30 Books We Can’t Wait to Read: April 2024

Cover of 30 Books We Can’t Wait to Read: April 2024


A Good Happy Girl by Marissa Higgins – April 2 (Catapult)

A Good Happy Girl offers an unwavering look at a young woman for whom wavering has been a way of life. Higgins’s heroine makes for a compellingly prickly protagonist, an uncertain someone who the reader nonetheless wants so much to hug. This keen-edged gem of a novel limns the sometimes erotic, often quixotic quest to transcend oneself while trying to retain one’s own personhood.” –Michelle Hart, author of We Do What We Do in the Dark

Women! In! Peril! by Jessie Ren Marshall – April 2 (Bloomsbury Publishing)

In this brash and unputdownable collection, we meet a sex bot trying to outlast her return policy, a skeptical lesbian grappling with her wife’s mysterious pregnancy, and a post-Earth colonist struggling to maintain her faith in humanity as she travels to “Planet B.” Whether they exist in the grounded realism of a college dance studio or the speculative world of Deep Space, these women push against social norms and family expectations to reclaim their power, understand their mistakes, and find a better future. Hilarious, heartbreaking, and defiantly optimistic, the twelve stories in Women! In! Peril! balance humor and gravitas to explore the complexities of queerness, toxic relationships, parenting and divorce, Asian and Asian American identity, and so much more.

The Cemetery of Untold Stories by Julia Alvarez – April 2 (Algonquin Books)

“Julia Alvarez’s thought-provoking and powerful The Cemetery of Untold Stories is a balancing act of the everyday and the magical, a blend of history and cuento. Through imperfect characters longing for love and fighting against el olvido, we are reminded that each of us is capable of terrible cruelty or incredible compassion, and that stories have the power to bring us together.” –Jaquira Díaz, author of Ordinary Girls

Table for Two by Amor Towles – April 2 (Viking)

Millions of Amor Towles fans are in for a treat as he shares some of his shorter fiction: six stories based in New York City and a novella set in Golden Age Hollywood. The New York stories, most of which take place around the year 2000, consider the fateful consequences that can spring from brief encounters and the delicate mechanics of compromise that operate at the heart of modern marriages. Written with his signature wit, humor, and sophistication, Table for Two is another glittering addition to Towles’s canon of stylish and transporting fiction.

DESOLATION by frankie baby – April 2 (Long Day Press)

A look into the soul of someone who has never felt at home in their body. someone whose adoption shaped them in the worst ways. what it feels like to be misaligned with your own existence. and alienated from the concept of family. this book is for anyone who was adopted. for anyone with an ED. for anyone with body trauma. for those who don’t feel like they belong anywhere, in this lifetime or in the next. for those who ache.  

I’ll Give You a Reason: Stories by Annell López – April 9 (Feminist Press)

I’ll Give You a Reason thrums with richly drawn portrayals of Dominican immigrants rarely visible in our society. Annell López makes us see these complex, tough women and girls in their full humanity. Even as they chase an elusive American dream, these characters fight back in the ways they know how. And we can’t help but love them for it. An arresting, vital debut.” –Bridgett M. Davis, author of The World According to Fannie Davis

Off-White by Astrid Roemer (translated by Lucy Scott and David McKay) – April 9 (Two Lines Press)

It’s 1966 in Suriname, on the Caribbean coast of South America, and the long shadow of colonialism still hangs over the country. Grandma Bee is the proud, cigar-smoking matriarch of the Vanta family, which is an intricate mix of Creole, Maroon, French, Indian, Indigenous, British, and Jewish backgrounds. But Grandma Bee is dying, a cough has settled deep in her lungs. The approaching end has her thinking about the members of her family she’s lost, and especially one of her favorite granddaughters, Heli, who has been sent away to the Netherlands because of an affair with her white teacher. Ultimately, there’s only one question Bee must answer: What is a family? If her descendants are spread across the world, don’t look similar, don’t share a heritage, and don’t even know each other, what bond will they have once she has died?

The Garden by Clare Beams – April 9 (Doubleday Books)

“No one writes feminist historical fiction like Clare Beams. With her singular lyricism, elegance, and candor, The Garden powerfully illuminates what is, for many women, a private and isolating grief. Ingeniously using elements of the gothic and weaving in today’s most pressing questions about female bodily autonomy, Beams captures the magic, strangeness, terror, and all-consuming pressure of pregnancy, as well as the desperate desire for certainty and the abiding hope. I’m in awe of this book.” –Jessamine Chan, author of The School for Good Mothers

In Between My Bodies by Emily Capers – April 9 (Long Day Press)

offers brief snapshots into the author’s experience growing up half black and half white, In Between My Bodies presents through screenplays, short answer questions, blog posts, and more. Uncomfortably relatable to some, an overreaction to others, In Between My Bodies interactively invites readers to examine the depth that just a few careless words, a symbol, or an expectation can hold.

