Sunday, February 27, 2022

Boswell bestsellers, week of February 26, 2022

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 26, 2022

1. When I'm Gone, Look for Me in the East, by Quan Barry (signed copies available)
2. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles
3. Mercy Street, by Jennifer Haigh
4. The Family Chao, by Lan Samantha Chang
5. House of Sky and Breath, by Sarah J Maas
6. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
7. The Books of Jacob, by Olga Tokarczuk
8. To Paradise, by Hanya Yanagihara
9. Moon Witch, Spider King, by Marlon James
10. The Swimmers, by Julie Otsuka

In two weeks of sale, Mercy Street is officially Jennifer Haigh's bestselling novel in hardcover at Boswell, including three previous books since we've been open in 2009 and I also see the Downer Schwartz numbers for 2008's The Condition. Though all of her books have been published by HarperCollins, this is her third publishing imprint - starting at William Morrow, then Harper, and now for the last two books, at Ecco. Books about abortion (fiction or otherwise) are not easy to sell, but Richard Russo's review in The New York Times might help, which ends: "I’ll offer here that some readers may be disappointed that so many of the characters in Mercy Street get precisely what’s coming to them. They may suspect authorial — what? interference? artifice? — at work. But I’d argue the opposite: that it’s the characters themselves who have been working overtime, their entire lives, to arrive where they land. Haigh isn’t manipulating them, just paying close attention to their choices, large and small. That’s not artifice, it’s art. And I was gobsmacked."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Madame C.J. Walker's Gospel of Giving, by Tyrone McKinley Freeman
2. The Trial of Julian Assange, by Nils Melzer
3. The 1619 Project, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times
4. Atlas of the Heart, by Brené Brown
5. The Nineties, by Chuck Klosterman
6. The Dawn of Everything, by David Graeber and David Wengrow
7. The Light of Days, by Judy Batalion (register for March 6 event here)
8. The Book of Joy, by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
9. Hero of Two Worlds, by Mike Duncan
10. Civil Rights Queen, by Tomiko Brown-Nagin

The publisher of Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality already updated their marketing info to refer to the nomination of Ketanji Brown-Jackson as a great way to broaden interest in this biography of the first Black woman appointed to the federal judiciary. From Patricia Sullivan in The Washington Post: "At a time when rights are being rolled back and history itself is under assault, this exemplary biography is timely and essential. As a Black woman, Motley was out front in dismantling gender and racial barriers; as a lawyer and jurist, she was a leader in the civil rights revolution that reached into many sectors of American life."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Coyotes of Carthage, by Steven Wright (more about Shorewood Reads here)
2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
3. The Anomaly, by Hervé Le Tellier (register for March 22 event here)
4. It Ends with Us, by Colleen Hoover
5. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black
6. The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner
7. Verity, by Colleen Hoover
8. Reminders of Him, by Colleen Hoover
9. Manhunt, by Gretchen Felker-Martin
10. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Lost Apothecary was a March 2021 Indie Next Pick in hardcover and has a rec from Jen, praising this "page turner." Denny S Bryce on the NPR website agrees: "Sarah Penner's debut novel, The Lost Apothecary, is an enthralling work of mystery, murder, trust, and betrayal. Set in an atmospheric London, Penner's immersive story flows skillfully from past to present, revealing the heartaches and lost dreams of three captivating main characters in a page-turningly tense drama that surprises right up until the final paragraph."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Madame CJ Walker's Gospel of Giving, by Tyrone McKinley Freeman
2. Maus I (two editions), by Art Spiegelman
3. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
4. My Faith My Life, by Jennifer Gamber
5. By the Grace of the Game, by Dan Grunfeld
6. The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee
7. An Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake
8. Learning to Pray, by James Martin
9. Maus II, by Art Spiegelman
10. 111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden

James Martin's Learning to Pray won raves from Kathleen Norris, Mary Karr, Gregory Boyle and more. The paperback release hits our top ten in its third week of sale. Milwaukee-area writer Jon M Sweeney has this to say in Spirituality and Practice: "Learning to Pray is one of his best books. It quickly moves beyond the sort of prayer that consists of Hail Marys in times of desperation, lists of needs one wants satisfied, and the repetition of phrases that some of us carry from childhood to the grave. This is a book about prayer that aims to be a real tool in people’s lives. Martin is a Catholic, and his prayer experience and anecdotes often involve Jesus, but his advice is also unmoored from his tradition in that it may be applied by people of other traditions - and easily, too."

Books for Kids:
1. Operation Do Over, by Gordon Korman
2. Wonder Walkers, by Micha Archer
3. Aaron Slater, Illustrator, by Andrea Beaty, illustrations by David Roberts
4. Survivor Tree, by Marcie Colleen, illustrations by Aaron Becker
5. Map of Flames: Forgotten Five, by Lisa McMann
6. Ain't Burned All the Bright, by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin
7. The Year We Learned to Fly, by Jacqueline Woodson
8. I Must Betray You, by Ruta Sepetys
9. Chez Bob, by Bob Shea
10. Legendborn, by Tracy Deonn

It took four weeks for Tracy Deonn's Legendborn to hit our bestseller list in paperback, but when you think about, our sales at the bestseller level for this kind of book tend to be better in hardcover, unless a series explodes. This particular series has already received the ALA Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award. From the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books: "Bree performs a mixture of Rootcraft magic (based in African-American spiritual traditions) from her ancestors and the 'colonizer magic' of the Order; her ancestor's rape by an slave-owning Arthur descendant gives her a stronger claim to the line than anyone else. Plot twists arrive quickly and expertly, and a few promising romantic threads will likely be realized in a sequel. An author's note includes information about the inspiration for Rootcraft, the real UNC-Chapel Hill, and King Arthur." The sequel, Bloodmarked, is scheduled to be on sale November 8.

From Carole E Barrowman, recommendations in the Journal Sentinel for five new releases.
--Secret Identity, by Alex Segura
--The Verifiers, by Jane Pek
--The Accomplice, by Lisa Lutz
--The Paradox Hotel, by Rob Hart
--The Overnight Guest, by Heather Gudenkauf

Monday's blog features our week of programming.

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