There are so many great paperbacks releasing this month that it was hard to limit this list! Some of my favorites are a book for (and about) book clubs, the fascinating true story of Nike creator Phil Knight, and a literary heavy-hitter from Jesmyn Ward. We also relive old Hollywood glamour, the life of a priest’s daughter, and, of course, there’s a juicy summer read about the Sunshine sisters. I don’t know about you, but for me these longer, warmer days only mean more time to sit outdoors and read.
There's a good chance you've been a part of a book club at some point in your life. But the book club in Lisi Harrison's delicious novel is a little different... Started in the 1960s by a group of women who were fed up watching men having all the fun, the Dirty Book Club has now been passed down to a younger group of women who explore timeless reads like THE HOUSEWIFE'S HANDBOOK ON SELECTIVE PROMISCUITY and FEAR OF FLYING. Largely set in contemporary times, the novel follows M.J. as she moves to California, joins the book club that's now 50 years in the making, and starts a new life for herself. With the new Book Club movie (starring Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda) coming out May 17, this is the perfect read for the month.
One of my favorite podcasts is How I Built This with Guy Raz. He interviews people who started companies that have become household names—like Starbucks and Wikipedia—and talks about their personal history and how their dreams began. SHOE DOG is like an expanded version of this podcast, all about the extraordinary life of Phil Knight, founder of Nike. The swoosh is immediately recognized everywhere, and "Just Do It" is synonymous with the brand. So how did he do it? In this book, Knight recounts stories of crushing setbacks, thrilling triumphs, and the relationships that became the heart and soul of Nike. This is a fascinating and refreshingly honest story about true grit.
Something about old Hollywood stories always draws me in. Perhaps it's the magic of a bygone era, or the promise of Tinseltown drama. Evelyn Hugo, a legendary film actress, is aging and reclusive—and finally ready to spill the truth about her scandalous life. When she selects unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant to tell her story, no one is more surprised than Monique herself. As she's summoned to Evelyn's apartment, Monique listens, rapt, to the memories Evelyn has to share. But as Evelyn's story nears the end, it's clear that Evelyn's and Monique's lives intersect in tragic and irreversible ways.
Wildly entertaining right out of the gate, Patricia Lockwood's memoir is witty, authentic, and saturated with love. Lockwood's father, Greg, is not your typical Catholic priest. He lounges around in boxer shorts, loves action movies, and frequently jams on his guitar. His daughter Patricia long ago left the Church's country, but when an unexpected crisis leads her and her husband back, all worlds collide. An unforgettable portrait of a family, this memoir is peppered with symbolic moments from her childhood and expertly moves from the comic to the deeply serious.
Reading THE SUNSHINE SISTERS is like biting into a perfectly ripe nectarine on a warm sunny day. As we inch ever closer to summer, this is the paperback to stick in your beach bag. The three Sunshine sisters each followed a different path that took them away from their disinterested mother Ronni—one off to work on a farm, another jetting off to London, and the youngest working to build a culinary career. As different as they are, they all find themselves together again, called home by Ronni who has discovered she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. Though the sisters have never been close, their mother's illness pulls them together and they must face old jealousies and secret fears that they had harbored. Poignant, shocking, and dramatic, this is an utterly compelling read.
If you're in the mood for a lyrical, timely, ambitious novel, look no further than SING, UNBURIED, SING from two-time National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward. This is the story of Jojo, a 13-year-old boy trying to understand what it means to be a man. He looks to his black grandfather, his absent white father, and his absent white grandfather who refuses to acknowledge him. When his father is released from prison, Jojo's mother packs the kids up and drives them to the state penitentiary. Once there, Jojo finds another 13-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries with him all the ugly history of the South. This is a haunting panorama of the rural south and an epic story of three generations.