The Band by Christine Ma-Kellams – April 16 (Atria Books)

Sang Duri is the eldest member and “visual” of a Korean boy band at the apex of global superstardom. But when his latest solo single accidentally leads to controversy, he’s abruptly cancelled. To spare the band from fallout with obsessive fans and overbearing management, Duri disappears from the public eye by hiding out in the McMansion of a Chinese American woman he meets in a Los Angeles H-Mart. But his rescuer is both unhappily married with children and a psychologist with a savior complex, a combination that makes their potential union both seductive and incredibly problematic. Meanwhile, Duri’s cancellation catapults not only a series of repressed memories from his music producer’s earlier years about the original girl group whose tragic disbanding preceded his current success, but also a spiral of violent interactions that culminates in an award show event with reverberations that forever change the fates of both the band members and the music industry.

Norma by Sarah Mintz – April 16 (Invisible Publishing)

“Three days ago I didn’t know Sarah Mintz existed; now I want to know where the hell she’s been all my reading life. (Canada, apparently.) NORMA is a spiky, apothegmatic wonder written in laser-guided prose. It’s a very funny book about grief, prurience, and anger, as resonant and memorable as it is brief and bizarre. Now that I know Mintz is out there, I’ll read anything and everything she writes.” –Justin Taylor, author of Reboot

A Kind of Madness by Uche Okonkwo – April 16 (Tin House Books)

In ten vivid, evocative stories set in contemporary Nigeria, Uche Okonkwo’s A Kind of Madness unravels the tensions between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, best friends, siblings, and more, marking the arrival of an extraordinary new talent in fiction and inviting us all to consider the question: why is it that the people and places we hold closest are so often the ones that drive us to madness?

Bitter Water Opera by Nicolette Polek – April 16 (Graywolf Press)

“Exuberant and improbable, Bitter Water Opera is a wonder work of noticing. At times a field guide, a compass, a low-key pilgrimage. Built with each precise line, a chimera of meaning comes into startling focus by its end. The effect of the haunted observer at the center of this limerent, faith-shaped novel is measureless. I wanted to travel with her indefinitely.”–Marie-Helene Bertino, author of Beautyland

And Yet by Jeff Alessandrelli – April 16 (Future Tense Books)

An innovative work of fiction, Jeff Alessandrelli’s And Yet interrogates contemporary shyness, selfhood and sexual mores, drawing out the particulars of each through historical references, cultural commentary, and the author’s own restless imagination. With its nameless protagonist simultaneously proud and afraid of his daunting interiority, And Yet‘s form morphs, cracks, and continuously tries to repair itself while becoming a nuanced story of our times. “Love is a thing full of anxious fear. Especially when what you ultimately love and fear is your self,” writes Alessandrelli, and And Yet draws such a notion down, out and around again, arriving at its own idiosyncratic answers by the end of the book.

Your Presence Is Mandatory by Sasha Vasilyuk – April 23 (Bloomsbury Publishing)

“At once a historical epic, an engrossing family saga, and an astute examination of morality, survival, hope, and love, Your Presence Is Mandatory is a stunning feat. The emotional impact of reading Sasha Vasilyuk’s gripping debut is immense. I sat with the vivid characters Vasilyuk has created for hours after reading, and I continue to think of them. Your Presence Is Mandatory is a book to last generations, and one I won’t soon forget.” –Lara Prescott, New York Times bestselling author of THE SECRETS WE KEPT

Prairie, Dresses, Art, Other by Danielle Dutton – April 23 (Coffee House Press)

“Prairie” is a cycle of surreal stories set in the quickly disappearing prairieland of the American Midwest. “Dresses” offers a surprisingly moving portrait of literary fashions. “Art” turns to essay, examining how works of visual art and fiction might relate to one another, a question central to the whole book; while the final section, “Other,” includes pieces of irregular (“other”) forms, stories-as-essays or essays-as-stories that defy category and are hilarious and heartbreaking by turns. Out of these varied materials, Dutton builds a haunting landscape of wildflowers, megadams, black holes, violence, fear, virtual reality, abiding strangeness, and indefinable beauty.

