Sunday, February 12, 2023

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 11, 2023

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 11, 2023

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Victory City, by Salman Rushdie
2. Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
3. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin
4. Big Swiss, by Jen Beagin
5. Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver
6. Don't Fear the Reaper, by Stephen Graham Jones
7. Remarkably Bright Creatures, by Shelby Van Pelt
8. How to Sell a Haunted House, by Grady Hendrix
9. Liberation Day, by George Saunders
10. Exiles, by Jane Harper

Our top debut is the latest from Salman Rushdie. Per the publisher, Victory City is "a big, wonderful, epic novel that follows the life of a legendary woman: Pampa Kampana, a poet/goddess who created an empire from the mud and wrote an epic account of the 3 centuries of her life. Styled as the translation of a texts like the Ramayana and Mahabharata." BookMarks gave it 13 raves, 4 positives, one mixed, and one pan. I should note that I've never heard of the pan review, from Drift Magazine. 

From Sam Sacks in The Wall Street Journal (a rave): "We don’t yet know whether Victory City was finished before he was nearly killed by a knife-wielding fanatic in August or whether he completed it after the attack. But the novel’s levity and friendliness seem profound in either case. Amidst horrific violence he has brought forth a work of cheerful fabulism that puts far more emphasis on 'magic' than 'realism' - a warm space in which we might imagine a better world than our own."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Come Up for Air, by Nick Sonnenberg
2. Reading for Our Lives, by Maya Payne Smart
3. The Wise Hours, by Miriam Darlington
4. A Waiter in Paris, by Edward Chisholm (Register for February 16 virtual event here)
5. Steeped in Stories, by Mitali Perkins
6. Master Slave Husband Wife, by Ilyon Woo
7. Dinners with Ruth, by Nina Totenberg
8 I'm Glad My Mom Died, by Jennette McCurdy
9. What's for Dessert, by Claire Saffitz
10. Fresh Midwest, by Maren Ellingboe King

From the publisher, on Master Slave Husband Wife: "Winner of the prestigious Work in Progress Whiting Award, this is the remarkable story of William and Ellen Craft, an enslaved husband and wife, who successfully escaped slavery in Georgia by passing as a sickly white man (Ellen) and 'his' slave (William,) traveling openly by rail and steamship until they reached the North - a story unparalleled in the history of American slavery." Three raves, three positives, including W Caleb McDaniel in The New York Times, which called it "a suspenseful, sensitively rendered account of their four-day journey to the North, interspersed with flashbacks to their earlier lives."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, by Shehan Karunatilaka
2. Sorrow and Bliss, by Meg Mason (Info about our Lit Group meeting times here)
3. Night of the Living Rez, by Morgan Talty
4. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
6. Under the Whispering Door, by TJ Klune
7. Stolen, by Ann-Hélen Laestdius, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles
8. The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, by Megan Bannen
9. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
10. Foundryside, by Robert Jackson Bennett

Stolen won the Adlibris Prize for Best Fiction Novel, hitting #1 on bestseller lists. From the publisher: "This spellbinding Swedish novel follows a young Sámi woman as she struggles to defend her reindeer herd and indigenous culture amidst xenophobia, climate change, and a devious hunter whose targeted kills are considered mere theft in the eyes of the law." From Fredrick Backman: "Stolen is an extraordinary novel. A coming-of-age-story you'll get lost in, about youth and heritage and the never-ending struggle to be allowed to exist. Although set in the coldest and most northern part of Scandinavia, I'm convinced it’s a universal story to be loved everywhere in the world." Film soon to be on Netflix.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, edited by Nicholas Carnes and Lilly J Goren
2. Brewtown Tales, by John Gurda
3. How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century, by Louis V Clark
4. Rebel Poet, by Louis V Clark
5. Milwaukee Jazz, by Joey Grihalva
6. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
7. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
8. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan (Register for March 7 Schlitz Audubon event here)
9. All About Love, by bell hooks
10. We Don't Know Ourselves, by Fintan O'Toole

We Don't Know Ourselves was named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times for 2022 and that led to a shortage of copies during the holiday season. The publisher moved up the paperback to this week, and that led to a spot in our top ten. On BookMarks, it received 17 raves, four positives, a mixed, and yes, one pan, this time from The Baffler, which at least I've heard of - we even carry it! From Claire Messud in Harpers (one of the raves): "We Don’t Know Ourselves...may appear a daunting doorstopper of a book, but it is leavened by the brilliance of O’Toole’s insights and wit, and by the story of his own life, which he expertly intertwines into a larger historical narrative."

Books for Kids:
1. This Is a School, by John Schu, illustrations by Veronica Miller Jamison
2. The World's Loneliest Elephant, by Ralph Fletcher, illustrations by Naoko Stoop
3. Magical Black Tears, by Decoteau Irby, illustrations by Dominique Duval-Diop
4. I Don't Care, by Julie Fogliano, illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal
5. What Feelings Do When No One's Looking, by Tina Oziewicz, ilulstrations by Aleksandra Zajac
6. Peekaboo Love, by Camilla Reid, illustrations by Ingela P Arrhenius
7. Peekaboo Sun, by Camilla Reid, illustrations by Ingela P Arrhenius
8. Peekaboo Farm, by Camilla Reid, illustrations by Ingela P Arrhenius
9. Fry Bread, by Kevin Maillard, illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal 
10. The Assignment, by Liza Weimer

Just about every book this week in this category placed in our top 10 due to the Wisconsin State Reading Association. Attending were John Schu, Ralph Fletcher, Decoteau Irby, Juana Martinez-Neal, and Liza Weimer. But it turns out that the other books on this list - What Feelings Do When No One's Looking and the Peekaboo books, were the bestsellers of titles we featured at the show. The World's Loneliest Elephant: Based on the True Story of Kaavan and His Rescue has great reviews from the trades, with Kirkus calling it "sad, sublime, and surely something special."

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