Sunday, October 18, 2020

Ready for the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 17, 2020? Of course you are.

Ready for the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 17, 2020? Of course you are.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. A Time for Mercy, by John Grisham (still have a few signed tip-in copies left)
2. The Searcher, by Tana French
3. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar (signed tip ins available of this too)
4. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig (register here for October 26 event here)
5. The Lost Shtetl, by Max Gross (register here for October 19 event here)
6. All the Devils Are Here, by Louise Penny
7. Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam
8. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
9. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
10. The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow

Jessica Wick reviewed The Once and Future Witches on the NPR blog. She writes: "If spells (witch-ways in the novel) are truly hidden in stories, then I know what spell is in The Once and Future Witches. It's the spell to claim a heart and dwell there, ever after. I unabashedly, unreservedly adore The Once and Future Witches. I adore it with the kind of passion that prickles at my eyes and wavers my voice. I adore it in a way that requires purchase of a giving copy, for friends in need."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Forward, by David Jeremiah
2. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
3. The Well-Plated Cookbook, by Erin Clarke (signed copies available)
4. How to Write One Song, by Jeff Tweedy
5. I'm Still Here, by Austin Channing Brown (register for November 17 event with America's Black Holocaust Museum here)
6. Modern Comfort Food, by Ina Garten
7. 99 Percent Invisible City, by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt
8. Solutions and Other Problems, by Allie Brosh
9. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
10. Be More RBG, by Marilyn Easton

One of the interesting things we pay attention to is how categories do at different times of the year. We see a big increase in cookbooks in the fourth quarter, but another gift category that works for us quite well are music bios and memoirs. Jeff Tweedy's How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us Back had a very nice first week of sale, mostly due to their being signed tip-in copies. We're getting more - some signed and some not. If you're requesting a signed copy, please put that info in the comments section of your order. From Will Leitch in GQ: "Jeff Tweedy has long been prolific, but the Wilco frontman is currently on a monumental run of Making Sh*t. In the past five years, Tweedy has made two Wilco albums, gone on several world tours, released three solo albums, appeared in multiple movies and television series, and written two books. Fittingly, the announcement of his second book - How to Write One Song, a smart, funny, relentlessly practical guide to discovering the secret songwriter within—was accompanied by an actual surprise album too. That one’s called Love Is the King, and it was written, produced, and performed, all during quarantine, by Tweedy and his sons, Spencer and Sammy."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Mirror Lake, by Juneau Black (register for October 29 event here)
2. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
3. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk
4. Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion
5. Second Sleep, by Robert D. Harris
6. The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
7. Where We Come From, by Oscar Cásares (register for December 8 author event here)
8. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
9. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black
10. The Overstory, by Richard Powers

I have to get used to the fact that our MTI code for movie-tie-in should now say STI, for streaming, which is more likely to be the case. No Jason, I don't want to change the code! But The Good Lord Bird is the latest streaming series to pop onto our bestseller list. This Showtime series features Ethan Hawke as John Brown and has Daveed Diggs recurring as Frederick Douglass. From Mike Hale's review in The New York Times: "The Good Lord Bird has not received what you could call kid-glove treatment from Showtime. It was announced for Feb. 16 but pulled, then rescheduled for Aug. 9 and pulled again. It will finally premiere, without much fanfare, this Sunday. It’s curious treatment for a prestige mini-series based on a National Book Award-winning novel that was spearheaded by and stars one of America’s most accomplished actors. And it’s a shame, because The Good Lord Bird - a seven-episode adaptation of James McBride’s 2013 novel - is fine entertainment, capturing some measure of McBride’s jaunty, irreverent humor and featuring an absorbing performance by Ethan Hawke, who created the series (with the writer Mark Richard) and plays the central role of the messianic abolitionist John Brown."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Burnout, by Emily Nagosaki
2. Storied and Scandalous Wisconsin, by Anna Lardinois
3. My Grandmother's Hands, by Resmaa Menakem
4. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
5. Furious Hours, by Casey Cep
6. Tough Love, by Susan Rice
7. Chaos, by Tom O'Neil
8. Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl
9. My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
10. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

The numbers are still relatively small, but it's nice to see our long-delayed update to our book club checklist and brochure selling some books. One of my friends in publishing asked me what there was to talk about in Save Me the Plums. I told her that many book clubs just need books they are certain the members will finish. But then I thought back and thought about how I wound up talking about this book with several other readers. There's an Alice in Wonderland quality about the story, of an anonymous restaurant reviewer stepping into the world of food celebrity, only it's as if she has to go back to Kansas every night. I also really love book clubs where people share food from a book, and that reminded me of my sister's family's get-togethers where they cook food together virtually every Saturday. And then we could cry about the decline of magazines. I just received a copy of a magazine that I think is doing pretty well because online subscriptions have held up, and I think I saw only one ad outside of the back cover.

Books for Kids:
1. Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
2. The Rock and the River, by Kekla Magoon
3. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake, illustrations by Jon Klassen (we may have some signed bookplates left - just ask)
4. The Strange Birds of Flannery O'Connor, by Amy Alznauer
5. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer (signed copies available)
6. The Time of Green Magic, by Hilary McKay
7. The Unadoptables, by Hana Tooke
8. Brave, by James Bird
9. The Girl and the Ghost, by Hanna Alkaf
10. Wink, by Rob Harrell

I am not usually driven to read kids books from The New York Times Book Review, but something about Hilary McKay's A Time of Green Magic spoke to me, especially because it also had a very nice quote from Katherine Rundell. From Sarah Harrison Smith's NYT review: "That moment propels an increasingly magical story, involving, like many of the best children’s books, a move to a more verdant abode, an absent mother and much-needed repair work - to a neglected house and an isolated young soul who lives to read. The Time of Green Magic is, in part, a book about loving books. McKay refers to Narnia and Hogwarts, and though she doesn’t mention Edwardian classics like Five Children and It or The Secret Garden, she nestles her story so snugly in the literary canon that you can imagine E. Nesbit and Frances Hodgson Burnett fluttering nearby like kindly, aging aunts." It reminded me a lot of Magic or Not from Edward Eager, whose work is indebted to E. Nesbit. Our buyer Amie is also a big fan.

Please check upcoming event page for event times. All are Central Time

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