Under a Neon Sun by Kate Gale – April 23 (Three Rooms Press)

“Kate Gale has the kind of range most writers only dream of. Just as her gift as a poet and lyricist makes for sentences that shimmer and pop, her skill as a storyteller makes for tightly constructed, page-turner plots driven by characters filled with longing, beauty, and flaws. Under a Neon Sun is the rare novel that has it all.” –Marya Hornbacher, author, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia

In Universes by Emet North – April 30 (Harper)

“Daring, brilliant, and revelatory, In Universes scatters its characters’ stories across the multiverse, showing us every one of the infinite lives we might live. It’s a miracle of physics and art, filled with wonder and grief, hope and regret, survival and romance and loss. By its end, we know: the best of all possible worlds is this one where we get to read Emet North’s writing.” — Julia Phillips, bestselling author of Disappearing EarthIf You’re a Girl, Revised and Expanded Edition by Ann Rower – April 30 (Semiotext(e))

Ann Rower’s first book, If You’re a Girl, published by Semiotext(e)’s Native Agents series in 1991 cemented her reputation as the Eve Babitz of lower Manhattan. Rower was fifty-three years old at the time. Her stories–urtexts of female autofiction–had long been circulating within the poetry and postpunk music scenes. They were unlike anyone else’s: disarming, embarrassing, psuedoconfessional tales of everyday life dizzily told and laced with dry humor. In If You’re a Girl, she recounts her adventures as Timothy Leary’s babysitter, her artistic romance with actor Ron Vawter, and her attempts to evade a schizophrenic stalker.

Real Americans by Rachel Khong – April 30 (Knopf Publishing Group)

Real Americans is a grand novel that explores the American psyche, dramatizing the fundamental American belief in the ability to change the world and improve humanity. Rachel Khong shows infinite and colorful perceptions of the world, which are often leavened with wisdom. Besides being a page turner, this book is also an eye-opener, imaginative and exhilarating.” –Ha Jin, author of Waiting

Dear Edna Sloane by Amy Shearn – April 30 (Red Hen Press)

“I’ve long been an ardent, near-obsessive fan of Amy Shearn’s sophisticated, hilarious, big-hearted fiction, and with Dear Edna Sloane, she once again knocks it out of the park. This charming, compulsively readable novel–which I read in one sitting, laughing out loud every few minutes–brilliantly satirizes the literary world in a manner that reminded me, somehow, of both Laurie Colwin and Candace Bushnell, Curtis Sittenfeld and, more than any other writer, Taffy Brodesser-Akner. But what fuels this tour de force–aside from Shearn’s pitch-perfect tone and precise, urgent sentences–are her complex, lovable characters and their emotionally resonant thoughts and ideas. I wanted to live inside this book forever.” –Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year


Non-Fiction & Poetry 

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World Edited by Ada Limón – April 2 (Milkweed Editions)

“The expansive You Are Here surveys both the landscape of the natural world and the landscape of contemporary poetry. Pastoral witness neighbors environmental concern; established talents neighbor emerging voices; lakes and forests neighbor pools and cemeteries. Dear gardeners, bookworms, lumberjacks, cartographers, bird-watchers, scholars, students, poets, and general readers: You Are Here will leave you more attuned to the textures of countryside and country. Language and land become a capacious singularity in Ada Limón’s superb compilation.”–Terrance Hayes, author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

Being Reflected Upon by Alice Notley – April 2 (Penguin Books)

Notley’s new collection is at once a window into the sources of her telepathic and visionary poetics, and a memoir through poems of her Paris-based life between 2000 and 2017, when she finished treatment for her first breast cancer. As Notley wrote these poems she realized that events during this period were connected to events in previous decades; the work moves from reminiscences of her mother and of growing up in California to meditations on illness and recovery to various poetic adventures in Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, and Edinburgh. It is also concerned with the mysteries of consciousness and the connection between the living and dead, “stream-of-consciousness” teasing out a lived physics or philosophy.

All Things Are Too Small: Essays in Praise of Excess by Becca Rothfeld – April 2 (Metropolitan Books)

Our embrace of minimalism has left us spiritually impoverished. We see it in our homes, where we bring in Marie Kondo to rid them of their idiosyncrasies and darknesses. We take up mindfulness to do the same thing to our heads, emptying them of the musings, thoughts, and obsessions that make us who we are. In the bedroom, a new wave of puritanism has drained sex of its unpredictability and therefore true eroticism. In our fictions, the quest for balance has given us protagonists who aspire only to excise their appetites. We have flipped our values, Rothfeld argues: while the gap between rich and poor yawns hideously wide, we strive to compensate with egalitarianism in art, erotics, and taste, where it does not belong and where it quashes wild experiments and exuberance. Lush, provocative, and bitingly funny, All Things Are Too Small is a subversive soul cry to restore imbalance, obsession, gluttony, and ravishment to all domains of our lives.

