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April books to watch for

Fans of Denis Johnson and Richard Price will love this dark, intense coming-of-age story wrapped in a crime novel, about an LA gang member sent by his uncle to kill a key witness in a trial in Wisconsin.

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu:
And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts
by Joshua Hammer
Based on actual events, this is the story of a group of librarians who pulled off a daring heist to prevent 350,000 texts from falling into the hands of Al Qaeda. Please, please, please, someone make this movie.

Kill ‘Em and Leave by James McBride
National Book Award winner McBride tackles the subject of race relations in America through an in-depth examination of singer James Brown’s music and life, right up through his death and Brown’s contested will and final resting place.

Hystopia by David Means
In this audacious, alternate version of the end of the Vietnam War, returning soldiers are subjected to memory erasing, using drugs and therapy, to wipe the horrors of war from their minds. But a small group of soldiers who have evaded the treatment begin reenacting their traumas on American soil.

The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial
by Maggie Nelson
In 1969, before Nelson was born, her aunt was found murdered, assumed to be one of several victims of a known serial killer. Decades later, evidence turned up that her aunt had actually been killed by a different man. Nelson discusses the effect this revelation and the trial had on her family and on her personally.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
A young girl, out riding her bike, falls down a hole in the forest floor. When rescue workers find her, she appears to have landed in the palm of a giant silver metal hand. Fast-forward 17 years: That little girl is all grown and now heads up a secret project to find more of these bizarre artifacts. This is part Pacific Rim, part Ernie Cline, and 100 percent fun.

Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss
The NYC art scene in Soho in the ’80s is the backdrop for this stellar debut novel about two men involved in the art world and the tragedies that bring them together. This is an inventive novel about the importance of art in life, the highs and lows of risk-taking, and our need for beauty and creation.

Mothering Sunday: A Romance
by Graham Swift
A gorgeous, slim novel about a clandestine love affair between a maid and an aristocrat and the one day — “Mothering Sunday” — that changes their lives. This is perfect for fans of Ian McEwan’s “Atonement.”

The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory in an American City
by Laura Tillman
Tillman takes an in-depth look at a horrific crime that took place in a poor Texas town in 2003, and that town’s decision to destroy the building where it took place. Her investigation examines larger social issues, such as poverty and mental health, as well as the nature of forgiveness. A fantastic and, at times, horrifying look at how a crime affects an entire town.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
Vuong’s new book of poetry tells the story of the body through personal experiences and historic details, with a dreamlike and vulnerable examination of violence and hunger. Beautiful and incendiary.