Sunday, October 31, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 30, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 30, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles
2. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
3. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
4. State of Terror, by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny
5. An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed, by Helene Tursten
6. Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen
7. Beautiful World, Where Are You?, by Sally Rooney
8. Oh, William!, by Elizabeth Strout
9. Under the Whispering Door, by TJ Klune
10. The Judge's List, by John Grisham

Somebody will have to explain to me how we sold almost as many copies of Helene Tursten's An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed in the first week as we did of An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good for the three year life of the book. From the starred Booklist: "Tursten effectively juxtaposes a cozy, Agatha Christie-like tone against the often surprisingly dark nature of Maud's recollections, which are rife with clever satirical jabs and delicious ironies. This absorbing dive into the mind of a ruthless pragmatist posing as a Swedish Miss Marple will please psychological-thriller fans, once they realize that Maud isn't nearly as cozy as she looks."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Hip Hop and Other Things, by Shea Serrano
2. Peril, by Bob Woodward, and Robert Costa
3. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
4. Going There, by Katie Couric
5. Squirrel Hill, by Mark Oppenheimer (Register for November 4 event here)
6. The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams
7. A Confederacy of Dumptys, by John Lithgow
8. Renegades, by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
9. Gastro Obscura, by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras (Register for November 15 event here)
10. Cooking at Home, by David Chang

I listened to Shea Serrano on NPR's It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders where he discussed things like the 1995 Source Music Award, which likely prefigured the deadly shootings of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls over the next year, and Missy Elliott's iconic black blow-up vinyl suit. Hip Hop (and Other Things) is #1 on our list this week and it will likely follow Serrano's Basketball (and Other Things) and Movies (and Other Things) to the top of national charts too. Kirkus noted: "This quirky, wide-ranging collection of essays, paired with gorgeous art, is a well-informed love letter to hip-hop."

Paperback Fiction: 
1. Dune, by Frank Herbert
2. Death at Greenway, by Lori Rader-Day
3. Piranesi, by Susanna Clark
4. Son of Good Fortune, by Lysley Tenorio
5. Monstress, by Lysley Tenorio
6. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
7. The Glass Hotel, by Emily St John Mandel
8. Dune Messiah, by Frank Herbert
9. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
10. The Secret of Snow, by Viola Shipman

The UWM Creative Writing Program sponsored an in-person appearance with Lysley Tenorio, author of Monstress (for which he visited Boswell with Michael Lowenthal) and his new-in-paperback novel The Son of Good Fortune. From Terry Hong in The Christian Science Monitor: "A fierce, revelatory literary experience...Tenorio has written a resonant story about what one family is willing to do to protect the child. It’s seamlessly interwoven with cogent explorations of hybrid identity, racism, immigration history, shifting familial bonds, parental sacrifice, socioeconomic disparity, and even alternative social models."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Troubled Water, by Seth M Siegel
2. Sapiens: A Graphic History, by Yuval Noah Harari
3. Milwaukee River Greenway, by Eddee Daniel
4. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
5. Outside the Box Cancer Therapies, by Mark Stengler
6. On Story Parkway, by Jim Cryns
7. Best Hikes Milwaukee, by Kevin Revolinski
8. Voices of Milwaukee Bronzeville, by Sandra E Jones (Register for in-person November 18 event here or register for Zoom broadcast here)
9. The Book of Chakras, by Ambika Wauters
10. The Hidden History of Milwaukee, by Robert Tanzilo

There just doesn't seem to be any narrative nonfiction or memoirs catching folks fancy in paperback of late. We've got six regional titles on this list this week. Kevin Revolinski has a relatively new (2021) updated version of Best Easy Day Hikes Milwaukee, but the book that made our list is the 2019 Best Hikes Milwaukee, which I guess aren't necessarily easy!

Books for Kids:
1. Chez Bob, by Bob Shea
2. Mr. Wolf's Class, by Aron Nels Steinke
3. Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery
4. Big Shot V16, by Jeff Kinney
5. Besties, by Kayla Miller and Jeffrey Canino, with illustrations by Kristina Luu
6. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
7. The Beatryce Prophecy, by Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by Sophie Blackall
8. Daughter of the Deep, by Rick Riordan
9. A House, by Kevin Henkes
10. Norman Didn't Do It, by Ryan T Higgins

The nice thing about kids picture books is that I can honestly say I've read them. Yes, I've all but memorized, Chez Bob, A House, and Norman Didn't Do It, three of our booksellers' favorites for this fall, and then of course there is Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, whose 2021 sales have more than doubled 2020 - it's a popular book for visitors! The Bulletin for the Center on Children's* Books on Norman Didn't Do It: "Wide-eyed, prickly-tailed Norman carries a frantic energy, resembling a manic preschooler with quills, and Higgins nails the expressions and body language as Norman launches himself and his big feelings through the pages. Bold lines and saturated colors make even the more complicated scenes storytime ready, and the tale could easily lend itself to some lively (one-person) readers theater."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews Mark Oppenheimer's Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood: A taste: "While in many other cities Jews have dispersed to the suburbs, that's not so true in Pittsburgh, where about half of the area's Jews live in either Squirrel Hill or adjacent neighborhoods. While Squirrel Hill has multiple synagogues, the shooter targeted this building because Dor Hadash, the Reconstructionist group, had been involved in the National Refugee Shabbat." Higgins looks at everything from the bargain to value healing over politics, to the comparative lack of attention given to Black victims, especially when their deaths are spread out over time. As noted above, we are hosting Mark Oppenheimer on Zoom, in conversation with Rachel N Baum. Cosponsored by the UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies and the Harry and the Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

*I'm not a fan of the apostrophe here. It's not indicated ownership here and it's not a contraction. It means books for children. To my thinking, the usage should be child or kid books, much like we say adult books, not adults' books. We could spend hours on this. I know I'm not going to change the world, but I can leave out the apostrophe when it's not in a title, even though Word gets mad at me.

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