April brings a host of new fiction and nonfiction to bookstore shelves. Here are 10 titles you should pay attention to this month, selected by Newsday Books Editor Tom Beer.
BILLIE HOLIDAY, by John Szwed
BILLIE HOLIDAY: The Musician and the Myth, by John Szwed (Viking). The great jazz vocalist was born 100 years ago on April 7. Szwed’s new book is not a straight-up biography, but a savvy reading of Holiday’s complicated public image and her very real musical gifts.
THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE, by Ann Packer
THE CHILDRENS CRUSADE, by Ann Packer (Scribner). The new novel by the author of The Dive from Clausens Pier follows the uneven fortunes of a California family that settles in what will become Silicon Valley.
THE BROTHERS, by Masha Gessen
THE BROTHERS: The Road to an American Tragedy, by Masha Gessen (Riverhead). Who were the Tsarnaev brothers, and why did they bomb the 2013 Boston Marathon? Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen explores the family’s fateful trajectory from Central Asia to Boston.
I REFUSE, by Per Petterson
I REFUSE, by Per Petterson (Graywolf). The bestselling Norwegian author (“Out Stealing Horses”) returns with a novel about two boyhood friends who meet decades later and revisit their painful past.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, by Elizabeth Alexander
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, by Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central). In a powerful new memoir, the award-winning poet who read at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration recounts her life as a widow, grieving her beloved husband, and raising two teenage sons.
THE SYMPATHIZER, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
THE SYMPATHIZER, by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove). This unusual post-Vietnam War espionage novel is narrated by a Viet Cong double agent who finds himself, with torn loyalties, in America after the fall of Saigon.
VERY GOOD LIVES, by J.K. Rowling
VERY GOOD LIVES: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination, by J.K. Rowling (Little Brown). The Harry Potter author and mystery writer shares the life lessons she imparted in a 2008 commencement address at Harvard.
GOD HELP THE CHILD, by Toni Morrison
GOD HELP THE CHILD, by Toni Morrison (Knopf). The 84-year-old author of modern classics such as “The Song of Solomon” and “Beloved” doesn’t rest on her laurels. This new novel, her third in seven years, features a dark-skinned young woman rejected by her light-skinned mother.
THE JOB, by Steve Osborne
THE JOB: True Tales From the Life of a New York City Cop, by Steve Osborne (Doubleday). A 20-year veteran of the NYPD — and a popular storyteller on The Moth Radio Hour and live events — shares his tales of cop life, on and off the streets.
SPINSTER, by Kate Bolick
SPINSTER: Making a Life of One’s Own, by Kate Bolick (Crown). A contributing editor at The Atlantic magazine offers an unapologetic manifesto for the single life, inspired by literary godmothers such as Edna St. Vincent Millay and Maeve Brennan.