- Book Talk: Spring Reading Roundup
- Music Notes: Best Selling Authors Rock For Charity Some of the world's best-selling authors put down their pens and pick up their instruments in the name of big fun and bigger fund-raising.
Whether your preference is fiction or non-fiction, we’ve got you covered for some great spring books.
ALL THE SINGLE LADIES: UNMARRIED WOMEN AND THE RISE OF AN INDEPENDENT NATION
By Rebecca Traister
Rebecca Traister’s first book, Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women was a New York Times Notable book in 2010. In this follow-up to that book, she delves into the emotional, social, and sexual history of single women in America. Anne Lamott calls Traister the “most brilliant voice on feminism in the country”. Part social history, part journalism, witty and insightful, this is a must-read for all those who want to understand the power of single women in America. (Simon and Schuster, $27)
ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES: A MEMOIR
By Rob Spillman
Music in various forms pervades this coming-of-age memoir, written by the cofounding editor of the prestigious and influential literary magazine Tin House. Born in West Germany, Spillman returned to Berlin shortly after the fall of its Wall, with his new wife, the equally legendary Ellissa Schappell, and hopes of living a bohemian lifestyle there. In the words of Anthony Doerr, author of the 2014 runaway best-seller All The Light We Cannot See, “If you’ve ever been young, in love, and desperate to live an authentic life, this book is for you: a ravishing memoir about a young man’s quest for art, meaning, and a place to call home”. (Grove Press, $25)
Spillman will be reading from and discussing this book at Kramerbooks on Tuesday, May 3rd, at 6:30 pm.
CRUSH: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing, and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crus
By Cathy Alter and David Singleton
This book of essays is packed with DC names and celebrities of all stripes, from Stephen King and Jodi Picoult to American University professors Richard McCann and David Keplinger and authors Karin Tanabe and Carolyn Pankhurst. Already, it’s been making waves, picked by People Magazine as a book of the week and given a prestigious starred review in Kirkus. And when Donny Osmond read Cathy Alter’s essay about her youthful crush on him, he got in touch with her. The experience of each essayist is unique, and yet there is something deeply recognisable in the universal human longings they express. (William Morrow & Company, $19.99)
The editors will be in conversation with Michelle Brafman at Sixth and I Synagogue on Tuesday, April 19th, at 7 pm.
DEAD PRESIDENTS: AN AMERICAN ADVENTURE INTO THE STRANGE DEATHS AND SURPRSIING AFTERLIVES OF OUR NATION’S LEADERS
By Brady Carlson
Three’s not shortage of life stories of our Presidents, but how about their deaths? In this informative, witty, eloquently written book, Morning Edition host Carlson takes us on a journey both physical and historical as he looks at each of the Presidents’ graves, monuments, and assassination sites, the ways in which they passed, and the legacies they have left. A delights for history buffs and political wonks alike. (W. W. Norton & Company, $26.95)
By Jonathan Lee
Fact and fiction, comedy and tragedy: all come together in this brilliantly executed novel which reimagines the 1984 assassination attempt on Margaret Thatcher. The author of the deservedly lauded Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff, has this to say about it: “A reader will hold her breath for long, perfectly-paced stretches, and she will surface, dizzied, at the end.” (Knopf, $26.95)
INNOCENTS AND OTHERS
By Dana Spiotta
This is what George Saunders, author of the wonderful short story collection Tenth of December, says of Spiotta’s latest novel: “What a delight to be at the receiving end of so much virtuosic caring. A powerful book that will stay with me and continue to speak to me for a long time.” In this book, and exploration of female friendship, two women who grew up in the 1980s become filmmakers. This book is somewhat experimental in its execution, and, according to the Washington Post’s Ron Charles, this amounts to “a brilliant split-screen view of women working within and without the world of Hollywood”. (Scribner, $25)
Dana Spiotta will be reading at Politics and Prose on Monday, April 11th, at 7 pm.
THE NARROW DOOR: A MEMOIR OF FRIENDSHIP
By Paul Lisicky
Another take on friendship is Paul Lisicky’s, who juxtaposes images and memories of two precious relationships, one with his ex-husband and one with Denise, a close novelist friend. This is a tender and beautiful book of compassion and resilience, written with deep insight into the human soul and the sensitivity of a poet. (Graywolf, $16)
By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
In this much-talked about, highly praised first novel, the Plumb family experience firsthand the complicated effects money can have on relationship, when their inheritance is put at risk by the reckless and irresponsible behaviour of the youngest brother of the family. Amy Poehler called this book “intoxicating” and Kirkus gave it one of their coveted starred reviews. This season’s must-read novel. (Ecco, $26.99)
POLITICAL SUICIDE: MISSTEPS, PECCADILLOES, BAD CALLS, BACKGROOM HIJINX, SORDID PASTS, ROTTEN BREAKS, AND JUST PLAIN DUMB MISTAKES IN THE ANNALS OF AMERICAN POLITICS
By Erin McHugh
If you need a little light relief from the current political campaign, consider this book by Erin McHugh, whose background in history and trivia serves her well here. (Pegasus Books, $26.95)
THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
By Alexander Chee
Near-impossible to get on its publication day because of the pre-publication buzz it had generated, Alexander Chee’s second novel is historical fiction about an opera singer who discovers with alarm that a new opera, written for her, is based on elements of her life that almost nobody knows and whose secrets could destroy her reputation about her complicated past. (Houghton Mifflin, $28)
By Stephanie Danler
Stephanie Danler made the headlines in 2014 after her agent sold her début novel to Peter Gethers of Penguin Random House, who was a customer at Buvette, the restaurant where she waitressed. Set in the élite Manhattan restaurant world, Sweetbitter evocatively conveys the delights of food and wine, but of much else, too: coming of age, discovering New York, learning about friendship, drugs, and love. In the words of her Kirkus starred review, Sweetbitter is “Incandescent, with visceral and gorgeous descriptions of flavors, pitch-perfect overheard dialogue, deep knowledge of food, wine, and the restaurant business . . . Danler aims to mesmerize, to seduce, to fill you with sensual cravings.” (Knopf, $24.95, May 24th.)
UNITED: THOUGHTS ON FINDING COMMON GROUND AND ADVANCING THE COMMON GOOD
By Cory Booker
United States Senator Cory Booker is something of a legend on Twitter. Here, in longer form, he passionately and conversationally tells of his life in public service – he is the former mayor of New Jersey and was the first African American Senator from the state – and speaks about housing segregation and racial bias in policing. United is part memoir, part manifesto, and important reading for all those who care about moving America forward. (Ballantine Books, $27)