10 New Books to Check Out this Spring

As we head into another year with (still) more time at home, the escape of a good book is always welcome. Here are 10 books coming out this spring that offer a new perspective.
by Sarah Goddin and Mamie Potter 

My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee

I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is about this novel that calls to mind The Goldfinch, but there’s something! The main character, Tiller, is complex, and his involvement with his much older girlfriend, her oddball son, and an entrepreneur named Pong Lou make for a rollicking novel. Publishers Weekly ends their starred review with this: “This literary whirlwind has Lee running on all cylinders.” — Mamie

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson’s biographies of great thinkers (Leonardo DaVinci, Einstein) have all been bestsellers for a good reason. He writes compelling stories about world-changing figures. This new one should be no exception. Jon Meacham calls it an “urgent, sober, accessible, and altogether brilliant achievement.” — Sarah

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib 

We were so fortunate to have Abdurraqib at the North Carolina Book Festival in 2019. He wields his poetic prose and his astute powers of observation to discuss Black performance in this collection of essays. In a starred review, Kirkus says, “Social criticism, pop culture, and autobiography come together neatly in these pages, and every sentence is sharp, provocative, and self-aware.” — Mamie

Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi 

Oyeyemi’s imaginative novels (Gingerbread and Boy, Snow, Bird) have delighted and captivated me. Peaces, the story of a honeymoon train journey with unexpected twists, promises to fit right in. Publishers Weekly calls it “delightfully bonkers.” — Sarah

First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami 

A new book by Murakami is always an occasion for celebration! (Apparently in Japan, stores open at midnight to sell a new release to long lines of eagerly waiting customers.) From Publishers Weekly: ‘These shimmering stories are testament to Murakami’s talent and enduring creativity.” — Sarah

It’s Always Freezer Season: How to Freeze Like a Chef with 100 Make-Ahead Recipes by Ashley Christiansen and Kaitlyn Goalen

Can’t wait to stand in a long line again to get a seat at Poole’s Diner? Ashley Christensen and Kaitlyn Goalen have put together a mouthwatering guide to transforming your home cooking until that longed-for day. — Sarah

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

I have read and loved everything Lahiri has published. She is an exquisite craftsperson, and her books are years in the making. This is her first novel in eight years, and the publisher’s note promises “Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.” I can’t wait! — Sarah

What a Wonderful World This Could Be by Lee Zacharias

I couldn’t talk enough about Lee Zacharias’s novel, Across the Great Lake. This new novel covers two periods in the life of a young girl, Alex, her ever-changing relationship with a much older photographer/protégé, and her marriage to Ted, who is active in the antiwar movement of the 1960s. Zacharias, as always, tells the story in her beautiful, lyric prose. — Mamie

And two for kids and kids at heart:

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson, illustrator

Matt de la Peña doesn’t shy away from a difficult topic in this story of a young boy on a subway ride, drawing and imagining the lives of his fellow travelers. Robinson’s bold, colorful illustrations are a great complement to the story. I can’t wait to see my grandchildren again—soon, please soon!—and share this book with them. (Ages 4-8) —Mamie

Willa of Dark Hollow by Robert Beatty

Asheville author Robert Beatty is a rock star for middle grade readers. He has said “Serafina and Willa books grew out of my desire to write stories about unusual and heroic young girls for my three daughters.” This follow-up to Willa of the Woods, set in the Great Smokies, should keep 10- to 13-year olds enthralled — and some adults, too! (Grades 3-7) — Sarah