Boswell Bestsellers for the week ending July 18, 2020

Boswell Bestsellers for the week ending July 18, 2020

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Everywhere You Don't Belong, by Gabriel Bump (register for July 22 event here)
2. Utopia Avenue, by David Mitchell
3. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
4. The Color of Air, by Gail Tsukiyama
5. The Order, by Daniel Silva
6. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
7. Peace Talks, by Jim Butcher
8. Bonnie, by Christina Schwarz
9. Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
10. The Second Home, by Christina Clancy
11. Crooked Hallelujah, by Kelli Jo Ford (register for July 27 event here)

For several weeks, we've had an unusual situation where paperback nonfiction was driving sales, mostly due to increased interest in antiracisim literature. But while that list is still very strong, hardcover fiction has had renewed life, due to an unusually vibrant July schedule, what with a number of titles being delayed from May and June.

Leading the pack is Utopia Avenue, the new novel from David Mitchell, which dominated the review scene this week and has a nice rec from Boswellian Conrad (which you can read when you click on the link to purchase the book). Ron Charles writes lovingly of the new novel in The Washington Post: " Set in London when “new labels are springing up like mushrooms,” “Utopia Avenue” is a story of creative synthesis, one of those astonishing moments when a few disparate individuals suddenly fall into harmony and change the sound of an era. Mitchell — cult writer, critical darling, popular novelist — knows much about the unpredictable currents of fame, and he brings that empathy and his own extraordinarily dynamic style to this tale of four musicians."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Too Much and Never Enough, by Mary Trump (a record-breaking week for this one, per Simon and Schuster)
2. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
3. Begin Again, by Eddie S. Glaude
4. Demagogue, by Larry Tye
5. Separated, by Jacob Soboroff
6. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
7. The Room Where It Happened, by John Bolton
8. Countdown 1945, by Chris Wallace
9. A Very Stable Genius, by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig
10. Milwaukee Rock and Roll, by Bruce Cole, David Luhrssen, and Phil Naylor

From the William Morrow (itself a division of HarperCollins) imprint Custom House comes Separated: Inside an American Tragedy, from NBC News (and MSNBC) correspondent and winner of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Broadcast Journalism. I haven't seen too many traditional press reviews on this one (aside from the trade news reviewers like Publishers Weekly and Booklist), as it seems this is mostly being driven by NBC news coverage. From Kirkus: "A book of justifiably righteous indignation at - and condemnation of - a monstrous program." I could be wrong, but usually a major review doesn't show up on page four of a web search.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Nogozi Adichie
2. This Tender Land, by William Kent Krueger
3. Death Overdue, by David S. Pederson (register for the July 23 event here)
4. There There, by Tommy Orange
5. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
6. Sula, by Toni Morrison
8. In the Shadow of Young Girls, by Marcel Proust
9. Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan
10. Resistance Women, by Jennifer Chiaverini

While hosting with Lisa Baudoin the event for Christina Schwarz's Bonnie (signed bookplates with purchase), I noted that her novel captured life during the 1930s depression. Another book on our list that is set during this time period is William Kent Krueger's This Tender Land, his second stand-alone novel that has been a New York Times bestseller in hardcover and paperback. That sounds more common than it actually is - I think there is more turn on the hardcover list and it is actually easier to place there than in the trade paperback top 15. I also noticed that the publisher has been playing up the Parade Magazine comparison to Where the Crawdads Sing. Seems like a good idea to me.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
2. Pushout, by Monique W. Morris
3. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Charles Hager (our copies are currently signed by the author)
4. Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi
5. Articulate While Black, by Sami Alim
6. What Kindergarten Teachers Know, by Lisa Holewa
7. Trick Mirror, by Jia Tolentino
8. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
9. Stomping the Blues, by Albert Murray
10. The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom

We have an educator book club reading several titles this summer, including Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, and it was toough to get copies of this so I'm guessing that educators around the country are doing the same. Michelle Alexander of The New Jim Crow called this book “A powerful indictment of the cultural beliefs, policies, and practices that criminalize and dehumanize Black girls in America, coupled with thoughtful analysis and critique of the justice work that must be done at the intersection of race and gender.” Morris is co-founder of the National Black Women's Justice Institute.

Books for Kids:
1. Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson
2. Front Desk, by Kelly Yang
3. The London Eye Mystery, by Siobhan Dowd
4. A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park
5. Antiracist Baby picture book, by Ibram X. Kendi with illustrations by Ashley Lukashevsky
6. Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
7. Not Norman, by Kelly Bennett, with illustrations by Noah Z. Jones
8. Creekfinding, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, with illustrations by Claudia McGehee
9. You Should See Me in a Crown, by Leah Johnson
10. Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern

Many of these titles are school orders, but individual sales are driving You Should See Me in a Crown, a YA rom-com about a black queer teen who decides to run for prom queen. Cecily Lewis in School Library Journal wrote: " Johnson's pacing is perfect as the story unwinds at dizzying speed, while attacking some tropes and celebrating others. Occasionally, life has fairy-tale endings. Readers will fall in love with this refreshing book that celebrates the beauty of individuality"

The Journal Sentinel offers a profile of Colson Whitehead and a review of Ottessa Moshfegh's Death in Her Hands.
Copyright Boswell Book Company 2014

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