12 of the Best New Books in April

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From a tale of love and revenge spanning six continents to a Star Wars visual encyclopedia, the books hitting shelves this month hail from a diverse group of genres. We’ve rounded up the 12 books we’re most excited to read, including six novels, four nonfiction titles, a short story collection and a poetry anthology.

Check out our picks below, then leave a comment describing the books you’re dying to read this month!

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Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 11.09.27 AM.png 1. Poems That Make Grown Men Cry by Anthony Holden & Ben Holden
Release Date: April 1st from Simon & Schuster
Why You’ll Love It: Whether you eat, sleep and breathe poetry or you haven’t read a sonnet since high school, you’ll adore this collection. Curl up in an armchair and discover 100 eclectic poems that make the likes of James Earl Jones and Patrick Stewart weep.
Description Grown men don’t cry. But in this fascinating anthology, 100 men—distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights—confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Representing 20 nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.

From J.J. Abrams to John le Carré, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave, Billy Collins to Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth, this collection delivers private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting and thinking are admired around the world.

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1americanwarlord.jpg 2. American Warlord: A True Story by Johnny Dwyer
Release Date: April 7 from Knopf
Why You’ll Love it: American Warlord doesn’t promise to be a light read—in fact, it’s anything but. This well-reported book chronicles the tale of Chucky Taylor, a child torn between the U.S. and Liberia by his ruthless father. The journey leads to horrific accounts of torture—and tells a powerful tale about the dark side of power.
Description: Chucky Taylor is the American son of the infamous African dictator Charles Taylor. Raised by his mother in the Florida suburbs, at the age of 17 he followed his father to Liberia, where he ended up leading a murderous militia. Chucky is now in a federal penitentiary, the only American ever convicted of torture. This shocking and essential work of reportage tells his tragic and terrifying story for the first time.

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3. The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt McCarthy
Release Date: April 7 from Crown Publishing
Why You’ll Love it: Ever wanted to experience the insanity of becoming a doctor—from a safe distance without drowning beneath mounds of student loans? The pick up Matt McCarthy’s memoir following his journey from med school to the examination room. For starry-eyed med students, McCarthy’s book is worth a read for the harsh—and sometimes glorious—realities alone.
Description: This funny, candid memoir of McCarthy’s intern year at a New York hospital provides a scorchingly frank look at how doctors are made, taking readers into patients’ rooms and doctors’ conferences to witness a physician’s journey from ineptitude to competence. McCarthy’s one stroke of luck paired him with a brilliant second-year adviser he called “Baio” (owing to his resemblance to the Charles in Charge star), who proved to be a remarkable teacher with a wicked sense of humor. McCarthy would learn even more from the people he cared for, including a man named Benny, who was living in the hospital for months at a time awaiting a heart transplant. But no teacher could help McCarthy when an accident put his own health at risk, and showed him all too painfully the thin line between doctor and patient.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 11.33.27 AM.png 4. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø
Release Date: April 7th from Knopf
Why You’ll Love It: This beautifully intense novel from Norwegian author Jo Nesbø will tear your heart into a million, tiny pieces. But believe us, it’s worth it.
Description This is the story of Olav: an extremely talented “fixer” for one of Oslo’s most powerful crime bosses. But Olav is also an unusually complicated fixer. He has a capacity for love that is as far-reaching as is his gift for murder. He is our straightforward, calm-in-the-face-of-crisis narrator with a storyteller’s hypnotic knack for fantasy. He has an “innate talent for subordination,” but running through his veins is a “virus” born of the power over life and death. And while his latest job puts him at the pinnacle of his trade, it may be mutating into his greatest mistake.

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1houseofechoes.jpg 5. House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
Release Date: April 14th from Ballantine Books
Why You’ll Love It: Already drawing comparisons to Stephen King’s The Shining, Brendan Duffy’s debut novel offers chills without sacrificing character development. But be warned: you might want to leave the lights on for this one.
Description Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

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VoicesintheNight.jpg 6. Voices in the Night by Steven Millhauser
Release Date: April 14th from Knopf
Why You’ll Love It: Pulitzer Prize-winner Steven Millhauser’s 16 short stories range from the enchanting to the disturbing, combining to create a luminous collection that dissects the human spirit.
Description Here are stories of wondrously imaginative hyperrealism, stories that pose unforgettably unsettling what-ifs or that find barely perceivable evils within the safe boundaries of our towns, homes and even within our bodies.

