In the Club

The Best Book Club Books Out in April

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

I have not stopped talking about Beyoncé’s latest album, Cowboy Carter, since it dropped a few days ago, and I am now anxiously awaiting the tour date announcement. Seeing all the people newly turned on to her on social media the last few days has been heartening because I truly think she is the best performer of our generation, and this latest album is her best work yet, but also, like…can they not? I’m not trying to compete with everyone and their (literal) mother for tickets.

Cowboys ‘n’ things aside, my colleague Danika Ellis wrote a roundup of child actor memoirs to read that can accompany the five-part documentary Quiet on Set, which has been truly horrific to hear about. That such abuse was allowed to continue for so long is unbelievable, and it upsets me that Dan Schneider and his compatriots know peace.

Now, for today’s book club, I’ve got a list of books to look forward to this month that I think would make great book club reads. There’s romance, fantasy, familiars, and a real-life murder attempt on an acclaimed author.

But first, I’ve got something for you to sip on.

Nibbles and Sips: Ube Horchata

light purple-colored ube drink in two  glasses

I think we can be real and say a big part of the appeal of this is the color, but it also looks to be very good (and not super complicated to make, given you have the ingredients). It’s also a dope fusion of Mexican and Fillipine cuisines.

The original recipe I found for this is vegan, so the milks listed are plant-based.

You’ll need: white rice, cinnamon sticks, ube halaya, evaporated milk, condensed milk, ube extract, and a little salt. Soak the rice and cinnamon, then blend, strain, and re-blend the strained portion with the other ingredients.

For a full list of ingredients and instructions, visit @sweetsimplevegan’s Instagram or her website.

cover of Clear by Carys Davies

Clear by Carys Davies

Ivar has been living by himself, save for a few animals, on an island north of Scotland for decades. Then, after all that time of minding his business, an impoverished Scottish minister, John, shows up to evict him. But the process doesn’t go too smoothly. When John first gets to the island, he falls and hurts himself, and it’s Ivar who takes care of him. Though the two men don’t speak the same language, they learn to communicate, and Ivar is able to see himself through another person for the first time in a long while.

cover of The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo; illustration of a hand holding a chain

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo (April 9)

Here, Bardugo weaves that usual spell of her particular brand of dark and engaging fantasy with a tale set in the Golden Age of Spain. It’s the 16th century, and Luzia is a lowly kitchen servant who can perform light magic. When her mistress realizes her talent, she tries to exploit her to the benefit of bored nobility. But, this leads to Luzia gaining the attention of Antonio Pérez, who is trying to get back in good with the king after a disgrace. As Luzia gets deeper into the world of miracle workers, seers, and alchemists, she becomes more known, and therefore more in danger if the fact of her Jewish heritage were to get out. But there is a familiar, Guillén Santangel, who could help secure her future…even if their secrets may be worse than hers.

a graphic of the cover of Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder by Salman Rushdie

Knife by Salman Rushdie (April 16)

On August 12, 2022, Salman Rushdie was stabbed while on stage, where he was set to give a lecture. In this memoir, he recounts life immediately following the violent attack, which came — perhaps ironically — 30 years after he survived the fatwa placed on him.

funny story book cover

Funny Story by Emily Henry (April 23)

With these roundups, I always try to strike a balance between informing y’all of new, buzzy releases and putting you on to something new. Considering the popularity of Emily Henry at this point, my inclusion of this romance belongs in the former category.

With Funny Story, we’ve been gifted an opposites-attract, fake-dating story that starts off a bit messy. Daphne’s fiancé Peter leaves her for Petra, and Petra leaves her fiancé Miles for Peter. Then, these two Messy Melindas invite both their exes to their wedding. So, naturally, Daphne and Miles decide to fake date and attend the wedding. But, practical children’s librarian Daphne may find more than she bargained for in the chaotic Miles.

cover of Disability Intimacy: Essays on Love, Care, and Desire by Alice Wong

Disability Intimacy: Essays on Love, Care, and Desire, edited by Alice Wong (April 30)

Following Disability Visibility, leading disability advocate Alice Wong has edited another anthology that gives a voice to the disabled experience. The writers here explore what intimacy means. They place value on sex, yes (and how sexual liberation and disability justice relate, for instance), as well as community, friendships, and caregiving.

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