Sunday, October 3, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 2, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending October 2, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr (Tickets for October 13 event here)
2. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
3. Bewilderment, by Richard Powers
4. Beautiful World, Where Are You, by Sally Rooney
5. The Last Graduate V2, by Naomi Novik
6. The Man Who Died Twice V2, by Richard Osman
7. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
8. The Book of Form and Emptiness, by Ruth Ozeki
9. Shoulder Season, by Christina Clancy
10. Morning Star, by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Nowadays you expect that week #1 will be the big sales pop, especially with the rise in preorders. That's certainly the case for Cloud Cuckoo Land, for example. And we've had three strong weeks of sale for Harlem Shuffle, but the debut week still had the best sales. Beautiful World, in week four, still peaked in its debut. But both Bewilderment and The Book of Form and Emptiness increased in sales for week two, though despite our huge sales of A Tale for the Time Being in paperback (over 200), I'd still consider her a sleeper, especially in a season as packed as this one is. Patricia Gilman in The Boston Globe called Ozeki's book "an ambitious and ingenious novel that presents a stinging exploration of grief, a reflection on our relationship to objects, a potent testament to the importance of reading, writing, and books."

Our buyer Jason thinks the Oprah pick for Bewilderment might have helped that second week increase.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Feed the Wolf, by Jon M Sweeney
2. Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
3. Vanderbilt, by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe
4. No Cure for Being Human, by Kate Bowler
5. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, by Rebecca Donner
6. Please Don't Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes, by Phoebe Robinson
7. Fuzz, by Mary Roach
8. Bourdain, by Laurie Woolever
9. Unbound, by Tarana Burke
10. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty is the book that Anderson Cooper was meant to write, aside from a memoir or perhaps a foray into thrillers, not uncommon for newscasters. Until his mother's death, Cooper is said to have downplayed his connection to the family. As Christopher Buckley notes in the enthusiastic Washington Post review: "It probably helped that by the time Cooper fils came of age, the Vanderbilt fortune, once among the greatest in American plutocracy, had pretty much gone pfft. His mother was a serial spendthrift who burned through an inheritance that came to her in 1945 of about $4 million, the equivalent today of nearly $60 million. 'No one can make money evaporate into thin air like a Vanderbilt,' Cooper and Howe observe."

Paperback Fiction:
1. A Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende
2. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox
3. Dine, by Frank Herbert
4. The Kingmaker's Redemption, by Harry Pinkus
5. The Lying Life of Adults, by Elena Ferrante
6. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
7. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
9. People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
10. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune

Our paperback fiction numbers have come back to Earth after the we're-all-traveling bump in bestseller numbers this past spring and summer. National lists are being driven by BookTok and we're seeing that as well. Maybe there's a bunch of folks crying as they read Lauren Fox's Send for Me. It's sad, so please consider a good public weeping. There was sort of a black-and-white-and-red theme going on this week for the featured book jackets, which would have been more consistent if Vintage hadn't colorized the Knopf Send for Me jacket. So much fudging - I'm aware that Ozeki's jacket is highlighted with blue, but I'm pretending it's gray.

Last year the paperback fiction category was invigorated when it turned out that both the National Book Award and Booker Prize had early paperback releases in Interior Chinatown and Shuggie Bain. So far we're not seeing a replay of that.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
2. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, by Anna Lardinois
4. The Price of the Ticket, by James Baldwin
5. Madame Fourcade's Secret War, by Lynne Olson
6. Come As You Are, by Emily Nagoski
7. One Life, by Megan Rapinoe
8. Dressmakers of Auschwitz, by Lucy Adlington
9. White Rage, by Carol Anderson
10. A Cook's Tour, by Anthony Bourdain

The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction: 1948–1985 is a reprinted (just out for two weeks) collection of essays by James Baldwin from Beacon. From the 1985 Kirkus review: "It is a stunning achievement, violently personal, gifted, distilled from a lifelong mediation on race, sometimes less intelligent than given to big generalizations and intellectual grandiosity, yet ever a whiplash on the national conscience, if steadily remote in its fury." And if you're wondering if the current paperback price ($24.95) is more than it was originally published for in 1985, it isn't. St. Martin's original price was $29.95, and then it raised to $35. Just shows how little inflation there has been for hardcover books in the last few decades.

Books for Kids:
1. Willodeen, by Katherine Applegate
2. How to Find What You're Not Looking For, by Veera Hiranandani (Register for October 20 virtual school visit here - open to all)
3. The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race V7, by Max Brallier
4. Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate
5. Fast Pitch, by Nic Stone
6. A Bend in the Road, by Sara Biren (Register for October 4 event here)
7. Superman Smashes the Klan, by Gene Luen Yang
8. Ghostly Tales of Milwaukee, by Anna Lardinois
9. Steelstriker, by Marie Lu (Signed copies available)
10. Peace Train, by Cat Stevens and Peter H Reynolds

Several folks have multiple books appearing on the list this week, but only Anna Lardinois has both an adult and kids book represented. Anna did our first outside event - weather permitting, it seemed like a better idea for kids who weren't already vaccinated. Tim's a big fan of Ghostly Tales of Milwaukee, noting: "Lardinois writes their mysterious stories at a level just right for kids about eight to ten years old, but she kept this old guy captivated with details about very familiar places. As a baseball fan, I was stunned to learn that the Pfister Hotel ghost has frightened so many well-known pro baseball players that some now refuse to stay there, and one admitted to keeping a baseball bat in his bed at night for protection."

Tomorrow will have a preview of this week's events, with some recommendations and review links to whet your appetite. 

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