Instagram following for @accidentallywesanderson is 888,000, which definitely helped the first week sales for the book from Wally Koval. Accidentally Wes Anderson's comp is Cabin Porn, but I'm guessing we're going to beat our numbers. Louise Long talked to Koval in British Vogue. Among her questions: "Anderson himself says in the introduction to the book, 'I am still confused [about] what it means to be deliberately me.' Why did you land on the word “accidentally” for the name of the account?"

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Readers' Room, by Antoine Laurain
2. The Town Crazy, by Suzzy Roche
3. Wild Rose, by Louise Gluck
4. Disaster Tourist, by Yun Ko-Eun
5. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
6. Dune, by Frank Herbert
7. The World That We Knew, by Alice Hoffman
8. Circe, by Madeline Miller
9. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
10. The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain

Jacqueline Woodson, whose Red at the Bone hits our list in paperback this week, is one of three fiction writers to be 2020 MacArthur fellows. I assume several of the others have written fiction, but their descriptions did not indicate they are predeominantly fiction writers. NK Jemisin, who has made regular appearances on our bestseller lists, is another, and the third is Christina Rivera Garza, a writer who has won numerous prizes in Mexico, and teaches on both sides of the border, is the third. Her novels are pretty hard to get in English (the most recent is short discount and nonreturnable from our wholesaler - a shout out to bookstores not to stock it) but a nonfiction book, Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country, is available from Feminist Press.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
2. They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei
3. Our Malady, by Timothy Snyder
4. The Second Mountain, by David Brooks
5. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. Burnout, by Emily and Anna Nagoski
7. Welcome to the Unwelcome, by Pema Chodron
8. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
9. For the Love of Europe, by Rick Steves
10. People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

We have a book club reading Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, but since the book is published in 2020, it's worthy of highlighting to me. Plus I would say current conditions are probably contributing to anxiety that probably exacerbates burnout, right? The Nagoski twins (yes, identical), one a sex educator (Come As You Are) and the other a music professor who together write about the importance of the stress cycle and how to complete it. Here's a video.

Books for Kids:
1. Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names, by Matthew and Steve Murrie
2. The Night Before Christmas, by Jan Brett
3. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
4. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake/Jon Klassen
5. The Very Last Leaf, by Stef Wade/Jennifer Davidson
6. Mañanaland, by Pam Muñoz Ryan
7. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade/Melanie Demmer
8. Dear Martin, by Nic Stone
9. Dear Justyce, by Nic Stone
10. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer

Pam Muñoz Ryan's Mañanaland is the latest from the Newbery Medalist (for Echo) and was part of a recent school purchase. For kids 8 and up, this novel may be set in the fictional country of Santa Maria, but as Publishers Weekly notes, the novel is "at its core, wrenchingly real." Booklist's starred review offers this praise: "This story, infused with magic, reminds children that humanity thrives when people embrace differences and construct bridges instead of borders. Another unforgettable work from a master storyteller."

Today's Journal Sentinel reviews are for Leave the World Behind, by Runaam Alam, and The Book of Two Ways, from Jodi Picoult.

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