Have you heard the one about the Pulitzer Prize winner, the Instagram superstar and Anna Faris? Yeah, we’re still working on the punch line there. But in the meantime, here are 12 books to have on your radar this month.
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Pulitzer Prize winner Egan has proven that she can write about pretty much anything. (If you haven’t read A Visit from the Goon Squad, please close out of this list and buy it immediately.) This time, it’s the Depression-era story of a resilient young woman whose one-night stand with a gangster has dire consequences for both parties.
Mental: Lithium, Love and Losing My Mind by Jaime Lowe
Lowe was 16 years old when she stopped sleeping and eating, and began to hallucinate. She was eventually diagnosed as bipolar and prescribed lithium pills, which worked great…until they didn’t. Her new memoir is an investigation of the history, uses and controversies surrounding the mood-balancing drug, as told through Lowe’s own struggles with mental illness.
Literally Me by Julie Houts
Written and illustrated by one of our absolute favorite Instagram follows, @jooleeloren, Literally Me is a collection of darkly hilarious illustrated essays satirizing modern female identity. Our favorite is “How to Become Effortless,” which includes tips like “Wash your hair. Use a shampoo that will make your hair look dirty,” “Apply eyeliner. Rub off 80% of eyeliner so it looks like you used to be wearing eyeliner,” and “Brush each eyebrow—100 strokes each.”
Unqualified by Anna Faris
Faris is a generally delightful human being, so it’s no surprise her first book (named after her super-popular podcast) is hilarious and smart. Part memoir and part advice book, she tackles everything from marriage and dating to parenthood and the importance of female friendship. Basically, we want to be her bestie.
Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast
Chast, the famed New Yorker cartoonist, left her native Brooklyn for the suburbs after she had kids. Years later, as her daughter was getting ready to head to college in Manhattan, she made her a booklet—the basis of this book—jam-packed with funny advice about and reflections on the city.
Here in Berlin by Cristina Garcia
A vivid portrait of a city in flux, Here in Berlin follows an unnamed visitor as she encounters a host of characters, from a young Cuban POW and the son of a Berlin zookeeper to a Jewish scholar who hid in a sarcophagus for 37 days.
Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer
Inspired by the author's Jezebel column, Lady Killers is a thrilling investigation of female serial killers throughout history. Most notable? Kate Bender, a member of a family of serial killers responsible for the deaths of 11 people in Kansas in the 1870s.
The Fearless Baker by Erin Jeanne McDowell
The first book from PureWow’s own recipes editor, The Fearless Baker features indulgent recipes and tips for baking like a pro. Think strawberry-filled popovers and apple cider pie. Yum.
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
A prequel to Hoffman's best-selling 1995 novel Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic introduces us to the Owen sisters as fledgling witches in NYC in the 1960s, coming to grips with the curse on their family that dooms any guy who tries to woo them. Read this, then indulge in a little vintage Sandra Bullock-Nicole Kidman action.
The King Is Always Above the People by Daniel Alarcon
Immigration, broken dreams, Los Angeles gangs and Latin American families. These are just a few of the topics explored in Alarcón’s slyly political collection of deeply human stories.
Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan
In this new memoir, Joy Luck Club author Tan writes candidly about the early traumas, self-doubt and complex relationships that led to her career in storytelling.
I’m Fine...and Other Lies by Whitney Cummings
Comedian, actress and show creator (of 2 Broke Girls), Cummings gets in on the humorous essay game. In I’m Fine…and Other Lies, she covers everything from her mental health to why you should always ask a first date what his favorite animal is.