Sunday, February 7, 2021

Here's what's selling at Boswell for the week ending February 6, 2021

Here's what's selling at Boswell for the week ending February 6, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox (more copies coming this week)
2. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by VE Schwab (waiting for publisher reprint)
3. The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah
4. Eli's Promise, by Ronald H. Balson (Register for JCC event on Feburary 9 here)
5. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession (Register for February 12 event here)
6. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
7. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
8. The Survivors, by Jane Green
9. The Kindest Lie, by Nancy Johnson (Register for February 18 event here)
10. Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

While we've focused mostly on Lauren Fox's Send for Me pick for the Today Show Read with Jenna Book Club, Bush actually picked two historical fiction titles to discuss. The other is Kristin Hannah's The Four Winds, the latest of Hannah's blockbusters, her second since becoming a top seed in the blockbuster bookstore playoffs. The Four Winds is set in 1930s Dust Bowl Texas. Booklist writes, "The storytelling is propulsive, and the contemporary relevance of the novel's themes, among them, how outsiders are unfairly blamed for economic inequalities, provides additional depth in this rich, rewarding read about family ties, perseverance, and women's friendships and fortitude."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Humor, Seriously, by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas
2. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley (Register for February 23 event here)
3. Four Hundred Souls, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
4. Chatter, by Ethan Kross
5. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
6. Think Again, by Adam Grant
7. Mike Nichols, by Mark Harris
8. The Ratline, by Philipped Sands
9. The Doctors Blackwell, by Janice P. Nimura
10. When Harry Met Minnie, by Martha Teichner

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 is a new collection compiled by Kendi and Blain covering 400 years of history through 90 voices. Kirkus calls it "an impeccable, epic, essential vision of American history as a whole and a testament to the resilience of Black people." And Booklist writes that "this seamless collection crackles with rage, beauty, bitter humor, and the indomitable will to survive."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins (April Daniel's Lit Group selection - Sign up here)
2. Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu (March Daniel's Lit Group selection)
3. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune
4. The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste (As long as we're on the subject - the May Lit Group selection)
5. Land of Big Numbers, by Te-Ping Chen
6. Sula, by Toni Morrison
7. Deacon King Kong, by James McBride
8. The Samurai's Garden, by Gail Tsukiyama
9. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
10. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

We actually tried to host Sara Collins for our book club discussion of The Confessions of Frannie Langton, but she's hard at work on her next novel. And since she won the Costa First Novel Prize for this story of a Jamaican slave on trial for the murder of her employers, she's set a pretty high bar for herself. And while we sell a lot of copies of these book club selections, it does concern me a bit that we're still not seeing sales pops on paperback releases, even with browsing, though certainly not browsing at pre-COVID levels. Could it be because the hardcover and paperback prices are now often only $8 apart, and we do tend to discount many of them in hardcover, reducing the difference such that there's no reason to wait?

One format that shouldn't be affected are paperback originals, being that they have no hardcover to compete with, and they were supposed to be the future of publishing, except when pundits were saying there would be no printed books published at all come 2013. I'm not seeing a ton of breakouts there either, but we do have a nice week of sales for Land of Big Numbers, a story collection that made the February Indie Next List. It appears to be so far (unjustly) ignored by The New York Times, but the other still-existing newspaper book sections are covering it. The Star Tribune called it "sophisticated and startling," and there's also been coverage from the LA Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and San Francisco Chronicle.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. We Will not Cancel Us, by Adrienne Mareet Brown
2. This Land of Snow, by Anders Morley (Register for February 9 event here)
3. Racial Healing Handbook, by Anneliese Singh
4. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel an der Kolk
5. Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Brown
6. Stony the Road, by Henry Louis Gates
7. Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi
8. The Body, by Bill Bryson
9. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
10. A Time of Terror, by James Cameron (more below, including discussion link)

February is Black History Month, and this year brings a number of discussions about racial healing and change. America's Black Holocaust Museum is coordinating a large-scale book club discussion for A Time of Terror, James Cameron's historic memoir of lynching in America. Cameron was the founder of the original incarnation of America's Black Holocaust Museum. The program is February 25, 6 pm - more information on this Facebook page. You can also find the Zoom meeting link to join the discussion. Mention you are joining the discussion and you qualify for the 10% book club discount. Please mark it in comments when you place online orders, and we will deduct it from your total.

Books for Kids:
1. Fry Bread, by Kevin Noble Maillard, with illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal
2. The Proudest Blue, by Ibithaj Muhammad, with illustrations by Hatem Aly
3. Alma and How She Got Her Name, by Juana Martinez-Neal
4. A Thousand No's, by DJ Corchin, with illustrations by Dan Dougherty
5. The Last Bear, by Hannah Gold
6. Unleashed V2, by Amy MCulloch
7. The Snowy Day board book, by Ezra Jack Keats
8. Milo Imagines the World, by Matt de la Peña, with illustrations by Christian Robinson
9. Premeditated Myrtle, by Elizabeth C Bunce
10. Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas

A lot of school orders and virtual events pack our top ten. I knew we didn't have events scheduled, and it's unusual to get school orders for books the first week on sale, so I investigated how The Last Bear got into our top ten. It turns out several enthusiastic customers did buy in quantity. The story is about what happens when April discovers a bear on Bear Island, after she's been told by her scientist father that their are no more. School Library Journal called it "A fast-paced novel that will awaken or strengthen readers' concern for their environment and that has the potential to act as a powerful discussion tool in classrooms and book clubs," while Kirkus wrote the novel was for "animal lovers, defenders of the environment, and fans of female-powered stories."

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