Best New Books for May!

The best books of the month

I just noticed that Amazon has finally unveiled their “Best Books of the Month” page — a selection of May’s best new books, as chosen by Amazon’s own book editors. They’ve identified nine very special books, including new novels by some famous authors, and some very interesting non-fiction! (For a shortcut to Amazon’s list, just visit .)

Here’s what’s on the list…

In One Person

John Irving wrote some of the most famous novels of the last 50 years — everything from The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire to The Cider-House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. But this time he’s written a more poltical story, according to the book’s description on Amazon, which calls it “precisely the kind of astonishing alchemy we associate with a John Irving novel…, brilliant, political, provocative, tragic, and funny!”

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: a Novel

Eight American soldiers survive an intense firefight in Iraq, only to be honored with a guest appearance beside the Dallas Cowboys during a Thanksgiving halftime show. There they meet a wild cast of characters, according to the book’s description on Amazon, and “Over the course of this day, Billy will begin to understand difficult truths about himself, his country, his struggling family, and his brothers-in-arms – soldiers both dead and alive. In the final few hours before returning to Iraq, Billy will drink and brawl, yearn for home and mourn those missing, face a heart-wrenching decision, and discover pure love and a bitter wisdom far beyond his years.”

An Uncommon Education

This thought-provoking novel tells the story of a woman in college who’s “consumed by loneliness,” according to the book’s description on Amazon, “until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.” There’s a secret Shakespeare society, rituals, friendship, and enthusiastic students, offering a “compelling portrait of a quest for greatness and the grace of human limitations,” and a novel that’s both “poignant and wise.”

Season of the Witch
This is a fascinating history of San Francisco during a period of transformation — from 1967 to 1982. A reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle called it “A gritty corrective to our rosy memories…enthralling, news-driven history…smart and briskly paced tale…” (They added, “I found it hard to put down!”) This 482-page book looks absolutely fascinating, and it was written by David Talbot, who co-founded and (according to Wikipedia) has also written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Time Magazine.


Toni Morrison has already won a Nobel prize, so it’s a literary event when she releases a brand new novel. “Nobody owns a sentence like Ms. Morrison,” Amazon writes in their review, describing its “slender, lyrical prose” that tells the story of a Korean war veteran and his sister who’s been abandoned by her husband. One newspaper called it “an intimate story with epic implications,” and another said author Toni Morrison was “at her best,” calling Home “her finest work since the groundbreaking 1992 novel Beloved.


The story of a female spy in World War II is based on the author’s own memories of her personal connection to a real-life spy. Her mother worked in England’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force alongside another woman who was recruited for Britain’s “Special Operations Executive” program. “The role of SOE was destruction, not intelligence,” the author remembers on the book’s page at Amazon. “In the famous words of Winston Churchill, they were to ‘set Europe ablaze’.” The author’s father, a pilot in the Royal Air Force, air-dropped supplies to the same undercover agents when she behind enemy lines in France. Amazon describes the book as “a smart, well-paced spy thriller based on the true, extraordinary story of the SOE…”

The Passage of Power

Biographer Robert A. Caro has spent several decades producing a series of definitive books about the life of President Lyndon Johnson. And according to the book’s description on Amazon, he’s still delivering the pieces of a very powerful portrait. “Book Four of Robert A. Caro’s monumental The Years of Lyndon Johnson displays all the narrative energy and illuminating insight that led the Times of London to acclaim it as ‘one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age. A masterpiece’.”

“This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming…”

This book actually has a very long subtitle that sardonically lists out all the things it will help the reader overcome. (Like grief, disease, shyness, decrepitude “and more. For Young and Old Alike.”) But it’s really a new dark humor advice memoir by Augusten Burroughs, delivering “raw, hard-knock-life advice,” according to Amazon, “veering from brutal to hilarious to deeply compassionate.” It looks brutal but intriguing, and it’s described on Amazon’s page as a “no-holds barred” book that “will challenge your notion of self-help books!”

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power

This isn’t just any investigation into a wealthy energy producer. It was written by a staff writer for The New Yorker who also spent 20 years as a reporter at The Washington Post, where he’d won a Pulitzer Prize, according to the book’s page on Amazon. Various reviewers described the book as masterful, magisterial, meticulous, or multi-angled, with one calling it a “must-read” that at the same time is both “riveting and appalling.” And one Amazon customer even warned that “You can’t put this book down. It just grabs you!”

One thought to “Best New Books for May!”

  1. I love to read self-help books both online and offline. Self-help is a great topic too and of course we should always improve ourselves. *’*”

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