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Book: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood / Author: Trevor Noah / Publisher: Spiegel & Grau / Image courtesy of the publisher

Book Club: 10 Reads To Fill Your Spring Season With A Field Of Fresh Entertainment

Happy spring, book clubbers! The birds are singing, the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming... and I’m sneezing! It’s time to avoid the pollen and curl up with some antihistamines and good books this season.

Here’s the list I’m reading:

1. The Dry
(Novel/Mystery)
Author: Jane Harper
Publisher: Flatiron Books, 2017
The Story:
I just finished this debut novel by Jane Harper, and it only took me three days to read. Yes, it is that un-put-downable. For a newbie, she sure knows how to create page-turning suspense like a master. If you love a good crime yarn, stories about Australia, and/or fish-out-of-water protagonists, this book will be your jam. I know it was mine!

2. Mexico
(Short Stories)
Author: Josh Barkan
Publisher: Hogarth, 2017
The Story:
Not only does this book have my favorite cover art in recent memory, it also has some of my favorite writing inside. Barkan has constructed a group of finely-honed short fiction about contemporary Mexico. What happens when everyday people get thrown into extraordinary situations? I loved these stories, and I am betting you will too.

3. The Sleepwalker
(Novel/Mystery)
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Publisher: Doubleday, 2017
The Story:
I’ve been a devotee of Bohjalian since his stunning novel Midwives was and Oprah’s Book Club pick. His latest focuses on the troubled Annalee Ahlberg. When she goes missing, the lives of those who love her are thrown into chaos as they try to unravel the mystery. A truly mesmerizing read.

4. Lincoln in the Bardo
(Novel/ Historical Fiction)
Author: George Saunders
Publisher: Penguin Random House, 2017
The Story:
This is the absolute hottest book right now. Everyone I know is reading it, being baffled by it, and equally amazed by it. Acclaimed short fiction author Saunders has done his first novel, and boy what a ride it is. A startlingly inventive piece of historical fiction.

5. The High Mountains of Portugal
(Novel/Historical Fiction)
Author: Yann Martel
Publisher: Canongate Books, 2016
The Story:
Martel has such lyrical writing, and his books are full of the magical realism and whimsy which I can never stop reading. From the publisher: “The High Mountains of Portugal—part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable—offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss. Filled with tenderness, humor, and endless surprise, it takes the reader on a road trip through Portugal in the last century—and through the human soul.”

6. Eveningland
(Short Stories)
Author: Michael Knight
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017
The Story:
As you know by now, dear readers, short stories are my favorite, so whenever a new collection comes out, I am on it. From the publisher: “ Long considered a master of the form and an essential voice in American fiction, Michael Knight’s stories have been lauded by writers such Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Gilbert, Barry Hannah, and Richard Bausch. Now, with Eveningland he returns to the form that launched his career, delivering an arresting collection of interlinked stories set among the ‘right kind of Mobile family’ in the years preceding a devastating hurricane.”

7. Dead Letters
(Novel/Literary Fiction)
Author: Caite Dolan-Leach
Publisher: Penguin Random House, 2017
The Story:
Oh, how I love discovering the work of debut novelists. Dolan-Leach shows incredible promise with her first book. Following twin sisters Ava and Zelda Antipova (love those names!) Dead Letters takes readers on a twisted scavenger hunt, of sorts. A true page-turner! If you loved Gone Girl, pick this one up.

8. Girls on Fire
(Novel/Literary Fiction)
Author: Robin Wasserman
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2016
The Story:
This suspenseful coming-of-age story from Robin Wasserman takes place in the early 1990s. (And how relieved was I to find that is not yet listed as “historical fiction” anywhere.) Lacey and Dex will grab your heart and never let go. Wasserman deftly captures both girlhood and the 1990s. If you loved The Girls, this one will resonate.

9. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
(Memoir)
Author: J.D. Vance
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2016
The Story:
J.D. Vance grew up in Middletown, Ohio and Jackson, Kentucky, and ended up at Yale. He has written a powerful and important memoir. From the publisher: “A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.”

10. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
(Memoir)
Author: Trevor Noah
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau, 2016
The Story:
From the host of The Daily Show comes the story of his youth. From the publisher: “Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures, his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.”

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We'd love to hear what you think about these books, so Tweet me (@Cincy_Bookworm), and the rest of the gang (@CincyRefined). It's not a book "club" without you!

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