Here, too, are stories culled from religion and fables: Samuel, who hears the voice of God calling him in the night; a young, pre-enlightenment Buddha, who searches for his purpose in life; Rapunzel and her Prince, who struggle to fit the real world to their dream.

Heightened by magic, the divine and the uncanny, shot through with sly and winning humor, Voices in the Night seamlessly combines the whimsy and surprise of the familiar with intoxicating fantasies that take us beyond our daily lives.

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1verygoodlives.png 7. Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling
Release Date: April 14 from Little, Brown and Company
Why You’ll Love it: It’s easy to forget that J.K. Rowling scribbled magical ideas on a cafe napkin before moving more than 450 million copies of Harry Potter books worldwide, becoming one of the U.K.’s most treasured success stories. Factor in Rowling’s second dose of success with her Robert Galbraith pseudonym, and who wouldn’t want a bit of her wisdom?
Description: In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives presents J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life’s most important questions with acuity and emotional force.

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1deadlands.jpg 8. The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy
Release Date: April 14 from Grand Central Publishing
Why You’ll Love it: With a stamp of approval from Stephen King, Benjamin Percy’s post-apocalyptic thriller makes for great candlelight reading down in the bunker. The story follows Lewis and Clark’s story in the form of Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark—a classic American tale redesigned for our recent obsession with the world’s end.
Description: A super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary—the remains of St. Louis—a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.

Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon.

Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

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Affinities.jpg 9. The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson
Release Date: April 21st from Tor Books
Why You’ll Love It: Like social media groups on steroids, the 22 “Affinities” in the world of Robert Charles Wilson’s novel provide individuals with communities stronger than family. This timely thriller will keep you turning its pages until the wee hours of the morning.
Description At loose ends both professional and personal, young Adam Fisk takes the suite of tests to see if he qualifies for any of the Affinities, and finds that he’s a match for one of the largest, the one called Tau. It’s utopian—at first. Problems in all areas of his life begin to simply sort themselves out, as he becomes part of a global network of people dedicated to helping one another—to helping him.

But as the differing Affinities put their new powers to the test, they begin to rapidly chip away at the power of governments, of global corporations, of all the institutions of the old world. Then, with dreadful inevitability, the different Affinities begin to go to war—with one another.

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LordsofSith.jpg 10. Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp
Release Date: April 28th from Lucas Books
Why You’ll Love it: There’s no better time than now to dive back into Star Wars fiction before The Force Awakens hits theaters in December. This Darth Vader-heavy storyline ties up the space between Episode III and the Tarkin novel, and it also introduces the first openly lesbian character, Imperial leader Moff Mors, to the “galaxy far, far away.”
Description: When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

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MemoryPainter.jpg 11. The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack
Release Date: April 28th from Picador
Why You’ll Love It: Suspenseful and ambitious, this genre-bending debut novel from Gwendolyn Womack spans six continents and 10,000 years of history. We predict The Memory Painter’s story of love and revenge will be one of 2015’s biggest literary hits.
Description Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there’s a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream.

Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan’s shows. Their meeting triggers Bryan’s most powerful dream yet: visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s, died in a lab explosion decades ago.

As Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists’ deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern, but a deadly enemy watches their every move.

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Starwars.jpg 12. Ultimate Star Wars by Ryder Windham, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace & Tricia Barr
Release Date: April 28th from DK
Why You’ll Love It: Chock full of pictures and trivia, this visual encyclopedia will delight Star Wars fans of all generations. If you love Star Wars, you’ll want to own this masterpiece.
Description Ultimate Star Wars is an in-depth visual feast exploring the characters and storylines from the Star Wars galaxy. This beautifully illustrated guide is chronologically structured and packed full of information from the Star Wars movie saga, as well as The Clone Wars and Rebels TV series.
Bonus: Anthony Daniels (C3PO) even wrote a nostalgic forward for the book.

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Looking for more reading recommendations? Check out the 10 Best New Books in March and the 10 Best New YA Books in April!

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