The Spring Reading Group Guide Preview

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The American Booksellers Association’s Spring Reading Group Guide will continue as a free e-newsletter delivered to customers by email via Matchbook Marketing. This spring’s guide will be sent on April 14.

This guide includes the following categories: Dazzling Debuts, Family and Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Nonfiction & Memoir, and Small Bites. The tiles are also available as an Edelweiss collection. All titles are trade paperback unless otherwise noted.

The titles appearing in the Spring Reading Group e-newsletter are:

Dazzling Debuts

The Bad Muslim Discount: A Novel
By Syed M. Masood
(Anchor, 9781984897411, $17, Jan. 11)

“This book is wicked good. By the end you're laughing through the pain, because what else can you do? Masood constructs such fully-realized characters that when the novel ends, you’ll want to know their lives and know that they’re okay.”
—Sylvie Weissman, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN

Black Buck
By Mateo Askaripour
(Mariner Books, 9780358627982, $16.99, Jan. 18)

“I ripped through this book. Darren’s spark, perseverance, and blow outs were a roller coaster. I saw parallels to Palahniuk’s protagonists: damaged, hurtling towards disaster, then bringing redemption at their own expense.”
—Kristin Richland, Phoenix Books Essex, Essex Junction, VT

Gold Diggers: A Novel
By Sanjena Sathian
(Penguin Books, 9781984882059, $17, Apr. 19)

“Sathian writes the weird, wonderful, heartbreaking alchemy of first and second generation life with tender knowing and keen indictment. It’s the best kind of magical realism, rendering the supernatural into a force as real as gold.”
—Amanda Qassar, Warwick's, La Jolla, CA

Hades, Argentina: A Novel
By Daniel Loedel
(Riverhead Books, 9780593188651, $17, Jan. 11)
“From its dreamlike language to the ghostly, magical story, Hades, Argentina brilliantly illustrates how political oppression bleeds into the most seemingly-moral lives — and how long and enduring the shadow it casts over them can be.”
—Julia Sanches, Riffraff, Providence, RI

The Kindest Lie: A Novel
By Nancy Johnson
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780063005648, $16.99, Feb. 1)

“Ruth is a successful Harvard graduate living well in Chicago. When thoughts of having children arise, she reckons with a secret from her poor, small-town past. Thoughtful, contemporary, and turns stereotypes on their heads. Loved it!” 
—Danica Ramgoolam, Townie Books, Crested Butte, CO

The Lost Apothecary: A Novel
By Sarah Penner
(Park Row, 9780778311973, $17.99, Feb. 22)

“A fabulous concoction of history, traditional wisdom, and strong women who refuse to be downtrodden. Get lost in the stacks of the British Library, an 18th-century apothecary shop, and poisonous potions in this delightfully fun read.”
—Michelle Tuplin, Serendipity Books, Chelsea, MI


Family and Coming of Age

The Center of Everything: A Novel
By Jamie Harrison
(Counterpoint, 9781640094680, $16.95, Jan. 18)

“Harrison captures the scattershot effect of a brain injury and, in turn, the consequences that ripple through a community the way the Yellowstone River ripples through this novel. Harrison stepped it up in this literary page turner.”
—Mara Panich-Crouch, Fact & Fiction Downtown, Missoula, MT

A Crooked Tree: A Novel
By Una Mannion
(Harper Perennial, 9780063049833, $16.99, Jan. 4)

“This debut’s got so much depth and familiarity. It’s suspenseful, empathetic, and full of nature. Spending time with this small community of young people witnessing family dysfunction based on fear reads like any neighborhood, USA.”
—Vicki Honeyman, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Good Eggs: A Novel
By Rebecca Hardiman
(Atria Books, 9781982164300, $17.99, Mar. 15)

Good Eggs is a laugh-out-loud, heartwarming family story. Follow three generations of the Gogarty family as they fight fiercely for their identities and their loved ones. A bright, shining debut for fans of Emma Straub and Amy Poeppel!”
—Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Legends of the North Cascades: A Novel
By Jonathan Evison
(Algonquin Books, 9781643752488, $16.95, Jan. 11)

“Mythic and absorbing. Legends of the North Cascades is a tale of survival and hardship, of parents and children, of love and perseverance, of community and storytelling. Evison tells us, even when we fail each other, we need each other.”
—Tina Ontiveros, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR

The Smash-Up: A Novel
By Ali Benjamin
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780593229675, $18, Mar. 1)

“In a complicated time in a once simple New York village, a couple encounters a ‘smash-up’ to their little family. Clever, timely, and darkly humorous, this modern-day version of Ethan Frome should top every serious reader’s book list.”
—Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

The Vanishing Half: A Novel
By Brit Bennett
(Riverhead Books, 9780525536963, $18, Feb. 1)

The Vanishing Half wonderfully explores identity beyond race — relationships, the lengths people go to be seen, and the influence a person’s blackness has over who they become. Bennett's contributions to the Black canon never waver!”
—Deidre Dumpson, WORD Bookstores, Brooklyn, NY


Historical Fiction

Band of Sisters: A Novel
By Lauren Willig
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062986160, $16.99, Mar. 1)

Band of Sisters is the true story of the women from Smith College who provided humanitarian relief in France during WWI. Celebrating female friendship with rich history on each page, it’s a perfect book for armchair time travelers.”
—Olivia Ochoa, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Better Luck Next Time: A Novel
By Julia Claiborne Johnson
(Custom House, 9780062916389, $16.99, Jan. 18)

“The best kind of historical fiction — transporting, immersive, and a heck of a lot of fun. Better Luck Next Time is as charming and funny as Be Frank With Me, set in an unforgettable 1930s Nevada ‘divorce ranch’ full of winning characters.”
—Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Libertie: A Novel
By Kaitlyn Greenidge
(Algonquin Books, 9781643752587, $16.95, Mar. 15)

