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 (May 2018), none of the books listed really made my “must read” list. There is a Stephen King novel coming out this month and that’s what’s on my radar this month – and is on the Amazon Best Books of the Month: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense list for May 2018.
The Outsider, Stephen King
An eleven-year-old boy is found in a town park, hideously assaulted and murdered. The fingerprints (and later DNA) are unmistakably those of the town’s most popular baseball coach, Terry Maitland, a man of impeccable reputation, with a wife and two daughters. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland coached, orders an immediate and public arrest. Maitland is taken to jail, his claim to innocence scorned. Maitland has a foolproof alibi, with footage to prove that he was in another city when the crime was committed. But that doesn’t save him either.
Amazon’s Best Books of May
Warlight, Michael Ondaatje. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. [Buy Warlight @ Amazon.com]
The Electric Woman: A Memoir of Death Defying Acts, Tessa Fontaine. For three years Tessa Fontaine lived in a constant state of emergency as her mother battled stroke after stroke. But hospitals, wheelchairs, and loss of language couldn’t hold back such a woman; she and her husband would see Italy together, come what may. Thus Fontaine became free to follow her own piper, a literal giant inviting her to “come play” in the World of Wonders, America’s last traveling sideshow. [Buy The Electric Woman @ Amazon]
Love and Ruin, Paula McLain. In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly and uncontrollably falling in love with Hemingway, a man already on his way to becoming a legend. When Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own. [Buy Love and Ruin @ Amazon]
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century , Kirk Wallace Johnson. On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins – some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them – and escaped into the darkness.
Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief and was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. [Buy The Feather Thief @ Amazon]
A Shout in the Ruins, Kevin Powers. Seamlessly interwoven is the story of George Seldom, a man orphaned by the storm of the Civil War, looking back from the 1950s on the void where his childhood ought to have been. Watching the government destroy his neighborhood to build a stretch of interstate highway through Richmond, he travels south in an attempt to recover his true origins. With the help of a young woman named Lottie, he goes in search of the place he once called home, all the while reckoning with the more than 90 years he lived as witness to so much that changed during the 20th century, and so much that didn’t. As we then watch Lottie grapple with life’s disappointments and joys in the 1980’s, now in her own middle-age, the questions remain: How do we live in a world built on the suffering of others? And can love exist in a place where for 400 years violence has been the strongest form of intimacy? [Buy A Shout in the Ruins @ Amazon]
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, Michael Pollan. When LSD was first discovered in the 1940s, it seemed to researchers, scientists and doctors as if the world might be on the cusp of psychological revolution. It promised to shed light on the deep mysteries of consciousness, as well as offer relief to addicts and the mentally ill. But in the 1960s, with the vicious backlash against the counter-culture, all further research was banned. In recent years, however, work has quietly begun again on the amazing potential of LSD, psilocybin and DMT. Could these drugs in fact improve the lives of many people? [Buy How to Change Your Mind @ Amazon]
Miss Subways, David Duchovny. Emer is just a girl living in New York City who takes the subway, buys ice cream from the bodega on the corner, has writerly aspirations, and lives with her boyfriend, Con. But is this life she lives the only path she’s on? Elmer goes on a one woman’s trippy, mystical journey down parallel tracks of time and love. On the way, Emer will battle natural and supernatural forces to find her true voice, power, and destiny. [Buy Miss Subways @ Amazon]
Come West and See: Stories, Maxim Loskutoff. Set in the Redoubt, an isolated triangle of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming where an armed occupation of a wildlife refuge escalates into a separatist uprising, these stories explore the loneliness, insecurity, and frustration inherent to love and heartbreak. A lakeside wedding drunkenly devolves into a cruel charade; an unemployed carpenter joins a militia after his wife leaves him; and a former soldier raises the daughter of a dead comrade in a bunker beneath an abandoned farm. Come West and See explores divisions both personal and political, offering startling insights into the wounds of the American people and a powerful new vision of the West. [Buy Come West and See @ Amazon]
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, John Carreyrou. In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. [Buy Bad Blood @ Amazon]
Robin, Dave Itzkoff. A biography of Robin Williams, who was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. [Buy Robin @ 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?