It’s Gonna Be May: 28 New Reads for the Start of Summer

Summer hasn’t quite arrived in Nashville yet, but some of the season’s best reads are already here! This roundup of 28 new releases has a little bit of everything: fantasy, poetry, historical fiction, mysteries, and more! So if soaking in the sun with a great new book and telling people not to bother you sounds like your idea of a good time, you’ve come to the right place. This month’s staff picks will carry you from Mother’s Day* to Memorial Day and right on into the beach-read-iest time of the year!

*P.S. Are you still looking for a Mother’s Day gift? Perhaps a First Editions Club subscription would fit the bill? We announced the May, June, and July picks last week (hint hint, wink wink).

Recommended by Lindsay

End of the World House: A Novel Cover ImageEnd of the World House: A Novel

As the sort of person who can wander through an art museum for hours on end, I couldn’t help feeling that End of the World House was written for me, specifically. I adored this novel about two friends who find themselves in a Groundhog Day situation on a private tour of the Louvre that suspiciously never seems to end. It’s a book that I’d be happy to get lost in forever.

Recommended by Elyse

Sing Her Name Cover ImageSing Her Name

For music lovers, this story is part history and part mystery. Set in my two favorite cities, New Orleans and New York, Sing Her Name tells of a nineteenth-century African-American concert artist who never got her due, and the influence she now has on a 21st century, displaced, 30-something who is trying to realize a dream while trying to make ends meet.

Recommended by Rae Ann

In the Face of the Sun: A Captivating Novel of Historical Fiction Perfect for Book Clubs Cover ImageIn the Face of the Sun

Two women on a road trip in 1968 are on a collision course with the past. By the time they reach LA, the truth of a decades-old mystery in Black Hollywood will be revealed. Intriguing characters make this story shine.

Recommended by Lindsay

Trust Cover ImageTrust

Reading Hernan Diaz’s Trust is like watching that one Olympic sport that appears to be a triathlon but then the athletes start doing archery and fencing–just when you think you know what you’re reading, it becomes something even more impressive and unexpected. With every section, I fell more and more in love with Trust.

Recommended by Jennifer

Book of Night Cover ImageBook of Night

Author of the YA Cruel Prince series, Holly Black makes her adult debut in this dark, modern fantasy novel. Charlie, the story’s female protagonist, finds herself in the middle of a dark, bloody mystery-turned-romance involving shadows that come alive. With plenty of twists and turns, if you were a fan of Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House, this book is right up your alley.

Recommended by Ashby

Portrait of a Thief: A Novel Cover ImagePortrait of a Thief: A Novel

Heist films – Ocean’s Eleven, Baby Driver, Reservoir Dogs – plus a super smart crew with connections to China and an opportunity to take back their art and culture equals a page-turner. 50 million is a big haul for a heist. The group includes a leader, a con artist, a thief, a getaway driver, and a hacker, all Chinese Americans with complicated connections to China. You’ll be holding your breath until the final page!

Recommended by Hannah

Book Lovers Cover ImageBook Lovers

This is, without a doubt, Emily Henry’s best book yet. Combining the very best elements from her previous two bestsellers, it’s a delight from cover to cover. An ode to romance novels, Book Lovers is aware of the tropes, stares them in the face, and still manages to bring something new and brilliant to the genre.

Recommended by Sissy

Here Goes Nothing Cover ImageHere Goes Nothing

What if David Sedaris wrote Station Eleven mixed with The Time Traveler’s Wife? That’s how entertaining this book was.

Recommended by Patsy

Lucky Breaks Cover ImageLucky Breaks

This unsettling collection of short fiction by eastern Ukrainian author and photographer offers vignettes of women displaced by the 2014 incursion of Russian troops into Ukraine. These characters, normally the overlooked and liminal members of society, are recounted in words tinged with folklore and dreams, offering the reader a sense of the fog of war under which Ukrainians are living. Timely and essential reading.

