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Rainy Reads: 15 Fiction Picks For Your April Reading List

April brings a veritable book bonanza, with 15 new titles from vaunted authors like Emily St. John Mandel, Douglas Stuart, Jennifer Egan and Gary Phillips / BY Nathalie Atkinson / March 31st, 2022


It’s a bonanza! And with so many unmissable new books from acclaimed authors — Jennifer Egan! Douglas Stuart! — and several scintillating debuts, you could say that spring has big book energy. A gritty historical crime novel from masterful mystery writer Gary Phillips, a new plague novel by Emily St. John Mandel and a relevant Ukrainian fable about war round out our 15 notable book picks for April.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image.

1Lessons in Chemistryby Bonnie Garmus

“I am devastated to have finished it,” British cooking queen Nigella Lawson gushed about this charmer by a London-based, American author featuring Elizabeth, a research chemist (and her very smart dog) who supports herself by hosting a cooking show. The scientist and unwed single parent soon finds she is an overnight sensation, thanks to subversive content that encourages housewives to challenge the status quo and double standards of the 1960s. Think: Julia Child meets Mad Men. (Apr. 5)


2Portrait of a Thiefby Grace D. Li

Based on the true story of Chinese art disappearing from Western museums, this globe-trotting heist novel from a former New York high school teacher has been billed as Ocean’s 11 meets The Farewell, because the gang of thieves are Chinese Americans in their 20s. The page-turner about children of the diaspora can’t help but examine the shared roots, cultural plundering and the nature of identity. (Apr. 5)


3Young Mungoby Douglas Stuart

The Scottish American author need not worry about the second-novel curse after the incredible success of Shuggie Bain, his Booker Prize-winning, and bestselling debut. Stuart returns to the brutal milieu of a north Glasgow public-housing tenement with an almost unbearably moving story of queer awakening and star-crossed lovers, surrounded by poverty, alcoholism and violence. Prepared to be emotionally gutted — again. (Apr. 5)


4The Candy Houseby Jennifer Egan

The American. author calls this tale of transition from an analog to a digital world a ‘sibling’ (rather than a sequel) to her 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad. Egan picks up the story in the 2010s, and crosscuts between the main characters, their romantic partners and adult children, to look at the consequences of a new technology that allows people to share their memories in the cloud. (Apr. 5)


5Sea of Tranquilityby Emily St. John Mandel

Her post-plague dystopian novel, Station Eleven, was a must-read of the early COVID-19 pandemic and, this year, an acclaimed adaptation on Crave. Now the Canadian author of the Giller Prize contender, The Glass Hotel, follows it up with another profoundly human, semi-hopeful, multi-voice story about a plague. This time it hopscotches around several centuries, from early 20th century Vancouver Island (where Mandel was born and raised) to the early 25th century on Earth’s lunar colonies. Life imitates art as readers follow Olive, an author who has written a bestselling pandemic novel, on a galaxy-wide book tour during another pandemic. (Apr. 5)


6The Wise Womenby Gina Sorell

Wendy Wise has spent 40 years as a popular advice columnist and a lifetime as an interfering, but well-meaning help to her adult daughters. From a South African-born actor-turned-author, who grew up in Toronto, this breezy and heartwarming read gets at the complicated relationship dynamics between mothers, daughters and sisters. If this winsome novel were a movie, it would be by the late Nora Ephron. (Apr. 5)


7A Tiny Upward Shoveby Melissa Chadburn

This debut novel from Chadburn, a Los Angeles-based writer of Filipino heritage, is literary and visceral trauma embodied: a fictionalized dramatization of the notorious serial murders of Robert “Willie” Pickton, the B.C. pig farmer who claimed to have killed at least 49 marginalized women, many of them Indigenous. The novel’s 18-year-old protagonist, Marina, is throttled on the very first page. In death, Marina becomes an avenging aswang – a shape-shifting creature from Filipino folklore, channelling the voices and experiencing the harsh lives of the other victims, and that of the killer himself. (Apr. 12)


8Take My Handby Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Two timelines entwine in this powerful novel from Perkins-Valdez, a Washington, D.C.-based writer. One focuses on 1973, when a young Black nurse who works at a family planning clinic in post-segregation Alabama exposes an involuntary sterilization program, run by the U.S. government on poor young Black girls, who are given experimental birth control shots; decades later, she reflects on her early and unwitting complicity. This affecting historical tale of racial justice and reproductive rights, at the intersection of eugenics, exploitation and poverty, is inspired by true events. (Apr. 12)


