Weekend reading

Erin Kodicek on December 20, 2019
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A few of the Amazon editors are looking forward to escaping into some great books during flights home to loved ones for the holidays, but they are not dipping into merry fare: Murder in the Caribbean! Domestic terrorism! Drug addiction! Kidnapping! And Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were probably up to no good at some point as well. Chris will read Franklin & Washington and let us know.

Whatever your topic du jour, we hope you sit back, relax, and enjoy your reading this weekend. We plan to. 


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Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

This weekend I’m headed back east to my hometown to celebrate the holidays. So that means a long flight, but a long flight with kids, so who knows how much—if any—reading I’ll get done. Fingers crossed they both fall asleep and magically nap for 5.5 hours, so that I can keep reading Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (Feb 2020). I started this book a few nights ago and keep getting interrupted, but I can already tell it’s the kind of book I want to curl up with and not move for hours (so sort of perfect for a plane ride). The book opens with a family on vacation on the Caribbean island of Saint X, where on the last night of vacation the elder daughter disappears. Her body is found a few days later and two men who work at the resort are arrested. Years later, the younger daughter, now grown and living in New York, begins to uncover the story of her sister and the truth of that night. This book has been compared to Emma Kline’s The Girls, a book that profoundly shook me, in particular one scene with a young child. So light holiday reading? Probably not, but just the kind of book I want to get lost in over the continental US. —Sarah Gelman


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Eden Mine by S.M. Hulse

I’m back into the West. And by West I mean: wind that whips the paint off buildings, rising mountains, emptied towns, and the unforgiving fractures that define Jo Faber in S.M. Hulse’s Eden Mine. The novel is publishing in February and her debut, Black River, was the book that set me on my last Western themed reading adventure a few years ago. Hulse's prose is stunning, the characters oh-so flawed but redemptive…though maybe not entirely in her latest...we'll see. There’s a toughness of spirit, a bleakness of light and circumstance, and as the pages turn we learn why. I’m loving this so far and can’t wait to curl up with it this weekend. —Al Woodworth


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Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

It may not sound like heartwarming, week-before-Christmas fare, but I can’t wait to dive into a debut by Scottish-American author Douglas Stuart. Shuggie Bain tells the story of a lonely boy growing up in public housing in 1980s Glasgow, a period when Thatcher’s union-crushing policies gave rise to massive unemployment among the working classes. Which, of course, paved the way for the late-80s drug epidemic about which Irvine Welsh wrote so memorably in Trainspotting, set in Edinburgh, 50 miles or so away. Another tale of working class dreams thwarted by dysfunction and addiction? I’ve got the tissue box handy and I’m ready. —Vannessa Cronin


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Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership by Edward J. Larson

In line with my resolution to read more nonfiction in 2020, I’m looking forward to Edward J. Larson’s Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership. I don’t always associate Franklin and Washington with one another, in spite of the fact that they were both at the Constitutional Convention. I’m only a few pages into the book, but George Washington is visiting Benjamin Franklin’s house in Philadelphia, and they are just sitting down to drink wine under a large mulberry tree in Franklin’s garden. Together they will go on to found a new nation. I’m looking forward to coming along for the ride. —Chris Schluep


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Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz has a new young adult novel coming out January 7th and it's already kind of freaking me out (in a good way). The story is told in alternating chapters by an anonymous seventeen-year-old girl who is kidnapped and held captive for seven months before making her escape. The "before" chapters detail her abduction, her time as the prisoner of a stranger, and the hope she finds in contact with another captive teen named Mason. The "after" chapters are Jane Anonymous's return to a life that will never be the same and her struggle to deal with the trauma of her ordeal. The information that comes to light as the police investigate the crime give the novel a psychological twist that I never saw coming. I'm almost finished and it's been a chilling journey that reads like something ripped from the headlines. I'm dying to see how it all turns out but after reading this book I may be putting a tracker on my own thirteen-year-old. Just kidding. I think.  -- Seira Wilson

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