The Spring 2023 Reading Group Guide Preview

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The American Booksellers Association’s Spring 2023 Reading Group Guide will continue as a free e-newsletter delivered to customers by email via Matchbook Marketing. This spring's guide will be sent on April 13.

This guide includes the following categories: Dazzling Debuts, Family and Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Nonfiction & Memoir, and Small Bites. The tiles are also available as an Edelweiss collection. All titles are trade paperback unless otherwise noted.

The titles appearing in the Spring Reading Group e-newsletter are:

Dazzling Debuts
Joan Is Okay: A Novel By Weike WangJoan Is Okay: A Novel
By Weike Wang
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780525563952, $17, Feb. 7)
“As an ardent fan of Chemistry, I was so excited to read Weike Wang’s new novel and Joan Is Okay did not disappoint! Wang’s prose is uniquely deadpan and funny and heartfelt, all at once.”
—Emily Chen, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA
Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel
By Xochitl Gonzalez
(Flatiron Books, 9781250786180, $18.99, Feb. 7)
“The best kind of fiction, the kind of writing that we stay up late to obsessively read. Xochitl Gonzalez layers the story with the weight of history. Here is a writer that has a great respect for the reader. Viva Xochitl Gonzalez!”
—Peter Maravelis, City Lights Books, San Francisco, CA
Reptile Memoirs: A Novel
By Silje Ulstein, Alison McCullough (Transl.) 
(Grove Press, 9780802162359, $17, Mar. 21)
“I’m fascinated by all aspects of this book: the connection the characters have with their snake, the author’s writing, each of the characters’ compelling backstories and struggles. Split POV is difficult, and Ulstein pulled it off well.”
—Kiley Malloy, Newtown Bookshop, Newtown, PA
The School for Good Mothers: A Novel
By Jessamine Chan
(S&S/Marysue Rucci Books, 9781982156138, $17.99, Feb. 7)
“A terrifyingly real Handmaid’s Tale for the 21st century, as new single mother Frida makes a fateful choice that leads to her year at a school for good mothers. A system designed to protect children becomes an insidious means of control.”
—Benedict Tanter, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA
Vladimir: A Novel
By Julia May Jonas
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982187644, $17.99, Jan. 31)
“This book surprised me! A witty, sophisticated look at sexual politics from the POV of an older woman in academia. We’re here for our protagonist as she processes the fallout of her husband’s reputation on a post-#MeToo campus.”
—Michelle Zhang, BookPeople, Austin, TX
When We Were Birds: A Novel
By Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
(Anchor, 9780593313619, $17, Feb. 14)
“Ayanna Lloyd Banwo has one of the most unique and resonating voices. When We Were Birds brought back memories of my childhood in Jamaica and it was great to connect so closely with the text. I’d love to reread and take my time to enjoy this again!”
—Engel Williams, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
Family & Coming of Age
Chorus: A Novel By Rebecca Kauffman
Chorus: A Novel
By Rebecca Kauffman
(Counterpoint, 9781640095892, $16.95, Mar. 14)
“This is a story of family, of the moments that define us, of the threads that lead us back home no matter the physical or emotional distance. Kauffman has written a sprawling prairie of an American novel.”
—Anna Friss, Serendipity Books, Chelsea, MI
Memphis: A Novel
By Tara M. Stringfellow
(Dial Press Trade Paperback, 9780593230503, $18, Mar. 7)
“This novel, captivating from page one, follows the women in a Southern Black family through three generations in Memphis. They deal with racism and violence with strength and grace. The writing is rich with emotion, but also wit and humor.”
—Katrina Bright-Yerges, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI
Once Upon a Wardrobe
By Patti Callahan
(Harper Muse, 9780785251743, $16.99, Feb. 7)
“Absolute balm for the soul, from the first sentence to last. A sister on a quest to find answers from C. S. Lewis for her little brother, with math, storytelling, mythology, and love. This is one book that I will read over and over again.” 
—Jayne Rowsam, Mystery to Me, Madison, WI
The Sign for Home: A Novel
By Blair Fell
(Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 9781982175962, $18.99, Mar. 14)
“Arlo is a DeafBlind Jehovah’s Witness who learns just how much his guardian has been hiding from him when he hires a new queer interpreter. If you are not cheering for the characters in this book by the end then you have a heart of stone!”
—Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY
What the Fireflies Knew: A Novel
By Kai Harris
(Tiny Reparations Books, 9780593185360, $17, Feb. 7)
“A great coming-of-age story following a family that experiences a devastating event. Mental health is key in this story, and the way Black women are supposed to keep their families in tact without thinking about their own mental health first.”
—Stefanie Corbin, Footprints Cafe, Buzzards Bay, MA
Young Mungo: A Novel
By Douglas Stuart
(Grove Press, 9780802162120, $18, Mar. 21)
“While alcoholism, homophobia, and violence are all very present in Mungo’s world, so is the possibility of a time and place where attraction to other boys can be accepted. Heartbreaking, tender, and a worthy follow-up to Shuggie Bain.”
—Adam Possehl, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
Historical Fiction
Booth By Karen Joy FowlerBooth
By Karen Joy Fowler
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780593331453, $18, Feb. 7)
“The Booths were a bohemian family of highly literate, strongly anti-slavery Shakespearean actors. So how did John Wilkes become a pro-slavery, pro-secessionist terrorist? Fowler’s portrait of an American family is riveting.”
—Chantel McCray, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
By V. E. Schwab
(Tor Books, 9780765387578, $19.99, Apr. 11)
“In 1714, Addie LaRue is granted immortality by the devil, Luc. The price? No one remembers her at all. This is her story: 300 years of living, always alone, meeting new people, and being forgotten.” 
—Susan Novotny, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY
The Lincoln Highway: A Novel
By Amor Towles
(Penguin Books, 9780735222366, $19, Mar. 21)
