Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

50 Spectacular New Books You Need to Read This Spring

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Can’t wait for spring? Add these upcoming book releases to your TBR list!

2019 spring new books


The River by Peter Heller book coverThe River by Peter Heller

March 5 | Knopf

Wynn and Jack, friends since college, set out on a canoeing adventure down the Maskwa River in Northern Canada. A wildfire starts burning through the forest and the two men begin paddling to safety. On the way, they hear a man and woman arguing on the riverbank. They decide to warn the couple but can’t find them. Then, they spot a man paddling alone on the river. Is it the same man? And if so, where is the woman?

The Wall by John Lanchester book coverThe Wall by John Lanchester

March 5 | W. W. Norton

In a world ravaged by climate change, an island nation is kept in order by a giant concrete wall erected around the coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect the people inside the wall from the Others, the desperate outsiders trapped by the rising seas. Failure to maintain the boundary will be punished by death…or being cast out to become an Other himself.

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi book coverGingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

March 5 | Riverhead

In this fantastical exploration of the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories, Perdita, a British schoolgirl, and her mother, Harriet, live in a gold-painted apartment where they make gingerbread. When teenage Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, a mysterious woman who seems to have a hand in everything good and bad that has happened in Harriet’s life, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story.

Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath book coverMary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath

March 5 | Harper

Written while Silvia Plath was a student at Smith College in 1952, this newly discovered, never before published story is about a young woman’s fateful train journey and grapples with female agency, independence, and rebellion against convention.

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum book coverA Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

March 5 | Harper

Palestine, 1990. seventeen-year-old Isra is forced to marry a man she has known only a few days. Transplanted to Brooklyn with her new husband and strict mother-in-law, she gives birth to four daughters, then dies with her husband in a car crash. Eighteen years later, Deya, Isra’s eldest daughter, is pressured into marriage by her grandmother, but soon finds herself on a different path that will lead her to shocking truths about her family.

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See book coverThe Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

March 5 | Scribner

This sweeping novel follows Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju. As children during the era of Japanese colonialism, they are recruited to join the island’s collective of all-female divers, led by Young-sook’s mother. The story traces their friendship through World War II, the Korean War, all the way to the twenty-first century.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams book coverQueenie by Candice Carty-Williams

March 19 | Gallery / Scout Press

25-year-old Queenie Jenkins is a Jamaican British woman living in London trying her best to balance her life between two cultures and never quite succeeding. After breaking up with her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie makes a series of questionable choices and finds herself asking the questions facing many women today–what are you doing and who do you want to be?

The Parade by Dave Eggers book coverThe Parade by Dave Eggers

March 19 | Knopf

After a decade of war, the government of an unnamed country commissions a new road connecting the two formerly warring halves of the state as a symbol of unity. Two foreign contractors are sent to complete the road and both must face the consequences of their presence in this place.

Save Me from Dangerous Men by S.A. Lelchuk book coverSave Me from Dangerous Men by S. A. Lelchuk

March 19 | Flatiron

In her office above her little bookstore, private investigator Nikki Griffin tracks men who have hurt the women they claim to love. When she’s hired to tail Karen, a disgruntled employee who might be selling her company’s secrets, things go wrong and Nikki has to break cover and intervene to save Karen’s life. Karen tells Nikki that there are dangerous men after her and soon Nikki finds herself not just protecting Karen, but trying to survive herself.

Inspection by Josh Malerman book coverInspection by Josh Malerman

March 19 | Del Rey

Deep in the forest there is a school where twenty-six boys are trained to be prodigies. They cannot leave and they think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J begins to wonder if there is something out there beyond the trees, something the founder does not want them to see. On the other side of the forest, at a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. What is the real purpose of this place? And why are they not allowed to leave?

Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington book coverLot by Bryan Washington

March 19 | Riverhead

In this novel set in Houston, the son of a black mother and Latino father works at his family’s restaurant, deals with his sister’s absence, and discovers he’s gay. Around him, the everyday dramas of other Houstonians play out.

Sing to It by Amy Hempel book coverSing to It by Amy Hempel

March 26 | Scribner

In this collection of fifteen short stories, Amy Hempel writes about lonely people searching for connection. “In ‘A Full-Service Shelter,’ a volunteer at a dog shelter tirelessly, devotedly cares for dogs on a list to be euthanized. In ‘Greed,’ a spurned wife examines her husband’s affair with a glamorous, older married woman. And in ‘Cloudland,’ the longest story in the collection, a woman reckons with the choice she made as a teenager to give up her newborn infant.”

