The five new titles we can’t wait to see on library shelves this spring:
Varina, by Charles Frazier (April 3): You may recall Frazier’s name because of his blockbuster novel Cold Mountain, the Civil War-era tale that made it to the bestseller lists, and then the big screen (the film stars Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and in an Oscar-winning turn, Renee Zellweger). Frazier is back with another Civil War story, and this time he’s drawing attention to a little-known historical figure: the titular Varina, wife of Jefferson Davis.
Perfect if you love: Historical fiction that focuses on the war’s effect on women. Try The Second Mrs. Hockaday, by Susan Rivers, or the recent remake of The Beguiled, directed by Sofia Coppola and also starring Nicole Kidman.
The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer (April 3): It’s been nearly six years since Wolitzer’s last novel for adults, 2012’s The Interestings, so her latest book is most definitely a welcome return to the library shelves – not to mention, a timely and insightful story about the struggle for women’s rights, as seen through the eyes of a naive college student whose mentor is one of the world’s most famous feminists.
Perfect if you love: It’s hard to go wrong with any of Wolitzer’s previous novels, especially The Interestings. But if you’re looking for a raw, real exploration of the dynamics between woman (mentors, friends, or otherwise), be sure to check out The Regulars, by Georgia Clark, and Dietland, by Sarai Walker.
Look Alive Out There: Essays, by Sloane Crosley (April 3): Crosley is one of my personal favorite authors – I Was Told There’d Be Cake remains one of my favorite books to this day, and I can’t recommend it enough! – and I am thrilled that Look Alive Out There means more Sloane Crosley essays out in the world. She’s witty, she’s hilarious, and she’s just dry enough that it feels like her observations about the human condition are the sort of brilliant things you’d say to your best friend.
Perfect if you love: Smart, funny, and 100% relatable essays and memoirs. Try Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan, Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, or Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris. Plus, Crosley is a novelist in her own right: if you love her writing, be sure to check out her 2015 novel The Clasp at Pickerington Main!
Magnolia Table, by Joanna Gaines (April 24): First there was the TV show, then the memoir (The Magnolia Story), then a second memoir/business guide (Capital Gaines), and now, at last, the cookbook. That’s right: Joanna Gaines has written a cookbook! Place your holds now!
Perfect if you love: All things Magnolia-related. If you’ve already delved into the Gaines’s life stories, here are even more books by popular TV personalities! The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!, by Ree Drummond, Styled, by Emily Henderson, and It Takes Two, by Drew and Jonathan Scott.
Unbury Carol, by Josh Malerman (April 10): Unbury Carol is weird, strange, and unlike any book you’ve read (or are likely to read this year): a woman who falls into unexplained comas is at the mercy of her treacherous husband, who plots to bury her alive and steal her fortune. But her lost love, a legend of the Western Trail, is riding to the rescue, if he can outlast the pyromaniac assassin on his tail. Saddle up – no pun intended – for a wild ride!
Perfect if you love: Sorry to say, but there is nothing quite like this combination of Western and fairy tale. But if you’re looking for a similarly excellent Western, try The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt. And if you’re looking for a similarly excellent fairy tale retelling, how about Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge?