Hello, Readers!
So many books, so little time. Can't decide how to fill your bookshelf this month? Once more, our staff picks newsletter is here to help. Whether you're looking for a brand new release hot from the press or the perfect park bench paperback, below are some of our favorite books recommended to you in May. Our picks this month range from straight literary fiction to horror, to graphic novel memoir to our first ever audiobook pickthat's right all you audiobook-ies, we are now newly partnered with—so we're confident you'll find something to enjoy below.

And if not, you know where to find us for more recommendations.
WORD recommends these books this May.
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When the eldest of four Plumb siblings, Leo, finds himself embroiled in a scandal that could ruin the family name just a few short months before a shared trust called The Nest is about to vest, Francie, the Plumb family matriarch decides to remove 2 million dollars from the fund to pay for Leo's settlement. But of course, when inheritance comes into play, drama is sure to ensue. Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney is laceratingly funny—taking a jab at all the Manhattan stereotypes: the upper-crust family two divorces in, the Connecticut wife, the Brooklyn literary set. But while The Nest may not always take its characters seriously, it is an incisive look at family rivalries and the relationships between siblings, in-laws, parent and child. Listen to this book because it's great. (Michelle)

Hardcover Fiction We Love:


My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (ebook available )
Grady Hendrix writes these great blended genre horror stories that I really enjoy. My Best Friend's Exorcism is no exception. It's a wonderful coming of age story about two girls growing up in the 80's. When one of them seemingly becomes possessed by evil can their friendship survive? Can they themselves survive? (Will)

Perfect Days by Raphael Montes (ebook available)
Teo ditches his best friend, the corpse, to spend some quality time secreted away in a hotel room with the love of his life, Clarice. She arrives packed in Teo's suitcase, the mind games commence, and it's a race of who can outwit who. This psychological thriller is stomach-churning (not for the faint of heart) and keeps you guessing with several plot twists right up until the finale. (Kristina)



Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe (ebook available)
This book doesn’t even publish until the end of May but we loved it so much we just couldn’t wait until next month. From the author of The Girls from Corona Del Mar comes a book about being young, being old, and being institutionalized. When 17-year-old Vera suffers a psychotic break at a high-school party, her awkward and somewhat absentee father takes her on a trip to Lithuania to better understand their heritage. With chapters that alternate between Vera’s emails to her boyfriend Fang and narratives from Vera’s father, Lucas, this is a book that pulls no punches when it comes to tackling issues of history, family, religion, and mental illness. Do you love gorgeous prose dappled with humor and genuine feeling? Hannah and Michelle really want you to read this book, so you probably should just do it. (Hannah + Michelle)

*Rufi Thorpe will be at WORD Brooklyn May 25th at 7PM in conversation with Rachel Fershleiser

Maestra by L.S. Hilton (ebook available)
Fifty Shades of Grey meets American Psycho with the allure of a classic Ian Fleming jaunt across Europe in this compelling novel from L.S. Hilton. Her first murder is an accident, the cover-up less so, and corporate espionage & selling forged paintings to Italian gangsters just gets easier from there for Judith—er Lauren. Come for the compelling discussion of Artemisia Gentileschi—the best of the caravaggisti—stay for the anonymous orgies. (Ashanti)


The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes (ebook available)
Here is Julian Barnes doing what he does best, exploring the gigantic significance of small moments and the personal side of historic events. The power of group thing and the struggle against the weight of expectations fight within the breast of Barne's characters in Noise, bringing personal pain to 1930s, 20th century New York, and the Soviet Union. Caught between survival, artistic integrity, and family, Dmitri
Shostakovic is at time aggressive, small, and always real. (Hannah)

La Rose by Louise Erdrich (ebook available)
Erdrich is an American Master—her writing plucks you out of yourself and thrusts you into the soul of other people. LaRose encapsulates the story of a family that, through the accidental loss of a child, welds their families together through the sharing of another. As their joy and sorrow consume them in turn, Erdrich keeps you empathetic and intrigued as an outside force threatens to disturb their precarious balance. Erdrich has long provided a much-needed voice for the Native American experience by revealing what is both universal and unique, here she challenges us to see each character's universe and attempt to fathom how family could contain such multitudes. (Hannah)


Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny (ebook available)
A twisted and hilarious meditation on parent-child relationships (with tons of sex jokes). Duchovny's intense knowledge of sports is also on full display here and none of it feels forced or cheap. The scattered writing style will either drive you crazy or thrill you. Either way, this book is well-worth a shot. (Tom)

The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff (ebook available)

I'm sure at this very moment you're thinking to yourself, "God, do we really need another hilarious Jewish writer writing about death and Jewishness?" Apparently, God thought we did. She writes about other stuff too, but no matter the subject, Rebecca Schiff is brilliant. (Gabe)

Paperback Fiction We Love:


South Haven by Hirsch Sawhney
I love a great coming of age story, especially one set amidst real tragedy. In Haven
we meet young Siddharth and his family—mom, dad, and older brother. Mom is the center of their world whether his father would like to admit it or not. She's taken from the family in a tragic accident which leaves Siddharth to navigate life with just his father and brother.However, since father and eldest son don't see eye to eye on most subjects, they are too caught up in their own battle to fully help Siddharth. Both do try valiantly to lead him in what they perceive is the right direction but (thankfully) he's determined to find his own way. This book became insight into what the life of a South Asian family is like in suburbia here in the US. But it remained a sharp, sensitive comment on adolescence and how much we still struggle to do well by our youth. Sawhney leaves us with a good cliffhanger in the end which I admired. He didn't have to tell us how each character turned out in life but lets us imagine their further existence. (Katelyn)

*If you're in the Jersey City area be sure to join WORD Bookstore for an event with Hirsh Sawhney on May 19 at 7:30pm. He is in conversation with Jonathan Corcoran, author of The Rope Swing.

The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz
Under an authoritarian Middle Eastern bureaucracy known as "the Gate," a man waits in line to receive permission to have a bullet removed from his stomach that his government refuses to even acknowledge. Set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, The Queue toes a fine line between dystopia and reality. Kafkaesque doesn't even begin to describe it. (Dylan) 

Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis (ebook available)
Rainey Royal is one of the most powerful, vulnerable, resilient, terrifying, surprising, and, at times, despicable characters I’ve ever met on a page. Structured in fourteen vignettes largely from the perspective of the title character, Rainey Royal tells the story of 14-year-old Rainey beginning with the day her father Howard Royal (a famous jazz musician with a string of adoring fans that Rainey just can’t seem to escape; no, seriously, they all live in Howard's crumbling townhouse in 1970s Greenwich Village) begins serving her a birth control pill each day with her glass of milk. And it only gets worse from there. With a prose style both contained and incredibly rich, this is a novel that portrays with heartbreaking clarity a young woman coming to terms with her sexuality, her victimhood, and her relationship to art. (Michelle)


Albina and the Dog-Men by Alejandro Jodorowsky
First, do me a favor, and if you're not familiar with Alejandro Jodorowsky, YouTube a clip from The Holy Mountain to get a sense of the transformative journey you're about to undertake with Albina. It will be a strange journey, cinematic—by turns vulgar and erotic, sacred and profane—but by the time it is over, you will feel changed. Rarely do I dip into a book and feel so completely transported both in space and time. While it is an occult travel tale in which the unlikely
trinity of an albino werewolf (who's mostly unaware of her affliction—or is it her companions?), a strange crablike orphan, and a compassionate but suicidal dwarf seek to procure a remedy for Albina's hirsute condition... and all the men she's transformed, it is also a poignant meditation on the composite parts of humanity and the profound effects of love therein. (Ashanti)

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (ebook available)
Do you like mythology and literary fiction? In a
bizzaro England, still recovering from a long war between the Britons and Saxons, a thick fog from the mouth of a dying dragon sweeps across the land making it impossible for people to create memories. Desperate to remember their missing son, as well as their love for one another, an elderly couple Axl and Beatrice embark on a journey to find and destroy the source of the fog. Arthurian legend meets dystopian fiction here as Kazuo Ishiguro reminds us of the inadequacy of communal memory. Oh, and also that we all die alone. Be prepared to need to recover from this book, but in the best possible way. (Michelle

The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir (ebook available)
For those of you who feel like you've been put out to pasture, whether through age, or slippage, or general circumstance, I say: forgo the self-help journey and push through your feelings with this guttural
, tragic, beautiful, and infuriating set of novellas by this French philosopher/Queen. It's so searing and vicious you don't know whether to weep or high-five de Beauvoir's ghost. (Andi) 

