Which books will you be diving into this weekend? These are the books that await at the tops of the Amazon Books editors' always teetering to-be-read piles: A deeply disturbing deep-dive into the murky, subversive world of propaganda and disinformation; an unconventional romance, even by the most unconventional standards; a mysterious story set in an ancient Catskills hotel; and a rule-bending treatise on the notorious and controversial... semicolon.
This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality by Peter Pomerantsev
Way back in 2014, Peter Pomerantsev’s Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible went through the looking glass into the "Surreal Heart of the New Russia," a place where Vlad Putin co-opted reality TV tactics to warp perception on a mission to reshape a post-Soviet state into his own personal Soviet-like state, for the benefit of himself and a select cohort of oligarchs. It was amazing. This Is Not Propaganda (August 6) expands his investigation, examining information warfare tactics used world-wide, from Mexican drug cartels to national news networks to the good old KGB, who forced his family from their Russian home. —Jon Foro
Mislaid: A Novel by Nell Zink
A gay woman and a gay man get married—to each other. What could possibly go wrong? And when things inevitably do go south, the subterfuge said lesbian employs to hide their daughter (yes, they had a couple kids too, because bad choices beget more bad choices) is even more off the wall—in the best way. Nell Zink’s satirical novel, Mislaid hilariously upends preconceived notions of sexuality, race and more. This is a great read to kick off Gay Pride month. —Erin Kodicek
The Hotel Neversink by Adam O'Fallon Price
I’m very excited about this book. It involves an ancient hotel in the Catskills, a mystery, and a ruthless patriarch. I’ve spent a lot of time in this part of the world visiting my family, fishing, and hiking. The Catskills is ripe for this kind of book. Did I mention how excited I am to read it? —Chris Schluep
Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark by Cecelia Watson
I’m one of those aggravating people who is determined to fix comma splices, dangling modifiers, and improperly used punctuation whenever I can. But the first few chapters of Semicolon has already changed my perspective on “right” and “wrong” usage and taken a whack at my punctuation smugness. After author Cecelia Watson and her professor argued about whether she was using a semicolon correctly, Watson launched into an investigation of the semicolon and plunged down a delightful rabbit hole that I think even those who are not punctuation-obsessed will find eye-opening and strangely reassuring. If you enjoyed Between You & Me, Woe Is I, or Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Semicolon (July 30) is for you. —Adrian Liang
The Friends We Keep by Jane Green
As you may have gathered from our recent posts and our most recent podcast (link goes to TuneIn), we’re just coming off of the excitement and exhaustion that is Book Expo, a yearly book conference (usually) held in New York. So this weekend I need to escape—even just mentally—and read the kind of book you know before you’ve started that you’re going to like. What luck that I met one of my favorite authors, Jane Green, at Book Expo. It’s pretty rare when you can say you grew up with an author, but I’ve been reading Jane Green since her first book, and I feel like we’ve both matured a bit. I too went from single girl in the city to married mother with a yard and pets. I’ve grown alongside these characters from the British writer in her debut Jemima J to her latest, a trio of old friends back in touch thirty years after college in The Friends We Keep. The book jumps around in time, and this Green enthusiast can’t wait to see how she looks back on the past, which was once very much our present. —Sarah Gelman
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