Books we are talking about

Chris Schluep on March 25, 2020

Social distancing has made it a little more difficult for our team to talk about books, but we have been meeting often, and over video as much as possible, so we are embracing our new normal. The coronavirus is affecting how people buy books at Amazon (more on that shortly), but that isn't the only thing we are talking about.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The top book on the Charts Most Sold Fiction list is Celeste Ng's second novel Little Fires Everywhere. That is also the title of Hulu's new hit show, which is based on the book. Since we've been fans of Ng's work from the very beginning of her career, I was excited to watch the new show, which stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. There are some differences from the book, but the show absolutely does Ng's work justice. Can't wait to watch more.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Standing at No. 5 on the Charts Most Read fiction list is Rebecca Serle's new novel. Sarah Gelman and I have had our eye on this book for a long time, ever since we had lunch with the publisher and she set an early reading copy down on the table. Sometimes a book just shows up and you know it's going to work. Here is part of the review Sarah Gelman wrote when we picked it as a best book of March: "After years of hard work and planning, Type A Dannie Cohan finally has it all: she’s aced a job interview at her dream law firm and her boyfriend just proposed to her. She goes to sleep that night and has an extremely vivid (wink, wink) dream set five years in the future involving a strange man she appears to be married to. When she wakes up, she can’t shake the dream, and is further disturbed when she meets her best friend’s new boyfriend, only to discover he’s the mystery man from the dream." Sarah goes on to point out that, "While this may sound like the set up for a romantic comedy, it’s anything but. What readers will find is a thoughtful, poignant and yes, sometimes heartbreaking look at destiny, friendship, and our purpose on this planet."

Silly Jokes for Kids by Carole P. Roman

I said I would talk about how the coronavirus has affected book sales at Amazon, and a major effect has been the rise of books for young kids. I took a count, and of the top 20 print books selling on Amazon right now, 17 of them are geared toward kids. It's all about reading and learning at home these days.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

I mentioned that 17 of the 20 top-selling print books at Amazon are geared toward kids. The other three books in the top 20 are Little Fires Everywhere, that freight train of a novel called Where the Crawdads Sing, and Erik Larson's newest work of nonfiction. One of the really interesting aspects of Larson's book (and this is true whether you read it in hardcover or Kindle, or listen to the audiobook) is that, while it is set against the sweep of Germany's bombing campaign of Britain, Larson takes a deep look at the interpersonal relationships of his historic cast. How did they act in this time of crisis? How would we act? How should we act?

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Both Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi have big fans on the editorial team. Reynolds is an award-winning, best-selling author of books for young readers, and Kendi is an award-winning, best-selling author and professor. In this book, Reynolds takes Kendi's work and presents if for a younger audience.

Here are both the authors in a recent Daily Show appearance:

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