Weekend reading

Erin Kodicek on August 02, 2019
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What are the Amazon editors reading this weekend? Jon is finding out the story behind Blondie's frontwoman; Adrian and I are revisiting a couple classics; Sarah is checking out a book on the benefits of nature; Seira is listening to The Goldfinch in anticipation of the upcoming movie; and Chris is in a nonfiction state of mind.


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Face It by Debbie Harry

Around these parts, I’ve been accused of being something of a starlover. Mostly by Chris, and not without merit: I like talking to and about people whose work has infiltrated my life in a positive way, who aren’t necessarily authors by trade: Photographers, comedians, and musicians—especially the 1970s New York punks. As the singer and face of Blondie, Debbie Harry is one of those people, and she has a book! Face It (coming October 1) should train some light on the person behind a somewhat sphinxy public persona, as well as her careers as an actor, advocate, and all-around icon. —Jon Foro


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The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

The recent 65th anniversary of Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring reminded me that I somehow never got around to picking up The Silmarillion. And now that The Silmarillion is available—at least for now—in Prime Reading, it means that as a Prime member, I can download the Kindle edition for free. I admit that when I’ve shared my intent to read the The Silmarillion this weekend, no one has exactly gasped, “OMG, you’re going to love it!” The responses have been more along the lines of, “Well… it’s dense.” If it defeats me, I’ll simply move to the lovely Shire and the adventures in The Fellowship of the Ring, which is also now available in Prime Reading. —Adrian Liang


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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams

I was recently on vacation, and while all of us were more relaxed, I was particularly struck by how calm my toddler son seemed to be. His normal daily routine is to wake up and start asking immediately to watch Disney movies. But on vacation, he tired himself out playing outside, then quietly played with toys inside. I’m convinced spending more time in nature was beneficial to his overall well-being, so when a friend recommended the book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, I immediately downloaded the audiobook and started listening to it. I have a long drive this weekend where I plan to finish up the book, and my friend has promised that the section on fractals is particularly fascinating. (File under Things You Say When You Talk About Nature Books.) Sarah Gelman


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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Unless you've been living under a rock or avoiding social media (in which case, you're probably more emotionally healthy than the rest of us), there's a good chance you know that there will be a sequel to Margaret Atwood's pioneering work of speculative fiction, The Handmaid’s Tale. The Testaments, out Sept. 10, will reveal what became of Offred, and given that the titular Hulu series has already answered that question, it will interesting to see how the book version differs. In preparation, I'm going to re-read Atwood's brilliant and scarily prophetic source material, that grapples with themes including reproductive rights (or lack thereof), racism, fundamentalism, and even fake news. It turned out to be a cautionary tale flirting (heavily) with the truth, so I'm steeling myself accordingly. —Erin Kodicek


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The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) by Donna Tartt

I recently saw the trailer for the film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and it got me thinking, I should really go back and finish that. I was also in need of a new audio to start (I’ve been painting rooms and burning through audio books) so while The Goldfinch on audio is 32+ hours long, I figured, why not?

My experience of reading the book was years ago now, so it feels like starting fresh, and the narrator is terrific. In fact, the audio won two awards the year it was published, in 2014. Tartt’s novel has really grabbed ahold of me, and I feel such a strong affinity for the protagonist Theo Decker, who is thirteen when the story begins and is learning more about life’s disappointments than one should have to in the early teen years. When I shut it off this morning, Theo is living in Las Vegas and remembering what he used to do for fun when he lived in New York and his mom was alive. I’m already itching to get back in my car to see what the next chapter brings…--Seira Wilson

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The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection by Tamim Ansary

I’m in a mood for some nonfiction this weekend, and this book caught my attention. The idea of people inventing the past is fascinating—but of course we supply narratives to history, and different cultures supply different narratives. But what happens when those cultures collide? I’m excited to dip in, so I am bringing this book home, along with a book about Edison, a book about Thomas Jefferson, and one about Frank Lloyd Wright. Obviously, I won’t finish them all. But like I said, I’m in a nonfiction mood this weekend. --Chris Schluep


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