If you want book recommendations, you could ask fellow bibliophiles for a few ideas, but their suggestions are based on a the opinions of exactly one person. Thanks to its Kindle e-reader Amazon, on the other hand, is swimming in data about not just what people claim to like, but which books they actually tear through.
That's why, when the online retail behemoth's editors choose their monthly roster of best new books, fans of engaging reads should sit up and take notice. The August list is out (hat tip to Business Insider) and it's packed with titles that sound entertaining enough to eat up a beach weekend or long flight in a flash.
1. Dopesick by Beth Macy
Amazon describes this one as a "masterful work" that is "the only book to fully chart the devastating opioid crisis in America from a New York Times bestselling author and journalist." Booklist called it "a crucial and many-faceted look at a still-unfolding national crisis, making this a timely and necessary read."
2. Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
A more heart-warming choice than the first book on Amazon's list. "A farmer's wife and a museum curator begin a life-changing correspondence in this lovely book by Anne Youngson, a first-time novelist at age 70," says Woman's Day of the novel. The Guardian calls it a "tender exploration of what it means to have experienced a life well-lived."
3. Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear
No, not Big Little Lies, the novel-turned-HBO hit. This one is a police procedural in which "a young London policewoman must probe dark secrets buried deep in her own family's past to solve a murder and a long-ago disappearance," according to Amazon. Sounds like it could easily kill a long layover or fill a lazy long weekend.
4. Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Another much praised novel by a first-time author, this one is a coming of age story set in Colombia during the bloody reign of Pablo Escobar. "Original, politically daring, and passionately written--Fruit of the Drunken Tree is the coming-of-age female empowerment story we need in 2018," raved Vogue.
5. Severance by Ling Ma
Looking for something a little lighter? Amazon describes this novel as "offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire." It's based on a the hilarious premise of a diligent millennial who just keeps going to work when the world ends. Given this potentially hilarious setup no wonder it's been on so many best books of the summer lists.
6. Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Set in a nursing home this one is "a suspenseful and emotionally satisfying novel about a lifelong friendship, a devastating secret, and the small acts of kindness that bring people together," according to Amazon. Business Insider memorably describes it as "an affecting senior citizen caper."
7. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Another whodunit (hey, it's beach read season) set on the Carolina Coast in 1969. "Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder," claims Amazon.
8. Boom Town by Sam Anderson
Who knew Oklahoma City could be so interesting? But if anyone can turn a city few outsiders rarely consider into a fascinating and funny read it's award-winning journalist Sam Anderson. "Maybe you didn't know that Oklahoma City was the key to everything. But it is," quipped author Nicholson Baker of this book.
9. The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles
Following the unlikely friendship of a kitchen girl and the daughter of the sugar baron who employs her in 1930s Brazil, this samba-soaked novel is "the perfect read for a long weekend or day off," according to Fashion Week Online.
10. Cherry by Nico Walker
A debut novel by a current inmate that was inspired by his real-life experiences, Cherry follows a PTSD-afflicted veteran as he slides into addiction and criminality. This wild book might not be for the faint-hearted, but it's definitely not short impact or style. "I'm so jealous about the writing in Cherry that it makes me sick," confessed author Scott McClanahan.