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WORD recommends these books this April.
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Fiction We Love:

 
      


The Rocks by Peter Nichols (ebook available)
Set in Mallorca, this interesting novel -- which begins at the end and weaves its way back to the beginning -- is the perfect book to read while lounging seaside. You can feel the salt of the Mediterranean and the cool breeze through the lemon trees. There's family strife and secret longings which add up to a fun, engaging story. Perfect for fans of The Vacationers since they share the same beautiful setting. (Katelyn)

Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky (ebook available)
The legendary filmmaker has taken his lineage for inspiration in this twisted meditation on existentialism flavored with Jewish mysticism, incest, and some honey for good measure. This supposed biography works more as a jumping off place for a truly wild literary ride. Graphic, ambitious, magical, demented – Jodorowsky's visual virtuosity showcases a whirlwind of occultism, cultism, sex, and death across time and space. Truly striking, psychedelic, and one of the more surreal books I have read in a while. But what more could you expect from the man who adapted Frank Herbert's Dune into a 14-hour film and created his own tarot? (Ashanti)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (ebook available)
Every ten years a cold and fearsome wizard known only as the Dragon takes a young woman from Agnieszka's village; it's a sacrifice they must endure to keep their village safe from the corrupted, malevolent Wood. No one knows what the women must endure in the Dragon's castle, but they always return changed. When Agnieszka is chosen instead of her best friend Kasia, she quickly realizes the village rumors don't even begin to approach the truth. Novik's book has everything you could want in a fantasy: witches, murder, an evil, conniving forest, unstoppable friendship, and just a little bit of romance. This is one of those books you will come back to year after year; Novik has created a world you'll never want to leave. (Emma)

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (ebook available)
Newly out in paperback, this is one of my favorite books from last year. On the first page, we learn that a teenage girl is missing, but in order to find her we delve into the past -- of her childhood, of her mother's unrealized dreams of achievement, and of her father's unrealized dreams of acceptance. Each character is shaped by other people's expectations of them, and Ng masterfully weaves together the narratives into a powerful novel. (Emily)
 

      


The Ghost Network by Catie DiSabato (ebook available)
A wildly original debut, The Ghost Network traces the mystery surrounding pop-superstar Molly Metropolis, who disappeared at the height of her celebrity. Through a metafictional frame, DiSabato gives an almost obsessive examination of Molly's life and career, as well as the radical theory and Illuminati-esque conspiracy at the heart of it. Layered with avant-garde philosophy, domestic terrorism, pop music, and a queer love story to boot, The Ghost Network is an exhilarating ride through the streets and subways of Chicago. (Dylan)

Love Is Red by Sophie Jaff (ebook available)

A killer dubbed “the Sickle Man” has been set loose in the hot Manhattan summer, slaughtering women by carving arcane symbols into their skin. There is never a sign of a struggle. There are no ties between the victims. Katherine Emerson is living a semi-normal, if lonely, life but little does she know her destiny is entwined with this demented murderer who is collecting his victims on a synaesthetic need for the colors they produce; a shock of bubble gum envy, panic neon orange, all culminating in a red that will change the course of human events. The first and authorly debut in The Nightsong Trilogy; I eagerly await the next. (Ashanti)

The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard (ebook available)
In this slim novel, we meet Aron, who has been shut up along with his parents in the Warsaw Ghetto. At times, he becomes a smuggler to help his community, but he also turns informant when he must. The best part of this book is the voice of Aron: sweet and childish, but ultimately strong. Shepard has pulled a singular voice from the cacophony of downtrodden voices that swell up from the tragedy of the Holocaust. WWII history buffs will recognize some real-life heroes among the fictional ones in this complex and moving novel. (Katelyn)

Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen
Five friends spend their summer fighting mythical creatures and earning badges at a camp for "hardcore lady types." Theirs is not your average summer and this is NOT your average comic book. The Lumberjanes are a diverse group of badass young women, sure to delight and inspire people of all ages, genders, and walks of life. Once you've finished you'll wish every single character -- even the villains (and especially the mythic creatures) -- were real. (Emma)

Nonfiction We Love:

      


The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (ebook available)
As she did with Bluets, Maggie Nelson brings philosophy and queer theory to the personal stories she shares of love, relationships, and (now) parenthood. I would pair this book with Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation and Sarah Manguso's Ongoingness: The End of A Diary. Nelson is just so masterful at allowing for a fluid boundary between the intellectual and the intertextual, the art and the artifice, the poetic, and the personal. And if you ask nicely, I'll tell you a story about the Anne Carson interview she mentions on page 49. (Emily)

Speeches That Changed the World by Simon Sebag Montefiore (ebook available)
I love this compilation of speeches ranging from 1588 to the modern day. Speeches are meant to be heard, not read, so it's fascinating to be able to fully absorb and read the words. Each speech also comes with historical context, and I'm particularly fond of George S. Patton's last line. (Alyssa)

