10 Must-Read Books in April – Chicago Review of Books

    10 Must-Read Books in April – Chicago Review of Books


    The COVID-19 crisis has hit the publishing industry hard. Book events and tours have been cancelled, and many bookstores have closed their physical doors out of safety for their workers and customers. That means authors need our help more than ever. Below are 10 books out this month that editors at the CHIRB loved. If you think you’d like to read them too, then please click on the titles and purchase a copy over at Bookshop.org. Thanks for reading the CHIRB and for supporting the writers and books you love!

    Notes From An Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back
    By Mark O’Connell
    Doubleday

    “We’re alive in a time of worst-case scenarios: The weather has gone uncanny. Our old postwar alliances are crumbling. Everywhere you look there’s an omen, a joke whose punchline is the end of the world. How is a person supposed to live in the shadow of such a grim future? What does it mean to have children–nothing if not an act of hope? What might it be like to live through the worst? And what on Earth is anybody doing about it?”

    A Tender Thing
    By Emily Neuberger
    G.P. Putnam’s Sons

    “Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Eleanor O’Hanlon always felt different. In love with musical theater from a young age, she memorized every show album she could get her hands on. So when she discovers an open call for one of her favorite productions, she leaves behind everything she knows to run off to New York City and audition. Raw and untrained, she catches the eye of famed composer Don Mannheim, who catapults her into the leading role of his new work, “A Tender Thing, ” a provacative love story between a white woman and black man, one never before seen on a Broadway stage.”

    Barker House
    By David Moloney
    Bloomsbury

    “David Moloney’s Barker House follows the story of nine unforgettable New Hampshire correctional officers over the course of one year on the job. While veteran guards get by on what they consider survival strategies–including sadistic power-mongering and obsessive voyeurism–two rookies, including the only female officer on her shift, develop their own tactics for facing “the system.” Tracking their subtly intertwined lives, Barker House reveals the precarious world of the jailers, coming to a head when the unexpected death of one in their ranks brings them together.”

    The Immortals of Tehran
    By Ali Araghi
    Melville House

    “As a child living in his family’s apple orchard, Ahmad Torkash-Vand treasures his great-great-great-great grandfather’s every mesmerizing word. On the day of his father’s death, Ahmad listens closely as the seemingly immortal elder tells him the tale of a centuries-old family curse . . . and the boy’s own fated role in the story.”

    Midwest Futures
    By Phil Christman
    Belt Publishing

    “What does the future hold for the Midwest? A vast stretch of fertile farmland bordering one of the largest concentrations of fresh water in the world, the Midwestern US seems ideally situated for the coming challenges of climate change. But it also sits at the epicenter of a massive economic collapse that many of its citizens are still struggling to overcome. The question of what the Midwest is (and what it will become) is nothing new. As Phil Christman writes in this idiosyncratic new book, ambiguity might be the region’s defining characteristic.”

    The Desert Between Us
    By Phyllis Barber
    University of Nevada Press

    The Desert Between Us tells a unique story about a small corner of American history which hasn’t had much light shed on it–and it involves a camel in the American West and The Great Wagon Road origins of Route 66, no less! Phyllis Barber’s words are poetry, and she deftly conveys the hopes and yearnings of a young Englishwoman who has joined the Mormons in Utah, entered into a polygamous marriage, and then finds herself transplanted hundreds of miles away to a small and inhospitable settlement in the desert.”

    What You Become in Flight
    By Ellen O’Connell Whittet
    Melville House

    “After a devastating misstep by her dance partner, Ellen’s life is unalterably changed. Recovered but no longer able to dance, she embarks on a self-discovery of life outside of dance while coming to terms with her past.”

    Heaven
    By Emerson Whitney
    McSweeney’s

    “At Heaven‘s center, Whitney seeks to understand their relationship to their mother and grandmother, those first windows into womanhood and all its consequences. Whitney retraces a roving youth in deeply observant, psychedelic prose–all the while folding in the work of thinkers like Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, and C. Riley Snorton–to engage transness and the breathing, morphing nature of selfhood.”

    Neck of the Woods
    By Amy Woolard
    Alice James Books

    “The shifting balance of one’s past, present, and future self is at the heart of this collection. Poems contemplate human darkness, femininity, grief, innocence, finding how they coexist and intersect while confronting their origins. Intimacy, memory, and navigating adulthood in the mythos of the South pull together nostalgia and seeks the affirmation of how to move forward after life-altering moments.”

    Trees in Trouble
    By Daniel Mathews
    Counterpoint Press

    “A troubling story of the devastating and compounding effects of climate change in the Western and Rocky Mountain states, told through in-depth reportage and conversations with ecologists, professional forest managers, park service scientists, burn boss, activists, and more.”



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