Books

The Best Books of April 2017: From Anne Lamott to Sheryl Sandberg

Every month, Signature combs through the upcoming releases across nonfiction and literary fiction to provide a look at the most exciting titles rounding the bend.

We’ve made it through the Ides of March, and as we head into what T.S. Eliot called “the cruelest month,” we’re going to need some good literature to fortify us. Luckily, April isn’t cruel when it comes to books. Omar El Akkad’s brilliant and compelling debut imagines what happens when America splits at the seams (American War), Anne Lamott turns her mind to mercy (Hallelujah Anyway), Michael Harris looks at solitude as a necessary life skill (Solitude), The Lost City of Z author David Grann covers the birth of the FBI (Killers of the Flower Moon), and Elizabeth Warren is taking pen to paper to further her rallying cry against all things Donald Trump (This Fight is Our Fight).

Read on for more on these books and more hitting shelves this month.

  • The cover of the book American War

    American War

    A Novel

    The year is 2076 and the Second American Civil War is underway. Omar El Akkad’s brilliant and compelling debut imagines what happens when America splits at the seams and turns in on itself. The surreal setting feels oddly familiar, as the Mississippi River Delta is sinking, drones hover overhead, and displaced communities are caught in the crossfire of policies we’ve brought upon ourselves.

    Out April 4

     
  • The cover of the book Hallelujah Anyway

    Hallelujah Anyway

    Rediscovering Mercy

    Anne Lamott is beloved by readers for her thoughtful, provocative essays, offering up her ideas on everything from writing to grace and from being a grandmother to being hopeful. In her latest, Lamott turns her mind to mercy – a concept we could all stand to become more familiar with.

    Out April 4

     
  • The cover of the book Letters to a Young Writer

    Letters to a Young Writer

    Some Practical and Philosophical Advice

    Every so often a book of writing advice comes along that is destined to be referenced by writers for years to come. McCann’s book fits comfortably alongside the greats like King’s On Writing, Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Zinsser’s On Writing Well. The force of Letters to a Young Writer – composed of fifty-two essays – lies in its honesty, conviction, and the lack of pretense in its leveling with the reader.

    Out April 4

     
  • The cover of the book Marlena

    Marlena

    Julie Buntin’s debut novel Marlena tells the story of the earth-shattering friendship between young girls Cat and Marlena, from the point of view of Cat, years and years after Marlena has died. They met at age fifteen, and their friendship lasted for one breakneck year. Marlena was a charmer: unafraid, unashamed, and uninhibited. Cat was the opposite, and she was enchanted by Marlena. Now an adult, she reckons with herself and her past honestly in a story that will take your breath away.

    Out April 4

     
  • The cover of the book My Italian Bulldozer

    My Italian Bulldozer

    A Novel

    When food writer Paul Stuart loses his girlfriend to a personal trainer, he decides to wrap up his latest cookbook in Tuscany. Good food. Good wine. Romantic locale. What better ingredients does one need to mend a heart and fire the creative spirit? Only, Paul’s car breaks down and the one locomotive available to get to his destination is, of all things, a bulldozer. Alexander McCall Smith’s latest novel is a wonderful romp through the Italian countryside that is equal parts whimsy and charm.

    Out April 4

     
  • The cover of the book Prince Charles

    Prince Charles

    The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

    The first major biography of Prince Charles, heir apparent to Queen Elizabeth II. (Need we say more?) For all you British royal history buffs and anyone curious about the future of the Crown, Sally Bedell Smith’s soaring biography sings off the pages and offers a complex, complicated portrait of the King in waiting, based on unprecedented literary access to the royal family and palace officials.

    Out April 4

     
  • The cover of the book Solitude

    Solitude

    Don’t you ever just want to be alone? This is the question writer Michael Harris addresses in his new book, Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World. In it, Harris looks at solitude as a necessary life skill that requires thought and nurturing, and explores the ways we can acquire this skill in the kind of share-heavy, crowded world we live in today.

    Out April 4

     
  • The cover of the book Somebody with a Little Hammer

    Somebody with a Little Hammer

    Essays

    When one of our favorite fiction writers takes her ink to nonfiction, we pay attention. And that attention has paid off with Mary Gaitskill’s latest endeavor, the collection of essays called Somebody With a Little Hammer. Through subjects ranging from Bjork to the Book of Revelation, and from book reviews to travel recollections, Gaitskill reminds us of her uniqueness as a writer who endlessly mesmerizes.