Nonfiction We Love:


Enter Helen by Brooke Huaser (ebook available)
The Woman, The Myth, The Badass. Helen Gurley Brown wrote Sex and the Single Girl and transformed
Cosmopolitian magazine to help create a new kind of unapologetically single woman. This book is as much a dynamic biography of Brown herself, featuring interviews with colleagues, friends, and Brown's own letters, as it is a portrait of the swinging sixties, New York, and the postwar boom. Hauser's writing matches her subject is alternately playful and serious, it is completelyin
control of its narrative. Second wave feminism, sex, and "having it all" get their due in this book about a woman who, love her or leave her, has transformed our lives. (Hannah)

The Village by Atul Gawande (ebook available)Everyone knows that Brooklyn is the new Manhattan, but before that came to pass, there was one neighbourhood where all the magic happened, the one place you ran to if you wanted to stage your play, start a radical magazine, date someone outside of the societal norm, or live in an urban commune. Strausbaugh's meticulously-researched history of The Village will make you wish you owned a time machine. (Andi)

Books for Teens, Tweens, and Littles:

Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle (ebook available)
Vivian Apple doesn't believe in the rapture, but it's hard to ignore the 2 parent-shaped holes in her ceiling the morning after it supposedly happened. And even if it takes an epic road trip with her best friend and a cute boy she just met, she's going to figure out what really happened to her missing parents. (Emma)

The Last Time We Said Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (ebook available)

This is a heart-breaking but beautiful novel about grief and loss. Ever since Lex's younger brother committed suicide, Lex has withdrawn from her friends and family, keeping her grief to herself. This is a different kind of coming-of-age novel that I really enjoyed and thought was well done. Sometimes I'm in a mood for a really good but sad novel and this did not disappoint. (Lydia)


Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee
This sweet, oh-so-pretty book features a tattooed father telling his young son the stories of his body art. This is one of the only books I've seen approach this topic, and it's done beautifully and sincerely in McGhee's tale. (Andi)

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
Thunder Boy Jr doesn't like his name. He's named after his father, Big Thunder. But Thunder Boy wants a name that's all his own; that represents who he is! A beautiful tale of family and celebrating who you are. (Crystal)

*Sherman Alexie will be at WORD Jersey City on May 10th at 7:30pm.

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
Every parent has heard this line. Long rides in the car aren't always the most fun, except this one! Time always seems to slow down when you're in a car on a long trip but in this car, it starts to go backwards in time! This book is both beautifully illustrated and imaginatively interactive! You'll never look at driving the same! (Crystal)

President Squid by Aaron Reynolds (ebook available)
Don’t just take my word for it, here’s a satisfied reader! “Let me tell you, this book is great, just great. It’s got the best words, a terrific moral, there’s pictures, absolutely phenomenal pictures, you know, and it’s about a subject that’s near and dear to my heart, the American people. You know, people come up to me all the time and ask, when are picture books gonna be great again? Let me tell you, this book is gonna Make Picture Books Great Again, it really is. Did I read it? No, no, I don’t need to read. I lived it.” - Donald T., age 69. (Mike)

For the Graphic Novel Enthusiast:

Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart (ebook available)
This is not an easy read. Cartoonist Tom Hart commemorates the life (and death) of his
two year old daughter Rosalie in this devastating graphic novel. It's like reading a wound. His illustrations are brisk and scratchy and heartwrenching in it's simplicity. (Alyssa)

Archie by Mark Waid & Fiona Staples
Somehow brand new yet true to the original we all know and love! Staples and Waid have taken Riverdale and it's beloved characters and brought them to the 21st century! Relatable for all ages, a new generation of Archie lovers are about to be born! (Crystal)

Out On the Wire by Mark Waid & Fiona Staples 
Awesomely informative! Abel does a fantastic job getting right to the heart of what makes narrative nonfiction so great, shining a light on the hard work of the individuals needed produce them. The art provides identity to the different aspects of building a radio show that many people have probably never considered but is what keeps folks coming back to listen. A solid graphic text for those interested in radio shows and podcasts. (Jasper)

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