Zibby Owens is an award-winning podcaster, author, editor and regular contributor to GMA.
I always think May is going to be really hot, so I’m constantly underdressed. It’s cold, but the flowers are blooming and there’s always so much hope dancing around the corner. This May’s books are outstanding and also have that sense of hope, mixed with the need to pull a tight sweater over your chest. They are inspiring, transformative and empowering.
In fact, these 15 readings cover infertility, marriage, loss, menopause, gentrification, illness, crime, friendship, and family. They take us from Newport, Rhode Island, to Bangalore, India, and from Miami to Africa. We weave our way through institutions and mansions, tread the hallways of hospitals and skyscrapers, all while glancing at the page. The power of reading for transportation doesn’t get any better than this.
“The Change” by Kristen Miller
From page one, this thrilling and electric tale about three women from a wealthy New York seaside community is propelling. It opens with a mysterious and successful couple – big names in advertising – who suddenly stop coming home to their home featured by Shelter magazine. Where are they at home? ! Don’t plan to do anything for about an hour after you start because you won’t be able to stop reading. Dubbed “a feminist revenge fantasy” and positioned for the over 40s, this novel about three middle-aged women with chosen powers – including solving a murder mystery – is sure to be a best -sell. A TV adaptation is already in the works.
“The Change” is also the May Book Club’s pick of “GMA.” Read an excerpt here and get your copy below.
“Marriage Love” by Monica Ali
Monica Ali’s novel “Brick Lane”, published in 2004, was absolutely stunning and was shortlisted for the Booked Prize. (I loved it!) His next novel, “Love Marriage,” set in contemporary London, features two newly married young doctors and their two in-laws. Will opposites attract when the parents meet? Wealthy upper-class liberals meet conservative Muslims. Allegiances are tested as secrets emerge throughout the engagement in this elegantly spun tale.
“By the Book: A Novel Destined to Be” by Jasmine Guillory
Isabelle still lives with her parents at 25 and is one of the few black women in her publishing house. She decides to step in when a “bestial” author needs extra help in his Santa Barbara home. Despite massive resistance, Izzy finds a way into Beau’s story. But maybe there is something that did not exist before? If that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a modern retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” masterfully executed by fabulous bestselling author Jasmine Guillory.
“The Newcomer” by Jean Hanff Korelitz
The bestselling author of ‘The Plot’ and ‘The Undoing’ returns with a literary look at an Upper East Side family from decades ago. What begins with a horrific accident progresses to a very intentional family – with triplets, all of whom are extremely different. What happens when a fourth frozen embryo thaws 18 years later and joins the siblings – and why? ! You will quickly turn the pages to discover it in this dazzling work of literary excellence by the master of writing Jean Hanff Korelitz.
“The Foundling” by Ann Leary
Ann Leary’s novel “The Good House” was written so vividly that I always feel like I’m in the car, a little drunk, with its protagonist. Her second novel, “The Foundling,” is just as good with the same dark undertones. Two friends who met as children in an orphanage meet again years later: one as an employee, the other as an inmate in the same establishment after years of separation. Why was one of the women institutionalized as a “feeble-minded woman?” For having an illegitimate child with a black man. In reality, many “illegal” acts would send girls and women – from age 12 through menopause – to these labor camps, a true story that Leary uncovered. In fact, his grandmother worked as a stenographer at one time.
‘The Year of the Horses: A Memoir’ by Courtney Maum
I absolutely loved learning about the life and background of Courtney Maum. As a fan of his work from “Touch to Costalegre”, I was eager to hear the backstory. Who was she, really? In her characteristically beautiful lyrical writing, Courtney analyzes and describes herself, especially as she faces a familiar enemy to many: depression, coupled with the guilt that comes with having her in a more privileged life. . To cope, she turns to horses – and writing. The past mingles with the present in this fabulous and memorable memoir.
