Books we’re talking about
This week, we’re talking about bestsellers and indies, legacies, and Internet stars.
New in paperback is one of our favorite novels of 2021, The Sentence. It finds Flora, a burdensome customer in life, even more exasperating in death, as she decides to haunt her favorite haunt, Birchbark Books. The name of this beloved indie will be familiar to many Minneapolitans, as it’s the real-life bookstore run by Louise Erdrich, who plays a supporting role in this love letter to books and bookstore culture. It’s also no ordinary ghost story, as the motley crew of characters, who effortlessly endear themselves to you despite their shortcomings (and maybe because of them), reckons with profound wounds, both self-inflicted and societal. Readers, this novel just might compel you to confront some of your own, as well. That’s what the best books do. —Erin Kodicek, Amazon Editor
I’m a sucker for a good behind-the-scenes story, and ever since Lindsay recommended it to me, we’ve been talking about Bergen’s book Like, Comment, Subscribe. I’ve watched more than a few DIY videos on YouTube, and this is an absorbing account of the scrappy start-up that gave us our first Internet stars and a place where ordinary people can reach millions with videos of amateur stunts, make-up tutorials, breaking world news, and everything in between. YouTube broke the media mold, blazing a trail of technology, revenue sharing, and Internet consumption that is unparalleled. And Bergen has the inside scoop, covering its rise to power and pitfalls along the way with a compulsively readable narrative that’s perfect for fans of Super Pumped and The Upstarts. —Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor
I like to take a look at the best sellers every week or so to see what’s catching on with readers and what has resonated with them for a while. One of the books I keep seeing is The Silent Patient, which was a debut novel by a talented screenwriter named Alex Michaelides. Every time I see it on a best seller list, I think, How long ago was that published? Turns out it was published in February 2019—which means readers have made it a best seller for about three and a half years. That’s highly unusual (although Colleen Hoover and Delia Owens have had similar experiences). We liked The Silent Patient from the start, and even declared that it could be the big psychological thriller debut of 2019. Turns out we were wrong. It was much more than that. —Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor
I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy lately. How people and events make a lasting impact on not just one generation but the many that follow. One of my favorite novels this year—and one I keep thinking about—is Geraldine Brooks’ Horse, which spans hundreds of years to follow the life and legacy of one of the fastest horses to ever race, Lexington. Shifting from present day to the 1850s when Lexington raced, Brooks weaves together a story of race and freedom, horses and art, and the lineage of not just ancestors but actions. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor
My mom friends have been eagerly awaiting the release of Good Inside by the reassuring Instagram star with whom we feel like we’re on a first name basis, Dr. Becky. Prescriptive and soothing, the Amazon Book Review named this one of our top nonfiction releases of September. This is not just a book about parenting your kids. It’s about re-parenting yourself, reflecting inwards to understand how the way you were raised may impact your behavior with your kids. And it’s a passionate plea to go easier on ourselves, which is easier said than done in a culture that is all too quick to shame a parent, especially moms. “Our behaviors do not define us. You are not your latest yell. You are a person—a good person—who has recently yelled,” Dr. Becky says before helping us feel better about other so-called parenting sins, like impatience, while gently urging us to repair the past to be better in the present. It ends with a rousing pep talk: “You’re doing it. You’re amazing.” —Lindsay Powers, Amazon Editor