Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee

Boswell Books Releases Bestsellers for 2017

A number of local titles sold well in the nonfiction paperback category.


Since Boswell Books remains the beating heart of the city’s book scene, we checked in to see what titles sold best in 2016. Perhaps the rosiest category is paperback nonfiction, where all of the top five were either written by a Milwaukeean or about the city. According to owner Daniel Goldin, events at the store, such as author readings, play a major role in driving sales, yet the East Side haven remains “a niche of a niche in Milwaukee, even [as] a solid bookstore with very respectable sales.”


Hardcover Fiction

1. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and King Owen

2. Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

3. The House of Unexpected Sisters (vol. 18) by Alexander McCall Smith

4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

5. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

6. Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

7. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

8. Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

9. Norse Mythology by Nail Gaiman

10. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee


Paperback Fiction

1. Arrow: The Dark Archer by John and Carole Barrowman

2. Pleasantville by Attica Locke

3. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

4. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

5. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur


Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

2. What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

3. It Takes Two by Jonathan and Drew Scott

4. Everything is Awful by Matt Bellassai

5. Endurance by Scott Kelly


Paperback Nonfiction

1. Evicted by Matthew Desmond

2. Brick Through the Window: An Oral History of Punk Rock, New Wave and Noise in Milwaukee by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll and David Luhrssen

3. Live and Let Live: Diversity, Conflict and Community in an Integrated Neighborhood by Evelyn Perry

4. Healing the Human Body With God’s Remedies by Lester Carter

5. Wisconsin Literary Luminaries by Jim Higgins


Picture Books for Young Kids

1. The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex

2. La La La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo and Jaime Tan

3. The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna

4. The Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown

5. Sail Away Dragon (vol. 3) by Barbara Joosse and Randy Cecil


Chapter Books for Kids and Young Adults

1. Magnus Chase: The Ship of the Dead (vol. 3) by Rick Riordan

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

3. Hollow Earth (vol. 1) by John and Carole Barrowman

4. Lucy and Andy Neanderthal (vol. 1) by Jeffrey Brown

5. Stone Cold Age (vol. 2) by Jeffrey Brown






Matt has written for Milwaukee Magazine since 2006, when he was a lowly intern. Since then, he’s held the posts of assistant news editor and, most recently, senior editor. He’s lived in South Carolina, Tennessee, Connecticut, Iowa, and Indiana but mostly in Wisconsin. He wants to do more fishing but has a hard time finding worms. For the magazine, Matt has written about city government, schools, religion, coffee roasters and Congress.