By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles
As you look for what to read next this spring, consider a few titles I’ve enjoyed recently:
Curtis Sittenfeld’s new novel, “Romantic Comedy” (Random House) is – surprise! – a romantic comedy.
It’s about a woman named Sally who writes sketches for a TV show like “Saturday Night Live.” She’s determined never to fall in love with anybody at the studio again, but then a good-looking pop star arrives to host the show, and Sally can’t figure out if this is the real thing or a punchline.
READ AN EXCERPT: “Romantic Comedy” by Curtis Sittenfeld
“Romantic Comedy” by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House), in Hardcover, Large Print, eBook and Audio formats, available April 4 via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound
Rebecca Makkai’s new novel forces us to consider how stories of murdered women are turned into lurid entertainment.
“I Have Some Questions for You” (Viking) begins when a popular podcaster is invited to teach at her old prep school. Arriving back on campus, she starts to remember the death of her high school roommate, and the sloppy investigation that sent a Black man to prison.
More than 20 years later, could re-examining that case bring justice, or just more mystery?
READ AN EXCERPT: “I Have Some Questions for You” by Rebecca Makkai
“I Have Some Questions for You” by Rebecca Makkai (Viking), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound
“Birnam Wood” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is the first novel from Eleanor Catton since she won the Booker Prize in 2013 for “The Luminaries.”
This time around, Catton has delivered a thriller swirling around a plot of land in New Zealand. Some radical environmentalists want to use the land for a free vegetable garden, but an American billionaire is stealing a fortune’s worth of minerals nearby.
Both parties think they can use and deceive the other, but the results are a deadly disaster.
READ AN EXCERPT: “Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton
“Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), in Hardcover, Large Print, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound
Poets have always spoken their verse aloud, but about 50 years ago a collection of voices emerged to create spoken-word poetry, a vibrant new form of expression, celebration and resistance that’s attracted millions of fans.
Joshua Bennett, one of the genre’s most exciting and knowledgeable writers, provides a wide-ranging cultural history of this form in his new book “Spoken Word” (Knopf). It’s a story that takes him from the Obama White House to Broadway to street corners and cafés across the country to hear the song of America.
READ AN EXCERPT: “Spoken Word: A Cultural History” by Joshua Bennett
“Spoken Word: A Cultural History” by Joshua Bennett (Knopf), in Hardcover, Large Print, eBook and Audio formats, available March 28 via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound
For more suggestions on what to read, contact your librarian or local bookseller.
That’s it for the Book Report. I’m Ron Charles. Until next time, read on!
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For more reading recommendations, check out these previous Book Report features from Ron Charles:
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