Weekend reading

Adrian Liang on February 28, 2020
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The thinking habits of monks, insider stories from the fashion business, and a Vietnamese refugee's memoir of growing up in small-town Pennsylvania and trying to fit in by being punk are among the tales the Amazon Books editors are loading into our book bags and onto our Kindles this weekend.

And, hark! We're releasing our picks for the best new books of March on Sunday, March 1. Check our Editors' Picks page on Sunday to see what reads we selected, and then add a few great books to your TBR pile.


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Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

Former monk and now motivational speaker Jay Shetty taps into what he learned during his years at ashrams to help his listeners and readers find peace, purpose, and joy during our rat-race days. Think Like a Monk (April 14) is a lively mix between the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh and the "you can do it" vibe of Tim Ferriss. And, honestly, it's helped me tap into more serenity since I started reading it. I can't wait to see what else Shetty has to say. —Adrian Liang


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Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In by Phuc Tran

I'm really excited to keep reading Phuc Tran's memoir, Sigh, Gone (April 21), this weekend. Steadily, comically, and without rose-colored glasses, Tran shares what it was like to growing up as a Vietnamese refugee in a small Pennsylvania town: his self-described "war of assimilation" to be smart and fit in by looking punk, his parents' difficulty with English, the violence of his family, his love of classic literature, the racism, dislocation, and his rebellion. I've experienced so many emotions when reading this memoir, and I can't wait for readers to devour this book. —Al Woodworth


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The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir by André Leon Talley

André Leon Talley’s name is synonymous with fashion. His first magazine job was with Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine and it was there he formed a close friendship with designer Karl Lagerfeld—the first of many marquee names from the fashion industry to appear in the pages of The Chiffon Trenches as both friends and enemies. Talley holds nothing back in his account of five decades in a business that is as cutthroat as it is glamorous. Despite being the subject of racism and damaging rumors, Talley’s passion and eye for talent made him the icon he is today. A must-read for anyone interested in fashion or in an insider account of an elite world most of us can only glimpse from afar. —Seira Wilson


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Golden Buddha (The Oregon Files) by Clive Cussler and Craig Dirgo

Clive Cussler passed away this week at the age of 88, and the response from readers has been massive. I’ve never read the Oregon Files series, so I’m going to pick up the first one, which is about a groundbreaking spy ship, a Golden Buddha that everyone wants to get their hands on, and an effort to put the Dalai Lama back in control of Tibet. I was emailing with Mark Tavani this morning. He is Executive Editor and VP at Putnam, who is Cussler's publisher, and he put it perfectly: "If Putnam were a solar system, this would be like losing Jupiter." A lot of readers feel that way, too. —Chris Schluep


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News of the World by Paulette Jiles

In April, Paulette Jiles will release another post-Civil War yarn, Simon the Fiddler. To whet my appetite I’m going to revisit her National Book Award-nominated News of the World. In this western the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and you can be sure the former will ride off into the sunset at the story’s end (womp, womp). But, what is wrong with that, you say? As it turns out, not a darn thing. Captain Jefferson Kyle is a war-weary widower, traveling from town to town reading relevant bits of news to paying customers. In one such town he is given a $50 dollar gold piece to ferry a kidnapped girl back to what’s left of her family. Her parents and sister had been murdered by members of the Kiowa tribe, who spared the then-six-year-old and raised her as one of their own. Fast-forward four years and tribe life is the only life she knows, so she’s not about to go quietly with a stranger who doesn’t speak her language, whose motives she does not trust, and to a place that is not what she now considers home. Thus begins a seemingly ill-advised but transformative road trip where the mismatched pair eventually form and uneasy truce, then a not-so-begrudging alliance, and finally something more wonderful that neither Captain nor kid could have imagined. It’s pretty…wonderful. —Erin Kodicek


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The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

An Agatha Christie revival's been going on the last couple of years, at least on the big screen, and I love it. The latest screen adaptation, though—The Pale Horse—is a Christie title which I wasn't familiar with until I saw ads for it, and I'm looking forward to reading it before the screen adaptation becomes available, starting March 13 on Amazon Prime Video. In the book, a dying women passes a list of names to a priest, which he slips into his shoe for safekeeping. When he’s later murdered, police arrive at the door of Mark Easterbrook to ask why his name was one of those on the list. Worry and curiosity combine to send Easterbrook off to try to answer that question himself. And his search leads him and his sidekick Ginger Corrigan to The Pale Horse, the home of three women rumored to practice the “Dark Arts.” Aside from a juicy plot with a supernatural twist, there’s one other draw for me: one of the characters in this book, Hercule Poirot’s friend Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, appears in The Pale Horse and is widely believed to be based on Agatha Christie herself, so I’m curious to read this self-portrait. —Vannessa Cronin


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