College seniors struggling with life and love, a newly freed sex offender and four women living through the Roman conquests are only a few of the colorful characters scattered through the 10 October books that Amazon’s editors picked as their favorites. Here are the books the Amazon editors read and loved. – Monitor Staff
1. “1Q84,” by Haruki Murakami
A best-seller in Murakami’s native Japan, “1Q84” follows a young woman named Aomame who enters a strange parallel world called 1Q84. Also, a ghostwriter named Tengo becomes obsessed with the work he’s writing and its strange author.
2. “The Marriage Plot,” by Jeffrey Eugenides
“The Marriage Plot,” the latest offering from the acclaimed author of “Middlesex” and “The Virgin Suicides,” tells the story of a very literary love triangle formed on an American college campus. The novel also asks the question: Are 19th-century love stories relevant to our lives today?
3. “The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean,” by David Abulafia
“The Great Sea” tells the story of the Mediterranean Sea, its place in history as a crossroads for countries and ideas, and the people who traveled on it.
4. “Lost Memory of Skin,” by Russell Banks
Banks’ novel follows a protagonist known as the Kid, who has just been released from jail after serving time as a sex offender, and his encounters with the Professor, a sociologist who is researching convicted sex offenders — even as he hides secrets of his own.
5. “The Dovekeepers,” by Alice Hoffman
Only two women and five children out of more than 900 Jews survived the Roman siege of Masada in the year A.D. 73. In “The Dovekeepers,” her carefully researched novel, Oprah-anointed author Alice Hoffman (“The Red Garden”) brings their history to life.
6. “The Cat’s Table,” by Michael Ondaatje
When 11-year-old Michael travels from Sri Lanka to London on a steamer called the Oronsay, he is seated at “the cat’s table” — the table as far away from the captain as possible, where passengers of little social interest are placed. Michael and two other boys who join him at the cat’s table explore the Oronsay and meet other passengers on a voyage that will affect Michael for the rest of his life.
7. “Nightwoods” by Charles Frazier
Fans of “Cold Mountain” and “Thirteen Moons” will be eager to get their hands on “Nightwoods,” Charles Frazier’s new novel about a woman caring for her murdered sister’s twin children in 1960s North Carolina.
8. “Mr. Fox,” by Helen Oyeyemi
Nigerian-born writer Helen Oyeyemi tells the story of writer St. John Fox, whose muse, Mary, comes to life. When Fox’s wife enters the stories he and Mary are creating, Fox is forced to choose between his ideal woman and the one who, for better and worse, is real.
9. “Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest,” by Wade Davis
Davis’ book focuses on climbers George Mallory and Sandy Irvine and their determination to be the first two to scale Mt. Everest, an expedition from which they never returned. Davis widens the story’s scope to show the other climbers who tried to conquer the mountain and the effect of World War I on a generation of British men.
10. “Cain,” by José Saramago
The late Saramago retells one of the most famous Biblical stories and details how Cain wanders over the globe after he murders his brother Abel, with appearances by a less-than-perfect God, angels who won’t do his bidding and brief glimpses into the future of the world.