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WORD recommends these books this April:
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Fiction We Love:

   
 

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld (ebook available)
Evie Wyld's novel is impossibly balanced -- gorgeous and graceful, dark and taut, it tells the story of Jake, a young woman who's chosen a solitary life on a cold English island. Gradually, in twined narratives of past and present, Wyld explores the questions Jake's situation raises: Why is she there, alone, with a dog and a herd of sheep? What's picking off her sheep, one by one? What brought her there, and what did she leave behind? Wyld is as good at Jake's reluctant, slow-moving connection to other people as she is at depicting the kind of solitude that's sometimes necessary to process, to rebuild, and to heal. I read All the Birds, Singing in two sittings; it's the kind of book that just won't let you go. (Molly)

The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson (ebook available)
This big-hearted debut from Ted Thompson is the type of novel you’ll devour and then instantly want to re-read. Plunging deep into the workings of an American family, The Land of Steady Habits is told with determined wisdom and honesty. There’s also a box turtle, a divorce, and a mysterious drug called "Peruvian Salt." With a range of family members to pull for, I found myself desperately wanting to forgive each one of them. It’s the perfect read for a commute or an afternoon with a cup of coffee, though it's pretty close to perfect at any time, I say. (Katie)


Family Life by Akhil Sharma (ebook available)
Akhil Sharma’s second novel, Family Life, is a great accomplishment. Sharma takes the painful realities of his own childhood and family struggles and successfully transforms them into a powerful narrative. The prose primarily conveys a slow and quiet progression of time, interspersed with crude bluntness that simultaneously disrupts and creates the family’s status quo. In many ways this is a traditional novel about the trials of a family in the aftermath of a tragedy, and yet there is a strong streak of raw experimentalism throughout. Bonus: the setting is primarily in New Jersey. (Kelly)

Sleep Donation by Karen Russell (ebook exclusive)
What if insomnia was an epidemic? What if nightmares were communicable? What is one person's well-being worth, when weighed against hundreds? Russell is on point in this eery, darkly comic novella. Highly recommended for daytime (NOT bedtime) reading. (Jenn)
 

 
 

Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wayler (ebook available)
I'm a huge fan of the classics (I even run the classics book club) so when I spotted this novel that had ties to one of my favorites, Wuthering Heights, I knew it was for me. Wyler does not disappoint. I loved this dark but quirky romance. It's not an exact retelling but has elements from the novel woven into a modern story. And it certainly had me picking up my Bronte when I was done!
(Katelyn)

Ant Colony by Michael DeForge
DeForge's graphic novel debut, Ant Colony, introduces a civilization of ants in a universe of insects. Like our own human world, DeForge's is huge and awesome and full of all the vital things: humor, tragedy, chaos, faith, and revolution. It's all very confusing and colorful. Yes, sometimes it's disgusting, disquieting. But still, it's always a total pleasure to explore. Some tips? Beware the magnifying glass, the centipedes, spiders, earthworms, rival ant colonies, false prophets -- basically anything you encounter. Shirk the Queen. Shirk the cops. Stock up on sugar. Laugh it up.
(Chad)

The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
This short novel meshes the eery, otherworldly charms of The Tempest with a riveting plot structure that recalls James M. Cain or Raymond Chandler, although in place of scandals and capers, there's isolation and the delusions -- and illusions -- that sustain our lives, however bitterly. (Jaye)

Nonfiction We Love:

   

Book of Hours by Kevin Young
Poetry about fathers, and specifically about the loss of fathers, is already a rich tradition. Kevin Young's contribution to it is powerful in that it weaves the death of his father in with the birth of his son -- in short stanzas and short lines that contain multitudes. His father creeps into the son sequences in the way that long-term grief often does -- not always on the days we set aside for it, but rather amid the quotidian: the scent of a shirt, the bark of a dog, the random appearance of the coffee he used to drink. Sometimes thankfully, sometimes painfully, it takes so little to bring them back. (Emily)

Gulp by Mary Roach (ebook available)
Reading a book by Mary Roach is like attending a really good party: you get to meet interesting people, you learn new things, and the hostess keeps the atmosphere light and fun. Just out in paperback, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal introduces us to the latest research on our digestive system and the people who study it -- people who are trying to answer questions like: why do we like crunchy food? Why don't our stomachs digest themselves? And why, when it comes to taste, do our noses matter more than our tongues? Mary Roach's curiosity and excitement are contagious as she guides us through the recent research and introduces us to a group of scientists who are passionate about their work. (Kerry)

