Sunday, February 28, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 27, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 27, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox
2. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
3. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession
4. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
5. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
6. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by VE Schwab
7. The Paris Library, by Janet Skeslien Charles
8. The Breaker V6, by Nick Petrie
9. The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah
10. Milk Blood Heat, by Dantiel W Moniz (Register for March 4 event here)

Nothing new this week in this category, though it's nice to see some sales for our upcoming event with short story writer Dantiel Moniz on March 4 for Milk Blood Heat. Several fall books increased sales momentum as time passed - all of them Boswell reads. The Midnight Library has broken out the biggest, but The Invisible Life of Addie Larue has also been a big success, and it's nice to see Hamnet holding its own.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. No Hard Feelings, by Liz Fosslein
2. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley
3. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
4. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
5. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, by Bill Gates
6. The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee
7. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders
8. Tom Stoppard, by Hermione Lee
9. Four Hundred Souls, edited by Ibram X Kendi and Keisha N Blain
10. Beloved Beasts, by Michelle Nijhuis (Register for March 11 event here)

It's a second week of bestseller sales for Bill Gates's How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. From Richard Schiffman in the Christian Science Monitor: "this is a surprisingly good read. The author’s enthusiasm and curiosity about the way things work is infectious. He walks us through not just the basic science of global warming, but all the ways that our modern lives contribute to it."

Hermione Lee's award-winning biographies are always an event, at least in the UK, but we have enough theater fans at Boswell (who are not much going to theater at the moment) to be excited about her latest work, Tom Stoppard. From Boswell event regular Dan Kois at Slate, "Lee does her best to scour Stoppard’s life and 50-year career for that human fallibility, and while at 750 pages (plus notes) Tom Stoppard can feel as daunting as one of the master’s more vexing theatrical works, it never treats (as so many biographies do) the fame and accomplishment of its subject as foregone conclusions. Instead, Tom Stoppard remains alive to the unlikeliness of Tom Stoppard’s career from the very beginning."  

Paperback Fiction:
1. Oona Out of Order, by Margarita Montimore (Register for March 10 event here)
2. The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
3. Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart
4. Circe, by Madeline Miller
5. Deacon King Kong, by James McBride
6. Writers and Lovers, by Lily King
7. In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez
8. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Tickets for March 16 event here)
9. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
10. Love at First, by Kate Clayborn

It shows the powerful resurgence of the romance genre that Kate Clayborn hit our bestseller list in the first week for Love at First, which Christina Lauren called "a modern romance masterpiece." Booklist on this story, set in a Chicago apartment building: "Nora and Will enter into a playful feud, which involves poetry readings, interviews with local journalists, and rogue kittens all meant to scare Will away from the found family Nora has created after her grandmother's death. Instead, all of these shenanigans endear Will to Nora, and the two slowly begin to fall for one another in spite of Nora's fears of being disloyal to her neighbors. A superb cast of characters rounds out this sweet, slow-burn romance."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. For the Good of the Game, by Bud Selig
2. The Purposeful Hustle, by Deanna Singh
3. Healing the Human Body with God's Remedies, by Lester Carter
4. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Charles Hagner
5. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
7. The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
8. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
9. Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder
10. Hood Feminism, by Mikki Kendall

At so many events, virtual and in person, one of the questions is, who is going to play so-and-so in the movie. Well, had we had an event with Jessica Bruder Nomadland (we did not!), I can't imagine that question would have been asked, I struggle to imagine the answer would be Frances McDormand, and I wouldn't have guessed that the movie rights would sell, let alone that it would be one of the films in awards contention. Someone found my staff rec card filed away. On my one for the website, I wrote: "Like all interesting subcultures, they connect both online and in gatherings. Most notably, they define themselves by who they are not, making it clear they are houseless but not homeless. Nomadland is a fascinating sociological look at a burgeoning subculture, and captures an economic crisis in the making, the hollowing out of the middle class." By the way, I'm on the search for a good recently published (upcoming or within the last year) nonfiction subculture book. Any ideas?

Books for Kids:
1. Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
2. Elevator Bird, by Sarah Williamson
3. A Thousand No's, by DJ Corchin, with illustrations by Dan Dougherty
4. Escape Goat, by Ann Patchett, with illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser
5. The Assignment, by Liza Wiemer
6. Where Are You?, by Sarah Williamson (alas, we've sold the last of these - it's now OSI)
7. Milo Imagines the World, by Matt de la Peña with illustrations by Christian Robinson
8. Desolation of Devil's Acre V5, by Ransom Riggs
9. Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas
10. Pippa Park Raises Her Game, by Erin Yun
We cosponsored a writing workshop with Erin Yun at the WJ Niederkorn Public Library in Port Washington, where Yun told us that Pippa Park Raises Her Game was inspired by Great Expectations. She showed kids how to re-imagine public domain works as new works. Like everybody else, except perhaps for Simon and Schuster and the Fitzgerald estate, she was very excited about The Great Gatsby going into public domain. School Library Journal wrote: "In this reimagining of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, familiar themes and predictability are offset by the depiction of Korean culture and language, which add texture and depth to the narrative. Readers will sympathize with this likable heroine as she struggles to succeed." Paperback releases on April 13.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Chris Foran promotes the self-published book, Before the Invention of Smiling: The Incredible Journey of the Zucker Family from Horse and Buggy to Indoor Plumbing. The family lived at Fourth and Vliet and later in Shorewood. Available on Amazon only. Mr. Zucker, here is how you can place your book on Ingram Spark so that independent bookstores have access to it. 

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