We’ve finally made it out of the polar vortex and are heading to warmer, greener days, which means it’s time to take your reading outside. These books will make you want to sit on a park bench reading all afternoon like a protagonist in a romantic comedy. There’s no time like spring to read, so check out these 10 books to spend an afternoon with:
The Behavior of Love by Virginia Reeves
If you’re looking to read a scandal this spring, look no further. Set to release May 14, The Behavior of Love is about a love triangle among a successful man, his ambitious wife and a beautiful young patient in a mental institution. Doctor Ed Malinowski is living a perfect life, but along comes Penelope, an epileptic patient who has been placed in Malinowski’s institution. As the two become more acquainted, the doctor begins to fall in love with Penelope. Now, he must weigh his professional responsibilities against his personal ones, and find a way to save both his job and family.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden
A true story that is bound to make you cry, Madden's debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager. As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her equestrian trophies to designer shoes, but under the surface was a wild instability. In the wake of a hard childhood, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls. Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is about the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father, while unearthing truths that reframe her reality.
kaddish.com by Nathan Englander
Larry, an atheist in a family of orthodox Jews, is responsible for reciting the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, every day for eleven months now that his father has died. When Larry refuses to appease his mother and sister, he hatches an ingenious plan of hiring a stranger through a website called kaddish.com to recite the daily prayer for him. A comic novel, kaddish.com, is a satire that touches lightly and comically on the conflict between religious and secular worlds. kaddish.com is a relaxing read for the spring season.
I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott
In this memoir of essays, Philpott takes on the conflicting pressures of modern adulthood with wit and heart. She reassures us that small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary. I Miss You When I Blink offers up the message that multiple things can be true of us at once and that sometimes doing things wrong is the way to do life right. Sometimes many of us find ourselves in the throws of life and feel like there’s no end to our stress, but readers can relate to Philpott and hopefully take some time to reevaluate their lives.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican-British woman living in London, works at a national newspaper where she is constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle-class peers. After a messy break-up with her long-term white boyfriend, Jenkins seeks comfort in all the wrong places. As she careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering all of the questions today’s women must face in a world trying to answer them for her. Queenie is a relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world, so if you’re looking for a good mood booster this spring, this is the book for you.
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
Deceptively luxurious, a retreat called Golden Oaks offers a variety of amenities and big money to willing participants. The only catch is the women who stay are ordered to produce children for the wealthy people surrounding them. Jane, one of the chosen surrogate mothers, is consumed with worry for her own young daughter's well-being and grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside the farm. The novel pushes the thinking on motherhood and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.
Stay Up With Hugo Best by Erin Somers
June Bloom is a cynical 29-year-old writer's assistant on the late night comedy show, Stay Up with Hugo Best. Hugo Best is in his 60s and is a notorious womanizer. Hugo asks June to come to his mansion in Greenwich for the long Memorial Day weekend. In need of a job and money, confident she can handle herself, but secretly harboring the remains of a childhood crush on Best, June accepts. Stay Up with Hugo Best is an exploration of sexual politics in the #MeToo age and the story of one young woman stumbling into adulthood.
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens is about Nima Kumara-Clark, an awkward teen bored of her life in a small community and who is madly in love with a straight girl, all while trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Kumara-Clark finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town. Her surprising allies propel Nima hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be — one that can confidently express and accept love.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert is back with a novel that isn’t about her personal life — it’s set in New York in the ‘40s and is about a group of women theater actors. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth, City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love. Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other that Gilbert writes for her audience out of one of her darkest griefs.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
The Bride Test features an autistic lead character, Khai Diep. Diep swears he’s “defective” and can’t fall in love, so he lets his mother find him a bride from Vietnam named Esme Tran. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, Esme thinks this could be the break her family needs, but she becomes smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection. The novel may be a tear-jerker, but you can blame the crying on all the spring pollen in the air.