Most Anticipated April 2021 Books
Leah Angstman Apr 6 · 12 min read
The Coil dishes the best new books to read this month, with something for everyone as we head into spring.
Four Dead Horses
K. T. Sparks
A Petrichor Prize-winning story about trying to escape the Midwest, a pull toward cowboy poetry, and the four equines that finally take the protagonist west.
A novel of Napoleon’s time on St. Helena, his attempt at writing his own novel, and the mistress who buoyed him through his final plot to escape exile.
A hybrid novella-in-vignettes about the metaphorical and physical ways we toughen our skin in the process of healing.
An alternative-history fever dream of a militarized Space Race in a reimagined Cold War.
A retelling of the folk ballad “The Two Sisters” set in a magical ancient Britain.
The Ledger and the Chain
Joshua D. Rothman
A look at how traders of enslaved people in the northern U.S. controlled and shaped our country’s economy and laws even more than the slaveholders themselves.
A novel of an ornery bounty-hunter chasing down a skiptrace through rural Oklahoma in the summer of 1995.
A “collage essay” nonfiction hybrid chapbook that evokes tales and images of travel, movement, and momentum through prose and photographs.
A series of lyrical dictionary entries that employs the use of the lipogram, a poetic device requiring the poet to avoid using a certain letter of the alphabet.
Leonora in the Morning Light
A novel based on the true events of the life of forgotten painter Leonora Carrington and her struggle for a legacy, survival during World War II, and the love of a married man.
A dark fantasy and paranormal romance about a hustler whose power involves infusing her raw magic into a sellable lodestone that other people can use.
The Madman’s Library
A collection of the strangest books, manuscripts, and other bizarre literary curiosities from history.
Amy Suiter Clarke
A suspenseful crime novel of a woman trying to solve the cold case of a serial killer who had murdered girls then abruptly stopped.
The Souvenir Museum
A collection of sharp, witty stories about the desires of human intimacy and comforting relationships in an indifferent universe.
A magical-realist novel that turns the minority myth on its head in a humorous coming-of-age story about immigrant identity.
Heart on a Leash
A charming little tale about rescue huskies (!) melting the hearts of feuding families in a coastal Alaskan town.
Empire of Pain
Patrick Radden Keefe
An account of the Sackler Dynasty: the family behind Purdue Pharma, the pushing of OxyContin, and an opioid epidemic this country can’t shake.
The Dictionary of Lost Words
A historical novel of a girl rescuing the discarded words of her lexicographer father who’s putting together the first Oxford English Dictionary.
The Sound Between the Notes
Barbara Linn Probst
A classical pianist must risk losing all she loves in her last effort for acclaim and for recapturing her lost musical magic.
Bicycling with Butterflies
A narrative of the author’s 10,201-mile journey on bicycle following the monarch migration.
The Armenians of Aintab
When a Turk discovers that Armenians once thrived in his hometown, his investigation leads to the harrowing economics and dynamics of local genocide.
Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask
The young readers edition of the must-read original releases this month, and the title says it all.
Betting on a Duke’s Heart
A historical romance surrounding a prized racing stallion and inspired by the real-life Maharani Gayatri Devi.
The Diné Reader
ed. Esther G. Belin, Jeff Berglund, Connie A. Jacobs, Anthony K. Webster
An anthology of Navajo literature, including contributions from 35 Navajo writers.
Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz
ed. Warren Binford
A bilingual children’s book in both English and Spanish, featuring the heartbreaking testimonies of children detained at the southern U.S. border.
Blow Your House Down
A narrative of family and feminism and how the trappings of societal womanhood keep women down and hold them to unattainable expectations.
The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet
A historical mystery featuring the often-passed-over middle sister of the Bennet clan from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
The Forest of Stolen Girls
A young-adult historical mystery, set in Joseon (Korea) in 1426, surrounding two missing girls who show up near a crime scene in the forest.
My Broken Language
Quiara Alegría Hudes
A lyrical memoir of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s coming of age with her Puerto Rican family in the middle of a Philadelphia barrio.
I Had a Brother Once
A hybrid memoir meets epic poem about the sprawling loss of losing a brother to suicide.
Promises to Keep
Book number two in the Savannah Skies series brings us back to Tybee Island off the Georgia coast as our returning characters test their relationship against hidden secrets.
The epic history of the Mongols and how they changed the world forever as city builders, diplomats, and economic thinkers beyond their conquering.
The Hard Crowd
A collection of essays about culture and politics from the last two decades.
Amy McDougall, Master Matchmaker
A middle-grade book about a 13-year-old girl who tries to play matchmaker for the single gay man who adopted her when she was a kid.
How to Write a Mystery
ed. Lee Child, Laurie R. King
A handbook about writing a mystery from the pros and authorities on the matter, the Mystery Writers of America.
