Happy Spring! For our April Book Club, our theme is “Spring Fever.” These books will take you from glitzy New York restaurant life to rural Texas to South Korea and everywhere in between. Whether you’re looking to escape your spring fever, or looking to spice up your book club, this list has a little something for every reader!
What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi, 352 pages, Short Stories.
Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. Winner of the PEN Open Book Award, an NPR Best Book of 2016, as well as many other accolades, Oyeyemi’s stories are sure to spark conversation.
The Son by Philipp Meyer, 592 pages, Fiction.
Soon to be a TV Series on AMC starring Pierce Brosnan and co-written by Philipp Meyer! Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching examination of the bloody price of power, The Son is a gripping and utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American west with rare emotional acuity, even as it presents an intimate portrait of one family across two centuries.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx, 736 pages, Fiction.
Annie Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years—their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand—the revenge of rivals, accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, and cultural annihilation. Over and over, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse. Finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Best Novel, a New York Times Notable Book, and a Washington Post Best Book of the Year.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, 386 pages, Fiction.
Newly arrived in New York City, twenty-two-year-old Tess lands a job working front of house at a celebrated downtown restaurant. What follows is her education: in champagne and cocaine, love and lust, dive bars and fine dining rooms, as she learns to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing life she has chosen. The story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the glitzy, grimy backdrop of New York’s most elite restaurants, in Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and high-adrenaline world of the food industry and evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, and the fragility and brutality of being young and adrift.
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, 256 pages, Horror.
Looking to shake up your book club this month? In this new Fiftieth Anniversary edition of the classic masterpiece of spellbinding suspense, evil wears the most innocent face of all. Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a shine to them. Shortly after Guy lands a Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant—and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets’ circle is not what it seems…
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, 354 pages, Fiction.
*2015 Festival Author*
A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. In dialogue with but diametrically opposed to the narratives of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, this novel offers an important and unfamiliar new perspective on the war: that of a conflicted communist sympathizer. Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself. Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize.
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