We recommend: The best new book releases
The best of new fiction
Romantic Comedy: by Curtis Sittenfeld. From the New York Times bestselling author of six books, Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest is about comedy sketch writer Sally Milz who writes ‘SNL’-like shows pulling inspiration from her own life. In the story, she dissects how an average looking man dates someone out of his league but the reverse rarely happens. This is not your typical dreamy romantic story, but a realistic take on romance, gender roles, and relations.
New York Times writes: “If you, like so many women, are feeling recently jilted by a too-good-to-be-true male lover, then ‘Romantic Comedy’ can be a pleasing antidote to his failures.” The Guardian calls it an “affable, intelligently crafted tale of work and love.” (April 4)
The People Who Report More Stress: by Alejandro Varela. This book is a collection of loosely interconnected stories with queer and immigrant characters, mainly focussing on an interracial gay couple living on the margins in New York City. This is Varela’s second book and in it, he experiments with forms and point of views to give us humorous, sexy, and highly neurotic tales about parenting, long-term relationships, systemic and interpersonal racism, and class conflict.
Kirkus notes that though “there are occasional instances of overly obvious moralizing. Nevertheless, the collection shows a writer of impressive imagination continuing to deepen his craft.” (April 4)
The Abyss: by Jayemohan. Translated from Tamil by Suchitra Ramachandran, this book is about a rich and God-fearing man Pothivelu Pandaram who has the perfect family—a loyal wife and three daughters for whom he can cough up plenty for dowry. But the secret to his successful trade is a group of physically deformed beggars who collect money at temples and various places for him. It is bitter, raw, and laced with tenderness.
The Hindu warns: “It is a deeply intense book that requires, of all things, courage to read.” (April 10)
Homecoming: A Novel: by Kate Morton. Set in Australia, this one is historical fiction featuring a murder mystery. The story focuses on Jess, a laid-off journalist, and her grandmother Nora. When a mysterious accident occurs at Nora’s ancestral house, Jess goes digging for clues and finds herself a cold case instead. (April 13)
Happy Place: by Emily Henry. Here is one for those looking for a light beach read. ‘Happy Place’ is about a couple who have broken up but fake their relationship for their friends' yearly getaway. Harriet is a driven surgical resident while Wyn is a laid-back charmer. What can go wrong with pretending to be in a relationship again? (April 25)
In the Lives of Puppets: by TJ Klune. This one is for fans of sci-fi and post apocalyptic stories. The book follows the lives of human Victor Lawson and his three robot housemates—an android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum. When Victor repairs an unfamiliar android, he accidentally alerts the authorities to take away Gio. Victor and co now have to find a way to rescue their friend. (April 25)
This month’s poetry pick
Divisible by Itself and One: by Kae Tempest. Our poetry pick of the month is this powerful collection which addresses questions of integrity. In it, Kae Tempest, who themselves are part of the queer community, explores the ideas of forms and contemplates how to live with an honest relationship with oneself and others. (April 27)
The best of the non-fiction list
A Living Remedy: Nicole Chung. Nicole Chung is an adopted child with Korean heritage living in America. In her second memoir, she recalls her childhood and attempts to understand her adoptive parents, the lives they led, and the life she forged for herself as an adult. She chronicles her grief and personal loss against the backdrop of class and identity struggles.
NPR finds that the book “is a powerful testament to the failures of our health-care system and to the limits of what most of us can do for those we love.” (April 4)
The Big Reveal: An Illustrated Manifesto of Drag by Sasha Velour. Here is a unique blend of a memoir that blends history lessons with the theory of drag and complements them with beautiful photos and artwork from the winner of the ninth edition of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. As the title of the book suggests, Velour has bared it all—from her experience as a drag queen to embracing and finding solidarity in queerness.
Kirkus says the book is “an impressive textual and visual display of artistry and courage” and especially praises the Sasha Velour for: “generously sharing entertaining anecdotes, maxims, and fond tributes to family and friends, the author isn’t shy about divulging the hard truths about life in the drag and queer communities.” (April 4)
Water in a Broken Pot: by Yogesh Maitreya. This is a hauntingly honest and moving memoir from Dalit writer and poet Yogesh Maitreya. In it, he talks about the loneliness, grief and alienation at schools, workplace and other institutions that comes with his caste identity while sharing his experience living with class struggles and an alcoholic father. (April 22)
Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma: by Claire Dederer. In this book, Dederer attempts to answer the same ol’ art vs the artist question and whether we can still love art if the creator is a monster. She adds more nuance to the debate by bringing in recent artists like Michael Jackson and Woody Allen into the mix and focuses on the audience's psyche and relationship with problematic artists. (April 25)