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15 great paperback books coming out this May.

Katie Yee

May 3, 2022, 12:24pm

I love paperbacks. They’re more affordable and lighter than their hardcover elder siblings, and you don’t have to deal with the flaps of a book jacket (don’t @ me). Sometimes they come with a cute little cover re-design. In case you missed these stellar books the first time around, here they are in all their softcover glory.

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somebody's daughter

Ashley C. Ford, Somebody’s Daughter
(Flatiron, May 3)

Somebody’s Daughter is the heart-wrenching yet equally witty and wondrous story of how Ford came through the fire and emerged triumphant, as her own unapologetic, Black-girl self … Ford’s brilliance as a writer, her superpower, is a portrayal of her mother — who remains unnamed — that is both damning and sympathetic, one that renders this complicated older Black woman’s full humanity.”
–The New York Times Book Review

stranger care

Sarah Sentilles, Stranger Care
(Random House, May 3)

“Sentilles shines a light—or beams a heat lamp—on all the ways there are to love, be a parent and experience loss … What makes this book so powerful is that by experiencing motherhood through the lens of fostering, Sentilles is able to look at the wrenching and worn-out topics of parenting in a new way.”
–The San Francisco Chronicle

broken jenny lawson

Jenny Lawson, Broken (in the Best Possible Way)
(Henry Holt, May 3)

“The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection … Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.”
–Kirkus

Jean Hanff Korelitz_The Plot

Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Plot
(Celadon, May 3)

“Purloined manuscripts used to be a staple device in traditional mysteries, but this latest wave of ‘who-wrote-it?’ suspense stories is edgier, more socially aware. In these tales, power imbalances rooted in gender or class tempt malefactors into thinking they’re justified in stealing someone else’s voice and story … The plot of The Plot is so ingenious that it should be assigned as required reading in the very MFA programs it pinions.”
–The Washington Post

Brian Broome_Punch me up to the gods

Brian Broome, Punch Me Up to the Gods
(Mariner, May 3)

“Brian Broome loses no time establishing his bona fides as the most fearless of memoirists who is capable of such magic … Broome gets to work putting himself on the witness stand of his own life, where the obligation to tell the truth produces harrowing testimony that makes our ears bleed at times.”
–Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Megan Abbott, The Turnout

Megan Abbott, The Turnout
(G. P. Putnam’s Sons, May 3)

The Turnout submerses readers in the obsessive, toxic world of competitive ballet. Abbott perfectly describes the unique smells and atmosphere of a dance studio: a mix of sweat, vomit and hormones … Abbott layers dread and darkness…keeps the twists coming until the final pages.”
–BookPage

we play ourselves_jen silverman

Jen Silverman, We Play Ourselves
(Random House, May 10)

We Play Ourselves is not only a story about how all-consuming artistic ambition can be—but also a poignant portrait of how much an artist can learn to love her work.”
–Ploughshares

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Malibu Rising

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Malibu Rising
(Ballantine, May 17)

“Reid’s sense of pacing is sublime as she introduces and dispenses with a revolving door of characters to approximate the chaos of a rager where sloshed A-listers couple up in the closets and waiters pass trays of cocaine.”
–The Washington Post

Larissa Pham, Pop Song

Larissa Pham, Pop Song
(Catapult, May 17)

Pop Song begins to read like a beautiful, literary breakup album, each essay operating as its own track. By the time you’ve turned the final pages, you want nothing more than to flip the metaphorical album over, drop the needle, and begin again.”
–Ploughshares

The Window Seat

Aminatta Forna, The Window Seat
(Grove Press, May 17)

“With this collection, she proves a compelling essayist…her voice direct, lucid, and fearless. All the pieces are enjoyable and often surprising … They deftly straddle the personal and the political … Her particular perspective sheds light on the complexity of race in the United States.”
–Harper’s

girlhood_melissa febos

Melissa Febos, Girlhood
(Bloomsbury, May 24)

“[Girlhood]offers us exquisite, ferocious language for embracing self-pleasure and self-love. It’s a book that women will wish they had when they were younger, and that they’ll rejoice in having now … Febos is a balletic memoirist whose capacious gaze can take in so many seemingly disparate things and unfurl them in a graceful, cohesive way.”
–Oprah Daily

morningside heights_joshua henkin

Joshua Henkin, Morningside Heights
(Vintage, May 24)

“Henkin is a fine writer with a wry fondness for his characters, but like any New Yorker he knows how to keep a safe distance. The specific letting-go that all New Yorkers must master if we don’t wish to be crippled by nostalgia—especially now, if we do hope to see our city’s resurgence—is particularly nuanced when a city neighborhood is also a college town, but Henkin more than meets this challenge.”
–The New York Times Book Review

Jim Shepard, Phase Six

Jim Shepard, Phase Six
(Vintage, May 24)

“Vivid and carefully researched, it’s clearly the product of long and conscientious work … It’s one of Shepard’s many appealing qualities as a writer that he notices the significance of what people devote their lives to … What makes the book engaging and ultimately uplifting is the emotionally complex lives of its central characters.”
–The New York Times Book Review

With Teeth by Kristen Arnett

Kristen Arnett, With Teeth
(Riverhead, May 31)

“Arnett is that rare, brave writer willing to articulate the darkest thoughts even the best parents entertain while trudging along through the most challenging job in the world.”
–The Washington Post

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo, Animal
(Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster, May 31)

Animal will confirm [Taddeo’s] status as a pre-eminent channeller of women’s interior lives … Taddeo is a folklorist of our performative age. Her fiction employs the same propulsive storytelling we saw in Three Women, itself a feat that owes a lot to the oral tradition.”
–The Financial Times

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