10 Books to Read This April
Any reader knows how hard the struggle of finding a new book to read is. Which is why we understood your struggle and have ten books compiled that you should definitely check out this April.
1. Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion
Brilliant, nuanced and ever so timely, The Female Persuasion articulates the complex push and pull among several generations of feminists. Greer Kadetsky is a reticent first-year at a small Connecticut university when she meets iconic feminist Faith Frank in 2006. Soon after graduation she begins working with Frank, once the founder of feisty Bloomer magazine, at a newly funded foundation supporting women. Wolitzer details the stages of Faith’s activist life, her stalwart friends, the waves of supporters and her multiple reinventions, as well as painful moments of loss. She shows how Faith trains Greer until they come to a crucial ethical juncture – and that moment years later when Greer herself encounters a woman from a younger generation and realizes that one person can step in for another.
2. Dubravka Ugresic, Fox
Croatian-born Ugresic spins a set of six interconnected tales with intelligence and verve. The first is a meditation on how stories come to be written, studded with references to Boris Ilnyak, who might, in Ugresic’s playful hands, be a fictitious Russian writer, but who is not. She introduces her theme as Ilnyak visits the temple of the fox in Kobe (“The fox is a totem of cunning and betrayal”; she also makes it the symbol of the storyteller). She writes of a writer being upstaged by the widow of a famous émigré writer, of Dorothy Leuthold, in whose presence Nabokov encountered a rare butterfly, and of a visit to Scuola Holden, an Italian MFA program named after Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Cunningly, Ugresic offers glimpses of that fox throughout this dense and delectable novel, translated from Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac and David Williams.
3. Julia Van Haaften, Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography
The founding curator of the New York Public Library photography collection offers an insightful biography of a pioneering photographer whose work over six decades helped define the modernist tradition. Abbott, who wanted to be remembered as a “self-taught risk taker”, was raised in Ohio, and fled to New York City’s Greenwich Village at 19. Her circle included Eugene O’Neill, Edna St Vincent Millay, Djuna Barnes, Malcolm Cowley, Marcel Duchamp and Alfred Stieglitz. In March 1921 Abbott set sail for Paris, where she worked for Man Ray, purchased the archive of Eugene Atget (she called him the “Balzac of the camera”) and began her own career. She created iconic images in the 1930s of “Changing New York,” then Maine, then the “space race.” Van Haaften offers a sophisticated take on Abbott’s personal and artistic tragedies and triumphs.
4. Madeline Miller, Circe
“When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist,” begins Miller’s enchanting retelling of the myth of Circe, daughter of Helios, the sun god, and a naiad named Perse. As an uncertain girl, Circe watches as Prometheus is grievously whipped for bringing fire to mortals. She asks about these creatures. “The only thing they share is death,” Prometheus tells her. Miller evokes Circe’s keen awareness from her early encounters with her gift – she is a pharmakis, a witch – to her flowering as a powerful and independent goddess who takes mortals as lovers, including Daedalus and later Odysseus, whose men she had turned into pigs when they invaded her island exile. A glorious reinvention from the winner of the Orange prize for The Song of Achilles.
5. Yunte Huang, Inseparable
Huang traces the legacy of the “original Siamese twins,” Chang and Eng, conjoined twins brought to Boston in 1829 at age 17 by the Scotsman Robert Hunter who discovered them in Siam. They toured for years in an exhibition of “freaks of nature”. Liberating themselves from a museum contract, they developed an entrepreneurial career in rural America, married two white women, fathered 21 children, became slaveholders and supported the Confederacy. In the end, their hometown was Mount Airy, North Carolina, later fictionalized as Andy Griffith’s Jim Crow-era Mayberry. Their shared liver ended up on display in a Philadelphia museum. In the follow-up to his Edgar Award-winning Charlie Chan biography, Huang uncovers ironies, paradoxes and examples of how Chang and Eng subverted what Leslie Fiedler called “the tyranny of the normal”.
