April showers mean cozy rainy days curled up with a good book and our favorite cup of warm beverage an arm’s length away. Or maybe you’re already scoping out your favorite tree to read under with the approach of warm weather and breezes ruffling the pages of your latest book pick. No matter your preferred reader respite, these book club picks—from poignant discussions on racism to some scandalous behind the scene goings on—will ensure that you’re always going to be Fully Booked.
To submit titles for inclusion in this roundup, email us.
The book: Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown)
Recommended for: If you’ve ever wondered what kind of drama hides behind the walls of publishing mixed with thriller aspects of hidden identities.
Our reviewer says: “When aspiring novelist Florence Darrow, the protagonist of Andrews’s devilishly plotted debut, gets fired from her dogsbody job at a Manhattan publishing house, she faces the prospect that she might not be destined for greatness after all.” Read more here.
The Audacious Book Club, Roxane Gay’s Book Club
The book: Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz (Grove)
Recommended for: When you can’t concentrate on a 60-second YouTube video, let alone a whole novel, and need something with shorter stories but with the same depth and attention to character development as a full-length novel.
Our reviewer says: “Northern Florida looms large over the 11 stories that comprise Moniz’s smart debut collection, a comingling of themes of adolescent discovery, family strain, and temptation’s dangerous appeal.” Read more here.
The book: The Five Wounds by Kirsten Valdez Quade (Norton)
Recommended for: When you feel like you’ve been circling the drain feeling like an utter failure and need a reminder that despite how bad things get, there is always a chance at self-redemption.
Our reviewer says: “National Book Critics Circle Award winner Quade’s penetrating debut novel (expanded from a story in Night at the Fiestas) tells of a man’s quest for self-acceptance through the metaphor of the five wounds Jesus suffered during crucifixion.” Read more here.
The book: The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas (Viking/Dorman)
Recommended for: Those of us (ourselves included) who have spent countless nights up late wondering about all the “what ifs”. “What if I had said yes?” “What if he stayed?” “What if I don’t want to have kids?”
Our reviewer says: “YA novelist Freitas’s stunning adult fiction debut (after her memoir Consent) spins nine alternating story lines about a husband and wife who initially didn’t want children but, at various points, change their minds.” Read more here.
Buzzfeed Book Club and Good Morning America Book Club
The book: Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia (Flatiron)
Recommended for: Strong mothers and those interested in multigenerational stories about strong women highlighting a Cuban immigrant family.
Our reviewer says: “Garcia’s dexterous debut chronicles the travails of a Cuban immigrant family.” Read more here.
The book: The Little French Bridal Shop by Jennifer Dupee (St. Martin’s)
Recommended for: People who have searched up the slow-burn angst and fake marriage hashtags on the OG fanfiction dot com.
Our reviewer says: “Dupee’s uneven debut features two protagonists drawn together by their love for a seaside Massachusetts house and shared ambivalence about marriage.” Read more here.
Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Book Club
The book: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (West Virginia University)
Recommended for: When your lowkey annoying church loving, god fearing relative has shaded your life choices AGAIN and you wonder if they’ve ever just let loose and done something more scandalous than taking too many free samples at Costco.
Our reviewer says: “Philyaw’s triumphant debut collection follows a series of Southern Black women as they struggle for self-determination.” Read more here.
The book: The Dating Plan by Sara Desai (Berkley)
Recommended for: FanFiction friends! Three words. Marriage. Of. Convenience. Need I say more? Okay, just two more. Fake. Relationship. Do with that information what you will.
Our reviewer says: “Desai dazzles with this funny, convincing take on the fake relationship trope.” Read more here.
The book: The Three Mothers by Anna Malaika Tubbs (Flatiron)
Recommended for: History buffs who want to know about the mothers of some of the prolific Black Activists
Our reviewer says: “Educator Tubbs debuts with an engrossing triple biography of Alberta King, mother of Martin Luther King Jr.; Louise Little, mother of Malcom X; and Berdis Baldwin, mother of James Baldwin.” Read more here.
The book: How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective by Keeanga-Yamhatta Taylor (Haymarket)
Recommended for: When you’re tired of all the not-so-hot-but-just-plain-ignorant-takes on Twitter and Instagram and need a more reliable read about Black feminism rooted in history.
Now Read This, the PBS NewsHour-New York Times Book Club
The book: Nomadland by Jessica Bruder (Norton)
Recommended for: When you’re stressed out at work and are seriously considering quitting, selling your house in favor of better wheel estate, and living that nomadic lifestyle outside your 6x6 office cubicle you so desperately crave.
Our reviewer says: “Journalist Bruder expands on an article originally published in Harper’s where she examined the phenomenon of aging Americans adjusting to an economic climate in which they can’t afford to retire.” Read more here.
The book: The Gilead novels by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Recommended for: All you marathon readers and tv bingers. If you’re looking for a series to immerse yourself into for the month, or are searching for a way to understand faith in the big scheme of things.
Our reviewer says: “Fans of Robinson's acclaimed debut Housekeeping (1981) will find that the long wait has been worth it.” Read more here.
Our reviewer says: “Robinson's beautiful new novel, a companion piece to her Pulitzer Prize–winning Gilead, is an elegant variation on the parable of the prodigal son's return.” Read more here.
Our reviewer says: “The third of three novels set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, is a masterpiece of prose in the service of the moral seriousness that distinguishes Robinson’s work.” Read more here.
Our reviewer says: “Robinson’s stellar, revelatory fourth entry in her Gilead cycle (after Lila) focuses on Jack Boughton, the prodigal son of a Gilead, Iowa, minister, and the beginnings of his romance with Della Miles before his 1957 return to Gilead in Home.” Read more here.
Read What You Sow, Jocelyn Willoughby x Café Con Libros Book Club
The book: You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Grand Central)
Recommended for: If you want to make the conscious effort to learn and understand what happens to a lot of BIPOC when they deal with racism, and not make the tired excuse every BIPOC has heard of “I’m still learning”.
Our reviewer says: “Late Night with Seth Meyers writer Ruffin and her sister, Lamar, recount the racism Lamar has experienced growing up and living in Omaha, Neb., expertly balancing laugh-out-loud humor and descriptions of deplorable actions.” Read more here.
Read with Jenna, the Jenna Bush Hager Book Club
The book: Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Ecco)
Recommended for: When your best friend is busy and you want to dish about the latest gossip you heard through the grapevine about a certain someone discovering their husband’s wedding ring he claimed to have “lost”.
Our reviewer says: “Sweeney’s disappointing latest revolves around two New York City theater transplants and their daughter and friends in Los Angeles.” Read more here.
The book: Northern Spy by Flynn Berry (Viking)
Recommended for: When you want to feel like your favorite Double O Seven spy except with an Irish accent and badass women—one who happens to also be a mother.
Our reviewer says: “Belfast BBC political news producer Tessa Daly, the protagonist of this moving contemporary thriller from Edgar winner Berry, is struggling to juggle her job with caring for her six-month-old son, whose custody she shares with her ex-husband, when she sees a TV clip showing a gas station being robbed by a gun-wielding IRA trio.” Read more here.
The book: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead)
Recommended for: When you want an emotional story and a good cry featuring a Nigerian family and their child they never really knew.
Our reviewer says: “Emezi returns to adult fiction (after YA novel Pet) with a brisk tale that whirs around the mysterious death of a young Nigerian man, Vivek Oji.” Read more here.