    Out April 4

     
  • The cover of the book Long Black Veil

    Long Black Veil

    A Novel

    In an interview Signature conducted with Jennifer Finney Boylan in 2013, Boylan noted with her usual insight that her writing as a man was always fiction, and her writing as a women was nonfiction. The idea being that in moving from a woman’s life to a man’s, she’d moved from a life of invention to a life of truth. Boylan is now back writing fiction, which we’re convinced means she’s simply so comfortable with herself now she can stretch out her legs and experiment with form. The novel centers on a harrowing event in 1980 among six friends, one that rears its head decades later, threatening the life of one and the deeply-guarded privacy of another.

    Out April 11

     
  • The cover of the book The Shadow Land

    The Shadow Land

    A Novel

    It’s been twelve years since Elizabeth Kostova’s first book, The Historian, blew us all away. (If you’ve not yet read that one, what are you waiting for?) Her latest, The Shadow Land, takes us to the haunting country of Bulgaria, where a chance good deed drops our protagonist into the middle of a danger-filled journey.

    Out April 11

     
  • The cover of the book Infinite Tuesday

    Infinite Tuesday

    An Autobiographical Riff

    You know Michael Nesmith from The Monkees, the 1960s band and TV show that set in stone his role as an American rock star (and television star).  In Infinite Tuesday, Nesmith tells the story of not only his time on The Monkees, but also everything that preceded and followed it. He invites us to journey back in time with him, from his childhood in Dallas to his time in the Santa Fe desert pondering the infinite.

    Out April 18

     
  • The cover of the book Killers of the Flower Moon

    Killers of the Flower Moon

    The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

    New Yorker staff writer and author of the New York Times bestselling The Lost City of Z David Grann now brings us the riveting true crime story that led to the birth of the FBI. He tells the story of the FBI’s first major case—a case that they nearly failed to solve. In the 1920s, the members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma were among the richest people in the world. When, one by one, they were murdered, the FBI took up the case, and unveiled one of the largest conspiracies in American history.

    Out April 18

     

     
  • The cover of the book Manderley Forever

    Manderley Forever

    Novelist and longtime Daphne du Maurier fan Tatiana de Rosnay sets out in her new book, Manderley Forever, to uncover the life of the best-selling – though in her time undersung – author of Rebecca. De Rosnay pulls from her conversations with du Maurier’s family as well as what she learned retracing the author’s footsteps to expose the until-now lesser-known pieces of the author’s life.

    Out April 18

     
  • The cover of the book The Stars Are Fire

    The Stars Are Fire

    A novel

    Anita Shreve has been writing for more than forty years, stunning readers with such novels as The Weight of Water and The Pilot’s Wife. In her latest, The Stars Are Fire, we travel back with Shreve to 1947, where fires along the coast of Maine force a young mother to dig into her basest instincts to protect her family.

    Out April 18

     
  • The cover of the book This Fight is Our Fight

    This Fight is Our Fight

    It’s safe to say Elizabeth Warren has always made her voice heard, and that’s never been more true than the months since Donald Trump was elected President. Her efforts to oppose the Republican-majority Senate have not been quiet, and her spirit and candor have rallied Democrats during a time of disenchantment with the American government. Her book is certain to continue the job. In This Fight is Our Fight, Warren turns her eye to America’s middle class: what they are lacking, why they are lacking it, and what the government can do about it.

    Out April 18

     
  • The cover of the book Option B

    Option B

    Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

    Bestselling authors Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In) and Adam Grant (Originals) have teamed up to write a book on how to move past life’s setbacks, and reclaim your power in the process. Sheryl taps into her personal experience—the death of her husband—and Adam into his comprehensive research on resilience and adversity. Human beings are endlessly adaptable, resilient creatures, and if at your lowest points you don’t believe it, Sandberg and Grant are setting out to prove it to you.

    Out April 24

     
  • The cover of the book All the Rivers

    All the Rivers

    A Novel

    One of Israel’s most acclaimed novelists, Dorit Rabinyan, tells the compelling and crushing story of a love affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man in All the Rivers. Held apart from the unavoidable factors of race and religion, Liat and Hilmi’s love for each other is joyous and all-consuming. But they can’t hide from the world forever, and they each know that they must make a choice. They love they have for each other, or everything else.

    Out April 25

     
  • The cover of the book There Is No F*cking Secret

    There Is No F*cking Secret

    Letters From a Badass Bitch

    “What’s your secret?”—it’s a question Kelly Osbourne feels like she’s fielded thousands of times despite not having an answer to it. Obviously, growing up the middle child of heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne wasn’t easy, and Kelly has come a long way to become the woman she is today. In her memoir, written as a series of letters to different people and places throughout her life, she is more honest with her fans than she’s ever been. Her stories are shocking, but she wouldn’t trade her upbringing for anything.

    Out April 25