Sunday, November 29, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending November 28, 2020

Bestsellers for the week ending November 28, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar
2. Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline
3. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
4. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
5. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
6. The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter
7. Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi
8. The Searcher, by Tana French
9. Writers and Lovers, by Lily King (Register for December 9 event here)
10. Crooked Hallelujah, by Kelli Jo Ford

It's a rare thing when publishers release a high profile book the week of Thanksgiving, but Ready Player Two, the sequel to, wait for it, Ready Player One, came out this past Tuesday. We didn't make the cut for a virtual visit, but we still remember fondly when we had 40 people (doesn't seem like much now, but it was substantially larger than his visits before and after) for Ernest Cline's hardcover tour, which he drove to in his DeLorean.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
2. The Well Plated Cookbook, by Erin Clarke
3. A Wealth of Pigeons, by Steve Martin and Harry Bliss
4. The Best of Me, by David Sedaris
5. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
6. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
7. Stuff You Should Know, by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant
8. Modern Comfort Food, by Ina Garten
9. Dolly Parton: Songteller, by Dolly Parton
10. His Truth is Marching On, by Jon Meacham

Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things, proves that even in the age of the internet, there is always room for a reference book, as long as its main aim is browsing, and not actually looking for something. But really, the real trend is that its based on a podcast, and along with its cousin, the web series, and their less-hip uncle, the blog (though this podcast has been around from 2008, which seems like a long time to me), if I can't figure out why we're selling something really well, that's probably the origin. They have a Wikipedia entry.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Watch with Me, by Wendell Berry
2. Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart
3. Where We Come From, by Oscar Cásares (Register for December 8 event here)
4. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
5. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
6. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
7. Poems 1962-2012, by Louise Glück
8. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
9. Recursion, by Blake Crouch
10. The World that We Knew, by Alice Hoffman

With so many paperbacks being postponed, I was kind of surprised to see The Water Dancer get released last week. I had been hoping to do this for the Daniel Lit book club, but first I have to check if I have competition from Jen, who probably would also find Ta Nehisi-Coates's novel on her shortlist. If you need refreshing, here's Helen Habila's review in The Guardian. And look at that, there's also a Wikipedia entry. Nowadays does a book lack credibility without one? Another tidbit of note - usually you see more bursts on the paperback jacket then for the hardcover, but in this case, the Oprah seal was removed, at least on the image that is being shared with us.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Ballad of an American, by Sharon Rudahl
2. White Kids, by Margaret Hagerman
3. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, edited by Charles Hagner
4. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
5. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. Rise of Wolf 8, by Rick McIntyre
7. The Seine, by Elaine Scioline (Register for December 10 event here)
8. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
9. The Pocket Pema Chodron, by Pema Chodron
10. Shade, by Pete Souza

It reached it's #1 slot through a special order, but since it's relatively new, and that's something I can't say about most of our top 10, I thought I'd highlight Ballad of an American: A Graphic Biography of Paul Robeson, written and illustrated by Sharon Rudahl. The background on this book is interesting - it was published by Rutgers on commemoration of the centennial of Robeson's graduation from the school (which was in 1919, not 1920, but no matter).

Books for Kids:
1. No Reading Allowed, by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter
2. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake and Jon Klassen
3. The True Definition of Neva Beane, by Christine Kendall
4. If You Come to Earth, by Sophie Blackall
5. Everybody's Tree, by Barbara Joosse and Renée Graef (Register for December 3 event here)
6. Prairie Lotus, by Linda Sue Park
7. Bunheads, by Misty Copeland and Setor Gladzigbey
8. Elevator Bird, by Sarah Williamson (Register for December 1 event here)
9. Cozy, by Jan Brett
10. The Deep End, by Jeff Kinney

A holiday pick that came out in September is Sophie Blackall's If You Come to Earth, a letter to visitors from other planets that focuses on our "need to care for The Earth and each other." It just made Time magazine's top 10 childrens and YA books of 2020. It was also included in Dave Eggers's roundup in The New York Times, along with another Boswell favorite, You Matter.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins's holiday gift guide appears in today's print edition. Up next, the Higgins editor's choice.

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