9 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in April
April may be best known for its showers, but it’s also an incredible month for new books. From gorgeous retellings of mythological love stories to relatable essays about the indignities of middle age, here are nine books we can’t wait to dive into this month.
1. Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola
In her debut collection, Babalola retells beautiful love stories from history and mythology with new detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, she also reimagines Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East and stories from long-erased places. With richly drawn characters like a young businesswoman attempting a great leap in her career and an even greater one in her love life and a powerful Ghanaian spokeswoman forced to decide whether she should uphold her family's politics or be true to her heart, Love in Color is a celebration of romance in many different forms.
2. Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story by Mazie K. Hirono
Raised poor on her family's rice farm in rural Japan, Hirono was seven years old when her mother left her abusive husband and sailed with her two elder children to the United States. Though Hiromo didn’t speak English when she entered school in Hawaii, she went on to hold state and national office and is now the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the U.S. Senate. Her memoir is an inspiring account of both her mother’s courage and her personal journey coming into her own power.
3. Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi
In this imaginative novel, two a young queer couple (and their pet mongoose) set off on a train trip and discover that the vessel they’ll be taking, is no ordinary locomotive, but rather a former tea-smuggling train with mysterious and welcoming touches. Written by a contemporary master of the magical realism genre, Peaces examines what it means to be seen by another person, and what happens when things you thought were firmly in the past turn out to be right beside you.
4. Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism and Treason by Gina Frangello
Frangello (Every Kind of Wanting) spent much of her life trying to outrun a childhood marked by poverty and violence. Now a wife and devoted mother, the better life she worked tirelessly for is emotionally upended by the death of her closest friend. The domino effect is swift: Frangello soon gets caught up in a passionate affair, leading a double life while continuing to project the image of the perfect family. When her secrets are finally uncovered, her home and her identity implode.
5. Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
This novel, set in present-day Miami follows the daughter of a Cuban immigrant determined to learn more about her family history. When she travels to Cuba to see her grandmother, secrets from the past are destined to erupt. Garcia’s debut is a haunting meditation on the choices mothers make, the legacy of memories and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories.
6. Did I Say That Out Loud?: Midlife Indignities and How to Survive Them by Kristin Van Ogtrop
From the former Editor-in-Chief of Real Simple comes a strikingly relatable tome about the weirdness of middle age. Featuring stories from her own life and anecdotes from friends and family, Did I Say That Out Loud? covers neglectful children, stealth insomnia, abdominal muscles that can't seem to get the job done and more. An excellent book club choice for anyone in their forties and beyond.
7. Something Unbelievable by Maria Kuznetsova
Larissa is an 80-something living in Kiev who’s over pretty much everything but her beloved granddaughter, Natasha, a new mother, a wife and a struggling actress in upper Manhattan. When Natasha asks her grandmother to tell the story of her family's Soviet wartime escape from the Nazis, she reluctantly agrees. But as Larissa reveals her story, neither woman can anticipate how overwhelmingly these lessons of the past will echo in their present moments.
8. Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins
This first novel follows a young Harlem woman desperate become a mother, after several pregnancies that have in heartbreak. This time, she turns to the Melancons, an old and powerful family known for their caul, a precious layer of skin that is the secret source of their healing power. The deal falls through and she delivers a stillborn, but what she doesn't know is that her niece, is soon to have a baby with her own caul which sets into motion a decades-long exploration of the gentrification of Harlem, the ethics of non-traditional family-making, the enduring power of tradition and more.
9. Broken (in the Best Way Possible) by Jenny Lawson
Anyone who’s read anything by Lawson—including the fabulous Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened—knows that she doesn’t shy away from talking about depression and anxiety. In fact, that’s kind of her thing. In a time when mental health issues are at the forefront of many peoples’ realities, Lawson is back to humanize the struggles many—reassuring us that we're not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why she can never go back to the post office, Broken is an utter delight.