Spring Reads

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Spring Reads
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    The Best Spring Reads for Fresh Starts
    Spring is a time for new beginnings. Tiny buds begin to form on the branches of trees, itching to burst into green. Tulips push themselves out from under the soil, ready to unfurl their colors in the sun. And winter-weary hibernators shake the fog of winter from their bodies and minds. The season is the perfect time for taking a leap into something—or somewhere new.

    We’ve compiled a list of five recently-released books about fresh starts in new locales, from cold-war Germany to modern-day Rio de Janeiro, and the sea-swept cliffs of Normandy to the hills of Spain. The characters you’ll meet between the covers learn that a change in scenery often inspires one to change oneself, making these books the perfect springtime reads for the wandering bookworm.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF HACHETTE BOOK GROUP
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    WAYS TO DISAPPEAR

    by Idra Novey

    Novey’s debut chronicles the adventures of a young woman named Emma, who makes a snap decision to leave her home in Pittsburg and fly to Brazil. She is the English translator of the works of Beatriz Yagoda, a renowned Brazilian novelist. But Yagoda has vanished. Emma’s haphazard investigation into the author’s disappearance manages to unearth a riot of unruly characters, all with their own tales to tell about the author. Novey, who has lived in Brazil, is an accomplished poet and the translator of several works by Spanish and Portuguese-speaking authors, including Clarice Lispector. It's one of the season’s most anticipated novels—needless to say, this story won’t disappoint.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF HACHETTE BOOK GROUP

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    BLACK DEUTSCHLAND
    by Darryl Pinckney

    Jed is smart, young, black, and gay in nineteen-eighties Chicago. And he is restless, yearning for a different life. He finds what he’s looking for when he makes his way to West Berlin, a city of bohemian nightclubs, intellectuals, and artists. He flourishes, yet not without his share of missteps and heartache. Taking place during the waning final decade of the Cold War before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Pinckney’s novel is a tale, told with true artistry, of a young man in the act of becoming himself.

    IMAGE COURTESY OF FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX
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    THE PASSENGER
    by Lisa Lutz

    Blonde-haired Tanya Dubois lives in small-town Wisconsin with her husband Frank, owner of the pub where she tends bar. At least, until he ends up dead at the bottom of the stairs. With the body still warm, she flees town and by page twenty-five “Tanya” is the brown-haired Amelia Keen, looking to settle down in Austin, Texas. Until, that is, two men with guns show up to “have a little talk.” Who is this woman and what secrets is she hiding? Is she innocent of Frank’s death as she claims, or is she involved in something even more sinister? And where will she run to next? Lutz, best known for her madcap mystery series the Spellman Files, has taken a dark turn with this satisfying thrill ride across America and through the tangled threads of identity.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF SIMON AND SCHUSTER
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    Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War
    by Adam Hochschild

    In 1936, Francisco Franco staged a right-wing military coup in Spain, with support from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Franco hoped to purge Spain of the democratically elected government and halt the Popular Front revolution, which abolished the class system and ushered in radical changes for women, workers and the poor. The civil war attracted many left-leaning supporters from outside Spain (George Orwell being one notable example) who joined the Spaniards defending their young socialist democracy. Hochschild illuminates the almost-forgotten stories of the men and women who voluntarily left their lives in America to fight fascism in Spain, years before the outbreak of World War II.

    IMAGE COURTESY OF PANMACMILLAN


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    THE HEART
    by Maylis de Kerangal

    Kerangal’s first novel to be translated into English (she’s a bestseller in her native France) is a travelogue of an entirely different sort: the novel's central (and title) character is the heart of a young man named Simon Limbres. Simon is a surfer, chasing waves off the cliffs of the Pays de Caux in Normandy. But a tragic accident leaves Simon brain dead and on life support. His parents struggle with the decision to donate his organs for transplant; an ailing woman desperately needs a new heart. The Heart opens with a jaw-dropping, page-long paragraph, and reads like deeply researched reportage (it follows the doctors, transplant counsellors, and others involved throughout the highly detailed process) as written by a poet, bursting with great empathy and insight.

    IMAGE COURTESY OF MACMILLAN
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