From Melissa Broder to Allison Pataki: The Best Books of May 2018

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

Spring is finally here (we think? It’s hard to tell) and with it come a batch of lovely new reads to take us into summer. Melissa Broder is here with her very first novel (The Pisces), Allison Pataki takes a break from historical fiction to bring us a heart-wrenching story from her own life (Beauty in the Broken Places), Karl Ove Knausgaard offers up the third installment to his season-themed quartet (Spring), and Roxane Gay’s edited a hard-hitting essay collection that you will not want to miss (Not That Bad). There’s something for everyone in this month’s preview, so get reading.

  • The cover of the book Beauty in the Broken Places

    Beauty in the Broken Places

    A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience

    In this compelling memoir, New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki, shares a personal experience that shaped her life and her family’s life forever. When Allison was five months pregnant, her husband, Dave — a healthy thirty-year-old athlete and surgical resident — suffered a rare and life-threatening stroke that rendered him incapable of forming new memories. Soon after, Allison found herself caring for a newborn and her sick husband, wondering how she would manage both. She began writing letters to Dave every day to provide him with memories he could not make himself, and those letters became the basis for this beautiful book.

    Out May 1

  • The cover of the book The Island Dwellers

    The Island Dwellers


    Jen Silverman’s debut short story collection is nothing short of mesmerizing, and is definitely a must-read for the month of May. The eleven interconnected stories tackle reinvention, identity and sexuality, family and home, and more. Jen takes us on a journey from the U.S. to Japan, creating a cast of unforgettable characters whose humanity makes them relatable as they tackle challenges that will hit close to home for every reader. And since May is Short Story Month, it’s only fitting that you get your hands on a copy of The Island Dwellers.

    Out May 1

  • The cover of the book Not That Bad

    Not That Bad

    This moving anthology of first person essays, edited by bestselling author Roxane Gay, takes an unflinching look at rape, assault, and harassment in our world today – a world that second-guesses the character of women who speak out against their violators. Contributions to this collection include essays from a wide range of sources, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz. Not That Bad couldn’t be more timely, and is a call to arms for people everywhere, reminding them to never settle for life being just good enough.

    Out May 1

  • The cover of the book The Perfect Mother

    The Perfect Mother

    Soon to be a major motion picture starring Kerry Washington, this book is one you don’t want to miss. It’s an addictive psychological thriller about a group of new moms called the “May Mothers” who get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park twice a week. When one of the mother’s children goes missing after being left with a babysitter, she must race against the clock to find him. Secrets are exposed, friendships are destroyed, and time is ticking away – you won’t be able to put this book down.

    Out May 1

  • The cover of the book The Pisces

    The Pisces

    A Novel

    Melissa Broder, author of the essay collection So Sad Today and four poetry collections including Last Sext, makes her way into the world of fiction with this sexy debut about love, lust, and the meaning of life. The story centers on Lucy – a woman in her late 30s whose life turns upside down. As Lucy searches for something to fill the void in her heart, an attractive swimmer makes his way into her life (and her pants). Once you’ve finished reading this hot and heavy novel, check out what Melissa Broder had to say about writing the book here.

    Out May 1

  • The cover of the book The Destiny Thief

    The Destiny Thief

    Essays on Writing, Writers and Life

    Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo gives us his very first collection of personal essays, all of which revolve around his life as a writer, reader, and friend. Russo provides insight into how his creative mind works, and how certain life experiences, ranging from deep to comical, made him who he is today. This honest and thought-provoking collection is perfect for anyone interested in the ins and outs of a great writer’s life.

    Out May 8

  • The cover of the book The Language of Kindness

    The Language of Kindness

    A Nurse's Story

    Christie Watson’s beautifully written memoir reminds us of the importance of nurses in the world of healthcare and beyond. As a nurse for twenty years, Christie has witnessed the depth of suffering firsthand. She’s seen babies fight for their lives and men and women battle deadly cancer, alcohol and drug addicted patients go through withdrawal, and geriatric patients walk through the last chapter of their lives. The one thing she’s learned through it all? A little kindness goes a long way – a reminder we all need in this divided age full of hate.

    Out May 8

  • The cover of the book Lost Empress

    Lost Empress

    A Novel

    From the acclaimed PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize-winning author of A Naked Singularity comes a hilarious new novel that centers on a wild cast of characters ranging from dreamers, exiles, immigrants, and criminal masterminds. Sergio de la Pava weaves together a complex narrative thread to demonstrate how society affects these characters, and how they come to impact one another on a grand scale.

    Out May 8

  • The cover of the book Spring


    Spring is the fourth collection in Knausgaard’s personal encyclopedia of the world addressed to his newborn daughter. This time around, Knausgaard tells his daughter a deeply personal story about what happened when her mother was pregnant to explain why he now has to attend appointments with child services. This book about family trauma is definitely a heart-wrencher, packed with more honesty and emotion than ever before.

    Out May 8

  • The cover of the book Imperial Twilight

    Imperial Twilight

    The Opium War and the End of China's Last Golden Age

    Professor of Chinese history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Stephen R. Platt tells the story of China’s last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the nineteenth-century Opium War in Imperial Twilight. As China reclaims its status as a world power today, Platt looks back on the Opium War, a time in Chinese history that has come to stand for everything that the country wants to move beyond.

    Out May 15

  • The cover of the book Tin Man

    Tin Man

    A Novel

    Sarah Winman’s Tin Man begins with two twelve-year-old boys Ellis and Michael, best friends navigating boyhood, and impending teenagehood, together. We leave them just as their friendship is becoming more, and return to them a decade later: Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael has vanished. What happened in the intervening years, and where do they go from here? You’ll have to read the heart-wrenching novel to find out.

    Out May 15

  • The cover of the book The Glitch

    The Glitch

    A Novel

    Elisabeth Cohen’s debut The Glitch tells the story of Silicon Valley CEO and mother of two Shelley Stone, a modern women who “has it all” and likes it that way. But when she meets a woman also named Shelley Stone, who has the same scar on her shoulder as she does, and claims to be a younger version of herself, Shelley #1 begins to wonder whether the stress of her high-pressure life is finally getting to her.

    Out May 22

  • The cover of the book The High Season

    The High Season

    A Novel

    To be able to afford her lovingly renovated home in a Long Island village two ferry rides away from the Hamptons, Ruthie Beamish has to rent it out during the summer months (referred to by her daughter as the “summer bummer.” This summer’s renter is the elegant and widowed Adeline Clay and her stepson. It soon becomes clear that Adeline is easing her way into more of Ruthie’s life than her home, and it’s unclear whether she’s being malicious or is simply being herself. Either way, this summer will change everything for Ruthie.

    Out May 22

  • The cover of the book The House Swap

    The House Swap

    A Novel

    Caroline and Francis jump at the chance to temporarily swap their city apartment for a house in an idyllic London suburb. They think it’ll be just the thing their marriage needs, but the old adage proves true — your problems follow you wherever you go. As issues that have permeated their marriage for years bubble to the surface, they discover that a neighbor may be taking a little too much interest in them. And at the same time, Caroline begins to notice clues popping up around the house that indicate that its owner must know her. What have she and Francis gotten themselves into?

    Out May 22

  • The cover of the book Calypso


    This collection of personal essays from David Sedaris shows the author fully embracing his darker, more meditative side. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, he sees it as a chance to enjoy summers with his friends and family, but instead is faced with his own mortality. He explores the painful fact that you can’t take a vacation from yourself, and the terror of having more life behind than ahead of you, in the essays that comprise Calypso.