Sunday, August 15, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending August 14, 2021 - Milwaukee novels, Shakespearean pain, time management, monsters, and more

Boswell bestsellers, week ending August 14, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Shoulder Season, by Christina Clancy
2. We Were Never Here, by Andrea Bartz
3. The Comfort of Monsters, by Willa C Richards
4. The Turnout, by Megan Abbott
5. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
6. The Women's March, by Jennifer Chiaverini
7. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
8. Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
9. All's Well, by Mona Awad
10. Mrs. March, by Virginia Feito

It looks like novels set in and around Milwaukee are at the top of this week's list. Christina Clancy's Shoulder Season is mostly set right out the DMA in Walworth County, while Bartz's We Were Never Here jumps around to Chile, Cambodia, and Up North, but all three, including The Comfort of Monsters, which stays mostly within city boundaries, are firmly lodged in Southeast Wisconsin.

New to our top 10 is Mona Awad's All's Well in its second week of release. Her latest features a Shakespearean actor with chronic pain. Our buyer Jason notes in his recommendation, "She drowns her sorrows at the pub, where she meets three mysterious men who know all about her and her pain. After a golden drink, Miranda is able to start transferring her pain to others, and her life takes on a new light. Much like Mona Awad’s Bunny, All’s Well starts to get more and more surreal and fantastical. I loved every minute of this crazy, amazing novel." George Saunders is also a fan, who called this "a dazzling, wild ride of a novel."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
2. Finding the Mother Tree, by Suzanne Simard
3. Refugee High, by Elly Fishman (Register for August 31 event here)
4. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
5. Noise, by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein
6. The Ugly Truth, by Sheera Frenkel and Cecelia Kang
7. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
8. Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green
9. This Is Your Mind on Plants, by Michael Pollan
10. Four Thousand Weeks, by Oliver Burkeman

It's not an exaggeration to say that we sold more Giannis than the other nine books combined - multiplied by five. We're out of bookplates and probably out of books, but we have more copies arriving by Wednesday. We should eventually get more bookplates too - request with your order.

Squeaking onto the list is Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman, which caught my eye enough for me to hold onto the advance copy for a bit, though I didn't actually read it yet. All the business gurus are loving this book - Adam Grant wrote "This is the most important book ever written about time management. Oliver Burkeman offers a searing indictment of productivity hacking and profound insights on how to make the best use of our scarcest, most precious resource. His writing will challenge you to rethink many of your beliefs about getting things done - and you'll be wiser because of it."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Dune (two paperback editions), by Frank Herbert
2. Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi
3. The People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
4. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
5. Death Foretold, by David S Pederson
6. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
7. Four Major Plays, by Henrik Ibsen
8. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
9. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
10. One Last Stop, by Casey McQuiston

As Jason mentioned when doing reorders, "Boy people seem really excited about this Dune movie." It's been on our bestseller list for months already (mass market and trade paperback) and has seemingly bested most of the literary tie-ins this year - none of the streaming hits seem to be driving major sales for us since Bridgerton quieted down. The film arrives October 22 and will be simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Built for This, by The Athletic
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. Rocket Fuel, by Gino Wickman
4. Wisconsin Farms and Farmers Markets, by Kristine Hansen
5. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke Harris
6. Classic Restaurants of Milwaukee, by Jennifer Billock
7. Trick Mirror, by Jia Tolentino
8. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
9. The First Three Minutes, by Steven Weinberg
10. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson

Aside from Built for This, one of the only two Bucks tie-in books we have (the Journal Sentinel one is on order), and Braiding Sweetgrass, it's a very quiet paperback nonfiction list. It makes me long for some fad to drive sales - sudoku or Instagram poetry. No wait, we put that in fiction, a controversial move (we argued about it) that nonetheless follows the New York Times lead.

Books for Kids:
1. Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi
2. The Day the Babies Crawled Away, by Peggy Rathmann
3. Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
4. The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo
5. Siege and Storm v2, by Leigh Bardugo
6. Rite of Passage, by Richard Wright
7. Left Handed Booksellers of London, by Garth Nix
8. Ada Twist Scientist, by Andrea Bety and David Roberts
9. Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Bouley
10. Six Crimson Cranes, by Elizabeth Lim

I don't always shout out our school purchases, but being that Pet came out this year in paperback, it's still a release that qualifies as new and noteworthy. It was a National Book Award finalist, a Stonewall Book Award winner, and was on a Time Magazine best 100 YA books of all time list. The reviews I found don't exactly explain the book so I defer to publisher copy: "There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood, she must reconsider what she's been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question - How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?"

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Carol Deptolla has a feature on Something and Tonic, a new book of mixology by Nick Kokonas, appearing at Bay View's The Mothership. Looks like the book is print on demand, non-returnable, and short discount from us, so my suggestion is to buy it at the event on August 18.

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