Véra Nabokov! Darkly humorous sleaze! The woman behind Freud’s talking cure! 22 new books out today.

Gabrielle Bellot

April 16, 2024, 5:10am

It’s the middle of April, a time when the transcendent experience of seeing a total eclipse the previous week—if you were lucky enough to geographically and meteorologically—has, for many readers, been eclipsed by the signature rain and lightning of the month. Should the gray gloom be keeping you in with a desire to check out something new, you’re in quite the luck—I’ve got twenty-two new books to recommend below, ranging from novels and poetry collections to memoirs and provocative nonfiction.

May your to-be-read piles grow tall and wild—and isn’t that fitting for April, too?


The Spoiled Heart - Sahota, Sunjeev

Sunjeev Sahota, The Spoiled Heart

“In this thoughtful, searching excavation of interlocking tragedies and contemporary politics, Sunjeev Sahota offers us a novel at once Shakespearean and thrillingly of our time. The Spoiled Heart hurts to read, but in all the good way.”
–Sarah Thankam Mathews

Henry Henry - Bratton, Allen

Allen Bratton, Henry Henry
(Unnamed Press)

“Allen Bratton’s Henry Henry brilliantly highlights the tension between history and modernity, power and freedom, and fathers and sons. A darkly humorous examination of the weight of privilege packed with drugs, dicks, Catholicism, cigarettes, and, yes, love—Henry Henry is a sharply-written party you don’t want to miss.”
–Isaac Fitzgerald

The Alternatives - Hughes, Caoilinn

Caoilinn Hughes, The Alternatives

“I wish I knew how Caoilinn Hughes has managed to write a book of such depth and gravity that is also so gripping and relentlessly funny. A tale about sisterhood, a novel of ideas, a chronicle of our collective follies, a requiem for our agonizing species, The Alternatives unfolds in a prose full of gorgeous surprises and glows with intelligence, compassion, and beauty.”
–Hernan Diaz

Committed: On Meaning and Madwomen - Scanlon, Suzanne

Suzanne Scanlon, Committed: On Meaning and Madwomen

“Suzanne Scanlon’s memoir Committed is a lyrical and illuminating account of a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and institutionalization. Mining the metaphors endemic to the institutional setting…and making use of medical records and her own journals alongside literary depictions and descriptions of treatment, Scanlon questions the cultural conversations around women and mental illness, framing a compelling narrative of her own recovery and redemption.”
–Natasha Trethewey

I Cannot Control Everything Forever: A Memoir of Motherhood, Science, and Art - Bloom, Emily C.

Emily C. Bloom, I Cannot Control Everything Forever: A Memoir of Motherhood, Science, and Art
(St. Martin’s Press)

“A poignant, luminous, and exquisitely crafted debut memoir. With honesty, wit, stunning prose, and a formidable intelligence, Bloom delivers profound insights into modern parenthood, illuminating its complexities through meditations on science, technology, and art. This is required reading for anyone seeking to better understand the way love generates deep and interconnected truths.”
–Chlóe Cooper Jones

The Secret Mind of Bertha Pappenheim: The Woman Who Invented Freud's Talking Cure - Brownstein, Gabriel

Gabriel Brownstein, The Secret Mind of Bertha Pappenheim: The Woman Who Invented Freud’s Talking Cure

“Brownstein’s wonderful book is part intellectual history, part scientific inquiry, and reads like a detective novel. The mystery concerns Freud’s most famous patient, and the wildly satisfying twist is that our most fundamental ideas about the human mind grow out of this very case.”
–Joe Weisberg

Reader, I - Van Landingham, Corey

Corey Van Landingham, Reader, I
(Sarabande Books)

“Corey Van Landingham makes use of all her imagination and all her lived experience to yield moments of sublimity, humor, sadness, and joy. And the real gift of this work is Van Landingham’s ability to transform the mundane into that which is sacred through a kind of plain-spokenness that makes the entire text look like magic….Reader, I is a no holds barred romp of poetry full of formal innovation and wonder.”
–Jericho Brown

Woke Up No Light: Poems - Mottley, Leila

Leila Mottley, woke up no light

woke no light is a revolution of words and worlds, readying to become. Poems centering the effect of street scriptures, gender roles, police brutality, and the humanity lost to celebritism; Mottley leaves no rock unturned and aims to set us all free.”
–Mahogany L. Browne

Good Grief - Pastor, Brianna

Brianna Pastor, Good Grief

Good Grief is emotional, raw, and powerful. It touches on emotions that often go unnoticed and unnamed. It touches on places that usually only the silence of the night knows. This book will have you cry and feel seen in ways you didn’t even know you needed. I highly recommend you pick up a copy today.”
–Christine Guttierez

Thorn Tree - Ludington, Max

Max Ludington, Thorn Tree
(St. Martin’s Press)

“Rife with flashes of some of my favorite books, from Dana Spiotta’s Eat the Document to Don DeLillo’s Underworld, Max Ludington has achieved something deep and lasting in Thorn Tree. This one will draw you in and keep you thinking long after you’ve read its final pages.”
–Daniel Torday

Crooked Seeds - Jennings, Karen

Karen Jennings, Crooked Seeds
(Hogarth Press)

“The past comes back to haunt a woman whose life is deteriorating in this powerful new novel from [South African] Booker Prize-longlisted author Jennings….With evocative prose and an apocalyptic setting, Jennings brings these complicated women to life while the world around them slowly crumbles. Readers will be captivated by this compelling novel about the corrosive power of family secrets.”

