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