Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Boswellian Top 5's of 2017 part one

This is Kay’s first official Christmas at Boswell—she was hired in the middle of last year’s Christmas craziness and was just trying to learn the shop’s systems at the same time. This is her first Christmas armed with books she loved and can recommend! She’s been a great addition to the staff in 2017; her reading tastes are varied and wonderful as represented below: 
The Readymade Thief, by Augustus Rose  
A highly unlikely, homeless heroine stumbles into an anonymous secret society; a wild cast of characters and brilliantly drawn settings knit together into a very unusual, totally engaging genre-busting story.
$26.00 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $20.80
Based on a True Story, by Delphine De Vigan 
A brilliant, haunting, insidious, anxiety-inducing, formidable and unforgettable story about a writer and an ultimately unwanted "friend" in Paris. $28.00
Wonder Valley, by Ivy Pochoda  
The story begins with a man running naked down one of LA’s congested freeways. Aren't you dying to know what happens next?!
$26.99 on Boswell Best until end of year at $21.59

The Power, by Naomi Alderman  
Girls suddenly develop the power to send electrical charges through their fingers and the world will never be the same again. 
$26.00 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $20.80
Nyxia, by Scott Reintgen 
Teenager Emmett narrates the shifting interpersonal relationships, brutal schedules, suspenseful battles, unfair rules and frequently changing circumstances facing 10 male and female contestants vying for the chance to spend a year on an inhabited alien world. $17.99

 Jen’s is our bargain and gift buyer, but also a great reader. She’s the one that couldn’t stop talking about Pachinko at the beginning of 2017, and now look at it, a New York Times selection for their Top 10 of 2017 and on a lot more year end favorite lists. What will be her gem next year? We’ll find out, but for now here is her top 5 for this year:
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee  
A father's gentle nature, a mother's sacrifice, a daughter's trust and a son's determination are the cornerstones of this grand multi-layered saga. Pachinko follows one family through an ever changing cultural landscape from 1910 Korea to 1989 Japan. As the bonds of family are put to the test in the harsh realities of their world, Sunja and those she holds dear manage to carve themselves a place to call home with hard work, self-sacrifice and a little kimchi. Through it all is a message about love, faith, and the deep rooted bonds of family. Min Jin Lee gives us a phenomenal story about one family's struggle that resonates to us today. It will take hold of you and not let go!
$27.00 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $21.60 in hardcover
$15.99 in paperback
Bear & the Nightingale by Katherine Arden 
The Bear and the Nightingale is an enchanting mix of fairytale-fantasy-historical fiction, set in medieval Russia. Nestled between the northern wilderness & civilization, is a village where old & new traditions live side by side. Vasya, the last daughter of Pyotr & Marina, is born on the howling winds of autumn. She is different from the others in her village. She is destined to be like her grandmother, gifted with powers that are her birthright. As time goes by, Vasya will be tested. Caught in the conflict between the old spirits and the new religion, Vasya must do everything in her power to save her family and village. Katherine Arden's novel is a rich, mesmerizing novel. It's the fairy tale you've been waiting for! $16.00
The Accusation by Bandi  
These forbidden stories are powerful & show us how the human spirit can flourish in the harshest elements. Couldn't put it down!
$25.00 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $20.00
Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid   
After seven husbands and fifty years in the spotlight, Evelyn Hugo has decided to tell her story. Hollywood's most scintillating star will tell all. It's an interview of a lifetime for Monique Grant, who has been handpicked by Evelyn. Monique will be the only one to ask and get the answer that the world has been dying to know: Who was the love of Evelyn Hugo's life? It's the golden age of Hollywood. There's scandal, extravagance, leading men, lavender marriages and overbearing studio bosses. If you're like me, reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will leave you utterly absorbed and wishing Evelyn Hugo was a real-life film star! $26.00
The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker  
The Half-Drowned King is the storied tale of the legendary King Harold and the rise of a united Norway. It's a Viking saga set in the 9th century, full of traditions and myths, glory and adventure, love and betrayal. Linnea Hartsuyker breathes new life in the historical fiction genre! $27.99