9The Cowardby Jarred McGinnis

Following a life-altering car accident, a jobless and penniless son, who now uses a wheelchair, must move back home. Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh praises this energetic novel about the fractured relationship between an estranged father and son, which is powered by grimly, cynical wit. The American author, who has a PhD in artificial intelligence, pulls vivid insight from his firsthand experience of living with a disability. (Apr. 12)


10One-Shot Harryby Gary Phillips

The gritty Los Angeles of 1963 comes to life in this new historical crime novel from master storyteller Phillips, 67, who has also written for Snowfall, the F/X series about the crack epidemic and the CIA in 1980s South Central, the neighbourhood where he grew up. Harry, an African-American freelance news photographer, is a shell-shocked Korean War veteran who listens to police scanners for scoops, and becomes embroiled in solving the death of a jazz-musician friend. Its fast-paced and set against the backdrop of civil rights and racial tensions within L.A.s Black communities in the days leading up to a visit from Martin Luther King, Jr. (Apr. 12)


11Gone But Still Hereby Jennifer Dance

Dance, an Ontario playwright and composer, draws on real-life experience as caregiver to her life partner for this novel about a family witnessing the decline of a matriarch with Alzheimer’s. It ventures into the mind of Mary, who lives in the past as she attempts to write a memoir about a long-ago lost love, set between England, Canada and Trinidad, and also examines the challenges and rewards of the so-called sandwich generation, with caregiving duties split between aging parents and their own children. (Apr. 19)


12The Memory Librarianby Janelle Monae

Writing with several collaborators – including award-winning, science-fiction author Sheree Renée Thomas – the U.S. singer-songwriter, style icon and performer Monae expands on themes from her Dirty Computer album. The speculative and all-too-plausible cautionary tales, à la Black Mirror, add up to thought-provoking, Afro-futurist stories about freedom, sentience, totalitarianism and technology. (Apr. 19)


13The Island of Forgettingby Jasmine Sealy


This debut novel from an award-winning, Barbadia Canadian short-story writer based in Vancouver is a family saga, loosely inspired by Greek mythology, which travels from 1960s Barbados to present-day Scarborough, Ont. It explores four generations who run a beachfront hotel; their individual journeys are inspired by their mythical namesakes (Iapetus, Atlas, Calypso and Nautilus), and they each long to escape from the island in some way. (Apr. 26)


14Searchby Michelle Huneven

Life imitates art twice over this entertaining novel with a clever conceit (one of Kirkus Reviews’ 10 most anticipated in 2022) by the James Beard Award-winning writer Huneven, where readers go behind the scenes as a church search committee looks for a new minister. It takes the shape of an entertaining fictional memoir by a Southern California food writer (with recipes, naturally), who has – unbeknownst to the team – decided to chronicle and reveal the proceedings and inner workings of the team, politics and all. (Apr. 26)


15Grey Beesby Andrey Kurkov, trans. by Boris Dralyuk

“Come on now, don’t act like people!” is how beekeeper Sergey urges his hives to collaborate and work toward the greater good. The retiree, and his frenemy neighbor, Pashka, are among the last residents of the barren Grey Zone circa 2017 in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting loyalist government forces since 2014 for control over the resource-rich strip of territory, and Sergey finds himself going to Crimea and back again. The Ukrainian author has been compared to Murakami, Bulgarov and Vonnegut with this portrait of modern conflict that originally had elements of fable but, as Kurkov recently pointed out: “now all of Ukraine is Donbas,” and the novel has taken on new and urgent resonance. (Apr. 29)


THE SCROLL

Salman Rushdie, Novelist Who Drew Death Threats, Is Stabbed at New York LectureThe Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked before giving a talk on artistic freedom.


Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading ListObama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball.


Canadian Author Rebecca Eckler to Launch RE:books Publishing House Focused on Female Authors and Fun ReadsThe former National Post columnist says her tagline is ‘What’s read is good, and what’s good is read.’”


Brian Thomas Isaac’s “All the Quiet Places” wins $5,000 Indigenous Voices AwardThe B.C. author, a retired bricklayer, drew on his childhood growing up on the Okanagan Indian reserve for his coming-of-age story set in 1956


Canadian-American Author Ruth Ozeki Wins Women’s Book Prize for “The Book of Form and Emptiness”The UK judges said her fourth novel, inspired in part by the Vancouver Public Library, contained "sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy."


The Bill Gates Summer Reading List Includes a Sci-Fi Novel On Gender Inequality Suggested by His DaughterBill Gates' summer reading list includes fiction and non-fiction titles that cover gender equality, political polarization and climate change.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history


Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.


Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 


Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events


Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


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