April’s Best New Books
Seeking literary inspiration? Muddy’s professional bookworm Kerry Potter is here to help with her April picks, so clear space on your Kindle or bookshelves pronto. And if you have any recommendations of your own, we’d love to hear from you – what are you reading right now? What’s been abandoned on your bedside table for months? Bookish musings in the comment box below please!
Ice Cream For Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams
Being a grown-up is a bit boring sometimes I find – responsibilities, bills, remembering to put out the bins, blah blah blah. Enter Laura Jane Williams, a woman after my own pathetically immature heart – the Grazia columnist’s book, subtitled “Child-like Solutions To Bullsh*t Adult Problems”, focuses on rediscovering your inner child. She came up with the idea after a life-changing stint working as nanny, when she realized that she had as much to learn from her young charges as they did from her. Enthusiasm, keeping things simple and making time to play are key in this cheery self-help tome.
The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
Irish novelist McInerney won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for her debut novel, The Glorious Heresies in 2015, and this new one is a follow-up. However you don’t need to have read the first one to enjoy this sequel – I must admit, I hadn’t (I know, I know, call yourself a books editor…). Twenty-year-old Ryan is drug dealer in Cork whose life is about to get very complicated. It’s raucous, profane and frenetic and will appeal to Trainspotting fans who are old enough to know better. You’ll need a nice peppermint tea and a lie-down after reading.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant
Full disclosure: I haven’t read this yet because it’s embargoed until its 24 April publication date, but it’s top of my TBR list. You’ll remember top Facebook exec Sandberg lost her husband in 2015 in a shocking accident, after he collapsed in a hotel gym while they were on a family holiday in Mexico. This book is the mother-of-two’s reflections on that life-changing moment, when wife became widow and her world tilted on its axis. Written with a psychology professor friend, Sandberg examines how we can bounce back after setbacks, which might also involve job loss, illness or being the victim of crime or natural disasters. It’s about how to build resilience and perseverance, and from a highly personal tragedy comes a lesson for us all. I know some people take issue with Sandberg’s idea of ‘leaning in’ to our careers when the going gets tough and the juggle threatens to overwhelm, but I think she’s a total inspiration.
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
Andrea is an hedonistic 39-year-old New Yorker, single and without children – and thus utterly out of step with her peers. As she puts it: “Why does everyone keep asking me why I am not married? What if I don’t want to hold your baby?” Although it’d be easy to make Carrie Bradshaw or Bridget Jones comparisons, this gorgeously written contemplation is something far darker, albeit funny with it. I love hearing from women who don’t follow the path society dictates – we need more diverse voices – and this hits the spot.