Book of the Month has announced that Peter Hessler‘s The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution will be one of five selections for May 2019. On the first day of each month, the club’s judges announce five new selections, and each member has until the seventh to choose which one they would like to receive as the book of the month. The judges make their selections after receiving a shortlist of titles from BOMC’s in-house editors led by Siobhan Jones, who sift through hundreds of submissions each month to identify potential selections. Past picks include Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by Douglas Laux, Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer, and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Founded in 1926, Book of the Month has 150,000 members.
In her note to members, Editorial Director Siobhan Jones wrote: “One dusty afternoon in Austin, Texas, in the back of a friend’s car, I had one of those reading experiences that was so vivid, I’ll remember it forever. In some tattered back issue of The New Yorker, a magazine I rarely peruse, I encountered a writer whose storytelling ability was so dazzling that I immediately tracked down one of his travel memoirs (a genre I rarely dip into) and devoured it in a few days. That writer was Peter Hessler, and from then on, I was a lifelong fan.
This month, Hessler is back with a new work of nonfiction about Egypt—from Ancient Egypt to the Arab Spring. Sounds weighty? Oh, and how. This is a biography of a nation, an introduction to archeology, a work of sociology, and a memoir all rolled into one. In pursuit of his keen interest in Egypt’s history and culture, Hessler and his family move to Egypt … just as the 2011 revolution is beginning. As a result, the book is a meandering tour of past and present, war, chaos, and peace, and a whole host of real-life characters you’ll root for and wonder about for weeks after reading.
This is not your typical beach read, but I think it’ll find an audience among those who love serious nonfiction. Illuminating, surprising, and even newsy, The Buried is a work of cultural reporting from a master at the height of his game.”