Sharon has been here from the beginning of Boswell, and before that she was a bookseller for the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Shorewood. Her reading has always been wide ranging and interesting. If you have a chance when you are in the shop to speak with her, then ask her about the new Juneau Black mystery novel, Cold Clay. Here are her top 5 books of 2017:
Hunger by Roxane Gay
Right from the beginning, Roxane Gay lets us know that this is not a weight-loss success story, but a memoir so deeply personal that it was extremely difficult for her to write. Parts of it are also extremely difficult to read. Every woman that breathes has issues with her body, food, and her weight, not matter what her size. Gay holds nothing back as she tells of the sexual assault that changed her forever when she was 12 years old. She concealed the trauma from her family and dealt with it the only way she knew how, by eating until her body was no longer desirable to men, but a fortress in which she could hide and protect herself from the world. She candidly explains how it feels to be at once so large and so invisible, as she moves through a world that is less than kind when it comes to judging women’s bodies.
$25.99 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $20.79
Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
The latest offering from Joshilyn Jackson is a delightful mix of humor, romance, awkward family dynamics, and completely up-to-the-minute social issues. I know it’s early but The Almost Sisters is in the running for one of my favorites of 2017. Leia Birch Briggs is a 38-year-old graphic novelist of midlevel fame. She has a one-night stand at a comic-con with a mysterious and attractive Batman. This results in a little more than morning-after regrets when Leia learns that she is pregnant. While she is deciding best how to break the news of an illegitimate biracial baby to her upstanding Southern family, other more pressing concerns take precedence. Leia learns that her beloved 90-year old-grandmother is suffering from dementia, and covering it up with the help of her best friend, Wattie. Furthermore, Leia’s perfect sister Rachel, is having trouble with her perfect marriage.  Things escalate when Leia finds out that her grandmother is hiding a bigger secret in the attic. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, The Almost Sisters is almost perfect. $26.99
The fascinating true story of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma in the 1920s. They were extremely rich as they lived on oil land, but then they began to die under very suspicious circumstances. Grann also tells of the formation of the FBI who are brought into investigate all of the murders. $28.95 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $23.16
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Set in northern Texas after the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels around and reads the news to rural communities. He agrees to return a young orphan girl to her family. She was held by the Kiowa for 4 years after they killed her parents. A lovely story about family and civilization and what those concepts mean. $15.99
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Turtle is a 14 year old girl who lives with her father in northern California. He has taught her survival skills and isolated her from her peers and her community. When she meets two boys her own age, she begins to realize that there is a world outside of her relationship with her father, and she will have to fight to gain access to it. This at times horrifying story is so beautifully written that I could not stop reading it until the edge-of-your-seat ending.
$27.00 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $21.60
Jane is our resident dynamo—such a treat to work with each and every week, sometimes I want some of her charisma and energy. She always has surprising and amazing choices in her reading. And, this year’s top 5 doesn’t disappoint:
The beauty of a South African landscape is contrasted against the harsh reality of apartheid told in the alternating voices of a black mother in search of her daughter who has vanished during a student uprising and a nine year old white girl orphaned by the death of her parents in this emotionally rendered story that 'hums' a song of familial hope. My favorite novel of 2017!
$26.00 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $20.80
Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
With his life in disarray due to the failing sales of his newest book and the increasing needs of his expanding family, Charles Dickens' publisher demands that he write a Christmas book or his debts will be called in. Suffering writer's block, Dickens walks the familiar London streets that have so inspired his writing and there meets a young woman and her son Timothy who will the be muse behind the writing of what will be destined to become the most revered holiday classic.  In reimagining Dickens life, Samantha Silva writes a novel that is an irresistibly endearing companion to the annual reading of The Christmas Carol. $24.99
Set in England's Cotswold countryside, this is a charming story of a woman who inherits her father's financially troubled bookshop. Threatened by greedy property developers, Emilia finds support from the Nightingale Books' literary community whose lives intersect and have been shaped by their passion for reading. Perfect gift for bibliophiles who want to escape cold winter nights with a hot cup of tea and an engaging ode to the love of books! Highly recommended for fans of Gabrielle Zevin's Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Nina George's Little Paris Bookshop.
$25.00 on Boswellian Best until end of year at $20.00
Gorgeous art collection of late eighteenth to early twentieth century paintings depicting the history of women's road to emancipation as they simply began to walk in public, unaccompanied.  Along with selected quotes from such literary luminaires as Jane Austen, Emily Bronte and Simone de Beauvoir, this is the perfect gift for those who enjoy a thoughtful blend of art, history and literature. $22.95
What She Ate by Laura Shapiro
Spanning nearly 200 years, award winning culinary historian invites readers to an appetizing feast profiling six women whose personal dietary tastes reflect their life stories and place in the world of social, political, and literary history. Carefully researched palatable reading for those who savor beyond what's served on the plate in front of them! $27.00
That's all for this post, part two will come in the near future...

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