“A family drama of healing wounds both physical and spiritual, and struggling with the problems and promises of freedom. I imagine — and hope — this book will be on syllabi everywhere, for its wholly original voice and enduring truths.”
—Kristen Iskandrian, Thank You Books, Birmingham, AL

The Paris Library: A Novel
By Janet Skeslien Charles
(Atria Books, 9781982134204, $17.99, Mar. 1)

“Compelling characters Lily and Odile are neighbors in small town Montana. As Lily navigates the challenges of coming of age, Odile reveals the secrets of her youth in WWII Paris. A perfect read for book clubs or to chat about with friends.”
—Mimi Hannan, La Playa Books, San Diego, CA

The Prophets: A Novel
By Robert Jones, Jr.
(G.P. Putnam's Sons, 9780593085691, $18, Feb. 8)

The Prophets is the book we have waited for. Few so adeptly depict queer intimacy and love between people whose humanity and agency were denied. Robert Jones, Jr. writes their lives back into history in this tender, riveting novel.”
—Karen Maeda Allman, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

Vera: A Novel
By Carol Edgarian
(Scribner, 9781501157530, $17.99, Mar. 1)

“Fifteen-year-old Vera is ready to take ownership of her life when the world changes underneath her — literally. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake sets this fresh coming-of-age story as a city struggles to make new spaces in the rubble.”
—Rachel Cass, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA


Nonfiction & Memoir

High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir (Indies Introduce)
By Edgar Gomez
(Soft Skull, 9781593767051, $16.95, Jan. 11)

“Goodbye machismo culture! This is a beautiful memoir about what it means to be gay and Latinx in a culture that still struggles with accepting its queer community. I look forward to the joy queer Latinx people will find in Edgar’s story.”
—Rosa Hernandez, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Hollywood Park: A Memoir
By Mikel Jollett
(Celadon Books, 9781250621559, $17.99, Mar. 22)

“Mikel Jollett peels back the layers of depression, guilt, and shame of what could have been a happy childhood and, over many years of hard work, reveals an artistic, giving, intelligent soul. You will cry reading this book, many times.”
—Elayna Trucker, Napa Bookmine, Napa, CA

A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance
By Hanif Abdurraqib
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9781984801203, $18, Mar. 8)

“It’s no stretch to call Hanif Abdurraquib one of our greatest living essayists, a luminous auteur of American cultural observation. He continues to be incisive, hilarious, and heart-rending in this collection, which is exquisite.”
—Danielle King, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Madhouse at the End of the Earth: The Belgica's Journey into the Dark Antarctic Night
By Julian Sancton
(Crown, 9781984824349, $18, Feb. 22)

“An amazing adventure story about an ill-fated, little-known expedition to Antarctica told in a riveting style. Perfect for fans of strong narrative nonfiction writing in the vein of David Grann, Scott Anderson, and Hampton Sides.”
—Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods
By Amelia Pang
(Algonquin Books, 9781643752068, $16.95, Jan. 4)

“A note is slipped into a box of Halloween decorations imported from China and purchased two years after at a K-Mart in Oregon. This starts Amelia Pang’s incredible investigation of forced labor in China. A valuable and timely book.”
—Edward Newton, The Literate Lizard, Sedona, AZ

The Woman They Could Not Silence: The Shocking Story of a Woman Who Dared to Fight Back
By Kate Moore
(Sourcebooks, 9781728242576, $16.99, Feb. 22)

“A riveting account of a 19th-century woman committed to an asylum for openly disagreeing with her husband. Filled with careful research to enrage and inform, this book is perfect for anyone interested in women’s rights and history.”
—Vicky Titcomb, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA


Small Bites

A Different Distance: A Renga
By Marilyn Hacker, Karthika Naïr
(Milkweed Editions, 9781571315519, $16, Dec. 14, 2021)

“A collaborative work of poetry gifted to us all out of pandemic observations. Full of feelings and with the playful feel of letters sent back and forth between two close friends. Their sharing is a sharing of experience for all of us.”
—Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

I Hope This Finds You Well: Poems
By Kate Baer
(Harper Perennial, 9780063137998, $12, Nov. 9, 2021)

“This collection of erasure poems was a punch in the heart. Kate Baer uses words meant for harm, derision, and disrespect and creates something powerful. An insightful examination of today’s culture of take downs on social media.”
—Jessica Nock, Main Street Books (NC), Davidson, NC

Milk Blood Heat
By Dantiel W. Moniz
(Grove Press, 9780802159441, $17, Feb. 8)

“Dantiel W. Moniz’s first story collection follows Black and Brown girls and women navigating friendships, relationships, families, and the judgment of the church. By the end, you truly know Ava, Rayna, Billie, Frankie, and Shayla.”
—Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories
By Danielle Evans
(Riverhead Books, 9780593189450, $17, Nov. 9, 2021)

“With her first collection in nearly a decade, Danielle Evans sinks her teeth into grief, trauma, and tragedy. These stories will keep you hanging on until their unexpected, often shocking ends.”
—Gage Tarlton, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream
By Mychal Denzel Smith
(Bold Type Books, 9781568588742, $16.99, Jan. 25)

“Insightful and unapologetic, Stakes Is High is a necessary new entry in the canon of Black American life. Smith gives us a framework to imagine and work towards a better future.”
—Brooke Williams, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, IL

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life
By George Saunders
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9781984856036, $18.99, Apr. 12)

“A condensed version of a Saunders class that reads like a playful lecture. Saunders guides a conversation between these stories like a roundtable on joy, suffering, and humanity.”
—Miranda Sanchez, Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews, Chapel Hill, NC