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. The list this month has a couple of debut novels, novels from best-selling authors, science fiction – weird apocalypse, sequels non-fiction novels on hereditary traits and the “new” advertising industry, and a memoir.
From Amazon’s Best Books of the Month (June 2018), these are the ones that caught my eye …
The Book of M, Peng Shepard
One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears – an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.
I have a thing with weird apocalypse – like killer plants in Tryptch, common drugs in Feed – and losing your shadow in this book … I’d say that qualifies.
Calypso, David Sedaris. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself. [Buy Calypso @ Amazon]
There There, Tommy Orange. This is the story of twelve characters, each of whom have private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss. [Buy There There, Tommy Orange @ Amazon]
Florida, Lauren Groff. The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida – its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind – becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. [Buy Florida @ Amazon]
She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, Carl Zimmer. A profoundly original perspective on what we pass along from generation to generation. Charles Darwin played a crucial part in turning heredity into a scientific question, and yet he failed spectacularly to answer it. The birth of genetics in the early 1900s seemed to do precisely that. Gradually, people translated their old notions about heredity into a language of genes. But Heredity isn’t just about genes that pass from parent to child. We say we inherit genes from our ancestors–using a word that once referred to kingdoms and estates–but we inherit other things that matter as much or more to our lives, from microbes to technologies we use to make life more comfortable. We need a new definition of what heredity is . . [Buy She Has Her Mother’s Laugh @ Amazon]
When Life Gives You Lululemons (The Devil Wears Prada #3), Lauren Weisberger. Emily Charlton, Miranda Priestly’s ex-assistant, does not do the suburbs. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She’s the former face of L’Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It’s all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina’s arrest for a DUI – with a Suburban full of other people’s children. Miriam is the link between them. Until recently she was a partner at one of Manhattan’s most prestigious law firms. But when Miriam moves to Greenwich and takes time off to spend with her children, she never could have predicted that being stay-at-home mom in an uber-wealthy town could have more pitfalls than a stressful legal career. [Buy When Life Gives You Lululemons @ Amazon]
Frenemies, Ken Auletta. Advertising and marketing touches on every corner of our lives, and is the invisible fuel powering almost all media. Complain about it though we might, without it the world would be a darker place. And of all the industries wracked by change in the digital age, few have been turned on its head as dramatically as this one has. [Buy Frenemies @ Amazon]
Invitation to a Bonfire, Adrienne Celt. In the 1920s, Zoya Andropova, a young refugee from the Soviet Union, finds herself in the alien landscape of an elite all-girls New Jersey boarding school. Having lost her family, her home, and her sense of purpose, Zoya struggles to belong, a task made more difficult by the malice her peers heap on scholarship students and her new country’s paranoia about Russian spies. When she meets the visiting writer and fellow Russian émigré Leo Orlov—whose books Zoya has privately obsessed over for years—her luck seems to have taken a turn for the better. But she soon discovers that Leo is not the solution to her loneliness: he’s committed to his art and bound by the sinister orchestrations of his brilliant wife, Vera. [Buy Invitation to a Bonfire @ Amazon]
Kudos (Outline #3), Rachel Cusk. A woman writer visits a Europe in flux, where questions of personal and political identity are rising to the surface and the trauma of change is opening up new possibilities of loss and renewal. [Buy Rachel @ Amazon.com]
Room to Dream, David Lynch and Kristine McKenna. In this memoir, David Lynch – co-creator of Twin Peaks and writer and director of groundbreaking films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive – opens up about a lifetime of extraordinary creativity, the friendships he has made along the way and the struggles he has faced – sometimes successful, sometimes not – to bring his projects to fruition. [Buy Room to Dream @ 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?