Saturday, January 17, 2009

Downer Avenue Bestsellers, 2008 Edition

as we here at the Inside Flap are so obsessed with lists, it is fitting to sum up the whole of the year 2008 in a single, simple fashion. with that end in mind, we now present to you our 25 bestselling books of 2008:


  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  • Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
"Beautiful, sparse and unforgettable."
-Stacie Williams
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
"The shock and viscera presented in The Road is made all the more striking when contrasted with the quiet desperation and deep bond between a man and his young son facing the end of the world. Fear and love are rarely presented in tandem with such class."
-Justin Riley
  • Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut
"These short stories blur and break the line between fiction and memoir, between criticism and submission to human barbarism."
-Jordan Gower
  • Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
"Beautifully written. Stunningly so, considering the circumstances of its writing."
-Conrad Silverberg
  • Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • Gathering by Anne Enright
  • Lamb by Christopher Moore
"The funniest book you'll ever read."
-Conrad Silverberg
  • Chicago Way by Michael Harvey
  • No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
"Miranda July's interpretation of everyday situations culminate in these grand stories of most appropriate misunderstandings. Through her art of romanticizing the ridiculous she has brought the reader close to the page and left them thinking about chlorine smells and swimming lessons for days."
-Sarah Marine
  • Girl on the Fridge by Etgar Keret
"Keret is a master of everyday language, yet his plots are always fresh, brilliant, wild and inventive. His characters go crashing through life, facing love, facing death, facing confusion, and often getting lost in the most wonderful and unimaginable blunders."
-Joe Lisberg
  • City of Thieves by David Benioff
"Delivering a buddy story that is really about great acts of humanity during times of evil, this novel is the true definition of 'unputdownable'."
-Stacie Williams
  • Best American Short Stories 2008 Edited by Salman Rushdie
  • Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
"This tightly woven novel sings with a clear & beautiful voice, it deserves to be heard by all."
-Carl Hoffman

  • This I Believe by Jay Allison
  • Milwaukee’s Brady Street Neighborhood by Frank D Alioto
  • Goodnight Bush: A Parody by Gan Golan & Erich Origen
  • Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
  • Art of Living by Epictetus
"This book saved my life, and brought me back to the bookstore."
-Doug James
  • The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
  • Milwaukee at Mid-Century by Lyle Oberwise
  • Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
"When opportunism knocks, Klien is there to knock some sense into us - and, in a perfect world, into the filthy lucre mongers."
-Myra Poe
  • Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft & Design by Faythe Levine
"This book is invaluable in its presentation of some of the hardest working crafters in the nation. Faythe is our own renaissance lady; co-owner of Paper Boat, organizer of the righteous Art vs. Craft, and overall champion and supporter of all things indy creative."
-Sarah Marine
  • Nixonland by Rick Perlstein

there you have it, folks.

tune in next year for our followup segment.


StacieMichelle said...

No note about our odd way of selecting what qualifies as a "bestseller" and how we cherry-picked our way through standards in order to avoid listing some books and give a boost to others?

Anonymous said...

Hey what's this about the stores closing??

Jay Johnson said...

For any specific company reactions, you'll have to visit the company's website.

Indie bookselling is a tough business for many, many reasons. It's even tougher in a terrible economic environment.

The fact that Harry and Reva and David and Carol and Rebecca, with the help of countless amazing people, were able to keep it going for so long should be celebrated. All businesses close eventually. That Schwartz did it for so long is a testament to readers in the Milwaukee area.

And, even though one story is ending, two new ones are being written, to excuse an obvious (but particularly apt, I think) metaphor. Two brilliant coworkers, Daniel Goldin and Lanora Hurley, will be operating bookshops at the Downer and Mequon locations, respectively.

And the Flap will live on, so long as one of us is reading and has a network connection.

StacieMichelle said...

Amen Jay

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