Sunday, January 9, 2022

Boswell bestsellers, week ending January 8, 2022

Here's what's selling at Boswell for the week ending January 8, 2022

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
2. The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich
3. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles
4. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
5. Bewilderment, by Richard Powers
6. The Last Thing He Told Me, by Laura Dave
7. The Maid, by Nita Prose
8. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
9. Call Us What We Carry, by Amanda Gorman
10. Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen

It appears that January 4 was not a big release date for fiction. Oh for the days when Putnam packed their calendar with post-Christmas leads, albeit mostly of the variety that didn't always get traction at indies like Boswell. But we do have one buzzy new title - The Maid, by Nita Prose, which is the Good Morning America Book Club pick. From Bethanne Patrick on NPR's website: "Devotees of cozy mysteries, rejoice: Nita Prose's debut, The Maid, satisfies on every level - from place to plot to protagonist... Let the locked-room hijinks begin!"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Good Life Method, by Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko (watch event video here)
2. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
3. The 1619 Project, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times
4. Atlas of the Heart, by Brené Brown
5. The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams
6. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
7. Finding the Mother Tree, by Suzanne Simard
8. The Dawn of Everything, by David Graeber and David Wengrow
9. Winter's Children, by Ryan Rodgers
10. Unthinkable, by Jamie Raskin

Here's a book that was completely off my radar for the holiday season - Winter's Children: A Celebration of Nordic Skiing, by Ryan Rodgers. I had no idea of the origin of cross-country skiing in America, despite my late father's love for the activity - Bear Mountain State Park was his favorite place to go, but if it was cold enough and the snow hit right, Bethpage State Park was a closer option. From the publisher: "In the winter of 1841, a Norwegian immigrant in Wisconsin strapped on a pair of wooden boards and set off across the snow to buy flour - leaving tracks that perplexed his neighbors and marked the arrival of Nordic skiing in America. To this day, the Midwest is the nation’s epicenter of cross-country skiing, sporting a history as replete with athleticism and competitive spirit as it is steeped in old-world lore and cold-world practicality. This history unfolds in full for the first time in Winter’s Children."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune
2. Verity, by Colleen Hoover
3. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
4. Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam (More about our Boswell-run book club picks here - we're reading this in March)
5. Circe, by Madeline Miller
6. Late in the Day, by Tessa Hadley (Register for Feb 10 virtual event here)
7. Dune, by Frank Herbert (two editions)
8. The Humans, by Matt Haig
9. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
10. How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig

This week Matt Haig has three titles in our top ten, what with continuing sales for The Midnight Library, strong sales for his last, How to Stop Time, and a nice repackaging of The Humans (which I'm guessing several bookstores pushed for). This is our buyer Jason's favorite of Haig's titles, and was the backlist book that best matched the esthetic of the new titles - it's about an immortal extra-terrestrial who takes the form of a professor of mathematics to learn more about the species. Note to indie bookstores: if you are selling The Midnight Library, you can sell this too.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
2. A Short History of Canada, by Desmond Morton
3. Voices of Milwaukee Bronzeville, by Sandra E Jones
4. Miseducation, by Katie Worth
5. The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
6. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
7. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
8. Draw the Line, by The Draw the Line Artists
9. Killing Rage, by bell hooks
10. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan

While January usually brings us an author memorial table or two, this season has sort of overwhelmed us with sadness. Two authors pop up this week - Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and bell hooks's Killing Rage: Ending Racism. How does one highlight these titles without taking on the ambience of a funeral parlor. We're still trying to work this out as beloved writers and authors with books pass away, everyone from Anne Rice to E.O. Wilson to Jonathan Spence to Archbishop Desmond Tutu to even Betty White - it looks like there were already some things planned for her 100th birthday.

Books for Kids:
1. Heartstopper V4, by Alice Osman
2. Survivor Tree, by Marcie Colleen, illustrations by Aaron Becker
3. The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann
4. The Snowy Day board book, by Ezra Jack Keats
5. Aaron Slater, Illustrator, by Andrea Beaty, with illustrations by David Roberts
6. Norman Didn't Do It, by Ryan T Higgins
7. Frozen Mountain: Decide Your Destiny, by Emily Hawkins
8. Here's to Us, by Becky Albertalli
9. The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, by Nikole Hanna-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrations by Nikkolas Smith
10. Change Sings, by Amanda Gorman, illustrations by Loren Long

We've got a staff rec for the first three volumes of Heartstopper, a teen LGBTQ+ graphic series that chronicles the romance of Charlie and Nick, so I'm guessing there's one for #4 as well. Rainbow Rowell is also a fan: "Absolutely delightful. Sweet, romantic, kind. Beautifully paced. I loved this book."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reports on The Steal, the new book from Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague: "Wisconsin, one of the most divided states in a divided country, gets several close-ups in Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague's new book about persistent efforts to undo the presidential election that knocked Donald Trump out of office." Tickets for this event are $5, to match the other bookstore programs that are schedule. Ticket fee is included.

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