10 New Must-Reads For April

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Dear reader, we made it. Spring has taken its sweet time, but at long last we’re looking forward to weeks and weeks of nice weather — all the better for outdoors reading and breaks in sunny nooks, of course. This month, we’re diving into works by new writers, established masters, and everyone in between. But will we be able to breathe again after reading the new David Sedaris collection? Apparently, we’ll find out. After the jump, check out the ten books we’re most excited about reading this month, and let us know what you can’t wait to add to your pile in the comments.

Odds Against Tomorrow , Nathaniel Rich (April 2)

In Rich’s sophomore novel, a man who predicts disasters for a living finds himself in a doozy he didn’t expect — a flood that washes out New York City. Sound familiar? Though Rich’s vision is more extreme than recent events (all of Manhattan underwater, parts of Brooklyn turned into flatlands), the auspicious (or inauspicious?) timing works along with the book — like Mitchell, you’ll feel the cockroaches squirming in your stomach as you read. In the best of ways, of course.

All That Is , James Salter (April 2)

James Salter is a giant of American letters, who, as Katie Roiphe recently pointed out, has often been unfairly ignored by the reading public. They’re missing out, since his writing is frankly beautiful, polished clean, and his characters are crystal windows into worlds both like and unlike our own. All That Is is his first novel in 30 years, and from all that we’ve heard, it’s worth the wait.

Life After Life , Kate Atkinson (April 2)

Cats may have nine lives, but Ursula Todd has somewhat more than that. In this darkly comic, wonderfully postmodern novel, she dies over and over again, but lives over and over again, too, trying to get it all right. Plus, let’s not overlook the obvious — it’s Kate Atkinson. You know this will be amazing.

Woke Up Lonely , Fiona Maazel (April 2)

There’s nothing better than a really good cult novel — especially a wonderfully written, brutally satiric one. As another one of our favorite contemporary novelists, Heidi Julavits, tells it: “Woke Up Lonely is the novel equivalent of a sonic boom — it builds, it explodes, it leaves your ears, mind, and soul ringing for days. Who else writes sentences like this, who else writes sound art prose that transports a heart-killing story of human frailty, susceptibility, loyalty, and isolation? No one.”

The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner (April 2)

This stunning novel follows Reno, a young filmmaker “shopping for experiences” in late-’70s New York City. Exhilarating, psychologically complex, and perfectly intense, this is a thrilling contemporary novel likely to become a cultural touchstone.

Tomorrow There Will be Apricots, Jessica Soffer (April 16)

Soffer’s wonderful debut paints an elegant portrait of two women lost in the crush, who find themselves and each other through food. Delicious in more ways than one.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, David Sedaris (April 23)

Another David Sedaris book is always a boon — we can see the lines starting now.

Maya’s Notebook, Isabel Allende (April 23)

In perennial favorite Isabel Allende’s newest effort, a wayward teen escapes to an island off the coast of Chile to record, in the company of a ragtag group of fellow island-dwellers, secrets of her past life.

Bough Down, Karen Green (April 30)

This little book is gorgeous inside and out, a collection of scraps of poetic prose alongside visual collages, tiny bits of letters and other fragments. Green is an artist, a writer, and David Foster Wallace’s widow — and her long-awaited (at least by us) book is an incredible ode to love, loss, and most importantly, hope. Available from Siglio Press.

The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud (April 30)

We’re always on board for new Claire Messud, so we’re counting the days until her latest, in which a quiet schoolteacher falls for the family of a Lebanese-Italian boy in her class — in more ways than one.