“I’ve been getting book recommendations from TikTok.”
My childhood best friend said this to me during one of our check-ins, proving once and for all, that as much as you try to resist it, TikTok will eventually consume us all. Come and claim me Gen-Z, I will give the middle part a shot.
My new reading recs friend and I don’t keep in touch as much as both of us would like nowadays. A global pandemic, and her being an emergency room nurse while I am just a lazy texter complicate the matter. One thing we never fail to do when we check in, though, is to ask what new books or authors the other is reading.
As kids we were the same way, trading books back and forth, sharing what we liked and what we didn’t. We even wrote lists of recommendations for one another: hers were heavy on mysteries and romance novels, mine on angsty teen drama, what I liked to call “depressing books” and Sarah Dessen novels. Our shared tastes created a strange vein diagram.
It was sort of an informal book club amongst a group of us. Like a game of telephone, one year, my copy of “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher made its way from one person to another until months later, someone entirely different returned it to me, the pages a little more yellowed and worn down.
I still have my friend’s old book list from back then in my childhood bedroom, an old relic of once-new literary excitement. Instead of printed recommendations we text them now. Mine lives in a notes app on my phone, ever-expanding to frightening levels.
With the seasons changing — hello Spring! — the trees are blooming, the sky is blue, the sun is actually out past 7:00 pm ET, and we’re all getting vaccinated. It’s time for something new. I’m sure you feel it too. TPM is sharing a few of our favorite new authors and books (or new to us) this month.
Have you discovered any new authors lately? Comment below with some of your new finds! You can always purchase any of the books below by visiting our TPM Bookshop profile page. Be sure to check back again next month for some new staff reading recommendations, and if you’ve missed any, you can find all of our reading lists here. Happy reading!
John Light, Managing Editor
The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Abdurraqib
“I saw Hanif Abdurraqib do a reading a few years ago, thought it was amazing, bought this book, and promptly packed it in a box for a move and forgot about it. During quarantine, I rediscovered it. Today, Abdurraqib is everywhere, which is awesome. (Check out some of his writing for the New York Times, or the music podcast he hosts for KCRW.) But this collection of poetry from 2016 felt particularly poignant during the rough year that was 2020. Here’s one excellent piece.”
Nicole Lafond, Special Projects Editor:
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
“There’s a missing cat, a missing wife and a surprisingly smart, dark and humorous detective story that hits on the pains of losing relationships, all while illuminating some historical context on Japan and World War II that I, for one, was not taught in high school history class.”
Jackie Wilhelm, Associate Publisher:
Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
“I grabbed ‘Stay with Me’ during a book swap two years ago and finally got around to reading it this past summer. Ayobami Adebayo’s debut novel is wonderful with complex characters you cannot help but feel empathetic for. I cannot wait to see more from Adebayo.”
Tierney Sneed, Investigative Reporter:
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
“I read Patrick Radden Keefe’s book “Say Nothing,” about the Troubles, over a vacation last summer on the recommendation of a friend. I thought it was some incredible storytelling and was even more excited when I realized the author had also just put out a podcast — albeit about a different and much lighter topic — that I listened to on the drive back: “Winds Of Change,” about his investigation into a rumor he heard about supposed CIA involvement in the hit Scorpions song.”
Jacob Harris, Front-End Developer:
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
“Orwell meets Murakami in this unsettling, melancholic, fantastical story about an island where things keep disappearing and memory itself is criminalized. ‘The Memory Police’ is slow, sad and haunting, but lush with poetic detail reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez’s work. You won’t leave with many answers but you’ll have plenty to think about.”
Joe Ragazzo, Publisher:
The Witcher Stories Boxed Set: The Last Wish, Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski
“I’ve recently been playing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one of the most highly rated video games of the last decade. I was late to the party on the game but even later to the book series. The Witcher series focuses on Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher. A Witcher is a human imbued with certain magical powers who then make a living hunting monsters. So you’ve got some Van Helsing vibes and some ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ vibes. If you’re into fantasy novels at all, I highly recommend it.”
John Light, Managing Editor:
Cool For America by Andrew Martin
“The Nation’s review of Andrew Martin’s short story collection ‘Cool For America’ is titled “The Sad Sex Lives of Overeducated Millennials,” and that’s about right. John Updike crossed with Roberto Bolaño, maybe? But it’s funny, I promise.”
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