Traces of Enayat by Iman Mersal (translated by Robin Moger) – April 2 (Transit Books)

From one of the preeminent poets of the Arab-speaking world, a brilliant work of creative nonfiction retracing the mysterious life and erasure of Egyptian literature’s tragic heroine. Cairo, 1963: four years before her lone novel is finally published, the writer Enayat al-Zayyat takes her own life at age 27. For the next three decades, it’s as if Enayat never existed at all. In this luminous biographical detective story, Mersal retraces Enayat’s life and afterlife though interviews with family members and friends, even tracking down the apartments, schools, and sanatoriums where Enayat spent her days. As Mersal maps two simultaneous psychogeographies–from the glamor of golden-age Egyptian cinema to the Cairo of Mersal’s own past–a remarkable portrait emerges of two women striving to live on their own terms. With Traces of Enayat, Iman Mersal embraces the reciprocal relationship between a text and its reader, between past and present, between author and subject.

Like Love: Essays and Conversations by Maggie Nelson – April 2 (Graywolf Press)

Like Love is a convergence of the most incandescent parts of Maggie Nelson’s inimitable craft: there is her ceaseless curiosity, her capacity not only to hold complexity but to court it with equal parts desire and critique, the generosity and gratitude of her thinking held by gorgeous turns of phrase.” –Johanna Hedva, author of Your Love Is Not Good and “Sick Woman Theory”

We Loved It All: A Memory of Life by Lydia Millet – April 2 (W. W. Norton & Company)

Emerging from Millet’s quarter century of wildlife and climate advocacy, We Loved it All marries scenes from her life with moments of nearness to “the others”– the animals and plants with whom we share the earth. Accounts of fears and failures, jobs and friendships, childhood and motherhood are interspersed with exquisite accounts of nonhumans and arresting meditations on the power of story to shape the future. We Loved It All shimmers with curiosity and laconic humor yet addresses with reverence the most urgent crises of our day. An incantatory, bewitching devotional to the vast and precious bestiary of the earth, it asks that we extend to other living beings the protection they deserve–the simple grace of continued existence.

Playboy by Constance Debre (translated by Holly James) – April 9 (Semiotext(e))

First published in France in 2018, Playboy is the first volume of Constance Debré’s renowned autobiographical trilogy that describes her decision, at age forty-three, to abandon her marriage, her legal career, and her bourgeois Parisian life to become a lesbian and a writer. The novel unfolds in a series of short, sharp vignettes. The narrator’s descriptions of her first female lovers–a married woman fifteen years older than her, a model ten years her junior–are punctuated by encounters with her ex-husband, her father, and her son. Looking at the world through fresh eyes, the narrator of Playboy questions everything that once lay beneath the surface of her well-managed life. Laconic, aggressive, and radically truthful, she examines gender and marriage, selfishness and sacrifice, money and family, even the privilege inherent in her downward mobility. Writing her way toward her own liberation, Debré chronicles the process that made her one of the most brilliant, important French writers today.

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality by Amanda Montell – April 9 (Atria/One Signal Publishers)

“Reading The Age of Magical Overthinking feels like talking to a brilliant friend. With vulnerability, humor, and refreshing sincerity, Montell excavates everything from celebrity worship to toxic relationships to the allure of nostalgia. In readable, stylish prose, she offers nuanced insights into contemporary culture, all while giving the reader companionship and hope.” –Heather Radke, author of Butts: A Backstory and Radiolab reporter

Loose of Earth: A Memoir by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn – April 16 (University of Texas Press)

Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn was the oldest of five children, a twelve-year-old from Lubbock, Texas, whose evangelical family eschewed public education for homeschooling, and wove improbable scientific theories into literal interpretations of the Bible. What they didn’t know at the time was that their lives were entangled with a larger, less visible environmental catastrophe. Fire-fighting foams containing carcinogenic compounds had contaminated the drinking water of every military site where her father worked. An arresting portrait of the pernicious creep of decline, and a powerful cry for environmental justice, Loose of Earth captures the desperate futility and unbending religious faith that devastated a family, leaving them waiting for a miracle that would never come.

Deer Black Out by Ulrich Jesse K. Baer – April 16 (Red Hen Press)

“My favorite poetry is when we get to be creative with the poet. Ulrich Jesse K Baer provides space between his corresponding brilliant ideas for us to climb into the poem with him. Arrive at this book by leaning into the gears of your imagination! Deer Black Out reminds me walking is falling and catching ourselves with our feet. I am grateful for his challenging, emotional labor– “departed, yr stanzas/my withheld image of you/thins its swung moonlight.” Let’s get falling and catching ourselves! Let’s go upstream to Baer country! I am an enormous fan of this poet and his book!”–CAConrad, author of You Don’t Have What It Takes to Be My Nemesis: And Other (Soma)tics



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