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami book coverThe Other Americans by Laila Lalami

March 26 | Pantheon

Late one night, a Moroccan immigrant is walking across an intersection in California when he is killed by a speeding car. His death brings together a diverse cast of characters divided by race, religion, and class––his daughter, a Jazz composer, his widow, who still longs for the old country, Efrain, an undocumented immigrant who witnessed the crash, and Coleman, the investigating detective.

Women Talking by Miriam Toews book coverWomen Talking by Miriam Toews

April 2 | Bloomsbury

In a Mennonite community where women are illiterate and can’t even speak English, more than a hundred women and girls are repeatedly violated by demons sent to punish them for their sins. When they learn that the demons are men from their own community who drugged and attacked them, eight women climb into a hay loft and conduct a secret meeting to decide whether to stay or leave to join an unfamiliar outside world.

Outside Looking In by T.C. Boyle book coverOutside Looking In by T.C. Boyle

April 9 | Ecco

In 1960s Boston, Harvard psychologist and LSD enthusiast Timothy Leary attracts a circle of students entranced by the drug’s possibilities. When clinical research gives way to free-wheeling exploration, Leary is expelled from academia and sets out with his wife and followers on an experiment in communal living and mind expansion.

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi book coverTrust Exercise by Susan Choi

April 9 | Henry Holt

In the early 1980s, David and Sarah, two students at a highly competitive performing arts high school, fall in love. “The outside world of family life and economic status fails to penetrate this school’s Trust Exercise―until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true―though it’s not false, either.”

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim book coverMiracle Creek by Angie Kim

April 16 | Sarah Crichton

In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo operate a pressurized oxygen chamber known as the Miracle Submarine patients enter hoping it will cure issues like autism and infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine explodes, killing two people, the Yoo’s life is turned upside-down and shocking secrets from the night of the explosion are revealed.

The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith book coverThe Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith

April 16 | Pantheon

“In the Swedish criminal justice system, certain cases are considered especially strange and difficult. In Malmö, the dedicated detectives who investigate these crimes are members of an elite squad known as the Sensitive Crimes Division. These are their stories.” In this novel, the DOSC investigates the cases of a man stabbed in the back of the knee, the disappearance of a young woman’s imaginary boyfriend, and a strange mystery where secrets are revealed under the light of a full moon.

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan book coverMachines Like Me by Ian McEwan

April 23 | Nan A. Talese

In this alternate history of 1980s London, Great Britain has lost the Falklands War, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Benn vie for power, and Alan Turing achieves a brilliant breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Against the backdrop of this off-kilter world, two lovers are tested beyond their understanding.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal book coverThe Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

April 30 | William Morrow

On her deathbed, a mother makes one final wish: that her three estranged daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. So the three British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters––Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirnia––do just that and make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives along the way.

Spring by Ali Smith book coverSpring by Ali Smith

April 30 | Pantheon

Spring is the fourth and final novel in Ali Smith’s acclaimed Seasonal Quartet, a series of interconnected stand-alone novels.

The Policewomen's Bureau by Edward Conlon book coverThe Policewomen’s Bureau by Ed Conlon

May 7 | Arcade

Closely based on the true story of Marie Cirile, this novel follows a female NYPD detective serving the Bronx in 1958. Though shy and naive, Marie dives into the world of undercover investigations and faces down violence in the streets, sexism on the job, and a rocky marriage at home to make a name for herself and become a role model for her young daughter.

The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin book coverThe Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin

May 7 | Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

A Taiwanese immigrant family of six struggles to make ends meet in Anchorage, Alaska. When ten-year-old Gavin and his little sister Ruby contract meningitis, only Gavin survives. The grieving family struggles to stay afloat but things spiral out of control when the father is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, resulting in serious injury to a little boy. In the chaos that ensues, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos book coverThe Farm by Joanne Ramos

May 7 | Random House

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at the Farm. For nine months she will carry someone else’s child while luxuriating in free organic meals, personal fitness trainers, and daily massages. The catch? She cannot leave the grounds, her every move is monitored, and she is cut off from her former life. Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside but she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose out on the life-changing fee she’s promised upon delivery of the child.

