What to read during the dog days of summer? This weekend, two of the Amazon Books Editors mark a legendary writer's passing by returning to two of her most beloved titles; a third dives into a "special" book from an anticipated new children's imprint; a fourth dips into a spinoff series from a tried-and-true pair of bestselling authors; a fifth seeks to escape into a toxic family drama, if that's something that happens; and this one researches his future opportunities as a hilarious federal offender.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
We lost a literary giant this week, during a time when her words, and her wisdom, are so sorely needed. Fortunately Toni Morrison lives on through her books, and I have a feeling many of us will be pulling our dog-eared and much-loved copies of her incomparable oeuvre off our shelves this weekend. I’m starting with Beloved, one of the greatest novels ever written (I’ve read it four times and have only scratched the surface of its insight; still, it cracks my small world a little more open each time). Morrison once wrote: “Something that is loved is never lost.” I sure hope so. R.I.P. —Erin Kodicek
Like many this week, I’ve read the celebratory tributes to Toni Morrison with sadness, gratitude, and awe. On Tuesday, I immediately dug out my copies of Beloved and Song of Solomon – which are from middle and high school – weathered, dog-eared, filled with highlights galore and scribbled notations everywhere. So this weekend I plan to curl up with her words and strength, and reflect on how she captivated generations with her prose. —Al Woodworth
Old Bones by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
While I’m a longtime fan of Preston & Child’s Agent Pendergast books, their new spinoff novel featuring Pendergast associate Nora Kelly and newly minted FBI agent Corrie Swanson is one I’ve been looking forward to since first I heard about it. Add in a discovered diary and a dangerous expedition to find the Lost Camp of the Donner Party, and I’m ready to clear the decks. Here’s hoping this turns into a series that soon rivals Pendergast’s share of space on my bookshelf. —Adrian Liang
Free Lunch by Rex Ogle
We are getting our first look at the debut fall list of W.W. Norton’s new children’s and young adult division, Norton Young Readers. Heading up this endeavor is Simon Boughton, founder of successful children’s divisions for other publishers, and editor to award-winning authors. I always enjoy chatting with Simon, and when we talked about this list a few months back, he was really excited about Free Lunch. And now I know why. I started it earlier this week and right away got that “this is special” feeling. Free Lunch is a nonfiction account of a sixth-grade boy growing up chronically poor in a volatile household, enduring the humiliation of the free lunch program for the first time, and wishing his life were different. I’m not even finished, but so far it’s powerful and well written, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this show up come awards season.... —Seira Wilson
All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg
I was a big fan of Jami Attenberg’s novel All Grown Up. (Side note: This title is included in Kindle Unlimited – check it out!) I read the book in the eleventh month of my first son’s life during a week we didn’t have childcare and I took time off work to care for him. He couldn’t yet walk, but could say “mama” and he still napped twice a day—both times in my arms, his hair sweating against my cheek. I read this book during his naps that week, and the tension and confusion about what being an adult really means felt very real, and immediate, and slightly sweaty. So I’m excited to crack Attenberg’s latest, All This Could Be Yours (October 22). Dysfunctional family centered around a toxic male, with a side of Attenberg’s writing? Sign me up! —Sarah Gelman
There are countless ways to break the law, and most of them aren’t all that funny. That doesn’t mean you can’t transgress with flair. In How to Become a Federal Criminal , Mike Chase — a criminal defense lawyer and creator of the @CrimeADay Twitter feed — has amassed a catalog of all of the hilarious ways the “aspiring offender” can land in prison, including selling runny ketchup, selling pork from a pig with pronounced sexual odor, making an unreasonable gesture to a passing horse, corresponding with a pirate, and pretending to be a member of the 4-H club. Just don’t expect much cred once you get there. —Jon Foro
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