Sunday, November 1, 2020

What is selling at Boswell for the week ending October 31, 2020?

What is selling at Boswell for the week ending October 31, 2020? I'll tell you.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter (signed tip-in copies available)
2. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
3. The Boy, the Horse, the Fox, and the Mole, by Charlie Mackesy
4. Writers and Lovers, by Lily King (register for December 9 event here)
5. A Time for Mercy, by John Grisham
6. Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhtar
7. Missionaries, by Phil Klay
8. Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam
9. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by VE Schwab
10. The Lying Life of Adults, by Elena Ferrante

Announce our event with Lily King, I said to Chris, and maybe we can see a pop in sales for Writers and Lovers. In fact, this is King's best week for us since April. She'll be in conversation with Lisa Baudoin of Books and Company and me on December 9. Dare I say, "Makes a great gift?"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
2. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
3. I'll Be Seeing You, by Elizabeth Berg (register for November 9 event here)
4. 99 Percent Invisible City, by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt
5. The Well-Plated Cookbook, by Erin Clarke (request personalized copies when ordering)
6. Accidentally Wes Anderson, by Wally Koval
7. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
8. The Dead Are Arising, by Les Payne/Tamara Payne
9. Upswing, by Robert Putnam
10. Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X was a project thirty years in the making for journalist Les Payne, who died in 2018, not able to see his work to publication. Tamara Payne is the primary researcher and also the daughter of Les Payne. Michael P Jeffries notes in his New York Times review: "The historian Manning Marable’s award-winning biography, published in 2011, argues that Malcolm’s autobiography embellishes his early crimes to dramatize his later redemption. The Dead Are Arising does not directly engage Marable, but it refutes his interpretation and fills in gaps in Malcolm’s own account.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Mirror Lake, by Juneau Black
2. Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart
3. The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga
4. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
5. By a Lake Near a Moon, by DeWitt Clinton
6. Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson
7. Where We Come From, by Oscar Cásares (register for December 8 event here)
8. Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi
9. Open Door, by Margaret Oliphant/Seth
10. The Overstory, by Richard Powers

If I said that 40% of the top ten were past or future In-Store Lit Group selections, that would sort of be exaggerating the group's importance, being that two of the titles were National Book Award winners. But it's nice to see a pop for Shuggie Bain, the Scottish coming-of-age novel that is shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and National Book Award. Speaking of Scottish writers, it wouldn't be Christmas without one (or more) of those Seth Christmas ghost story packages. Just out is Margaret or Mrs. Oliphant's The Open Door, one of several of her works of fiction that encompassed the supernatural. In this spooky story, Colonel Mortimer has taken a lease at Brentwood and things just go from eerie to horrifying. 

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
2. Shade, by Pete Souza
3. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
4. The Yellow House, by Sarah M Brown
5. Spying on the South, by Tony Horwitz
6. Burnout, by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
7. Stony the Road, by Henry Louis Gates
8. 111 Places in Milwaukee that You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
9. The Guarded Gate, by Daniel Okrent
10. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk

It looks like a fresh list, with the only title repeating from last week being Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass, but every title in our top ten is a good six months out in paperback or quite a bit more. But don't tell that to our customers, who are still coming in for their first browse in months - they never saw Spying on the South. The late Tony Horwitz's book chronicled a year in the life of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead when he was a reporter covering the South for The New York Times and how it affected his work.

Books for Kids:
1. Look Both Ways, by Jason Reynolds
2. Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake/Jon Klassen
3. My Two Blankets, by Irena Kobald/Freya Blackwood
4. Moon for Moe and Me, by Jane Bresin Zalben/Mehrdokht Amini
5. Milo's Museum, by Zetta Elliott
6. The Deep End, by Jeff Kinney
7. Bill Nye's Great Big World of Science
8. I Am Every Good Thing, by Derrick Barnes/Gordon C James
9. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer
10. Baby Faces board book, by Margaret Miller

From Derrick Barnes and Gordon C James, the Caldicott Honor team that created Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut comes I Am Every Good Thing, with six starred advance reviews, a celebration of how extraordinary Black boys are. Booklist writes: "The need for a book like this, at a moment like this, could not be greater."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins offers a wonderful profile of Joan Johnson, the new Milwaukee Public Library Director.

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