Lanny by Max Porter book coverLanny by Max Porter

May 14 | Graywolf Press

From the acclaimed author of Grief Is a Thing with Feathers comes this unique tale of a mythical figure called Dead Papa Toothwort who searches the streets of a small English village for a mischievous ethereal boy named Lanny.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins book coverThe Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

May 21 | Harper

Frannie Langton, a servant and former slave, is accused of murdering her employer and his wife. But Frannie claims she cannot remember what happened the evening of the slaughter or how she came to be covered in the victims’ blood. As her trial proceeds, Frannie’s backstory unfolds and the truth will either seal her conviction or unmask other perpetrators of crimes far beyond murder.

Last Day by Domenica Ruta book coverLast Day by Domenica Ruta

May 28 | Spiegel & Grau

Every May 28th, humanity gathers to celebrate as though this day is their last on earth. This story follows three intersecting sets of characters as they embark on a last-chance quest for redemption–or is it?


Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution by Amber Tamblyn book coverEra of Ignition by Amber Tamblyn

March 5 | Crown Archetype

Part memoir, part political and social commentary, Era of Ignition chronicles Amber Tamblyn’s evolution from child actor to writer and director against the backdrop of the struggle for gender equality.

Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement. My Story o Transformation and Hope. by Albert Woodfox book coverSolitary by Albert Woodfox

March 5 | Grove Press

Albert Woodfox spent more than forty years in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement in Louisiana’s notorious Angola Prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In this memoir, he shares his story of survival and describes how he channeled his anger at a system that did him wrong into fierce activism.

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World's Greatest Library by Edward Wilson Lee book coverThe Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books by Edward Wilson-Lee

March 12 | Scribner

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books chronicles the quest of Hernando Colón––Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son––to create the world’s greatest library. To that end, he traveled extensively, obsessively collecting books in every language and genre he could find. In this biography, Edward Wilson-Lee sheds light on the life of a forgotten literary pioneer.

Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience by Anuradha Bhagwati book coverUnbecoming by Anuradha Bhagwati

March 26 | Atria

Defying the wishes of her strict Indian parents, Anuradha Bhagwati abandoned graduate school to join the Marines. But as a bisexual woman of color, she was soon forced to confront the misogyny, racism, and sexual violence rampant in the military’s most male-dominated branch. In this memoir, Bhagwati recounts her time in the Marines and her fight to see justice done for women soldiers.

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young book coverWhat Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker by Damon Young

March 26 | Ecco

This hilarious (and sometimes heartbreaking) memoir in essays chronicles Damon Young’s efforts to survive and thrive as a young black man in America.

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. book coverStony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

April 2 | Penguin Press

In this compelling history, Henry Louis Gates Jr. uncovers the roots of modern structural racism in the era between the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Covering the Reconstruction era, the advent of Jim Crow, World War I, and the Harlem Renaissance, Stony the Road offers readers a tour through one of America’s “fundamental historical tragedies.”

Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen by Mary Norris book coverGreek to Me by Mary Norris

April 2 | W. W. Norton

This memoir chronicles the author’s lifelong love affair with words and her adventures in Greece. Along the road, she explains how the Greek helped shape the English language and alphabet, introduces the idea of Athena as a feminist icon, and goes on a quest to find the famous Baths of Aphrodite.

The Body Papers by Grace Talusan book coverThe Body Papers by Grace Talusan

April 2 | Restless Books

In this memoir, Grace Talusan recounts a life shadowed by abuse, racism, and the specter of illness. When her family emigrated from the Philippines to a New England suburb in the 1970s, she confronted racism at school while enduring sexual abuse at the hands of her grandfather at home. Later, she tested positive for a gene mutation known to dramatically increase the risk of breast cancer. The Body Memoirs chronicles the effects this trauma has had on Talusan’s relationships––with other people and her own body.

WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wambach boo coverWOLFPACK by Abby Wambach

April 9 | Celadon Books

Based on her viral 2018 Barnard College commencement speech, WOLFPACK is two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach’s rally cry for women to unite, unleash their power, and claim their rightful place in the world.

Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines book coverAbused by Rachel Haines

April 12 | Rowman & Littlefield

In this harrowing memoir, Rachel Haines recalls her experiences as a competitive gymnast, including the abuse she suffered at the hands of Larry Nassar. Along the way, she exposes the toxic culture within gymnastics that allowed this kind of abuse to go unpunished for so long.

