Weekend Reading

Chris Schluep on January 04, 2019

It's a new year, and the Amazon Books editorial team is rested (hopefully) and ready for a book-filled 2019 (definitely). So what are we reading over the first weekend of the new year? Our reading list highlights the team's broad reading tastes--some old, some new, some mystery, some horror, some weird memoir, and even a translation.

If you are interested in reading more in 2019, check out our post on how to read more in the new year

Happy reading.

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I've started reading an advance copy of The Lost Man (available February 5, 2019) by one of my new favorite mystery authors, Jane Harper. This is Harper's third book (her first--and still my favorite--was The Dry) and once again the action takes place in the Australian outback. This time the dead person is an otherwise healthy man in his 40s who seems to have died of dehydration. Why did he leave the safety of his car, walk to an old gravestone and die a horrible death? I can’t wait to find out… His two brothers, his neighbors in this remote part of the world, have just found him and his car, so things are just getting started. If I don’t answer the phone this weekend it’s because I’m reading this book. Seira Wilson

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The buzz about Bird Box on Netflix had me looking ahead at what other scary, scary shows based on books are arriving in 2019…and lo and behold, there was Joe Hill's NOS4A2, coming this summer as a TV show from ABC. Joe Hill knows how to creep readers the heck out, and some people would ascribe that talent to the fact that Stephen King is his dad. Maybe…but writing is such an internal effort that I prefer to give full credit to Hill himself. (Though King gets credit for supporting his child's writerly dream. Go, Dad!) In any case, NOS4A2 is about a bad guy who whisks children away in his supernatural car that to a place he calls Christmasland, and the only child who has escaped him is Vic McQueen. Now Vic is an adult, but that doesn't mean she's safe. I'm looking forward to picking up Hill's 2013 novel and getting goosebumps this weekend from something other than the chilly winter wind. –Adrian Liang

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True story: Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman is a young Appalachian woman who heads to Columbia University with ambitions of becoming a concert violinist. When she gets there, she learns that she’s not nearly good enough, and she’s also killing herself to make tuition. Still, she answers a job listing on a message board for a seat in some kind of “ensemble,” and she’s hired without an audition. Her first gig is selling CDs at a booth in a craft fair, where two other musicians (one on violin, the other on pennywhistle) play inaudibly under loud New Age music—which suspiciously sounds a lot like the Titanic soundtrack—broadcast from a hidden CD player. Soon she’s onstage with The Composer himself, touring the country in a dilapidated RV with a select group of musicians, likewise performing a "Milli Violini" (Hindman's words; jealous) pantomime to crowds inexplicably eating this stuff up. Who is The Composer? He’s a real dude, but we’re fated to never learn—though we can speculate. Sounds like Titanic in more ways than one…. —Jon Foro

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I’m reading a new translation of Elsa Morante’s emotionally complex Arturo’s Island. Arturo is coming of age in a decrepit castle on a small Italian island with an insouciant and deeply misogynistic father who often leaves him alone for weeks at a time (his mother died in childbirth). His solitary existence, one he doesn’t entirely begrudge, is upended when his hapless stepmother is introduced into the household, and Arturo struggles with the contempt he’s learned to have for women—especially one he has to share his father’s parsimonious affections with--and a bewildering and growing affection for her. Morante was one of the most lauded Italian writers of her day (she died in 1985). This novel provides ample reasons why. Erin Kodicek

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