Negative Space - Linden, Gillian

Gillian Linden, Negative Space

“Imagine The Bonfire of the Vanities compressed into a week of pandemic teaching, or Renata Adler casting her gimlet eye on the absurdities of motherhood. This is the best comic novel I’ve read in years.”
–Ed Park

Loose of Earth: A Memoir - Blackburn, Kathleen Dorothy

Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn, Loose of Earth: A Memoir
(University of Texas Press)

Loose [of] Earth is an arresting memoir about love and unbending religion, toxicity and disease, and one family’s desperate wait for a miracle that never came. Blackburn has proven herself an adept essayist, making this a release you don’t want to miss.”
Chicago Review of Books

This Part Is Silent: A Life Between Cultures - Kim, Sj

SJ Kim, This Part Is Silent: A Life Between Cultures

“SJ Kim’s pellucid lyricism hides a razorblade: I haven’t read a more beautiful, more raging and anguished account of racism and female erasure. It’s a book about finding a toehold in a world that would rather you slipped and fell. It’s a book about survival and unbelonging. It is necessary reading.”
–Neel Mukherjee

Lotus Girl: My Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and America - Tworkov, Helen

Helen Tworkov, Lotus Girl: My Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and America
(St. Martin’s Essentials)

“Other books have told us, engagingly, of how West began to meet East in the 1960s and beyond. But none I have read cuts through every illusion and projection with the warmth, the clarity, the unflinching self-awareness of Helen Tworkov’s indispensable memoir….[T]he great gift of Lotus Girl is to share with every reader a wise, undeluded, deeply searching enquiry into mind and how we can start to transform it.”
–Pico Iyer

A Revolver to Carry at Night - Zgustova, Monika

Monika Zgustova, A Revolver to Carry at Night (trans. Julie Jones)
(Other Press)

“A literary delight. Monika Zgustova’s A Revolver to Carry at Night gives voice to the nearly forgotten story of Véra, wife of renowned author Vladimir Nabokov. This is just the kind of novel I love—one that illuminates the significance of a strong, historical woman so that her sacrifices and victories are written and remembered.”
–Sarah McCoy

The Band - Ma-Kellams, Christine

Christine Ma-Kellams, The Band
(Atria Books)

“Ma-Kellams takes readers on a gripping exploration of the complexities that accompany fame….This darkly humorous novel examines the more sinister aspects of celebrity and the profound impact it can have on the individuals caught up in global stardom. As K-pop has become a worldwide sensation, this timely book provides a different perspective on societal pressures associated with fame and the dangerous toll they can take on a person’s mental health.”

Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder - Yuzuki, Asako

Asako Yuzuki, Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder (trans. Polly Barton)
(Ecco Press)

“Exuberant, indulgent romp of a novel…Butter is a full-fat, Michelin-starred treat that moves seamlessly between an Angry Young Woman narrative and an engrossing detective drama and back again. Yuzuki has crafted an almost Dickensian cast of fleshy characters, with just as many surprise connections….Let this book bring you under its spell.”
The Times (U.K.)

Lies My Teacher Told Me: A Graphic Adaptation - Powell, Nate

James W. Loewen, Nate Powell, Lies My Teacher Told Me: A Graphic Adaptation
(New Press)

“James Loewen’s history of our country is everything most textbooks are not: critical, idea-rich, anti-racist, class-conscious—and funny. Loewen’s irreverent storytelling comes to life in Nate Powell’s action-packed adaptation of Loewen’s classic Lies My Teacher Told Me. This volume is especially welcome at a moment when truthful history is under attack.”
–Bill Bigelow

The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions - Kuper, Adam

Adam Kuper, The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions

“A nuanced, informative look at the history, development, and future of museums of anthropology and ethnology….This highly recommended work…challenges preconceptions and encourages readers to think critically about this complex and important issue.”
Library Journal

The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing See more

Adam Moss, The Work of Art: How Something Comes From Nothing
(Penguin Press)

“In this handsome book, [Adam Moss] interviews more than forty creators in all disciplines who ‘walk me through, in as much detail as they could muster, the evolution of a novel, a painting, a photograph, a movie, a joke, a song, and to supply physical documentation of their process’…including Stephen Sondheim, Louise Glück, Twyla Tharp, and George Saunders….The book is amply illustrated….[T]his is an inspiring work.”
Kirkus Reviews

Alien Earths: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos - Kaltenegger, Lisa

Lisa Kaltenegger, Alien Earths: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos
(St. Martin’s)

“If you’ve ever wondered if we’re alone in the cosmos—and Dr. Kaltenegger is certain you have, start with Alien Earths. With her combined degrees in astronomy and engineering, she presents a primer on the geology, physics, chemistry, biology, and ultimately mathematics of places just like Earth—which she sets about seeking every (Earth) day. She’ll show you; the answer is in the sky, our window on the cosmos. Read on.”
–Bill Nye

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