Weekend reading: BookExpo edition

Erin Kodicek on May 31, 2019
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The Amazon editors went on a field trip to New York this week for BookExpo America, the biggest annual book trade fair in the United States. Here, we’ve been learning about some exciting new and upcoming releases (sometimes from the author’s own mouths!)--books we’re excited to share with you in this special BEA edition of Weekend Reading (This is just a small sampling. Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come.): 

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Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms by John Hodgman

A couple of years ago at Book Expo, I had the privilege of talking with the polymath John Hodgman about his memoir/rumination on mortality, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches. The interview was at New York’s Jacob Javits convention center, at 8:30 a.m., which is terrible place and time to be, especially when you're a funny person, and especially when The End is top of mind. I wish I could do it again! His forthcoming book, Medallion Status (October 15), tramps through his unusual and somewhat unlikely career as a moderately famous person, including the bizarre perks, the creeping sense of entitlement, and what happens when it starts to fade away. —Jon Foro


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High School by Tegan and Sara Quin

“Making-of” memoirs might be trending this year, at least where musicians are concerned. Ani DiFranco’s No Walls and the Recurring Dream chronicled her life and burgeoning career until 2001, and in September, Tegan and Sara Quin will release High School. Told in alternating chapters, this disarmingly frank tale of two identical twin sisters describes their upbringing in Calgary, Alberta before they became an indie pop sensation and LGBTQ community icons. If you cringe when you hear the term high school (or maybe that’s just me), Tegan and Sara evoke this uniquely awkward, charged and very tender time, when you’re still trying to figure out who you are and what you stand for, and whether or not you’ll be able to sneak into that rave on Saturday night (Trigger warning, parents! But the kids will be [quite] alright, with love and bit of latitude.) Not to worry if you aren't already familiar with this dynamic duo; That's not a prerequisite for enjoying this rousing, thought-provoking read. --Erin Kodicek


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Is There Still Sex in the City? by Candace Bushnell

Having just spent the week in NYC for Book Expo, I’m reading to kick back in my emergency exit row seat and read something fun for the six hour flight home. Is There Still Sex in the City? is, of course, perfect for this. I love Candace Bushnell. I interviewed her a few years ago for Killing Monica and she is funny and disarming in her candor. Twenty years after she wrote the book that became a pop cult phenomenon on HBO—that would be Sex in the City--Bushnell is revisiting her old stomping grounds—love, romance, dating, but now it’s from the perspective of doing it as a middle aged person. She also checks in on the not-so-funny aspects of reaching middle age: divorce, loss, something called the “Mona Lisa Treatment”…I’ve peeked into this already, but am going to save the full read for my flight—I hope the person next to me doesn’t mind me chuckling next to them for several hours. --Seira Wilson


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The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

If I look back at what I read in 2015, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir/mirror to our broken racial relationships, Between the World and Me, is the book that continues to have a grip on a piece of my soul while so many others have slid away and out of memory. His next book is a historical novel titled The Water Dancer (Sept 24), in which a young slave named Hiram escapes his bonds but is forced to leave his family behind. While a strange power keeps Hiram alive through situations that should have killed him, and as he becomes embedded in the movement to help others escape, Hiram’s focus stays on bringing his abandoned family to freedom. I can’t wait to see how Coates pairs his strong voice with one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history. —Adrian Liang


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Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations by William H. McRaven

At Amazon, we hold big events called “fishbowls,” where we invite authors to Seattle to have a talk in front of an audience composed of Amazon employees. It’s a great experience for all involved, and next week I’m doing a fishbowl with Admiral William H. McRaven, who recently published his memoir. McRaven became famous among readers with his book Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World, which was published in 2017 and is still a bestseller. I’ve already read both books, but I will be rereading Sea Stories on a plane this weekend, working on my questions for the fishbowl. Sea Stories is also a best seller and probably will be for a long time as well. --Chris Schluep

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