Every month Amazon puts out a list of Best Books of the Month, and every month, I troll that list and select a few that I’ll add to my reading list.
From Amazon’s Best Books of the Month (April 2018), these are the ones that caught my eye …
You All Grow Up and Leave Me: A Memoir of Teenage Obsession, Piper Weiss
Piper Weiss was fourteen years old when her middle-aged tennis coach, Gary Wilensky, one of New York City’s most prestigious private instructors, killed himself after a failed attempt to kidnap one of his teenage students. In the aftermath, authorities discovered that this well-known figure among the Upper East Side tennis crowd was actually a frightening child predator who had built a secret torture chamber in his secluded rental in the Adirondacks. Now, twenty years later, Piper examines the event as both a teenage eyewitness and a dispassionate investigative reporter, hoping to understand and exorcise the childhood memories that haunt her to this day.
This book is described as “a highly unsettling blend of true crime and coming-of-age memoir.” This seems interesting because it’s a first hand account from Piper who spent years obsessing about why NOT. Although she was was one of Gary Wilensky’s students, she was not one of his victims, and it bothered her … why she wasn’t chosen.
Amazon’s Best Books of March – The Rest of the List
Circe, Madeline Miller. In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child – not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. [Buy Circe @ Amazon]
The Oracle Year, Charles Soule. Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site with the help of his friend Hamza to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions for exclusive access, eager to profit from his prophecies. [Buy The Oracle Year @ Amazon]
The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer. To be admired by someone we admire – we all yearn for this: the private, electrifying pleasure of being singled out by someone of esteem. But sometimes it can also mean entry to a new kind of life, a bigger world. Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. [Buy The Female Persuasion @ Amazon]
You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories, Curtis Sittenfield. The theme that unites these stories in this dazzling first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld is how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves. [Buy You Think It, I’ll Say It @ Amazon]
The Overstory, Richard Powers. An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers—each summoned in different ways by trees—are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest. [Buy The Overstory @ Amazon]
Look Alive Out There, Sloane Crosley. In Look Alive Out There, whether it’s scaling active volcanoes, crashing shivas, playing herself on Gossip Girl, befriending swingers, or staring down the barrel of the fertility gun, Crosley rises to the occasion with unmatchable nerve and electric one-liners. [Buy Look Alive Out There @ Amazon]
The Only Story, Julian Barnes. In a staid suburb fifteen miles south of London in the sixties Paul, nineteen, home from university for the holidays, is urged by his mother to join the tennis club. At the mixed doubles tournament he is partnered with a Mrs Macleod. She is forty-eight, confident, ironic. Her first name is Susan; she is married with two grown-up daughters. Soon Paul and Susan are lovers. Paul looks back at how they fell in love, how he freed her from a sterile marriage, how they set up together, and how, very slowly, everything fell apart as Susan sank into alcoholism, and love turned into pity and anger. [Buy The Only Story @ Amazon]
Varina, Charles Frazier. With her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects a life of security as a Mississippi landowner. He instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions. [Buy Varina @ Amazon]
Lawn Boy, Jonathan Evison. For Mike Muñoz, a young Chicano living in Washington State, life has been a whole lot of waiting for something to happen. Not too many years out of high school and still doing menial work—and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew—he knows that he’s got to be the one to shake things up if he’s ever going to change his life. But how? [Buy Lawn Boy @ Amazon]
The books above are the editors top picks, but there are many more choices broken down by categories. Check them all out at Amazon’s Best Books of the Month – are there any you’re looking forward to reading?