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8 Books We’re Excited to Read in April 2024

April showers are notoriously wonderful to read in, so for our fourth book list of the year, we’re including psychological and sociological essay collections, lurid, ruthless novels, and a reboot of an aging star’s glory days.

All Things Are Too Small: Essays in Praise of Excess, Becca Rothfeld (April 2)

In Washington Post book critic Becca Rothfeld’s first full-length collection, the theme of excess is on her mind — how contemporary American culture flattens and nitpicks, leading to an overly streamlined aesthetic. Think of the minimalism craze sweeping TikTok at the moment, or Marie Kondo’s cleaning method in 2019 that had people cleaning out their entire closets. But Rothfeld goes deeper than practical cleaning — she writes about quiet novels, body horror, detective books, sex, and cinema with gripping insight and a sharp eye. (And if you want a sampler, her recent takedown of Lauren Oyler’s essay collection is the kind of popcorn-grabbing essay to devour.)

A Good Happy Girl, Marissa Higgins (April 2)

Marissa Higgins’s fearless and often shockingly intimate debut novel centers the self-destructive Helen, a floundering lawyer wrapped up in an emotionally fervent relationship with Katrina and Catherine, a couple she meets one day on an app and can’t let go of. She’s pained by the presence of her father, who begs her to write a letter of recommendation in order for him to get out of jail, despite his horrifying neglect of Helen’s grandmother. But what if Helen would rather spend her time with the wives, a rambunctious and adventurous couple who make her feel wanted, sexy, but often alienated in her yearning? What if we just all followed our innermost desires? Cutting, dynamic, and boldly self-assured for a debut, A Good Happy Girl enters a reader like ice in the veins.

Dayspring, Anthony Oliveira (April 2)

In a debut that blends memoir, fiction, verse, incorporating biblical tales and coming-of-age stories, Anthony Oliveira’s debut is perfect for fans of Madeline Miller who find beauty in the sacred. Centering a daring idea about how the borders and themes of Christianity can infuse queer love and relationships, Dayspring transcends time and space with historical flavor with its inventive, exciting ways.

The Age of Magical Thinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality, Amanda Montell (April 9)

Cultish author and superstar podcaster Amanda Montell returns with The Age of Magical Thinking, a psychology-based exploration of why, clinically speaking, we feel insane all of the time. Zipping through concepts like the sunk-cost fallacy, the IKEA effect, confirmation bias, and the halo effect, she invokes writers like Adam Grant and David Epstein to provide a humorous, person-first account of the mind where you actually learn the mechanics behind your brain’s incessant fears. Why would we purchase everything Taylor Swift advertises? Why do we feel invincible after we work with our hands? Why does one strategically-placed catastrophe make us spiral for the rest of the day? Montell explains with heart and insight.

Bitter Water Opera, Nicolette Polek (April 16)

The debut novel from the author of the story collection Imaginary Museums, Bitter Water Opera is a slim but impactful book about art, family, and solitude. Socially adrift Gia is sleeping fifteen hours a day after breaking up with her boyfriend, but learning of the dancer Marta Becket, who painted her own audience on the walls of a theater she claimed, invigorates her. She writes to Marta, who enters Gia’s life with astonishing immediacy, and the two embark on a lurid journey through the self to figure out what Gia wants in this taut book. 

Henry Henry, Allen Bratton (April 16)

Written as a queer imagining of Shakespeare’s Henriad, Hal Lancaster is adrift in 2014 London, despite being the heir of Henry, Duke of Lancaster. Followed over a year with “messed-up family. Daddy issues and first dates. Good sex, bad sex, confusing sex. Drugs. Actors. Parties. Booze,” as editor Brandon Taylor writes, Hal’s wit barrels through a novel about young adulthood, family, and being alive today. 

Reboot, Justin Taylor (April 23)

Once a staple of the early aughts hit teen drama Rev Beach, David Crader is now a has-been, recovering from alcoholism, scheduling awkward visits to the zoo with his son, and appearing at conventions for a voice acting job where he’s still recognized. Rev Beach became streamable when the pandemic hit, though, and found a new league of fans — some who demand for a reboot of the series, others who mourn the loss of their fictional endings. Crader flies to LA to film the new series, but soon learns it’s not all fun and games — that the fans truly might govern his career for the future in this smart, timely novel.

Real Americans, Rachel Khong (April 30)

Rachel Khong, author of the beloved Goodbye, Vitamin, returns with Real Americans, a multi-layered family portrait about identity and concealing ourselves. Khong narrates three generations in one family, touching on race, inheritance, and family. Long family sagas with switching POVs might be hard to pull off, but Khong does so with her signature charm and astuteness.

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