“April is the cruelest month,” wrote poet and professional killjoy T.S. Eliot, who obviously couldn’t appreciate simple joys like taking in a baseball game, watching a flower garden bloom, keeping tabs on the pollen count and filling out page after page of tax forms.
OK, so maybe he had a point. Still, there’s a lot to recommend the first full month of spring, especially for readers — publishers frequently release some of their most-talked-about books in April, and this year is no exception.
Here are seven anticipated books coming out next month that you can relax with when you want to read something besides super-bloom news and your Form 1040.
“Women Talking,” Miriam Toews (April 2): The Canadian author of “All My Puny Sorrows” returns with an experimental novel, based on a true story, about eight Mennonite women who realize they’ve been drugged and sexually assaulted by men from their colony. The book has been praised by Margaret Atwood, who compared it to her own “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir,” Ruth Reichl (April 2): Former Los Angeles Times food editor Reichl has earned a reputation as one of the culinary world’s most incisive writers. Her new book tells the story of her decade-long stint as editor in chief at the now-defunct magazine Gourmet, a job she was initially reluctant to take.
“Naamah,” Sarah Blake (April 9): The debut novel from London-based poet Blake offers a unique feminist perspective on the story of Noah’s ark. The book tells the tale from the perspective of Noah’s wife, Naamah, who cares for the people and animals aboard the mythical boat.
“Working,” Robert A. Caro (April 9): The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historian, best known for his multi-volume biography of President Lyndon B. Johnson, offers a memoir that explains how he researches and writes his acclaimed books
“Trust Exercise,” Susan Choi (April 9): The fifth novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist Choi (“American Woman”) has had readers talking for months before its official release. The book, which touches on themes of sexuality and consent, follows a teenage couple whose lives are turned upside down by a British theater troupe that visits their high school.
“Normal People,” Sally Rooney (April 16): Irish author Rooney’s novel was a critical and commercial hit in her home country, and it seems poised to break out in the U.S. as well. The book, long listed for the Man Booker Prize, follows two college students who find themselves repeatedly entangled in each other’s lives.
“The Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division: The Oral History,” Jon Savage (April 23): English music writer Savage turns his eye to one of the most iconic bands of the post-punk era. More than a dozen observers, including Joy Division members Peter Hook and Bernard Summer, tell the story of Ian Curtis’ short-lived but endlessly influential band.