The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper
This is more than just a great collection of Hopper's thoughtful, passionate writing on music, from her callout of emo's gender problems ("Emo: Where the Girls Aren't") to her conversation with Jim DeRogatis about what R. Kelly got away with. It's an Important book, with a capital I, because its title is infuriatingly true (with a little bit of wiggle room, as Hopper notes at the outset). In a delightfully matter-of-fact way, Hopper has planted a flag in the male-dominated world of rock writing: This kind of book can exist. It shouldn't be the only one. It deserves that gorgeous gold edging on the pages. And it needs to be read. (Molly)

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer (ebook available)
There are no easy ways to talk about rape, or its troubled relationship with the justice system. In Missoula, Krakauer takes on these complicated topics by zeroing in on one city and a few specific cases. His research is exhaustive, and follows the victims and accused from the incidents through the court process (or lack thereof). What emerges is a picture of the numerous ways that our society and our judicial system are failing victims of sexual assault. This is not an easy book to read nor is it comprehensive (for example, intersectionality and race are not addressed), but it’s an important addition to the literature on rape culture, trauma, and the way the United States does and doesn't deal. (Jenn)
 

      


If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher (ebook available)
First, I feel the need to confess: I don't normally read books like this. But as a transplant to the New York/New Jersey area I found myself relating to the loneliness that can accompany moving to New York City. Brencher came up with an interesting way to reach out to strangers by leaving anonymous letters throughout the city. Her effort led to a popular blog. The book is beautifully illustrated with her sometimes emotional letters. (Nancy)

On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks (ebook available)
Oliver Sacks has told the stories of many intriguing, eccentric minds throughout his life as a neurologist and writer. He applies the same curiosity and compassion to himself in On the Move, a self-portrait that comprises hardships, hard work, and profound love. And who knew he was a competitive weight lifter?! (Jaye)

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (ebook available)
Mary Norton is a damned good storyteller; so good that you barely notice that you are learning some grammar and spelling along the way. After 35 years at The New Yorker, 20 of those as a copy editor, she has some great stories to tell and an enthusiasm for words that is infectious. (Kerry)


Octopus! by Katherine Harmon Courage (ebook available)
Did you know octopodes (it is Greek, not Latin) change color with emotion and have special light-reflective cells that allow them to better camouflage underwater? Or that it's nearly impossible to track where your commercially fished calamari actually came from? Well, author Katherine Harmon Courage is here to tell you all this and more. From the cues robotics engineers are taking from our eight-legged friends to how best to baste them for a fresh salad, Courage travels across the globe to present to us all facets of this incredible creature. Perfect for armchair travelers and science buffs alike! (Ashanti)

Books for Teens, Tweens, and Littles:

      

The Heir by Kiera Cass (ebook available)
I love this series. It's been 20 years since America Singer won Prince Maxon's heart, and now that Princess Eadlyn is of age, it's time for her Selection to begin. While The Heir is the fourth book in the series, the focus has now shifted to the next generation, making it a nice entry point for new readers. Perfect mix of The Bachelor and The Hunger Games, but for those who won't miss the violence and blood-sport of the latter. (Lydia)

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra, Dhonielle Clayton (ebook available)
An enthralling tale of backstabbing ballerinas trying to get through school and secure their futures by any means possible. The diverse and three-dimensional cast of characters are relatable and realistic, and I know you'll be as thoroughly engrossed as I was! (Arielle)

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (ebook available)
When Arianna’s older brother, Gage, decides to leave the home of their guardian, Janna, she follows him out the door only to find that they've yet to have a place to call their own. Convinced that the situation is a temporary one, Ari keeps the fact that she and her brother are couch surfing from her schoolmates, her teachers, and most importantly, Janna. Paper Things touches on loss, family, friendship, acceptance, struggling to say what you mean, and all this from the perspective of a super smart Eleven-year-old who's more mature than she needs to be. The resonance this book has is a welcome surprise. I haven’t felt "heavy boots" like this since Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. (Jasper)

 

    

This Is Sadie by Sara O'Leary, Julie Morstad (Illustrator) (ebook available)
Sadie is a small girl with a big imagination. She is filled with curiosity and wonder, and is everything I aspire to be -- even as a Full Grown Adult. The illustrations are spare and lush in turn, and I want to hang every page on my wall. I am in love with this charming, whimsical picture book. (Emma)

Daddy Sat on a Duck by Scott Cohn (ebook available)
An absolutely hilarious rhyming book on the strange noises, sights, and smells that little ones may encounter while living with that wild animal known as a "daddy." (Arielle)

Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad by Liz Climo (ebook available)
This is a super sweet picture book, especially for dads! There always seem to be plenty of picture books about moms but, not so many about dads. This one looks at how close a child and father can be while showing how a father will always be nearby helping his child, even when the kid doesn't know it. Great to read year-round but a certain special holiday is only weeks away. (Lydia)

This has been another production of the book-lovin' fools at:

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