By Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 02, 2021
No matter how many books we may already have in our TBR pile, we still can't resist perusing (and purchasing!) exciting new reads. From rock 'n' roll memoirs to atmospheric thrillers to superlative short story collections, April's releases offer loads of appeal! Here are fifteen volumes that we can't wait to get our hands on. A few of these may already be available. (But we'll still include the suggestion of a previously published book that offers a similar vibe.)
First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami
As suggested by the title, the eight (maybe biographical) stories in this collection are all told in the first person. From memories of youth, meditations on music, and an ardent love of baseball, to dreamlike scenarios and invented jazz albums, together these stories all touch on love and solitude, childhood and memory.
What to read first: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami
The Five Wounds by Kirsten Valdez Quade
It's Holy Week in Las Penas, New Mexico, and Amadeo Padilla is rehearsing feverishly for his role of Jesus in the village's passion play when his fifteen-year-old daughter shows up pregnant on his doorstep. Fans of Valdez's excellent book of short stories will recognize the characters that populate her debut novel.
What to read first: Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade
The Man Who Lived Underground by Richard Wright
The release of this previously unpublished work by the renowned African American author is indeed cause for celebration. In an afterword by the author, he wrote of the incendiary novel, "I have never written anything in my life that stemmed more from sheer inspiration." Wow!
What to read first: Native Son by Richard Wright
Last Chance Texaco by Rickie Lee Jones
With candor and lyricism, the innovative music icon takes us on the journey of her exceptional life: from her nomadic childhood to her years as a teenage runaway to her tumultuous relationship with Tom Waits and struggles with addiction. Look forward to never-before-told stories and stunning personal photos.
What to read first: Just Kids by Patti Smith
Recommended for fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jacqueline Woodson, this intergenerational novel follows Laila who desperately wants to become a mother. After several unsuccessful pregnancies, she turns to the Melancons, an enigmatic Harlem family known for their magic, healing power.
What to read first: Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
All the Children are Home by Patry Francis
Set in the late 1950s in a small town in Massachusetts, this sweeping saga follows foster parents, Dahlia and Louie and their long-term foster children Jimmy, Zaidie, and Jon. When Agnes, a six-year-old indigenous girl, comes to live with them, it sets off a chain of irrevocable changes in the family dynamics.
What to read first: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins
The author of this propulsive, atmospheric debut thriller has been dubbed an American Tana French. After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of the grieving families.
What to read first: Into the Woods by Tana French
The Souvenir Museum: Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
McCracken's previous collection of short fiction won The Story Prize in 2015. Here, the bestselling author of Bowlaway offers a collection of tales in which the mysterious bonds of family are tested, transformed, fractured, and fortified. Her characters embark on journeys that leave them indelibly changed.
What to read first: Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
Books about witches never get old, right? This historic thriller hearkens back to seventeenth-century Boston where a young Puritan woman plots her escape from a violent marriage. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary soon finds herself the object of suspicion and rumor.
What to read first: Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner
Expanding on her viral 2018 New Yorker essay of the same title, the indie rock star of Japanese Breakfast fame has written an unflinching memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. Her narrative is rich with intimate anecdotes and bolstered by personal photos.
What to read first: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
This ambitious novel centers on a Soho, London apartment building and its shadowy billionaire owner's plan to convert it into condos and shops. But current tenants, including brothel workers Precious and Tabitha, aren't going without a fight. The story cuts to the heart of issues around wealth, gender, and power.
What to read first: Elmet by Fiona Mozley
This is the first new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winner in nearly a decade. It is also her first written in Italian and translated to English. Dealing with familiar Lahiri themes, exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement, the woman at the story's center is mired in a deep solitude after her father's untimely death.
What to read first: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin
Three lonely strangers, each working through grief and life's curveballs, are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm in a rural Oregon town. This heartwarming debut novel is about the power of friendship, compassion in the face of loss, and finding the courage to start over.
What to read first: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Hopefully there's something here that captures your fancy! Let us know which new books you're most excited about this month. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.