Behind the May selections
Background on this month's five titles
Book of the Month
One of the best and worst parts of my reading life is that moment I've finished an incredible book, one that affects you long after the last page, and then that moment of standing in front of my bookshelf and trying to decide what to read next. If you're anything like me, asking "What comes next?" to your books is simultaneously a daunting and invigorating task.
If I've just read a fun, light-hearted romp, I'm going to want something a little deeper, something with a bit more substance. And if I've just trekked through a moving and heavy tome, I need some sweetness and light to balance out the dark. No matter which direction you're headed this month, Book of the Month has some incredible books to make your next book equally as memorable as your last.
We are jam packed on both ends of the spectrum in May. If you're craving a super-fast, fun novel, Eligible is Curtis Sittenfeld's modern retelling of one of my all-time favorites Pride and Prejudice. It is the book everyone will be talking about this summer, and whether you know the original Lizzie and Darcy or not, you'll be completely smitten by their courtship.
I Let You Go, a British thriller that readers have already called "gripping," "tense," and "clever," starts with a hit-and-run and only speeds up from there. It's impossible to talk about this twisty mystery without over-the-top gushing so I'm just going to gush. It's one of the most fascinating and expertly crafted thrillers I've ever read. Prepare for at least one sleepless night as you barrel toward the ending.
Our Guest Judge, Josh Radnor, has chosen a supremely affecting, compulsively readable novel that originally hit shelves three years ago but that definitely deserves a revival. Ostensibly about fathers and sons, David Gilbert's & Sons is, as Josh puts it, "populated by vividly drawn, well-meaning characters who can't quite say what they feel and manage to offend when their intention is the exact opposite." If you loved the family drama of last month's selection The Nest, Gilbert's & Sons won't let you down.
On the other end of the spectrum, The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan and Heat & Light by Jennifer Haigh are powerful novels that promise to both entertain and enlighten. Author Alexander Chee's (of March's The Queen of the Night) first selection as a Judge is the story of two brothers in Delhi who are killed by a terrorist's bomb and the ripple effect of that act, on everyone from the boys' family to the terrorist himself. Having lived near the market in Delhi where the blast that inspired this story took place, and then witnessing the media's coverage of terrorists in a post 9/11 world, Mahajan sought to understand what would make someone like you or me turn to such horrific acts. It's a surprisingly easy and quick read for such a fraught topic.
The fifth BOTM book for May is equally as potent as Mahajan's but with a topic that is right in many of our own backyards. Through the lens of a depressed Pennsylvania town and its inhabitants, Haigh takes on the highly controversial subject of fracking and puts a human face on it. "To drill or not to drill" becomes a personal question and she deftly navigates what could easily turn into a screed and creates instead a moving and elegant portrait of conflict for rural Americans. I finished this stunning work with tears in my eyes and a much deeper appreciation for a topic I previously knew little about.
It's a month full of fiction that will both delight and move you, and I couldn't be more excited for you to read them all. Come find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you think!