Recommended by Kathy

Ocean State Cover ImageOcean State

Set in 2009, a doomed love story of two girls in love with the same teen-age boy, and the things that love makes them do.

Recommended by Cheryl

Memphis: A Novel Cover ImageMemphis: A Novel

The vibrant cover is reminiscent of the art of Allen Stringfellow, although no found relation to author. Within is the story told by three generations of strong, talented Black women with their personal reflections over seven decades of history and challenges.

Recommended by Ashby

Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel Cover ImageRemarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel

The documentary My Octopus Teacher made me smile & gave me hope, so a novel with an octopus character? YES! Tova, a widow whose son disappeared long ago, befriends Marcellus, a grumpy octopus. The friendship is about hope, helping out a friend, providing answers to questions, opportunities for a brighter future. A debut novel with an unbelievable premise that becomes believable, it left me smiling AND hopeful.

Recommended by Marcia

Sister Stardust Cover ImageSister Stardust

I was not alive in the 60’s, but if I was -and if I knew a lot of famous people, this is exactly how I would have liked to have lived. Maybe without so many drugs though….

Recommended by Sarah

Cover Story: A Novel Cover ImageCover Story: A Novel

Fans of Inventing Anna on Netflix, this is for you! Cover Story is a gripping page-turner and a smart, inventive take on scam culture. Comprised of diary entries, emails, FBI memos, and more, it’s the perfect, quick read for your summer beach trip!

Recommended by Erin

The No-Show Cover ImageThe No-Show

This is the latest from the author of The Flatshare, and it’s unexpectedly moving. The back cover copy had me expecting something completely different in tone, but this isn’t a rom com, this is women’s fiction that’s going to make you laugh and cry. My advice on this one is to read the book, not the description.

Recommended by RJ

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer Cover ImageThe Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer

Janelle Monáe has long demonstrated a gift for science fiction storytelling across a variety of media, and this short story collection fully lives up to the heights of their other creative projects. If you’re a longtime fan of the scifi setting Monáe has built with her music, this is an amazing expansion and companion. If you’re new to their work, these stories also stand perfectly on their own.

Recommended by Ann

What We Wish Were True: Reflections on Nurturing Life and Facing Death Cover ImageWhat We Wish Were True: Reflections on Nurturing Life and Facing Death

Quinn’s life, her mission, her decency, and her love create a vibrant legacy for us to hold on to and learn from. This book, like its author, is incandescent.

Recommended by Ann

Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life: A Memoir Cover ImageLeft on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life: A Memoir

If you’ve ever been wildly in love, or wildly sick, or both at the same time, this remarkable tale of endurance and grace is for you. Ephron’s screenwriting skills make it a story you can’t look away from.

Recommended by Karen

Things to Look Forward To Cover ImageThings to Look Forward To

This is a book is a joyous celebration of the little things in life that make you happy. Blackall is a Caldecott winning illustrator and artist, so no surprise, the illustrations are just exquisite. Put this within easy reach to pick up when you need a smile.

Recommended by Sissy

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives Cover ImageBomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives

Mary Laura does what few can – muse about mortality and make you laugh. Reading her essays is like sitting down on the porch with her and having a glass of wine. Her worries are OUR worries, only we rarely discuss them aloud.

Recommended by Chelsea

Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases Cover ImageUnmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases

Known primarily for helping catch the Golden State Killer, Paul Holes dedicated his career to solving cold cases. This book not only focuses on those cases but on how Holes’s obsession with justice affected his personal life. A fascinating look into the ways and means of solving cold cases, this book is the perfect read for fans of true crime.

Recommended by Jordan

A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention: A Memoir of Coming Home to My Neurodivergent Mind Cover ImageA Thousand Ways to Pay Attention: A Memoir of Coming Home to My Neurodivergent Mind

From feeling misplaced in a scattered mind to the serenity of peace and homecoming with nature, this memoir is here to take us all for a walk. A great read for fans of Margaret Renkl’s Late Migrations.

