Books we are talking about

Chris Schluep on May 14, 2020
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Books we are talking about

We are trying something new in Books We Are Talking About. It's a popular post, and we would like to make it a more regular feature on the blog, so the editors are sending in dispatches about what they would like to talk about. With all the distance these days, we're more likely to catch everything that the editors are interested in.

Before we go on to our books, I'd like to point out that the list of print bestsellers has a distinct throwback quality to it, with novels by both Suzanne Collins and Stephenie Meyer in the top 10. It's like we're all back in 2008. That's when the last Indiana Jones movie came out. It's when Taylor Swift released her second album, Fearless. The top-selling book on Amazon that year was Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. #2 was Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn.

We hope you enjoy the new format for this post.



Disco Cube Cocktails: 100+ innovative recipes for artful ice and drinks by Leslie Kirchhoff

Happy hour has become a virtual, DIY experience and I’ve been trading cocktail recipes with my friends as we eyeball each other’s drinks from afar. I was really happy that one of the books I brought home on my final trip to the office was Disco Cube Cocktails. There are really fun drinks to make in this swanky little book, and the coolest part (no pun intended) is all the ice cube recipes. I’ve somehow collected various ice cube molds, so thanks to this book my last virtual happy hour Cuba Libre was chilled with skull-shaped lime juice cubes. Next week: Bee Sting cocktail with Lemon Stinger Cubes. Cheers! —Seira Wilson


Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City by Fang Fang, translated by Michael Berry

The impact of COVID-19 can be felt all over the world. As some countries recover, others are plunging into some of their darkest days of the pandemic. So it is no surprise that the editors are intrigued and fascinated by Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City publishing on Friday. Fang Fang is one of China's most acclaimed writers, and on January 25, 2020, after the central government imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, she began to publish an online diary. Each post was taken down the following day. While we each grapple with the challenges of our own lives, Wuhan Diary offers a glimpse into someone else's days—and I, for one, am ready for it. —Al Woodworth


The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

One of the best parts of our job is meeting authors that we love, and I still remember the first time I had the opportunity to meet Kristin Hannah. Over lunch at Flying Fish—one of our former local haunts—I was blown away by how funny, generous, and totally charming Ms. Hannah is, and I know the whole team feels this way. This is an author we absolutely adore, and we love to cheer on her victories. So you can imagine the team chatter when St. Martin’s Press announced that Hannah’s upcoming The Four Winds, set during the Great Depression, would be available in February 2021. Hannah studied as a lawyer, and her attention to research helps make her historical fiction come to life. We’ll be waiting here patiently until we can get our hands on the novel, and keeping ourselves busy with Hannah’s genuine Instagram account, @kristinhannahauthor. —Sarah Gelman



Walk the Wire by David Baldacci

Last week I got to do a live chat with David Baldacci and Michael Connelly. It's a sign of the times: three people chatting with one another from inside their own respective houses. Since authors aren't traveling, we need to figure out new ways for readers to get access to them, so Amazon has been running a lot of chats on Amazon Live. If you click on that link, you will find all sorts of livestreams that are taking place or that have recently taken place on Amazon. And if you scroll down to "books," you can find our conversation. We even play "Never Have I Ever" and "Would You Rather," which I will admit sounded a little strange in theory but was a lot of fun in practice. —Chris Schluep



The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe

I love listening to "Fresh Air" on NPR while driving along, but I don't get to drive much anymore because: pandemic. But a necessary trip to the recycling center last week meant I unexpectedly caught John Moe's interview with Terry Gross about his new book, The Hilarious World of Depression. He talked about his family history of depression: not only has he suffered but it claimed the life of his brother too. It was fascinating and sad to hear about this disease first hand, from a comedian, no less. And to hear how it had inspired his podcast, which provides community for those struggling with depression by interviewing those who have experience and coping mechanisms to share. At the end, Terry Gross asked Moe about being on medication, and his answer was simple: For him, being on medication is so much better than the alternative. As depression and suicide rates rise in this uncertain time, this feels like a book worth talking about some more. —Vannessa Cronin


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