WORD recommends these books this April:
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New Fiction We Love:

  Equilateral   Flamethrowers   Someday Someday Maybe   Minotaur

Equilateral by Ken Kalfus (ebook available)
Here's the pitch: A 19th century astronomer convinces an international array of backers to fund the building of a giant, visible-from-space, equilateral triangle in the Sahara Desert, which he then plans to LIGHT ON FIRE, so that Earth can attract the attention of the Martian genius philosophers that everyone is absolutely positive exist. Sounds like the best kind of crazy, am I right? This novel plays with real history (up to a certain point), and while it's deeply steeped in the gender and racial politics of its setting, it also manages to both excoriate and understand its increasingly befuddled protagonists. (Jenn)

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner (ebook available)
Okay, okay. Believe the hype. The Flamethrowers is great. For one, it features motorcycles, land art, revolutionary politics, and New York in the 1970s. For two: oh man, Kushner can write (and she isn't afraid to). Reno, the novel's protagonist, breaks land speed records. She cuts conceptual art experiments into dry, desert floors. She takes on love and politics in the NY art world. And eventually, she finds herself more-or-less floating, through heartbreak and a revolution. Unique in its style, yet immensely readable, The Flamethrowers is a world of phonies, lovers, players, capitalists, revolutionaries, and geniuses. You know, kind of like our world. (Chad)

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham (ebook available)
This book was a pleasant surprise. It's a novel that I can only assume has close parallels to Lauren Graham's experience as a young woman struggling to make it as an actress in NYC in the '90s. Each chapter starts with main character Franny's Filofax entries (yes, Filofax -- it was the '90s, remember?) which is a fun way to feel involved in the minutiae of her life, really engaging the reader in her day-to-day thoughts and activities without crowding the narrative. There's some romance and lots of humor, with a Bridget Jones-y flair. It could also cross over well for teens. Perfect gift for someone who loves a quick, fun read (and we have some signed copies left!). (Christine)

Minotaur by Benjamin Tammuz (ebook available)
Originally released in 1981 to praise from a certain Graham Greene, Minotaur, through a series of different narrative perspectives, depicts a haunting kind of love -- one shared between a young woman and a notably older (notably obsessive) secret agent. Let me be clear: there is a Lamborghini in this novel, and it's kind of awesome. It also renders the political climate of Tel Aviv in the early 20th century, adolescence, love, violence, and so much more -- and it all comes together remarkably well through Tammuz's immensely readable writing style. (Chad)

More Paperback Fiction We Love:

  18% Gray   map of tulsa  alif the unseen      happiness is a chemical

18% Gray by Zachary Karabashliev
This is part adventure road novel, part lamentation over the loss of love, and part homage to the small echoing moments of America, captured through the camera lens of a lost and drifting young man from Bulgaria. (Emily)

A Map of Tulsa by Benjamin Lytall (ebook available)
Our protagonist Jim returns to his home town and falls head over heels for the mysterious Adrienne. It's a dark tale of  failed attempts to relate to and respect one another and themselves. Their playful, painful, rambunctious affair is filled with art and pushing boundaries and the searching that defines so much of everyone's early twenties.  (Simone)

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (ebook available)
Now out in paperback! This book pushes a bunch of my buttons: Arab culture and politics, computer programming, mysticism, explosions, alternate dimensions. Weeks later, I'm still mulling over the details and characters. If you've read and enjoyed The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle, and/or Neuromancer by William Gibson, this one is for you. (Jenn)

Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain by Lucia Perillo (ebook available)
The people in these stories are losing control, searching for themselves, and fighting with life. Perillo's imagining of the inner lives and voices of her characters provides these often quietly sad tales with carefully wrought layers, bringing the reader in close to the heart of the trouble. Perillo is an accomplished poet and this shines through in her precision and her ability to construct full stories in few pages. (Simone)

Nonfiction We Love:

    philadelphia chromosome    american way of eating   Bough Down    Tart & sweet

The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level by Jessica Wapner (ebook available)
This book will be well received by fans of Rebecca Skloot, Sam Kean, and Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies. It focuses a bit more on the science and research end of the spectrum, rather than the treatments -- but that is part of what makes it so interesting. As our understanding of the genetics of cancer expands, the ways we can treat and prevent the disease shift. Reading this book made me feel smart and hopeful. (Emily)

The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan (ebook available)
I have a weakness for books about how and why we eat the way we do, so Tracie McMillan's investigation into three major stops along the American food chain -- California farms, Walmart, and Applebee's -- was right up my alley. But it's a great investigative tale even if you're not a sucker for The Omnivore's Dilemma and Salt Sugar Fat. McMillan's first-person experience is told with a journalist's skill for detail and research, and reveals as much about middle-class assumptions as it does about the cracked system that provides America with so much food and so little pay. (Molly)

Bough Down by Karen Green
I never thought that I'd say that a book reminds me of Anne Carson's Nox, and yet, here I am, saying it. It's a grief memoir, it's an art object, it's poetry. It's evocative, it's funny, it's heartbreaking. I've been instagramming the shit out of quotes on its pages, and the final line is one of the best I've read. (Emily)

Tart and Sweet by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler
This guide to canning and pickling leads you through the processes so that what seems to be an intimidating proposition is much more likely to end in success. Or at least with all the troubleshooting and the final chapter, "Canning Conundrums," you will be able to correct any missteps. The recipes are divided by season and I haven't met one I wouldn't want to eat! Plus Kelly is a Brooklyn resident, and you know how we feel about keeping it local. (Simone)

Books for Kids (and adults who love them):

   Lawless    odd duck    awesome dawson     again!

Lawless by Jeffrey Salane
I'm a sucker for a good heist story, so I knew I was going to fall for Lawless right from the get-go. An Ocean's Eleven or Leverage for the younger set, it follows M Freeman as she leaves home for the elite Lawless School. She has no idea that she comes from a family of master criminals, or that she's been trained her whole life to join their ranks. Right and wrong don’t come into it just yet -- M is just trying to survive! Action-packed, full of twists and turns and double-crosses and international intrigue, it’s a true page-turner. (Jenn)

Odd Duck written by Cecil Castellucci and illustrated by Sara Varon
This is one of those rare books that hits all the right notes -- it will entertain kids and earn much sympathy from adults (Cecil and Sara proved this at their launch tea party!). The art and the writing complement each other perfectly -- much like Chad & Theodora's unexpected friendship. You never can predict who will 'get' you. Odd Duck is one of my favorite books of the year. (Emily)

Awesome Dawson written and illustrated by Chris Gall
Young Dawson is a junk collector and inventor extraordinaire. When he creates a robot to do his chores, it really works... a little too well! The intricate, labeled cartoon illustrations are fantastic and had me captivated for multiple readings. (Jenny)

Again! by Emily Gravett
The little dragon in Emily Gravett's clever new picture book is hardly the only child to want to hear a story more than once -- but when a dragon gets demanding, the consequences can be downright fiery. This story starts on the endpapers and continues all the way to the back cover, and the meta-charms don't stop there; you can follow the story-within-a-story as it changes, and then peel off the jacket to reveal that the book you're holding is the same one the little dragon is so desperate to hear. Everything about this book is just right, down to the smallest detail. Again! (Molly)

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