It’s that time again. Every month, members of the Books team at Amazon read, rate and vote on the best books of the month, and release a list of their top 10 recommended best books.
Here’s this month’s list, including April’s Amazon debut book of the month, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life but it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done with both the heart and the hands; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.
Lust Wonder by Augusten Burroughs
In chronicling the development and demise of the different relationships he s had while living in New York, Augusten Burroughs examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it all out. With Augusten s unique and singular observations and his own unabashed way of detailing both the horrific and the humorous, Lust and Wonder is an intimate and honest memoir that his legions of fans have been waiting for.
Maestra by L.S. Hilton
Born on the outside, always looking in, Judith has worked hard to learn the rules of class. She’s transformed her accent, taught herself about wine and the correct use of a dessert fork, not to mention the art of discretion. When she landed the job at British Pictures she thought she was finally on the make, but in a place like the House it turns out she may never pass the test. When Judith is fired after spotting an art forgery that could have made her career, she turns to the long-neglected friend that kept her chin up and back straight through every slight: Rage.
Dodgers by Bill Beverly
Dodgers is the story of a young man named East who works for an LA drug gang, sent by his uncle along with some other teenage boys–including East’s hotheaded younger brother–to kill a witness connected to a major case, who is hiding out in Wisconsin. The journey takes East out of a city he’s never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, and over the course of his journey the book brings in elements from a diverse array of genres, ranging from crime fiction to road narrative to coming-of-age novel. Written in stark and unforgettable prose and featuring an array of surprising and memorable characters rendered with empathy and wit, Dodgers heralds the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.
Kill em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride
National Book Award winner James McBride goes in search of the real James Brown and his surprising journey illuminates the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown s legacy. A product of the complicated history of the American South, James Brown was a cultural shape-shifter who arguably had the greatest influence of any artist on American popular music. Brown was long a figure of fascination for James McBride, a noted professional musician as well as a writer. When he received a tip that promised to uncover the man behind the myth, McBride set off to follow a trail that revealed the personal, musical, and societal influences that created this immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated soul genius.
Consequence: A Memoir by Eric Fair
Consequence is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2004, after several months as an interrogator with a private contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair s nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation.
The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-boats by William Geroux
Mathews County, Virginia, is a remote outpost on the Chesapeake Bay with little to offer except unspoiled scenery—but it sent an unusually large concentration of sea captains to fight in World War II. The Mathews Men tells that heroic story through the experiences of one extraordinary family whose seven sons (and their neighbors), U.S. merchant mariners all, suddenly found themselves squarely in the cross-hairs of the U-boats bearing down on the coastal United States in 1942.
A Burglar’s Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh
At the heart of Geoff Manaugh s A Burglar s Guide to the City is an unexpected and thrilling insight: the city as seen through the eyes of robbers. From experts on both sides of the law, readers learn to understand the city as an arena of possible tunnels and picked locks and architecture itself as an obstacle to be outwitted and second-guessed. From how to pick locks (and the tools required) to how to case a bank on the edge of town, readers will learn to detect the vulnerabilities, blind spots, and unseen openings that surround us all the time.
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can t shake them, even long after the reading s done. In his earlier, award-winning novels, Dominic Smith demonstrated a gift for coaxing the past to life. Now, in The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, he deftly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.
Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein
The author of the New York Times bestseller Cinderella Ate My Daughter offers a clear-eyed picture of the new sexual landscape girls face in the post-princess stage high school through college and reveals how they are negotiating it.A generation gap has emerged between parents and their girls. Even in this age of helicopter parenting, the mothers and fathers of tomorrow s women have little idea what their daughters are up to sexually or how they feel about it. Drawing on in-depth interviews with over seventy young women and a wide range of psychologists, academics, and experts, renowned journalist Peggy Orenstein goes where most others fear to tread, pulling back the curtain on the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important possibilities of girls sex lives in the modern world.
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space. In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible. For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women–known as human computers –who broke the boundaries of both gender and science.