As spring fever fully sets in and thoughts turn to escaping into a good book, April’s new releases range from highly anticipated biographies and thrillers to fresh takes on magical realism.
Food lovers will find new titles from Nigella Lawson and the late Anthony Bourdain, while Oprah Winfrey offers a book on trauma and healing. And for those looking to get a head start on their beach reading, Caroline Kepnes is back with another book in her popular “You” series, and Sally Thorne’s romantic “Second First Impressions” will have you glued to your poolside chaise lounge.
To get you started, we’ve rounded up 21 new April book releases to add to your reading lists now, all available to purchase or preorder on Amazon.
‘You Love Me’ by Caroline Kepnes (available April 6, starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
Already a bestseller, Kepnes’ third installment of her “You” series (season three of the Netflix show is slated to drop this year) finds antihero stalker Joe Goldberg living on a Pacific Northwest island, working at a library and, of course, finding a new object of his obsession. This time it’s Mary Kay, a librarian, and her friends aren’t having it. It’s no spoiler to say Joe doesn’t take too kindly to anyone getting in the way of his chance at true love.
‘Broken (in the Best Possible Way)’ by Jenny Lawson (available April 6, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
The bestselling humorist and “The Bloggess” writer, known for sharing her struggles with depression with her readers, is back with candid stories about anxiety and mental health, injected with plenty of laughter. From tales of facing family dementia, to receiving transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment, to dealing with insurance companies, she makes it clear being broken doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
‘Caul Baby’ by Morgan Jerkins (available April 6, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
In this engrossing magical realism tale, a Harlem woman blames the loss of her baby on the Melancons family, who would not sell her a piece of their “caul,” a special layer of skin known for possessing healing powers. Coincidentally, the woman’s teenage niece, Amara, soon gives birth to a baby girl, Hallow, who has a perfect caul, and is adopted by the Melancons. Twenty years later, their paths cross again in this story that explores race, gender, betrayal and identity, all with a little magic.
‘Gold Diggers’ by Sanjena Sathian (available April 6, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
The coming-of-age genre meets magical realism meets heist caper in Sathian’s highly anticipated debut novel. Neil Narayan, a second-generation Indian American teen living in the suburbs of Atlanta, is best friends with his neighbor, Anita Dayal. He learns Anita and her mom are brewing up an ancient potion made with stolen gold jewelry that will make them smarter and ambitious, but the results spark a tragedy. They’re reunited 10 years later in California and decide to pull off another gold heist to save Anita’s mother. Funny and exciting, it’s an entertaining new twist on the immigrant experience.
‘First Person Singular: Stories’ by Haruki Murakami (available April 6, starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
Admirers of Murakami’s magical realism will be drawn to his new collection of eight short stories, all written in the first person and touching on everything from baseball to jazz to love to belonging. “Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey” features a talking monkey at a hotel sauna, “Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova” brings a message from the ghost of the jazz legend in the form of a dream and the nonfiction “The Yakult Swallows Poetry Collection” reveals how Murakami’s passion for writing is connected to the Yakult Swallows baseball team.
‘Philip Roth’ by Blake Bailey (available April 6, starting at $19.24; amazon.com)
If you love Philip Roth — who, among many honors, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “American Pastoral” — this biography is a must-read. Granted access to Roth’s archives, Bailey examines the author’s life from his lower-middle-class Jewish upbringing to reaching the highest echelon of literary acclaim to his relationships with frenemies Saul Bellow and John Updike. At 900-plus pages, the book includes 100 images.
‘Peaces’ by Helen Oyeyemi (available April 6, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Fantasy meets suspense in Oyeyemi’s latest novel surrounding the journey of lovers Otto and Xavier Shin, who embark on a very strange train trip to celebrate their “non-honeymoon honeymoon.” The couple meets the mysterious owner of the train, whose inheritance is being threatened by another passenger. As the story unfolds, connections to the past become clear between the characters during this magical journey.
‘Mother May I’ by Joshilyn Jackson (available April 6, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Bestselling author Jackson (“Never Have I Ever“) is back with this page-turner of a thriller centered on Bree Cabbat, a rags-to-riches woman whose baby is kidnapped by a strange old woman. To get her son returned safely, the kidnapper demands Bree not contact police and perform acts of revenge on behalf of the old woman as part of a personal vendetta.
‘The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000–2020’ by Rachel Kushner (available April 6, starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
Chronicling select writing over the last two decades, Kushner’s latest offers up 19 essays that range from memoir to art criticism to journalism to political commentary. Accounts of visiting a Palestinian refugee camp and attending an illegal motorcycle race in Baja California are joined by stories of growing up in San Fancisco, insights on artist Jeff Koons and authors Marguerite Duras, Denis Johnson and Clarice Lispector and thoughts on the 2012 captain who crashed an Italian cruise ship. And for those who love Kushner’s acclaimed “The Flamethrowers,” the essay “Made to Burn” offers inspiration for the novel.
‘The Devil’s Hand’ by Jack Carr (available April 13, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
In the fourth and final installment of Carr’s bestselling “Terminal List” series, former Navy SEAL James Reece is tasked with a CIA mission to find still-at-large 9/11 terrorists guilty of the attacks two decades later. The terrorists, meanwhile, have been building bioweapons, which Reece must identify while facing mercenaries and assassins. Read it before “The Terminal List” TV series, starring Chris Pratt, lands on Amazon Prime.