The Beneficiary: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father by Janny Scott book coverThe Beneficiary by Janny Scott

April 16 | Riverhead

This family history explores the impact of inheritance on generations of one of America’s elite families. Land, houses, and money passed down from Scott’s great grandfather created a world in which her grandmother, a socialite and accomplished horsewoman, flourished. But that same legacy had a much more complicated impact on her father, leading Scott to ask the question, how will the fortunes amassed by the new rich today play out a hundred years down the road?

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates book coverThe Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

April 23 | Flatiron

In The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates records what she’s learned in twenty years of work finding solutions for people with the most urgent needs around the globe and makes a compelling argument that women’s empowerment is the key to lifting societies up.

Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales by Oliver Sacks book coverEverything in Its Place by Oliver Sacks

April 23 | Knopf

In his final volume of work, Oliver Sacks shares essays on case histories exploring schizophrenia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Mama's Boy: A Story from Our Americas by Distin Lance Black book coverMama’s Boy by Dustin Lance Black

April 30 | Knopf

In this memoir, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of the film Milk writes about his relationship with his mother, a fearsome southern woman who survived childhood polio and went on to join the Mormon church. When Lance came out to his mother at the age of twenty-one, she rejected his sexuality as sinful but the story of their relationship doesn’t end there.

What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence, Edited by Michele Filgate book coverWhat My Mother and I Don’t Talk About, Edited by Michele Filgate

April 30 | Simon & Schuster

In this anthology, fifteen esteemed writers “explore what we don’t talk to our mothers about, and how it affects us, for better or worse.”

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman book coverThings My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

May 7 | Atria

In this heartwarming book, Fredrik Backman details the lessons he’s learned as a father, tacking subjects from “masculinity and mid-life crises to practical jokes and poop.”

Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Run the World by Oliver Bullough book coverMoneyland by Oliver Bullough

May 7 | St. Martin’s Press

In this disturbing exposé, investigative journalist Oliver Bullough reveals the corrupt dealings of the world’s kleptocrats––the lawless, stateless superrich who undermine the foundations of even the world’s most stable economies.

Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century by Lorene Cary book coverLadysitting by Lorene Cary

May 7 | W. W. Norton

In this memoir, Lorene Cary recounts cherished memories of her grandmother, including the year she spent “ladysitting” her when she was old, frail, and in need of care. Along the way, she comes to terms with the complexities of the fierce, stubborn, and independent woman whose 101 years of life left an indelible impact on those who loved her.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep book coverFurious Hours by Casey Cep

May 7 | Knopf

In 1970s Alabama, Reverend Willie Maxwell escaped justice after allegedly murdering five members of his own family so he could collect the insurance money. In revenge, he was shot dead at the funeral of his last victim but despite hundreds of witnesses, the shooter was acquitted thanks to the same attorney who had defended Maxwell. Sitting in the audience at the vigilante’s trial was none other than Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City in the hopes of writing her own true crime thriller. Furious Hours brings to life this incredible true crime story.

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brough the American Ideal West by David McCullough book coverThe Pioneers by David McCullough

May 7 | Simon & Schuster

Beloved historian David McCullough’s latest epic tells the story of the settling of the Northwest Territory ceded by Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris, which comprised the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American by Andrew L. Seidel book coverThe Founding Myth by Andrew L. Seidel

May 7 | Sterling

In this book, constitutional attorney Andrew Seidel argues that not only is America not a Christian nation, the Ten Commandments and other biblical principles directly contradict the central tenets our Founding Fathers laid down in the Declaration of Independence.

The Man They Wanted Me to Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making by Jared Yates Sexton book coverThe Man They Wanted Me to Be by Jared Yates Sexton

May 7 | Counterpoint

This book exposes the true cost of toxic masculinity–depression, suicide, misogyny, and a shorter lifespan for men–and takes aim at the patriarchal structures in American society that continue to uphold an outdated ideal of manhood.

After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom by Alice Marie Johnson book coverAfter Life by Alice Marie Johnson

May 21 | Harper

In this powerful memoir, Alice Marie Johnson tells her story of being sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. Thanks to the efforts of many activists and a trip to the White House by Kim Kardashian West, Johnson’s sentence was finally commuted.

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