Sunday, April 30, 2023

Boswell bestsellers, week ending April 29, 2023

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending April 29, 2023

Hardcover Fiction:
1. I Have Some Questions for you, by Rebecca Makkai (signed copies!)
2. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club, by J Ryan Stradal (likewise!)
3. Happy Place, by Emily Henry
4. In the Lives of Puppets, by TJ Klune
5. Small Mercies, by Dennis Lehane
6. Romantic Comedy, by Curtis Sittenfeld
7. Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
8. Hang the Moon, by Jannette Walls
9. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin
10. When in Rome, by Liam Callanan
11. Hello Beautiful, by Ann Napolitano
12. Mastering the Art of French Murder, by Colleen Cambridge (Register for May 18 event here)  

Sometimes it is a question when an author who has been publishing in paperback original jumps to hardcover, but that's not the case with Happy Place from Emily Henry - we couldn't keep the book in stock. It's the #1 Indie Next pick for May, has a rave from Rachel (her romance book club is discussing it), and also one from Annie Berke in The Washington Post: "With her latest, Happy Place, Henry covers new territory. It is, in many ways, the least 'happy' of her works, less swooning and more longing, with a sense of melancholy permeating throughout," but also notes it is infused with "wit, charm and heart, satisfying to the last page."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Poverty, by America, by Matthew Desmond (Register for May 23 MPL event here)
2. Sit in the Sun, by Jon M Sweeney
3. The Wager, by David Grann
4. A Fever in the Heartland, by Timothy Egan
5. Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You, by Lucinda Williams
6. Dinners with Ruth, by Nina Totenberg
7. Be the Bus, by Mo Willems
8. The New Art of Coffee, by Ryan Castelaz
9. The Creative Act, by Rick Rubin
10. An Intimate City, by Michael Kimmelman

While Lucinda Williams is not on tour to Milwaukee (and I think there was only one event that was specifically book related), you might have seen her at the Pabst Theater back on September 25, 2022. Her memoir, Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I've Told You, had five raves and a positive on Booklist, including this in The Wall Street Journal from Elizabeth Nelson: "Now 70 years old, she (Lucinda Williams) has garnered a slow-burn success, owing largely to a hardwired impulse to trust her own judgment when all those around her were calling it into question. The often hilarious, occasionally harrowing Don’t Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You is a bracingly candid chronicle of a sui generis character plotting a ramshackle but ultimately triumphant trajectory. 'I don’t want it to be one of those sugarcoated books like you find at Walgreens,' she says in a brief intro. 'I want them to see the truth.'"

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
2. Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl, by Renée Rosen (Register for May 11 event here)
3. Yours Truly, by Abby Jimenez
4. The Swimmers, by Julie Otsuka
5. The Cartographers, by Peng Shepherd
6. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
7. The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich
8. The Candy House, by Jennifer Egan
9. The Lager Queen of Minnesota, by J Ryan Stradal
10. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles

Staying in genre, but highlighting the April #1 Indie Next Pick, Abby Jimenez's Yours Truly, is, also like Emily Henry, out of stock after the Independent Bookstore Day rush. Grand Central/Forever kept Jimenez's latest as paperback original, but also made a nice hardcover edition for libraries, something that we see a lot with HarperCollins, but rarely with Penguin Random House. Not sure why. She's also got four trade reviews plus another on BookPage, but unlike Henry, she doesn't get a listing on LitHub. Someone explain this to me. Publishers Weekly writes: "The laugh-out-loud scenes - including Briana's tale of glitter-bomb revenge and the introduction of a foul-mouthed parrot - are the real highlight. Add in sparkling prose, skillful plotting, and a sensitive approach to Jacob's clinical anxiety, and the result is contemporary romance gold."

I don't know if it's connected, but I asked Rebecca Makkai what book she was recommending, and she mentioned Julie Otsuka's The Swimmers

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. America the Beautiful, by Blythe Roberson
2. Paper Valley, by David Allen and Susan Campbell (signed copies)
3. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
4. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
5. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
6. All About Love, by bell hooks
7. Birds of Wisconsin Field Guide, by Stan Tekiela
8. The Gardeners Guide to Prairie Plants, by Neil Diboll (Register for June 17 event here)
9. We Don't Know Ourselves, by Fintan O'Toole
10. Every Good Boy Does Fine, by Jeremy Denk

This was a particularly great week for events, including our visit with Blythe Roberson, author of America the Beautiful, who did her conversation with Emmy Yates, who accompanied her on part of her National Park journey. There was a giveaway for a thematically linked paint-by-numbers set. Signed copies are available, including a couple of those nice HarperCollins dual edition hardcovers we talked about earlier. Hoping it catches on - three of us read and really liked the book. Not surprisingly, Roberson is doing a road trip to promote the book. Also not surprisingly, Roberson contributed a column on road tripping for The New Yorker. On road consumption: "Your stepdad is obsessed with something called 'hyper-miling,' whereby he supposedly optimizes fuel efficiency by putting the car into neutral every time he drives down a hill. We don’t really want to get into it, but doing this could result in death or serious injury." But maybe not, right? It could be fine. Must defend Milwaukeean stepdad!

Books for Kids:
1. The Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter
2. Once Upon Another Time, by James Riley
3. Becoming a Queen, by Dan Clay
4. Tall Tales V2, by James Riley
5. The Eyes and the Impossible, by Dave Eggers
6. Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea, by Dav Pilkey
7. The Story Thieves, by James Riley
8. Gertie the Darling Duck of WWII, by Shari Swanson, illustrations by Renée Graef (Register for May 20 event here)
9. Bigger than the Sun, by Daniel Aleman
10. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, by Judy Bluem

I have read only delightful things about the new film adaptation of Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. The classic novel that's been off-and-on banned forever has been named a Time Magazine best YA book of all time. The film features Abby Ryder Fortson as the titular Margaret. It's a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes! From Lisa Kennedy in The New York Times: "The director-writer Kelly Fremon Craig’s rendering of the book about puberty, family and nascent spirituality offers lessons in how a cherished object, when treated with tender and thoughtful regard, needn’t turn precious."

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