Weekend reading

Chris Schluep on July 03, 2020

Weekend reading

The Fourth of July is upon us, which means fireworks and grilling. In a lot of households, it will also mean reading, because long weekends are perfect for making it through a good book. For the Amazon editors, it looks like we'll mostly be focusing on nonfiction. I'm a little surprised by this, because I assumed we would all be reading summer thrillers. It's that time of the year, after all. But maybe we are all just looking forward to a little down time. 

The Devil's Harvest: A Ruthless Killer, a Terrorized Community, and the Search for Justice in California's Central Valley by Jessica Garrison

Its been a while since I’ve read any true crime but this one interests me on a couple of levels. The Devil’s Harvest is about a man who could be anyone’s neighbor, no clues to indicate that, in fact, he was a professional hit man employed by a drug cartel. But Jose Martinez didn’t just kill for money, he also killed for personal revenge. Martinez also knew that the criminal justice system was in his favor—he didn’t kill powerful people and as we’ve seen all too often, when it’s someone poor, or who lives in the shadows of the law, there is no public outcry, no one to call for justice, even for murder. The author, an award-winning journalist, dug into case files, interviews, and even the killer’s own journals, to uncover the story of Jose Martinez, his victims, and why law enforcement lagged behind. —Seira Wilson

Lust & Wonder: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

Lust & Wonder is a tale many of us can relate to: In our search for true love, we have kissed a few (perhaps dozen) frogs, and dated utterly inappropriate people because they were simply too attractive to resist, or really good in…social situations. While it can be painful to ruminate on our own struggles in this regard, reading about Burroughs’s relationship failures (and successes!) is anything but. This memoir delivers on what you’d expect from the lauded author of Running with Scissors—the kind of wit, profundity, and keen appreciation of the absurd that tempers what could otherwise be cynical subject matter. Best read with a glass of red, or three. —Erin Kodicek

The Boston Massacre: A Family History by Serena Zabin

It’s a timely weekend for diving into Zabin’s investigation of the infamous Boston Massacre of 1770. Diary entries, sarcastic ditties, marriages, desertions, fisticuffs, and more put the reader inside the homes of the Boston residents and the British soldiers encamped among them, adding lively new details to the fatal event that helped spark the American Revolution. But was the enmity between civilian and soldier as fierce as our American mythology suggests? And was war inevitable? Zabin’s sense of humor, her interest in exploring historical crannies others have ignored, and a firm grasp of human behavior make The Boston Massacre a dynamic and convincing history that illuminates an oft-cited incident in a new and exhilarating way. —Adrian Liang

White Noise by Don DeLillo

A few days ago I received a package in my mailbox with a slim book inside of it. It was a galley of The Silence by Don DeLillo, which is publishing in October, and I instantly started reading. It's not a long book, but it is one to savor—so The Silence is ostensibly my weekend reading. But I really don't think I will be able to wait until the weekend to finish it. Therefore, I have a backup DeLillo on hand. It has been decades since I read White Noise cover to cover, but that's my plan for this weekend. I love revisiting old books that meant so much to me when I first read them. The books always seem different, but that's not because the books have changed. It's the person doing the reading who has changed. —Chris Schluep

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar's Homeland Elegies is an unflinching portrait of what it means to be a Muslim in America today. Told through the lens of a father son relationship, the novel brilliantly and damningly captures how our country behaves in a post 9/11 world and how we got to where we are. By turns intimate and memoirish, Pulitzer Prize-winning Akhtar takes on everything from art and politics, economics and society, identity and fear, as he grapples with constructs like the American Dream. I can't wait to keep reading. —Al Woodworth

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