Amazon's Best Books of May: Today's Releases

Erin Kodicek on May 15, 2017

BotmToday's releases include a book about the Apollo mission Ron Howard overlooked, and a weird and unsettling (in a good way!) psychological thriller about a family in search of fresh start, who move into a house with a dubious history (and a spectral presence, that is watching their every move).

Learn more about these books below, or browse all of our favorites for May here.

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Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 50 years since NASA’s Apollo program first landed a man on the moon. Since passing decades tend to filter out everything save the highlights, that epic effort has been boiled down to a couple of missions: Apollo 11’s triumphant landing, and the near calamity of Apollo 13, which we might not remember were it not for Tom Hanks and Ron Howard. Lost is all (or most) of the daring preamble, when the United States and the Soviet Union repeatedly swapped positions in the Space Race, recklessly shooting manned aluminum cans - packed with all the computing power of a scientific calculator - into orbit. You won’t have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy Jeffrey Kluger’s Apollo 8 (though it’s pure candy for aficionados). Kluger - who previously documented the Apollo 13 crisis with Commander Jim Lovell, also the pilot aboard Apollo 8 – recounts the first manned mission to orbit the moon, marrying technological and historical perspectives with eyewitness accounts to spin a brisk, thrilling, and informative tale. Kluger writes, “The Saturn V engines had only one speed, which was full speed.” So does this book. --Jon Foro

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Broken River by J. Robert Lennon
Despite kicking off with a double murder outside of a remote New York home, Broken River quickly morphs into a much quieter novel, filled with a pervasive, slow-burning tension. A new family moves into the house years later seeking a fresh start, but distance isn’t enough to overcome the baggage and deception they bring along with them. Before long, both the mother and daughter, under pseudonyms on the same internet forum, begin to investigate what happened to the previous occupants, setting into motion a collision between the past and the present. Lennon’s intimate look at these authentic, flawed characters highlights the impact their dishonesty has on themselves and those around them. But it’s the Observer, a disembodied point of view that becomes a character in its own right, which allows the narrative to fully explore the ramifications of each choice, and how beholden we are to our fate. Broken River is an elegant, haunting read with implications that reach far beyond its last page. --Matt Fyffe


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