Recommended by Jenness

The Puzzler: One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life Cover ImageThe Puzzler: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life

A heartwarming example of Jacobs’s immersive fact-finding mixed with soul-searching, The Puzzler is a loving tribute to puzzles across centuries and cultures. Jacobs’s nerdy enthusiasm and philosophical curiosity for the history and joy of puzzles is contagious. Bonus: puzzles included!

Recommended by Madeline

Half Baked Harvest Every Day: Recipes for Balanced, Flexible, Feel-Good Meals: A Cookbook Cover ImageHalf Baked Harvest Every Day: Recipes for Balanced, Flexible, Feel-Good Meals: A Cookbook

Tieghan Gerard returns with another scrumptious cookbook, pairing easy-to-follow recipes with salivating spices. These recipes are always accessible and great for impressing! Perfect for beginning chefs and professional alike.

Recommended by Cheryl

Last Call at the Hotel Imperial: The Reporters Who Took On a World at War Cover ImageLast Call at the Hotel Imperial: The Reporters Who Took On a World at War

The Hotel Imperial in Vienna is where journalists met in the 30s and 40s before Hitler claimed it as an office. These male and female journalists saw and heard what was going on in Europe and did their best to send reports home to the US with the only mediums available: print and radio. The group supported and even traveled together which is not seen with our instant news today.

Recommended by Ben

The Heart of American Poetry Cover ImageThe Heart of American Poetry

By presenting 40 poems from nearly 400 years of poetry, this panoramic and diverse volume delves into the themes, styles, and influences within our vast poetic heritage. A personal and national odyssey, Hirsch follows each poem with an insightful essay analyzing both it and the poet as he eloquently invites us to join the ongoing discussion of what the American canon is and can be.

Recommended by Patsy

Vinegar Hill: Poems Cover ImageVinegar Hill: Poems

Tóibín’s first poetry collection, written over several decades, is pure delight. His simple language, often stripped of metaphor, aptly demonstrates the lyricism of a son of Ireland as he touches on themes of love, mortality, politics, religion, and of living through a pandemic. This collection is balm for the soul.

Recommended by Ben

The Hurting Kind Cover ImageThe Hurting Kind

Remarkably attentive to the wounds and wonders of the world around her, Limón’s feral and tender new collection illumines far-off cities and backyard gardens, divorce and longing, foals and trillium, ancestors and lovers. Through distilled language, careful line breaks, evocative scenes, she questions cliché and nostalgia, and presses powerfully toward desire. This is her best work yet.

First Editions Club: May Selection

This Time Tomorrow: A Novel Cover ImageThis Time Tomorrow: A Novel

By Emma Straub

Dear friends,

Whenever I dip into a new Emma Straub book, it always feels like home: I can walk right into the living room, kick off my shoes, and find a place waiting for me in a comfy chair. There is such a warmth to Emma’s writing—the care she takes in introducing us to her characters, the clear love she has for them in all their messiness that makes us love them, too.

This Time Tomorrow is no exception. Emma’s latest follows Alice, a woman who falls asleep on her fortieth birthday and, to her surprise, wakes up on her sixteenth. Forty-year-old Alice is unmarried, working in admissions at her old high school, and caretaking for her ill father, who happens to be a renowned sci-fi novelist. Sixteen-year-old Alice is stressed about her SATs, figuring out which boy she’s going to kiss at her birthday party, and has not considered that her father’s days could ever be numbered. Between time jumps, Alice tries to reconcile her present and past selves, along with all the futures she could have had.

Even with the added element of time travel, this novel feels so uniquely Emma Straub: This Time Tomorrow is filled with characters who already feel like friends, along with a story that I wish I could time travel and read again for the first time.

Yours in reading,
Lindsay Lynch

More about our First Editions Club: Every member receives a first edition of the selected book of the month, signed by the author. Books are carefully chosen by our staff of readers, and our picks have gone on to earn major recognition including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Plus, there’s no membership fee or premium charge for these books. Build a treasured library of signed first editions and always have something great to read! Makes a FABULOUS gift, too.

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