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Letter from the Editor
Behind the April selections
Book of the Month
As April approaches, I - along with the Judges and the rest of the Book of the Month team - are more conscious than usual about not just the books our members will love, but also where and how you'll be reading them. April marks the real beginning of spring weather (aka reading-outside-in-the-sun weather) for most of the U.S. and we evaluate every title under consideration with the question, "Does this pair well with a hammock and a side of lemonade?"
This month's selections all fit that bill to a T, despite all being very different in genre and subject matter. Guest Judge Ellie Kemper's choice, The Nest, is exactly the kind of book you want to devour under the sun; just don't forget your sunscreen because this story of a family in upheaval will make the hours fly by. The Plumbs are the kind of dysfunctional family you'll love to hate when the book opens. Fighting about the unauthorized draining of their trust fund (dubbed "The Nest"), they have quintessential #firstworldproblems. But Melody, Leo, Jack and Bea - and their individual families - are so likeably unlikeable that you can't help but want everything to work out for all of them. It's the perfect book to welcome in warmer temperatures.
As lighthearted and fun as The Nest is, A Mother's Reckoning - the memoir by Sue Klebold - mother of Columbine shooter, Dylan Klebold, is equally as earth-shattering and compelling. Klebold approaches the shooting, as well as events preceding and following, with such empathy and heartbreak that I personally had a physical reaction while reading it. Though it doesn't appear on its face like a sunshine-y book, her message is ultimately one of hope. I am so excited that we get to bring it, along with an exclusive interview with Sue, to our members. It's an important and powerful book that I know you will all love. It's one I'm recommending to just about everyone I know.
For you historical fiction and mystery lovers, Flight of Dreams is that hard-to-find gem that truly fits comfortably within both genres. With captivating details and a plot that's as fast-paced as any modern thriller, Ariel Lawhorn has written one of my favorite historical novels of the year. And it's only April! Set aboard the Hindenburg, Lawhorn posits one answer to the mystery of why that airship exploded. And in the process weaves an amazing web of character and language that will delight just about every kind of reader.
If you're like me, there's nothing you like to read more on vacation than an edge-of-your-seat thriller, that kind of thriller that you're white knuckling until the very end. I read Gone Girl on a beach with my best friend who was reading it at the same time, and we kept trading gasps as we each got to juicy twists and turns, urging the other to "JUST KEEP READING!" J.T. Ellison's No One Knows is exactly that kind of book. I can't do it any better justice than Liberty does so go read her recommendation and then schedule a beach trip ASAP! I'm calling my bestie right now to get one on the calendar, just for this book.
Last but definitely not least, the Book of the Month selection Left of Boom is inarguably one of the most entertaining Afghanistan war memoirs we've gotten since the beginning of the post-9/11 conflict. Written under the pseudonym "John Smith," the memoir by a CIA agent dropped into the middle of the war reveals a deeper side to this already-shadowy battle. Doug Laux, who just recently revealed his true identity, somehow manages to both answer questions and raise more at the same time, leaving open the possibility that this heavily redacted - and I do mean heavily redacted - and amped up narrative is only half the story. It's a thrill a minute and perfect for fans of both Jason Bourne and Phil Klay's short story collection Redeployment.
The spring is always a busy time with tons of amazing new releases and selecting this month's books was a daunting process because of the wealth of riches we found ourselves in. I hope you love these April selections as much as I did - I don't know how you'll be able to choose just one. Good thing you don't have to! On the bright side, you'll have plenty of books to pack for Spring Break.
Happy reading, friends!