The 12 best new books to read in October 2021, from Amazon editors – Business Insider

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October is here, which means that Amazon’s book editors have 12 newly released books for you to dig into this month.
Their top choice is “Sankofa” by Chibundu Onuzo, a novel about a woman who discovers that the father she’s never met is actually the president of a nation in Africa. Other recommended books include a book co-written by Jane Goodall, an in-depth look at Anthony Bourdain’s life on the road, and Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel.
Descriptions are provided by Amazon and edited lightly for clarity.
A grieving woman living in London discovers the diary of the father she never met and yearns to meet him. The twist? He was the president of a country in Africa — determined to liberate and bring prosperity to the people, no matter the cost.
Cue the trip of a lifetime. Taking on questions of race, belonging, and heritage, Onuzo writes with gusto and beautifully illuminates what Sankofa means: “A mythical bird…it flies forward with its head facing back.” — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor
Fans of Anthony Bourdain’s shows will at last get what we have long desired: A behind-the-scenes view of life on the crew, traveling to faraway places, and working directly with Bourdain.
Written by his long-time director and producer, “In the Weeds” is the affectionate but unvarnished story of their years together, revealing just how tremendously complicated shooting the show really was, and Bourdain’s love/hate relationship with “The TV machine.” —Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor
Towles’ (“A Gentleman in Moscow“) latest feat of storytelling finds four boys in search of a fresh start: Emmett and Billy want to find their mother who left them when they were young, and Duchess and Woolly are on the hunt for a stashed wad of cash.
There’s train hopping and car stealing, and with that comes the inevitability of trouble sparked from both good and bad intentions. Each of these young men is chasing their dreams, but their pasts — whether violent or sad — are never far behind. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor
It’s 1971 and the Hildebrant family is at a crossroads, if you will. Russ, the patriarch and associate pastor at his church, has recently fallen from grace in a scandal concerning the church’s youth group. Meanwhile, his wife and four children are wrestling with issues of their own.
The first in a planned trilogy, “Crossroads” proves, yet again, Franzen’s prowess at writing riveting dysfunctional family sagas. It’s his most commercial work since 2001’s “The Corrections.” — Sarah Gelman, Amazon Editor
When a woman’s husband, a police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, and a friend covers the story for a Philadelphia TV station, their bond is tested as both deal with the tragedy in very different and personal ways.
Co-written by two authors — one of whom is Black and one of whom is white — “We Are Not Like Them” tackles tough issues like race, brutality, and class with unflinching honesty and empathy, and will be a big hit with book clubs. — Sarah Gelman, Amazon Editor
In a novel reminiscent of the mind-bending worlds of David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” and “The Bone Clocks,” Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthony Doerr (“All the Light We Cannot See“) traces the lives of multiple characters and how they intersect over the fate of a single story.
Expansive, transporting, and full of emotion and adventure, “Cloud Cuckoo Land” conjures an entirely new definition of brilliant literary magic. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor
No One Will Miss Her” begins with the discovery of a young woman’s body — Lizzie, the pariah of Copper Falls, Maine — a poor, lower-class young woman looked down on both by the police at the murder scene and even by the man she married.
Lizzie narrates from beyond the grave as Detective Ian Bird starts investigating everything, from Lizzie’s dad to her missing husband to what business Adrienne Richards — a trophy wife who’s been renting Lizzie’s lakeside house — had in a dump like Copper Falls. You won’t want to miss this dark, tart, and pacy mystery. —Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor
This is one of the best books I have read this year. The novel begins by introducing Ma Lou, a woman working in a market in Port-au-Prince when Haiti was hit by the devastating 2010 earthquake.
From there, author Myriam J. A. Chancy introduces additional characters and storylines that somehow add to the story without splitting the reader’s attention. It is rare that a novel is able to become the defining work about a historic event, but “What Storm, What Thunder” feels like one of those books. — Chris Schluep, Amazon Books Editor
“We still have a window of time,” explains famed naturalist Jane Goodall to writer Doug Abrams. “There really is reason to hope we can succeed.”
Through several interviews in Tanzania, the Netherlands, and England, Abrams asks Goodall to delve into her keen commitment to hope, much as he movingly did in “The Book of Joy” with the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Goodall’s words and wisdom will resonate in your heart and soul, inspiring action, change, and, yes, hope. — Adrian Liang, Amazon Editor
Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim — the Thursday Murder Club — get very little time to bask in the glow of solving their first murder case when Douglas, Elizabeth’s ex-husband, pops up with a wild tale that involves being on the run and £20M of uncut diamonds.
Faster than you can say “tea and scones” someone is murdered, and the Thursday Murder Club must catch a killer before he eliminates them. This clever, funny mystery is a must-read for anyone with even a mild case of Anglophilia. — Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor
After nearly drowning, Elphaba’s granddaughter Rain wakes up with no memory on an island that is home to only seven female “brides” ranging in age from 10 to 80. The brides spend their days keeping time in check for all of Maracoor, and Rain — accompanied by a talking goose with a wicked sense of humor — begins to learn about this strange land, all the while hoping her memory will return.
Details from Maguire’s earlier Oz books are a delight to encounter in a tale, the first in a trilogy, that strikes the perfect balance between fantasy and topics of agency, xenophobia, and justice. — Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor
Reading Indra Nooyi’s “My Life in Full“, you can’t help but like her. Sure, she’s tough and driven enough to have made it to the top of PepsiCo — the first woman of color and immigrant to run a Fortune 50 company — but she is family-oriented and cares about people as more than just potential customers.
Nooyi writes that a leader’s fundamental goal should be to shape the decades ahead, not just react to the present, and the future she envisions includes a world where people have room to both make a living and to live their lives. — Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor

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