Sunday, November 8, 2020

Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 7, 2020

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending November 7, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Boy, the Mole, The Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
2. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar
3. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
4. Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam
5. The Searcher, by Tana French
6. The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter (signed tip-in copies available)
7. Hench, by Natalie Zina Walschots
8. Snow, by John Banville
9. Piranesi, by Suanna Clarke
10. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

No new books this week, which gives me room for a rumination. I think that by The New York Times putting The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (but no Oxford comma) in the miscellaneous category instead of fiction, the book's sales impact is being muted. The author describes it as a small graphic novel. Were it moved, it would be the second oldest book on the list after Where the Crawdads Sing. It's hard to argue that the hardcover fiction list is more prominent than the potpourri catch-all that is advice/how-to/miscellaneous. Nora Krug in The Washington Post reported on the phenom in January. It's still going.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Best of Me, by David Sedaris
2. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
3. The Moment of Lift, by Melinda Gates
4. Thinking Inside the Box, by Adrienne Raphel (Register for November 10 event here)
5. The Well Plated Cookbook, by Erin Clarke
6. Greenlights, by Michael McConaughey
7. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
8. Modern Comfort Food, by Ina Garten
9. Ottolenghi Flavor, by Yottam Ottolenghi
10. Is This Anything?, by Jerry Seinfeld
11. Setsuko's Secret, by Shirley Ann Higuchi (Register for November 12 event here)
12. I'll Be Seeing You, by Elizabeth Berg (Register for November 9 event here)

It's new but it's not new. But Heller McAlpin writes in the Christian Science Monitor: "OK, so technically, there’s nothing new here. But The Best of Me is an excellent introduction to Sedaris’ work if, somehow, you’re not among the millions who have made him a mainstay on bestseller lists and flocked to his ticketed readings. Even if you’ve read or listened to every word he’s ever written, it’s a terrific highlights reel and a chance to view the arc of Sedaris’ development as a writer over 25 years" But where's my new bonus track and fold-out poster?

Paperback Fiction:
1. By a Lake Near a Moon, by DeWitt Clinton (register for November 11 event here)
2. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
3. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
4. Beowulf, translated by Maria Dahvana Headley
5. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk
6. Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart
7. Circe, by Madeline Miller
8. The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
9. Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurain
10. Mirror Lake, by Juneau Black

I do not know why Vintage 1954 outsold The Readers' Room last week, only it's not a bulk sale and I did hand-sell at least one of them. Speaking of backlist pops with new releses, it was this week that I noticed that Song of Achilles is on The New York Times paperback list along with Circe, month's after what I thought would be a promotional pop. I did also notice good bestseller runs for Mothers and Homegoing with the releases of The Vanishing Half and Transcendent Kingdom. I hadn't seen this much in the past few years, so I'm wondering if a new retail (in-store or online) marketing program.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Memorable Milwaukee, by Darlene Wesenberg Rzezotarski (signed copies available)
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
4. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
5. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
6. Furious Hours, by Casey Cep
7. The Bastard Brigade, by Sam Kean
8. The Body Is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor
9. My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
10. Monsieur Mediocre, by John Von Sothen

Casey Cep sent us several signed bookplates for the paperback edition of Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, so the book is not only in new releases and book club recommendations, but on our bookplate display as well. A recent Cep column in The Wall Street Journal describes a situation that often befalls me, pronouncing words improperly that you only know from reading: "I came across a delightful account of this predicament during my research into the life of the novelist Harper Lee. Lee loved doggerel and nonsense poetry—not only reading and reciting it but also writing it. One of my favorite examples, a reflection on what it was like to move from the Deep South to New York City at the age of 23, was sent by Lee to a friend of hers under the fantastically farcical title 'Some Sociological Aspects of Peculiarities of Pronunciation Found in Persons From Alabama Who Read a Great Deal to Themselve.s'"

Books for Kids:
1. Wishes and Wellingtons, by Julie Berry
2. Sun Flower Lion, by Kevin Henkes (signed copies available)
3. The True Definition of Neva Beane (Register for November 19 event here)
4. The Mitten, by Jan Brett
5. Lilly and Friends, by Kevin Henkes (also signed - please request in special instructions)
6. The Enigma Game, by Elizabeth Wein (Register for November 8 event here - that's today!)
7. Margaret's Unicorn, by Briony May Smith
8. The Very Last Leaf, by Stef Wade
9. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer
10. Every Night Is Pizza Night, by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

We had a nice pop in sales for one of our recent virtual school visits with Julie Berry, author of Wishes and Wellingtons. Weirdly enough, the origin of this book was as an Audible Original, which was why there was a Brilliance edition (both brands are owned by Amazon) in 2019. It's the story of a girl who finds a djinni in a sardine tin. Kirkus Reviews called it "a nostalgic Dickens and (E.) Nesbit mashup)."

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