‘The Good Sister’ by Sally Hepworth (available April 13, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Fans of Hepworth’s “The Mother-in-Law” will be quickly drawn into this family-based mystery surrounding twin sisters Fern and Rose. When Fern learns her sister can’t get pregnant, she offers to be a surrogate. But finding a father stirs up the past — and family secrets — along the way.
‘Second First Impressions’ by Sally Thorne (available April 13, starting at $10.99; amazon.com)
Spring fever got you jonesing for your next beach read? Here it is: In Thorne’s latest rom-com, 20-something Ruthie, the manager of a retirement village, meets Teddy, an attractive, tattoo-covered guy whose wealthy parents own the place. Teddy is allowed to live at the village (and next door to Ruthie) as long as he takes on the job of caring for two eccentric 90-year-old sisters. Pass the margaritas!
‘Open Water’ by Caleb Azumah Nelson (available April 13, starting at $9.99; amazon.com)
Nelson’s elegant, poetic debut novel, uniquely written in the second person, features two unnamed artistic Black characters living in London: a 20-something photographer and the dancer/student he is drawn to. As they fall in love, their relationship is tested by communication struggles, issues of race and Black masculinity.
‘Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power’ by Susan Page (available April 20, starting at $15.99; amazon.com)
The life of the first female speaker of the house is chronicled by USA Today Washington bureau chief and bestselling author Page. With 150-plus interviews and behind-the-scenes details, this new biography covers Pelosi’s early life, her first campaign at age 46 and her rise to one of America’s most powerful political figures.
‘A Gambling Man’ by David Baldacci (available April 20, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
The newest thriller in Baldacci’s bestselling “Archer” series is set in 1949 and finds World War II vet Aloysius Archer out of prison and heading for California, accompanied by an aspiring actress by the name of Liberty Callahan. After landing a job with a former FBI agent turned private investigator, Archer quickly becomes embroiled in political blackmail and scandal. With drugs, gambling, brothels, murders and more, for historical crime fans, this one’s got it all.
‘World Travel: An Irreverent Guide’ by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever (available April 20, starting at $19.99; amazon.com)
A 480-page travel guide focusing on what to eat, where to stay and things to avoid from the late food writer and TV host, Bourdain’s final book gives readers insider knowledge of his favorite global locales, including Cambodia, Rome, Toronto and more. Co-written with Woolever, Bourdain’s longtime assistant, the charming guide also features essays by family, friends and colleagues. Fans of “Parts Unknown” will want to add this to their spring reading lists.
‘Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes and Stories’ by Nigella Lawson (available April 20, starting at $19.99; amazon.com)
The author of the hit “How to Be a Domestic Goddess” returns with her latest cookbook that includes not only tasty recipes (Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, Chicken with Garlic Cream Sauce and Lasagna of Love, to name a few) but also thoughtful essays on cooking and the foods she loves. Additionally, you’ll find ideas for holiday meals, family dinners, eating solo and vegan menus. “Food, for me, is a constant pleasure: I like to think greedily about it, reflect deeply on it, learn from it; it provides comfort, inspiration, meaning and beauty, as well as sustenance and structure,” she writes. “More than just a mantra, ‘cook, eat, repeat’ is the story of my life.” We’ll bite.
‘Crying in H Mart’ by Michelle Zauner (available April 20, starting at $13.99; amazon.com)
The solo artist behind the indie musical project Japanese Breakfast, Zauner, the daughter of a Korean mother and white American father, shares a touching memoir about growing up Asian American in Eugene, Oregon; time spent bonding over food with her mother and grandmother in Seoul; following her musical dreams; dealing with her mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis; and struggling with identity and culture. Honest and candid, and expanding on her 2018 New Yorker essay, it speaks to the universal mother-daughter bond.
‘Whereabouts’ by Jhumpa Lahiri (available April 27, starting at $12.99; amazon.com)
Following a nearly 10-year hiatus, Pulitzer Prize winner Lahiri (“Interpreter of Maladies“) returns with a melancholy story that chronicles a year in the life of an unnamed, middle-aged single woman living in Europe. Taking place in various “whereabouts,” such as the park, museums, sidewalks, the train station and by the sea, she relays her observations on family, friends and lovers, and feeling adrift and confused in her life of solitude. Especially poignant in the age of quarantine.
‘What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing’ by Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey (available April 27, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
The talk show queen/media mogul teams up with leading child psychiatrist and neuroscientist Perry to examine how adversity and trauma at a young age can affect our lives, experiences and behavioral patterns. Using science, as well as Winfrey’s own personal stories, the authors offer a change in thinking: Instead of asking “Why do you do that?” or “What’s wrong with you?” the question should be “What happened to you?”
‘The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story’ by Kate Summerscale (available April 27, starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Running out of true-crime series to binge on Netflix? Set your sights on this 1938-set nonfiction ghost story from Summerscale (“The Wicked Boy“) that digs into the case of London-area housewife Fielding, who brought stories of being haunted — glasses breaking, jewelry appearing out of nowhere, mice coming out of her purse — to local newspapers. A ghost hunter with the International Institute for Psychical Research arrives to investigate, and finds that trauma, the subconscious and secrets may really be to blame.