6. Mary Morris, Gateway to the Moon
Morris connects dozens of characters over five centuries in an intriguing, carefully crafted tapestry. Luis, a Jew forced to flee Seville in 1492, becomes an interpreter for Christopher Columbus and survives the rough sea voyage. In 1992, Miguel, a high school student living in Entrada de la Luna, New Mexico, is fascinated with the night sky over his family cemetery, a plot of crumbling stones that dates back 400 years. At one point he begins an experiment to prove that celestial navigation is in the DNA. Family secrets, mysteries and love are at the heart of this story of survival against all odds.
7. Michelle Dean, Sharp
Dean, an award-winning cultural critic, scans the 20th Century and highlights the work of 10 women with “the ability to write unforgettably”. Beginning with acid-tongued Dorothy Parker, globe-spanning author Rebecca West and Hannah Arendt, whose ideas on totalitarianism were groundbreaking, Dean sketches each author within her influential circle of friends. Mary McCarthy made great theatre of her passions and judgments. California-born Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael and Joan Didion wrote path-opening cultural criticism. Nora Ephron, who was known for a sympathetic but skeptical tone; Renata Adler, who started out as a young critic “hungry for blood”; and Janet Malcolm, of “subtle but devastating indirectness”, were also “elegant arguers”. Dean argues forcefully that her “sharp” women are on par with “the Hemingways and Fitzgeralds, the Roths and Bellows and Salingers.”
8. Leslie Jamison, The Recovering
In her comprehensive and intimate new book, Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, investigates the challenges of recovering from addiction from a variety of angles. She intertwines personal history (her blackout drunk days at the Iowa Writers Workshop where she’s influenced by the legacy of John Berryman, Raymond Carver and Denis Johnson) with stories of alcohol as inspiration in the work of writers Jack London, Jean Rhys, and David Foster Wallace; her own time in AA (“every meeting was a chorus,” she writes); the history of the recovery movement; and its recent incarnations. Throughout, Jamison chronicles a long-term relationship and circles vexing questions: does recovery quash creativity? Can the recovery narrative ever measure up to the descent? As if in benediction, she concludes her quest at Carver’s grave.
9. Nathacha Appanah, Waiting for Tomorrow
The polyphonic new novel by the author of the international best-seller The Last Brother, translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan, is both lyrical and gripping. Anita, who, like Appanah, is from the island of Mauritius, meets Adam on New Year’s Eve in Paris. Both feel like outsiders. He’s provincial; she’s a new immigrant. After they marry, they move to a coastal village in south-western France to raise their daughter Laura. Adam trades in the painting he loves for a vocation as an architect. Anita’s writing time disappears. Gradually their love dwindles and, with the addition of another woman from Mauritius, their lives approach catastrophe. There’s something magical about the ways in which Appanah makes the betrayals, the falsehoods, the appropriations and the disasters seem inevitable.
10. Gregory Pardlo, Air Traffic
In vivid, improvisational prose, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Pardlo writes of his upbringing in New Jersey and the influences on his life and work. His father, Gregory Sr, an air traffic controller who is unhinged after he loses his job in the 1981 strike, looms large in his son’s life. Pardlo rebels by joining the Marines. During boot camp Pardlo encounters for the first time inklings of bipolar disorder he doesn’t understand until years later. He traces the complexities of race and class through his hard-partying young adulthood, a first marriage, then settling down with strong-willed Ginger, starting his own family, participating in an intervention with his brother Robbie, and his father’s death. “I’m committing this book to the dream of the new America,” he writes.Disclaimer:We do not allow users to post content which is copyright and We take strict actions against the users who post infringement content on our website.Although we do not host any content, users post embed videos from youtube, facebook, Dailymotion and Vimeo and are moderated before posting but we still take strict action against the copyright videos posted.If you are an official representative of any company whose videos are posted illegally on our website or you think some video infringe the copyright then you can simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org