“The Bangalore Detectives Club” by Harini Nagendra
The first in a detective series set in 1920s India, “The Bangalore Detectives Club” features Detective Kaveri who has moved to Bangalore to marry Ramu. Shortly after, she attends a party that turns into a murder scene. “Detective in a sari” comes naturally to her; Kaveri uses her math and logic skills to solve crimes. Kaveri’s “Adventures in the Kitchen” is a fun ending, with bonus recipes.
“Neruda in the Park” by Cleyvis Natera
The inventive structure makes Cleyvis Natera’s debut novel immediately stand out from the rest; sectional subtitles in each fictional chapter keep the reader (well, me!) fully engaged as we follow a Dominican family in New York trying to stop the construction of a new skyscraper in their neighborhood. Told from the perspective of Luz and Eusebia, and written over 15 years, “Neruda on the Park” is a creative and original work.
‘Speak up: find your voice, trust your instincts and go from where you are to where you want to be’ by Tunde Oyeneyin
When Tunde Oyeneyin lost his younger brother in the first half of his memoirs, I started crying. Oyeneyin is a beloved platoon instructor – a modern day guru. In her warm, engaging and inspiring voice, Oyeneyin shares the story of her early makeup career, her failed audition at Peloton, as well as other setbacks and her bumpy road to becoming the icon she is today. . It is impossible to read Oyeneyin’s story and not support it.
“It Might Be Too Personal: And Other Intimate Stories” by Alyssa Shelasky
In this hilarious collection, Alyssa Shelasky shares her experiences as a sex, celebrity, and relationship writer in New York City. She also shares her own personal journey of using an anonymous sperm donor, meeting an eight-month-pregnant musician, and then finding her life partner. The best part of this — and all of Shelasky’s writing — is her voice: genuine, funny, intelligent, super open, and warm. You’ll want to be best friends with her after reading.
“This Time Tomorrow” by Emma Straub
Emma Straub is everything literary. She owns the amazing and beloved independent bookstore Books are Magic in Brooklyn. She is a bestselling author as well as a great supporter of other authors. In his latest novel, Straub focuses on a father-daughter relationship, inspired by his own father’s hospitalization with heart disease. When Alice, somewhat content and complacent at 40, suddenly comes to herself at 16, she gets to know her father, then 40, in a whole new way. For anyone who wishes they could go back in time and spend some more time with a loved one – or who lived through the 90s and want a throwback – this book is for you.
“Such a Beautiful Thing to Behold” by Umar Turaki
A mysterious disease sweeps through an African village in Umar Turaki’s debut novel. Distant siblings come together to fight this insidious disease, highlighting the power of the everyday in this terrifying yet elegant read.
‘Miss Chloe: A Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison’ by AJ Verdelle
I didn’t even know Toni Morrison’s real name was Chloe A. Wofford. (Just Me?) AJ Verdelle, award-winning author of the novel “The Good Negress,” shares her own family history and background in her new memoir, “Miss Chloe,” and weaves it together with her close friendship with literary luminary, Morrisson. These two black women shared a unique time and place, aesthetic and story that only takes place here.
“When We Let Go” by Rochelle Weinstein
Written in the first person, “When We Let Go” is my favorite of all of Rochelle Weinstein’s many intimate family and relationship novels. Avery doesn’t really want Jude proposing to him, an issue of his own secrets and past. When she leaves Miami to visit her childhood farm in North Carolina, Jude’s daughter accompanies her, still mourning the mother she recently lost. The two unexpectedly bond and end up helping each other through their family’s greatest journey together. Charming and meaningful, this book tackles love, loss, family, and new beginnings in the best possible way.
“The Lost Summers of Newport” by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White
The latest historical novel from the New York Times best-selling team of three powerhouse authors travels from the Gilded Age to the present day, in mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. Modern reality TV producer Andie Figuero goes to Sprague Hall for her latest story but encounters a truculent heiress who forbids access to key parts of the house. In 1899, a piano teacher comes to teach the Spragues, who keep their own secrets. And in 1957, heiress Lucky Sprague is newly settled in Sprague Hall after fleeing Mussolini’s Italy, but finds something in the boathouse that she cannot unlearn. A captivating and sumptuous tale, this novel is a fantastic spring read.