“The road trip has been a staple of fiction since Homer wandered ancient Greece reciting his tales. Amor Towles takes a ride on that endless highway with this story of two brothers in 1954 searching for a new life in a country on the edge of change.”
—Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS
Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love
By Kim Fay
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780593419359, $17, Feb. 7)
“Delightful and warm, this historical novel in letters will charm readers — and whet their appetites with the rich food descriptions. It’s the perfect blend of 84 Charing Cross Road and Julie & Julia.”
—Lelia Nebeker, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA
Pandora: A Novel
By Susan Stokes-Chapman
(Harper Perennial, 9780063280021, $17, Jan. 17)
“A plot full of buried family histories and Greek mythology, this is the story of a young woman in 18th-century London living with her crooked uncle who sells fake antique items. An atmospheric story and an absorbing read.”
—Annie Bark, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA
The Tobacco Wives: A Novel
By Adele Myers
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780063082946, $18.99, Mar. 28)
“This novel tells the story of Maddie Sykes, a young seamstress whose befriending of the fashionable tobacco wives is challenged by a disturbing discovery. You can hear the taffeta swoosh and smell the smoke in this compelling debut.”
—Annie Romano, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA
Nonfiction & Memoir
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir By Michelle ZaunerCrying in H Mart: A Memoir
By Michelle Zauner
(Vintage, 9781984898951, $17, Mar. 28)
Crying in H Mart is such a gift: deeply personal and powerful, but also gives us all a broader, new vocabulary for grief. Zauner’s book is so intimate, but her experience of love and family through food is immediately recognizable.”
—Camden Avery, The Booksmith (CA), San Francisco, CA
In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage
By Silvia Vasquez-Lavado
(Holt Paperbacks, 9781250871084, $19.99, Feb. 7)
“All the adjectives that come to mind — powerful, compelling, wise, wrenching, passionate — come out of Vasquez-Lavado’s ability to bring to life her belief that ‘Awe is the gateway drug to healing trauma through nature.’ ”
—Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books (NC), Davidson, NC
Never Simple: A Daughter’s True Story of a Mother’s Made-Up Life
By Liz Scheier
(Holt Paperbacks, 9781250871114, $18.99, Apr. 11)
“No birth certificate, lies about who your father is, a ‘helicopter mom’ to the extreme — the love Liz feels for her mother in spite of it all, and the guilt felt, leads her to make decisions to keep her family safe. Excellent memoir.”
—Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk
By Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe
(Counterpoint, 9781640095885, $16.95, Mar. 7)
Red Paint is an ode to Indigenous legacy; to the punk-rock scene; to the self; to the legacy of trauma and the power of rebuilding; to the ancestral wisdom of those who have lived before; and to the strength inherent in us.”
—Clancey D'Isa, Seminary Co-Op Bookstores, Chicago, IL
Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult
By Faith Jones
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062952479, $18.99, Nov. 8, 2022)
“This book is a must for fans of Tara Westover’s Educated. Jones tells her story of growing up as an elite member of the Children of God, a cult focused on preparing for the end times. As a relatable narrator, she takes us into a truly alien world.”
—Jann Griffiths, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA
This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown
By Taylor Harris
(Catapult, 9781646221622, $16.95, Jan. 17)
“Taylor Harris tells the story of her son’s mysterious illness, interweaving her own story of her medical history throughout. Her writing is lyrical and moving. I haven’t stopped thinking about Harris’ story since I finished reading it.”
—Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
Small Bites
And Yet: Poems By Kate BaerAnd Yet: Poems
By Kate Baer
(Harper Perennial, 9780063115552, $17, Nov. 8, 2022)
“This is Kate Baer’s best yet! Every collection keeps getting better and better, and this is one readers will not want to miss.”
—Kayla Torres, Nowhere Bookshop, San Antonio, TX
Five Tuesdays in Winter
By Lily King
(Grove Press, 9780802159496, $17, Nov. 1, 2022)
“Incredible collection of short stories, threaded together by characters who display tremendous vulnerability. Almost every story contains a plot twist (my jaw hit the floor after the first). I cannot wait to put this in others’ hands.”
—Alissa Redmond, South Main Book Company, Salisbury, NC
By Kathleen Jennings
(Tordotcom, 9781250875327, $16.99, Apr. 25)
“Australian gothic was something I wouldn’t have been able to explain before reading this enchanting novella. The danger and mystery of the desert was so interesting, along with creatures I’d never heard of before.”
—Ellie Ray, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN
The Islands: Stories
By Dionne Irving
(Catapult, 9781646220663, $16.95, Nov. 1, 2022)
“An absorbing short story collection that focuses on the Jamaican diaspora. I went through a full range of emotions and appreciated every detail. The first story will have you hooked and eager to finish the entire collection in a day.”
—Ariana Valderrama, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC
Seasonal Work: Stories
By Laura Lippman
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780063144026, $17.99, Jan. 31)
“All I can say is, ‘Wow!’ Each short by the veteran crime writer has its own tense twist and real feel. I almost felt like I was reading true crime analysis or a tragic news piece. I was not disappointed — until there weren’t any more to read.”
—Carolyn Chin, Books On First, Dixon, IL
Seeking Fortune Elsewhere
By Sindya Bhanoo
(Catapult, 9781646221738, $16.95, May 16)
“This collection considers the movement and separation that have defined the Tamil diaspora in modern times: some universal, like death and divorce; others specific, like migration and religion. The women in these stories are compelling, and represent Tamil femininity outside the family unit.”
—Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA