April Speed Reads

Written by Jeff Cretan on . Posted in Books, Posts.

The Free World By David Bezmogis, out now 

A family of immigrants fleeing Soviet Latvia in the 1970s hashes out intergenerational conflicts as they wait to leave Rome for the West in this debut novel.

To Sound in the Know: Bezmogis is himself an immigrant from Latvia. He arrived in Toronto in 1980 and now lives in New York. So he’s actually a double immigrant, if coming to the U.S. from Canada counts. Does it?

Mister Wonderful: A Love Story By Daniel Clowes, out April 12 

This graphic novel, born in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, stars Marshall, a grumpy 40-year-old, divorced gem of a guy, who is just searching for the perfect (by his own precise definitions) female counterpart.

To Sound in the Know: Two of Clowes’ previous graphic novels, Ghost World and Art School Confidential, have already been made into movies.

Bossypants By Tina Fey, out now 

Part memoir of her journey from Pennsylvania to Chicago to 30 Rock, part insight on the state of modern comedy. All funny.

To Sound in the Know: It’s Tina Fey and already nobody will shut up about it. What else do you need to know?

The Pale King By David Foster Wallace, out April 15

… sort of IRS trainee David Foster Wallace arrives at his new exam center in Peoria to find that boredom isn’t just yawninducing—it’s also threatening humanity.

To Sound in the Know: Little, Brown wanted to release the book April 15 (what was previously tax day, get it?), but Amazon started selling it early, causing a bit of a kerfuffle among bookstore owners. And you know what happens when bookstore owners get mad…

The Tragedy of Arthur: A Novel By Arthur Phillips, out April 19

The Brooklyn-based novelist gets playful in his latest, where the twin children (one of them named Arthur Phillips) of a forger help him to get what he claims is a long-lost Shakespearean play authenticated and published.

To Sound in the Know: Phillips is a former Jeopardy champion, which means he’s stared into the eyes of the Great Trebek and lived to tell the tale.

The Great Night By Chris Adrian, out April 26

A modern day retelling of Midsummer Night’s Dream set in a park in San Francisco. Three people bound for a party get waylaid by fairies (no Castro jokes), monsters and ghosts of their past relationships.

To Sound in the Know: Adrian, one of the New Yorker’s "20 under 40," is also a pediatric fellow in oncology at UCSF and has attended Harvard Divinity School. So yes, he’s a better human than you.

My New American Life By Francine Prose, out April 26

An Albanian immigrant au pair working in New Jersey has her idyllic if boring suburban existence interrupted by the arrival of a few dangerous countrymen toting guns.

To Sound in the Know: Prose is the president of the PEN American Center and we’re still convinced that her name is fake. 

April Speed Reads

Written by Jeff Cretan on . Posted in Books, Posts.

Hotel Iris By Yoko Ogawa

A young hotel clerk is mysteriously drawn to a middle-aged widower and
translator who may have murdered his wife. Murakami-esque weirdness

To Sound
in the Know:
Ogawa has published more than 20 books in Japan, but only a
few are available in English.

Imperfect Birds By Anne Lamott

This novel is about a typical
teenage girl with the secret life of an addict and a family that is both
losing her and trying to save her at the same time.

To Sound in the Know:
Characters in this book are drawn from Lamott’s earlier novels Rosie
and Crooked Little Heart.

The Name of the Nearest River By Alex Taylor

debut story collection dives into the rough and grimy world of working
class Kentucky with stories about cattle killers, demolition derby
drivers and coal thieves.

To Sound in the Know: Taylor teaches at a
Western Kentucky university and also works in an auto parts store.

Ruby and Robin By K.M.

In the sequel to his award-winning novel The World of
Normal Boys,
Soehnlein tells the story of a brother and sister
growing into angst-ridden young adulthood in Philly and the Jersey Shore
of the 1980s.

To Sound in the Know: TWONB is already being
adapted into a movie, so this one probably won’t be far behind.

Beatrice and Virgil By Yann

A novel about a writer struggling with following a wildly
successful debut novel. A taxidermist, a donkey and a monkey are
involved (obviously) in this meta-tastic follow up to Life of Pi.

Sound in the Know:
Beatrice is the donkey and Virgil is the monkey. Of

Elegy For April By Benjamin

In Black’s third mystery, the pathologist Quirke helps his
daughter find her missing best friend, a medical student who is the
daughter of a wealthy family in 1950s Dublin.

To Sound in the Know:
Black is the pen name of Booker Prize winner John Banville.

Island Beneath the Sea By Isabel Allende

wide-ranging historical novel centers on a woman born into slavery in
Santa Domingue who develops a complex relationship with her master.

Sound in the Know:
While Allende sells well internationally (51 million
copies!) she’s never received great critical praise in her native Chile.

April Speed Reads

Written by Jeff Cretan on . Posted in Books, Posts.


This Song Is You By Arthur Phillips, Out April 7

In his fourth novel, the Brooklyn-based author explores the love one young man has for music, his iPod and an Irish rock singer. To Sound in the Know: The author of the critically acclaimed Prague is also a fivetime Jeopardy champion.Take that,Trebek!

How It Ended: New and Collected Stories By Jay McInerney, Out April 7

This collection of short stories draws from over 30 years of McInerney’s writing life, stretching from the frenzy of the Bright Lights, Big City era to the more thoughtful times of The Good Life. To Sound in the Know:McInerney made a minor splash with a whole new generation of fans when he appeared on an episode of Gossip Girl last fall.

Thanks for Coming By Mara Altman, Out April 14

A memoir of a woman in search of the ultimate prize: her own orgasm. Hopefully this one has a happy ending.To Sound in the Know:While writing the book, Altman, a former Ace Bar cocktail waitress, met her current boyfriend and apparently they’re getting along (and off) just fine.

Unplugging Philco By Jim Knipfel, Out April 14

This satire explores the life of Wally Philco in an America after Horribleness Day turns terrorism into the reason that everyone cites for everything bad that happens in the world.
To Sound in the Know:The Horribleness is never explained in the book, but it’s likely that AIG was somehow involved.

Bis for Beer By Tom Robbins, out April 21

Billed as both “A Grown- Ups book for Children” and “A Children’s book for Grown-Ups,” Robbins’ latest offering delves into the magical relationship between humans and their beer. Apparently it’s more than just Best Friends. To Sound in the Know: Robbins chose his new publisher, Ecco, because it published

Nobody Move By Denis Johnson, Out April 27

Johnson follows up his National Book Award–winning Tree of Smoke with this noir of four lowlifes chasing each other over $2.3 million dollars in the wilds of Bakersfield, California.
To Sound in the Know: The book was originally serialized in Playboy last year.

Blue Boy By Rakesh Satyal, Out April 28

An out of place Indian-American boy having trouble fitting into life in Cincinnati (shocking) realizes that his problem isn’t that he’s weird—it’s that he’s the 10th reincarnation of the god Krishnaji. Hilarity ensues. To Sound in the Know: Satyal, when he’s not writing, sings in a cabaret show in Manhattan.

Sag Harbor By Colson Whitehead, Out April 28

The Fort Greene–based author of takes us back to 1985 where we meet an awkward black teenager who is ostracized at his Manhattan prep school, but finds solace in a summer escape to the mostly black enclave of Sag Harbor. Life is hard when you summer in the Hamptons.
To Sound in the Know: In 2002,Whitehead was awarded a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship. Yeah, one of those guys.