Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wish List Wednesday: April

March was an embarrassment of literary riches. From Erik Larson's fantastic Dead Wake to Ishiguro's latest and Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed, the month was jam-packed with good titles. How can April top it? Having a Nobel laureate certainly helps. Here are six books to look out for in April.

The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer
(April 7, Scribner)
Available in hardcover, ebook and audio

Ann Packer's latest is a family saga that spans 50 years in the life of the Blair family. In 1954, Bill and Penny settle on three wooded acres in an area that would later be known as Silicon Valley and have four children. Decades later, the youngest returns to the family, causing havoc for each of his siblings and an uncertain future for the family. Each of the children take turns as narrator, so audiobook readers that like multiple narrators should like this one. The audiobook features the voice talents of Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom), Santino Fontana (Frozen), Frederick Weller (In Plain Sight), Marin Ireland (Girls, The Slap) and Cotter Smith (The Americans). The book has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and Library Journal.

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy
(April 14, Grand Central)
Available in hardcover, ebook and audio

Imagine Lewis and Clark setting out on their famed expedition across the western U.S. only this time it was in a post-apocalyptic future. After a super flu and nuclear fallout devastate the country, Mina Clark and Lewis Meriwether are inside the confines of The Sanctuary, or what remains of St. Louis. Then, a mysterious rider tells them of life in the Willamette Valley, or Oregon, and that civilization is restored there. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year purely because of the premise and I'm really looking forward to it. The thriller earned starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist.

Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
(April 21, Harper)
Available in hardcover, ebook and audio

Lemmon tells the story of 1st Lt. Ashley White who was a member of the U.S. Army Special Ops' Cultural Support Team. White would try to forge relationships with the women of Afghanistan in ways regular soldiers could not. As a result of her efforts, she was later recognized on the Army Special Operations Memorial Wall of Honor. Sheryl Sandberg, Phil Klay, who won the National Book Award for Redeployment last year, and Sen. John McCain have all written blurbs raving about the book. Actress Reese Witherspoon bought the film rights in March, so expect a big screen adaptation to be in development.

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
(April 21, Knopf)
Available in hardcover, ebook and audio

Toni Morrison is one of those few authors that can jolt the literary world when she announces a new book. A short book, God Help the Child is, as her publisher described it, "about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of an adult." Themes of love, deceit, anger and abuse permeate the book. I'm fully expecting this one to be sad, heavy and pack an emotional gut punch to readers. Audiobook listeners will have the added bonus of hearing the Nobel laureate read her work. The novel scored starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly.

The last two books are ones I received early via NetGalley to review.

The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl
(April 28, Penguin)
Available in hardcover, ebook and audio

There was a time in publishing when publishers could release a book without the author's consent. This era, thanks in part to lax copyright laws, spawned literary pirates called "bookaneers" that would steal authors' manuscripts. In Pearl's novel, a treaty that would end the bookaneer trade is about to be signed and Robert Louis Stevenson is on the island of Samoa working on his last book. The result is a mad race between two groups to pull off one last heist before their profession ends. Kirkus gave the book a starred review and I've heard nothing but good things. I'm looking forward to cracking it open in the coming weeks.

A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light by David Downie
(April 28, St. Martin's)
Available in hardcover and ebook

The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum, and much of the surrounding Parisian city have been on my places-to-visit list for ages. Downie takes readers on a complete tour of the sights, history and his personal experience within the City of Light. I'm a couple chapters into this one already and it's been enjoyable. As someone reading this on a Paperwhite, I'd suggest a hardcover or color ebook format, because there are loads of pictures throughout the book. Kirkus also gave this book a starred review.

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