I Am a Girl from Africa
A memoir of a woman’s voyage from Africa to America and beyond, to become an advisor at the United Nations and a leading proponent of gender equality.
The Groundhog Forever
A queer sequel to the movie Groundhog Day, in which two film students get stuck in an infinite loop with Bill Murray, reliving the same day over and over.
You Made Me Love You
John Edgar Wideman
Thirty-five selected stories from almost four decades of the master storyteller’s career, with a new introductory essay by National Book Critics Circle board member and scholar Walton Muyumba.
A collection of touching and hilarious essays, reflections, and illustrations about mental health, belonging, and happiness.
The Music of Bees
A debut novel that follows three lonely strangers in rural Oregon who are brought together by a local honeybee farm right when they needed it most.
The Night Always Comes
A novel of our current housing crisis, the skyrocketing price of homes, and the endless trickle-down cycle of debt that destroys one woman’s American dream.
An Inventory of Abandoned Things
Kelly Ann Jacobson
A collection of linked stories connecting the landscape, flora, and fauna of the Florida panhandle with the story of a pregnant grad student separated from her wife.
The Light of Days
A narrative of the brave Jewish women Resistance fighters networking in Hitler’s Polish ghettos.
Desperation, second skin, and dark secrets mark this debut novel by the acclaimed writer.
Poetry about the candid ups and downs of working for the man, told with humor and wit.
A novel about a couple (with a mongoose!) forever changed by an odd train ride and the stranger riding with them.
What Comes After
A mystery of loss, grief, redemption, and forgiveness in a Pacific Northwest town torn apart by the deaths of two teenage boys.
The Bookseller of Florence
The story of the manuscript hunters, scribes, and booksellers of Renaissance Florence who brought books of ancient knowledge into a new, gilded world.
The Last Watch
J. S. Dewes
A scifi novel in which a handful of court-martialed dregs of the military stand between humanity and annihilation at the edge of the universe.
New World Witchery
Cory Thomas Hutcheson
A comprehensive collection of North American folk magic exploring nearly 500 samples of rituals, artifacts, stories, and beliefs.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s first novel in nearly a decade, first written in Italian then translated into English, dabbles with themes of attachment and estrangement.
Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing
A collection of searing, humorous, and extremely personal essays about the dark corners of America, from her youth in a cult to being dismissed from the military for being a lesbian.
The Van Gogh Sisters
A deeply researched and photo-heavy volume of the lives of Vincent Van Gogh’s sisters, as mined through their personal correspondence.
House of Hollow
A teen and young-adult dark, twisty modern fairytale fantasy where three sisters discover they aren’t all that they seem.
The Galaxy, and the Ground Within
The Hugo Award-winning Wayfarers series continues with a return to the Galactic Commons to explore another corner of the cosmos.
After Happily Ever After
Leslie A. Rasmussen
A novel of how we deal with getting older, finding our value at an older age, and impulses that gives us new life again.
Lessons from Plants
Beronda L. Montgomery
An exploration of how plant behavior and adaptation offer valuable insights for human thriving.
Blood and Treasure
Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
The true saga of the legendary Daniel Boone and the bloody struggle to take control of America’s first frontier.
An account of one of the most crucial and least-known campaigns of the Revolutionary War, where America’s scrappy fleet took on the full might of Britain’s sea power.
The Making of Biblical Womanhood
Beth Allison Barr
A narrative of how the subjugation of women became entwined with religious views of the roles of womanhood.
A speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the possible end of all things.
Alice Neel: People Come First
ed. Kelly Baum, Randall Griffey
The Met’s gorgeous hardcover art book featuring feminist Alice Neel’s portraits of regular, everyday people.
The Hemingway Collection
A new boxed set that includes Hemingway’s classics, repackaged as a tie-in for the PBS special.
First, Become Ashes
K. M. Szpara
A fantastical novel that explores self-discovery after trauma, through an American road trip and some magic.
The Hugo and Nebula award-winning Murderbot Diaries series continues with a new saga of the lovable, humane security droid.
You Are Your Best Thing
ed. Tarana Burke, Brené Brown
An anthology of collected work addressing vulnerability, shame resilience, and the Black experience.
First Person Singular
A mind-bending collection of eight short stories by the acclaimed author, all told in the first person.
Clarity & Connection
A collection of poems, prose poems, and short fiction focused on understanding how past wounds impact our present relationships.
The Man Who Lived Underground
A posthumous novel that has never seen previous publication in its complete form and which revolves around a Black man living in the sewers to escape punishment for a crime he didn’t commit.
The Pilgrim’s Soul
A novel full of lost souls, gravity-defying landscapes, and creatures that stretch the ability of the human imagination.