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Let’s take a closer look at the book club picks for April 2023!
Hopefully the weather is warming up wherever you’re located. We’re in San Diego area and it’s been an extremely rainy winter, which the rain is very much needed. But I’m looking forward to some sunny, warm days in the future. Especially now that we’re in spring reading season!
And wow, there’s a ton of new books releasing this spring. There is no shortage of new releases to pick from. If you’re looking for even more freshly published novels, be sure to check out my huge must-read book club picks list for 2023. I’m also going to publish my summer list soon so keep an eye out for that.
This list features three new releases and two older titles. I like to provide a mix of both for the monthly lists.
Let’s get to it!
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
Oh I’m so excited for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld. I really enjoy her writing—it’s fresh, quirky and engaging. I personally think Rodham by her was fantastic.
Romantic Comedy follows a comedy writer who has sworn off love but then a pop star changes everything. It sounds fun but also I know that there will be plenty of poignant moments as well as social commentary. Here’s the synopsis:
Sally Milz is a sketch writer for The Night Owls, a late-night live comedy show that airs every Saturday. With a couple of heartbreaks under her belt, she’s long abandoned the search for love, settling instead for the occasional hook-up, career success, and a close relationship with her stepfather to round out a satisfying life.
But when Sally’s friend and fellow writer Danny Horst begins dating Annabel, a glamorous actress who guest-hosted the show, he joins the not-so-exclusive group of talented but average-looking and even dorky men at the show—and in society at large—who’ve gotten romantically involved with incredibly beautiful and accomplished women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch called the Danny Horst Rule, poking fun at this phenomenon while underscoring how unlikely it is that the reverse would ever happen for a woman.
Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models, who signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show. Dazzled by his charms, Sally hits it off with Noah instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying. But this isn’t a romantic comedy—it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her . . . right?
With her keen observations and trademark ability to bring complex women to life on the page, Curtis Sittenfeld explores the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love, while slyly dissecting the social rituals of romance and gender relations in the modern age.
A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung
A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung sounds like a truly impactful book. This is the follow-up to her successful memoir All You Can Ever Know and it focuses on family, class and grief. Here’s the synopsis:
Nicole Chung couldn’t hightail it out of her overwhelmingly white Oregon hometown fast enough. As a scholarship student at a private university on the East Coast, no longer the only Korean she knew, she found community and a path to the life she’d long wanted. But the middle class world she begins to raise a family in – where there are big homes, college funds, nice vacations – looks very different from the middle class world she thought she grew up in, where paychecks have to stretch to the end of the week, health insurance is often lacking, and there are no safety nets.
When her father dies at only sixty-seven, killed by diabetes and kidney disease, Nicole feels deep grief as well as rage, knowing that years of precarity and lack of access to healthcare contributed to his early death. And then the unthinkable happens – less than a year later, her beloved mother is diagnosed with cancer, and the physical distance between them becomes insurmountable as COVID-19 descends upon the world.
Exploring the enduring strength of family bonds in the face of hardship and tragedy, A Living Remedy examines what it takes to reconcile the distance between one life, one home, and another – and sheds needed light on some of the most persistent and grievous inequalities in American society.
The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth
Sally Hepworth thrillers are entertaining and thought-provoking. So I’m looking forward to seeing what she has stored in The Soulmate! Here’s the synopsis:
There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.
When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral…Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?
And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate…lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel.
The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
For those who enjoy historical fiction, I think you’ll find The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont especially interesting. This story is a new take on the real-life disappearance of Agatha Christie. However, the author takes the truth and spins it into this engaging suspenseful story about one woman’s quest to regain what she lost. Here’s the synopsis:
In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.
It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.
What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.
Check out my book club questions here.
Circe by Madeline Miller
There are plenty of Greek retellings out there but arguably the best is done by Madeline Miller. I highly recommend you check out Circe if you haven’t yet. Even though Circe is most known for her association with Odysseus in The Odyssey, Miller re-imagines Circe’s story and gives her a full arc. Here’s the synopsis:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child — not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power — the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.
Check out my book club questions here.