Every month Amazon.com 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 January (2018), these are the ones that caught my eye …
The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn
It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside. Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see.
Yes – it does sound very “inspired by” The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins – but there’s nothing wrong with that! This is a debut novel from an editor turned writer – here’s a Goodreads Interview with the author, A.J. Finn, where he reveals a lot about his influences and his writing style.
The Widows of Malabar Hill, Sujata Massey
Bombay, 1921: Mistry Law is handling the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen, one of the first female lawyers in India, goes through the papers, she notices something strange: all three have signed over their inheritance to a charity. What will they live on if they forfeit what their husband left them? Perveen is suspicious.
This is on my radar because, in addition to the intriguing sounding synopsis, I’m also drawn to the Indian setting of the story.
Amazon’s Best Books of January – The Rest of the List …
The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin. It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children – four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness – sneak out to hear their fortunes.
Need to Know, Karen Cleveland. Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her – her job, her husband, even her four children – are threatened.
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories, Denis Johnson. A new story collection. The subject matter — middle-aged life and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves.
Here is Real Magic: A Magician’s Search for Wonder in the Modern World, Nate Staniford. An extraordinary memoir about finding wonder in everyday life, from magician Nate Staniforth.
Oliver Loving, Stefan Merrill Block. One warm, West Texas November night, a shy boy named Oliver Loving joins his classmates at Bliss County Day School’s annual dance, hoping for a glimpse of the object of his unrequited affections, an enigmatic Junior named Rebekkah Sterling. But as the music plays, a troubled young man sneaks in through the school’s back door. The dire choices this man makes that evening – and the unspoken story he carries – will tear the town of Bliss, Texas apart.
The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam, Max Boot. In chronicling the adventurous life of legendary CIA operative Edward Lansdale, The Road Not Taken definitively reframes our understanding of the Vietnam War.
When :The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don’t know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of “when” decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork. Timing, it’s often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.
Green, Sam Graham-Felsen. Boston, 1992. David Greenfeld is one of the few white kids at the Martin Luther King Middle School. Everybody clowns him, girls ignore him, and his hippie parents won’t even buy him a pair of Nikes, let alone transfer him to a private school. Nobody’s more surprised than Dave when Marlon Wellings sticks up for him in the school cafeteria. Mar’s a loner from the public housing project on the corner of Dave’s own gentrifying block, and he confounds Dave’s assumptions about black culture: He’s nerdy and neurotic, a Celtics obsessive whose favorite player is the gawky, white Larry Bird. Together, the two boys are able to resist the contradictory personas forced on them by the outside world.
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 January – are there any you’re looking forward to reading?