Sunday, March 28, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 27, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 27, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Raft of Stars, by Andrew Graff (register for April 12 event here)
2. Brood, by Jackie Polzin
3. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
5. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession
6. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
7. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
8. Committed, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
9. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
10. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by VE Schwab

The only new entry this week is Raft of Stars, the Wisconsin-based novel by Andrew Graff that will be a conversation with J Ryan Stradal on April 12. My guess is that it was helped along, not just by our promotion, but by this great review in The New York Times Book Review from Sam Graham-Felsen SGF writes, "Andrew J. Graff’s engrossing, largehearted debut novel, Raft of Stars, is a book with a distinctly Rousseauian vibe. It is the story of what happens when two 10-year-old boys flee into the northern Wisconsin woods and how they, and their various adult pursuers, don’t merely survive, but shed their landlocked inhibitions and become better, bigger versions of themselves."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Code Breaker, by Walter Isaacson
2. Three Ordinary Girls, by Tim Brady
3. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
4. New York, New York, New York, by Thomas Dyja
5. Think Again, by Adam Grant
6. Dusk Night Dawn, by Anne Lamott
7. What It's Like to Be a Bird, by David Allen Sibley
8. Milwaukee Rock and Roll 1950-2000, by David Luhrssen, Phillip Naylor, Bruce Rogers
9. The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee
10. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders

Thomas Dyja's New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation pops onto the list, helped by another New York Times review, this one from Kevin Baker: "New York x 3 begins on Feb. 14, 1978, designated 'I Love New York Day' for the ubiquitous jingle introduced that afternoon, part of a last-ditch publicity campaign to revive a city that even those who loved it feared was dying. But New York wasn’t dying, and why it wasn’t - the women and men, policies and plans, trends and revolutions in everything from music to technology to public spaces to private desires that transformed it - is Dyja’s story." It's interesting that this book comes out when there's some thought that New York might again be at a crossroads. I should also note that Dyja visited Boswell for his book on Chicago, The Third Coast, back in 2013.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Behind the Lens, by Jeannée Sacken
2. Later, by Stephen King
3. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune
4. The Odyessey, by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
5. The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn
6. The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd
7. The Girl with the Louding Voice, by Abi Daré
8. The Good Earth, by Pearl S Buck
9. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
10. Catch 22, by Joseph Heller

Sue Monk Kidd's The Book of Longing came out in hardcover in May, during that time period where we were cancelling events and hadn't quite successfully pivoted to virtual. It's also one of our events where attendees were not able to get Brown Paper Tickets refunds. Now with a court ruling, we're hoping to start seeing the refunds come through - one of our customers just got their refund this week.

On The Book of Longings, from Jacquelyn Mitchard on Oprah Daily: "Kidd’s bold narrative revisionism allows her protagonist to be in every respect the equal of her husband while posing this question: How would Western culture be different if men and women had grown in appreciation of each other’s spirit? It’s not such a leap - the gospels portray Jesus gently championing women."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Minor Feelings, by Cathy Park Hong
2. Know My Name, by Chanel Miller
3. In the Country We Love, by Diane Guerrero 
4. The Body Is Not an Apology, Sonya Renee Taylor
5. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
6. Hidden Valley Road, by Robert Kolker
7. First They Killed My Father, by Loung Ung
8. Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder
9. Hand to Mouth, by Linda Tirado
10. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo

The National Book Critics Circle Awards have been announced and winner of the award for autobiography is Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, by Cathy Park Hong. From Jennifer Szalai's New York Times review: "The essays wander a variegated terrain of memoir, criticism and polemic, oscillating between smooth proclamations of certainty and twitches of self-doubt. The subject of the book is ostensibly racial identity, but Hong confesses to feeling unsure and unsettled about her authority to write it."

Books for Kids:
1. Get Up Stand Up, by Bob Marley/Cedella Marley, with illustrations by John Jay Cabuay
2. Every Little Thing, by Bob Marley/Cedella Marley, with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
3. Max and the Midknights V1, by Lincoln Peirce
4. Battle of the Bodkins V2, by Lincoln Peirce
5. The One Thing You'd Save, by Linda Sue Park, with illustrations by Robert Sae-Heng
6. Bat and the Waiting Game V2, by Elana K Arnold
7. Bat and the End of Everything V3, by Elana K Arnold
8. A Thousand No's, by DJ Corchin, with illustrations by Dan Dougherty
9. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo
10. A Boy Called Bat V1, by Elana K Arnold

Lots of virtual school visits these past few weeks. This week's focus is The One Thing You'd Save, the new book from Linda Sue Park, who visited us in person last year before shutdown for Prairie Lotus. Her new book, illustrated by Robert Sae-Heng, imagines different answers to this question (to be clear, your family and pets are fine) in this series of linked poems. From Publisher's Weekly: "Readers may not realize that the volume is a collection of poems until they read Park's closing note, which explains her inspiration: traditional Korean sijo verse, which consists of three lines of 13 to 17 syllables and is sometimes broken into six shorter lines. This relatively flexible structure creates a rhythmic variety of declarations, reflections, interjections, and occasional dialogue employed throughout, complemented by Sae-Heng's gray-toned, sketchlike illustrations."

With baseball season beginning, it's time for Chris Foran's Journal Sentinel roundup. Included is Lawrence Baldessaro's biography of Tony Lazzeri. He'll be speaking to Tim Shieber of the National Baseball Hall of Fame on April 15 - register here.

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