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (ebook available)
Today, finance moves at the speed of light as banks and brokerages buy and sell capital faster than you can blink an eye. Our financial system has become even harder for the average person to understand. Enter Michael Lewis with another modern-day Western where private groups try to grab a part of the lucrative market in high-speed trading, while the big banks and brokerage firms build secretive systems of their own. Some wear the white hats and some wear the black as they struggle to control a piece of the new market. While Lewis's bad guys and good guys may not be the ones you would choose, their struggles make for a lively book that shines light on a little understood part of our complex economy. (Kerry)
 

 

Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky
This book (very aptly titled) is indeed an atlas with coordinates and statistics, but it’s certainly more than that. There are little blurbs for each entry that talk about the origin of the island or its inhabitants or something really interesting that goes on there. Every time I pick it up, I learn something cool about a place I never even knew existed -- sort of fun and magical in that way. For the curious, trivia-seeking person in your life. It’s a very handsome book, also. The Atlas of Remote Islands rocks my socks. (Jasper)

Outside the Box by Hillary L. Chute (ebook available)
In addition to its stunning full-color production and French flaps, this book contains interviews with Scott McCloud, Charles Burns, Lynda Barry, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Phoebe Gloeckner, Joe Sacco, Alison Bechdel, Francoise Mouly, Adrian Tomine, Art Spiegelman, and Chris Ware. One of them illustrated ads for Cartier, one received a rejection letter from Adrienne Rich, and one's mother was an auto mechanic. Oh, and they mention comics once or twice. Do I really need to say anything else? (Emily)

What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali (ebook available)
Responding to an insult can take many forms. In the case of teacher turned slam poet Taylor Mali, it was writing this book that is a resounding tribute to the teaching profession. The book is a compilation of essays covering everything from how to motivate less interested students in the classroom to his experience with a student who died of cancer and how that student inspired not just Mali but his fellow students as well. Mali may come off as a little too much of a cheerleader for the teachers of the world, but that enthusiasm is what makes the book so hard to put down. Highly recommended for anyone who has had a teacher who made a difference in their lives or who admires those who have made teaching their vocation. (Ricardo)

Books for Teens, Tweens, and Littles:

   
 

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan (ebook available)
This book. Aaaghh, this BOOK. We start on a spaceship where men are the bosses and women do as they're told. Due to a seriously messed up misunderstanding, our heroine finds herself fleeing for her life -- down to Earth. From there she's constantly forced to adapt and learn in order to survive, which she does because (as she slowly and uncertainly discovers about herself) she's intelligent and creative and, despite what she's been raised to believe, NOT any less of a person due to her gender. This book is just so important and fantastic and I can't say enough about it. Read it. I promise you'll love it. (Arielle)

Jim Curious: A Voyage to the Heart of the Sea in 3-D Vision by Matthias Picard
A very magical 3-D adventure starring the adorably round Jim Curious. Join Jim as he bumbles around the ocean meeting all kinds of personalities. Author Matthias Picard is an amazing illustrator and storyteller. Children and adults alike will no doubt appreciate this modern day visual classic! (Kirby)
 

 


The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat (ebook available)
Beekle is an imaginary friend without a friend to imagine him. Tired of waiting to be imagined, he takes off on a grand adventure past colorful dragons and giant whales until he reaches the real world. It is a strange land to him — where only adults eat cake, everyone needs naptime, and no one stops to hear music — but he soon discovers a little girl, the friend he’s been searching for. This is just about the sweetest picture book I’ve ever read. The illustrations are colorful and evocative, the examination of daily life pointed and clever. Everyone can benefit from Beekle’s determination and Santat’s imagination. (Emma)

Found by Salina Yoon (ebook available)
A bear finds a much loved stuffed bunny and does his very best to find its owner by hanging zillions of "found" signs (the "lost" signs are worth a closer look, with subjects like "my marbles" and "the left sock"). Finally the owner of the bunny (spoiler alert!) shows up to claim it, but decides to pass it down to the bear instead. A crazy cute story, with a secret moral if you're trying to get older siblings to give up some old toys... (Arielle)

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