How Amazon Celebrates National Reading Month

Monty Python book coverDorothy Must Die book cover

Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of EverythingThe Sinister Six - Superior Foes of Spider-Man graphic novel cover

The whole month of March is “National Reading Month” in America — and Amazon has set aside a special collection of books to celebrate. “What Will You Read This Month?” asks the headline on their special web page — which links to Amazon’s picks for “The Best Books of the Month.” So what books did Amazon choose for honoring National Reading Month?

For a shortcut to Amazon’s page, point your browser to

Here’s some of the highlights…

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

“They say she found a way to come back to Oz,” reads a warning on the back of this book’s cover. “They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe…” It’s an exhiliarating act of imagination — or re-imagination — and author Danielle Paige turns it into a thrilling 464-page fantasy novel. She delivers a fresh new story about Amy Gumm — “the other girl from Kansas” — who must stalk that dreaded scarecrow and overcome all of Dorothy’s other allies. “I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked…. And I have a mission.” It looks like a great read!

Dorothy Must Die book cover

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About _____* I Learned from Monty Python by Brian Cogan and Jeff Massey

It’s an irresistible title, and the cover of the book fills in the rest of the sentence, explaining that the classic British humor show taught us about everything from history, art, poetry, and religion, to philosophy, media, the French, and fish slapping. But the pair of critics who created this 336-page masterpiece share a fond response that suggests the comedy ultimately delivered a positive message. “[T]hat we can laugh at the world instead of mourning its inequity, that we can expose evil through the light of satire and can banish hatred by laughing at the idiocy of the bully…” One reviewer for The Washington Post notes the irony that over the years the show has been embraced by the mainstream culture that it used to mock, quoting Eric Idle (one of the comedy troupe’s founding members) as saying,”Nowadays I miss people who hate us!”

Monty Python book cover

Amazon’s “Best Books of March” page also touts “The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency”, a new collection of the best humor pieces from the McSweeneys web site (which was co-founded by Dave Eggers!) I laughed out loud just reading the titles of the site’s pieces, which include “What I Would Be Thinking About if I Were Billy Joel Driving Toward a Holiday Party Where I Knew There Was Going to Be a Piano.” (“I’m not doing it. I’m just not. I know I say the same thing every year, but this time I mean it….”) Each piece offers fresh and clever takes on our popular culture, past and present. Unfortunately, this particular book is only available in paperback. But if you’d like to sample their humor on your Kindle, there is an ebook edition for an earlier collection with its own pithy title: Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s, Humor Category

Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything by Donald Link

He’s an award-winning chef from New Orleans, but according to the book’s description on Amazon, Donald Link “also has a knack for sniffing out a backyard barbecue wherever he travels.” His new book offers 110 recipes (and 100 color photographs) — but also interviews with barbecue “pitmasters”, and visits to colorful southern characters. (Like a Mississippi honey-grower to a Texas lamb ranch with their own pet llama!) This book offers a loving look at some great southern food — everything from slow-cooked barbecue pork, fresh Gulf seafood, Kentucky bourbon. But besides all of the welcoming treats, there’s also a fun look at the people who are cooking them!

Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man Volume 1: Getting the Band Back Together by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber

Last summer a new comic book debuted with a stunning premise. It’s a story about Spider-Man — but it’s told from the perspective of his arch enemies! Can “The Sinister Six” pull off their big heist…or are they already being stalked by Marvel’s other crime-fighting vigilante, The Punisher? The first six issues of this comic are all collected here in a color trade paperback — that’s 136 pages — though unfortunately, it isn’t available yet in a Kindle edition. But it might be fun to savor this collection in full-sized pages, since according to one Amazon reviewer, “Almost every panel of every issue has something that makes you smile or giggle…”

The Sinister Six - Superior Foes of Spider-Man graphic novel cover

Although Amazon’s Kindle Store does have nearly 200 other Spider-Man graphic novels to choose from!

And remember: for a shortcut to Amazon’s other March picks, point your browser to

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