With the new year comes new books for readers of all ages and walks of life. Reading is a great pastime enjoyed by many people, including Sara Nelson, Amazon Editorial Director of Books & Kindle. We asked Nelson for her must read books for this year and she shared her top five.
At the top of Nelson's list is "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" by Lawrence Wright. Scientology, considered by some to be a belief system and by others a cult, has been in the news a lot recently.
Among well-known followers of Scientology are Tom Cruise, John Travolta and other celebrities. In his book, Wright examines the Church of Scientology through interviews with over 200 current and former Scientologists.
Best-selling author Michael Pollan's newest book, "Cooked," examines the powers of the four elements of fire, water, air and earth to transform objects of nature into delicious foods. "Cooked" is due to be released in April.
"The Interestings" is the newest novel by best-selling author Meg Wolitzer. The book takes place the summer that former President Richard Nixon resigned. Wolitzer examines the relationships of six teens at a summer camp for the arts and follows the friends into adulthood. This book is due for release in April.
Best-selling author Elizabeth Strout is known for her Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, "Olive Kitteridge." Strout's newest novel, "The Burgess Boys," looks at the lives of a family torn apart by the past. Siblings Jim and Bob Burgess are called back to their Maine hometown by sister Susan, who needs their help with her son. This book is due to be released in March.
"Life After Life" is a novel by Kate Atkinson, author of eight best-sellers. Atkinson's newest novel, due for release in April, looks at how choices in life can change history. The book's main character, Ursula Todd, is born and dies repeatedly in her unusual life.
Nelson and her editorial team at Amazon have selected the following top ten "Best of the Month" book picks for January.
"Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes is a modern love story which takes place in a small English town. This novel tells the story of Louisa Clark, who takes a job caring for Will Traynor, a former Master of the Universe who was paralyzed in a tragic accident. "Me Before You" is currently available at Amazon and other booksellers.
"Ship It Holla Ballas!: How a Bunch of 19-Year-Old College Dropouts Used the Internet to Become Poker's Loudest, Craziest, and Richest Crew," by Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback tells the story of the rise and fall of internet poker through the eyes of a group of teens who made tens of millions during the heyday of the sport.
"Hikikomori and the Rental Sister" is a novel by Jeff Backhaus featuring lead character Thomas Tessler. Tessler has been completely withdrawn from life since the death of his young son three years earlier. Hikikomori is a Japanese cultural concept meaning a complete withdrawal from life, usually following a major trauma. Tessler's wife hires a "rental sister," a woman who will try to help Tessler return to normal life.
"Tenth of December" is a collection of short stories by author George Saunders. With topics ranging from a boy who witnesses an attempted abduction of the girl next door to two mothers trying to do the right thing, this collection may be just the right read for a cold winter day.
"Rage is Back" is a novel by best-selling author Adam Mansbach which features Dondi Vance, son of two graffiti artists in New York City. After being kicked out of prep school and his mother's apartment, Vance finds his long-lost father, Billy Rage, who has been on the run for 16 years. This story of revenge, crime and redemption will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Rounding out the list of top Amazon book selections being released this month are "Little Wolves" by Thomas James Maltman, "Snow White Must Die" by Nele Neuhaus, "Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde" by Rebecca Dana, "My Beloved World" by Sonia Sotomayor, "The Fifth Assassin" by Brad Meltzer, and "Truth in Advertising" by John Kenney.
You can read more about all of these books at Amazon.com. You can also find many of these books at local booksellers in your area this month and later this year.
Many of us boomers grew up reading, visiting the library each week to stock up on new titles. Reading is a pleasure that can be enjoyed any time and any place. In some families, books are passed around between parents, grandparents, siblings and children. The family dinner table was once a place where topics ranged from what you did that day to the book you were reading.
Winter is a great time to cuddle up with a book. Whether you prefer fiction, non-fiction or short stories you can enjoy at your leisure, there's a title that's just right for you. Jump into a new book in 2013 and escape life for a little while.