Grown-Up Reads

The Best Grown-Up Reads
of May 2018

by Jennie Yabroff

Photo credit: jayk7, Moment Open/Getty Images

May brings with it the promise of longer days, warmer nights, and weekends spent outdoors with a picnic basket, some pillows, and a good book. While beach season, with its attendant guilty pleasure reads, is still a month or two away, there are plenty of new fiction and nonfiction reads to keep you turning pages — even after that glorious sun has set and it’s time to head indoors.

  • Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience

    by Allison Pataki

    When a healthy, athletic, 30-year-old man suffers a life-threatening stroke, “unexpected” doesn’t begin to describe the cataclysm. And when he is married to the love of his life, who is pregnant at the time of the stroke, “harrowing” barely scratches the surface of her experience wondering if their child will ever know a father. In this memoir, Pataki writes about nursing her husband through a series of letters meant to help him understand the life he’d lost — and the reality of the new life they were facing, together. A beautiful story that brings new meaning to the words “in sickness and in health.”
    (On Sale: 5/1/18)

  • Motherhood

    by Sheila Heti

    There is no other writer quite like Heti — dry, wry, yet searching, she can make the most mundane events resonant with significance and insight. In this novel she explores the human drive to reproduce, asking what we actually put at stake when we have kids. An act that just a generation or two ago was taken as a biological given is now a choice, and for many women, the most fraught decision they will make in their entire lives. Whether you’re a parent, debating becoming one, or firmly in the no-kids camp, this novel will make you think about what it means to be, and have, a family.
    (On Sale: 5/1/18)

  • You, Me, Everything

    by Catherine Isaac

    For fans of About a Boy or books set in the French countryside (isn’t that all of us?), this novel is a sure bet. When Jess’s boyfriend, Adam, proved a less-than-stellar father to their newborn son, Jess embraced single motherhood and bid Adam adieu as he gallivanted off to France to enjoy his child-free lifestyle. A decade later, Adam may be little more than a memory, but his son, William, remains very much a reality, and Jess can no longer deny that William needs his dad. So the two set off on a mission of reconciliation, reunion, and, possibly, love.
    (On Sale: 5/1/18)

  • The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story

    by Christie Watson

    A nurse for 20 years, Watson has seen just about every stripe of human experience from the neonatal to the morgue. We all have experience with hospitals, either as patients or visitors, but none of us have seen them, and the people who comprise their beating hearts, quite the way Watson has. You won’t think about sickness, health, or healing ever the same again after reading this memoir.
    (On Sale: 5/8/18)

  • Like Brothers

    by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass

    If you only know the Duplass brothers for Jay’s role on the HBO series “Transparent” or Mark’s appearance in “The League,” you don’t know the half of the output of this ridiculously talented duo. Since making their names with several extremely low-budget, extremely funny independent films, they’ve produced several series and documentaries, and written and directed both TV and films. Here, they reveal the secrets of their fraternal mojo, including how they manage to work together so intimately without killing each other.
    (On Sale: 5/8/18)

  • Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China

    by Rao Pingru, translated by Nicky Harman

    This beautiful, moving graphic memoir proves there’s love, and then there’s love. Written and illustrated by 95-year-old Rao Pingru, the heartfelt testament traces his seven-decade marriage to the woman he glimpsed just once, through a window, before joining his life with hers. Together, they lived through the upheavals of China across the 20th century, including the nearly 20 years the author spent in a forced labor camp. His beloved wife died in 2008, but the book proves that true love can endure even the most permanent separation.
    (On Sale: 5/8/18)

  • Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War

    by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple, illustrated by Molly Crabapple

    A college student during the Arab Spring of 2011, Syrian journalist Hisham witnessed the conflict in his country day by day and year by year, as the initial hopes and enthusiasm of revolution gave way to the bitter reality of intractable war. Illustrated by Crabapple, who has drawn pictures of the world’s most horrific combat zones, this memoir describes what it is like to come of age in a country being ripped apart.
    (On Sale: 5/15/18)

  • Girl Made of Stars

    by Ashley Blake

    In this young adult novel, sexual assault comes uncomfortably close to home when protagonist Mara’s twin brother, Owen, is accused of rape by Mara’s friend. In trying to unravel the truth of what happened between two people she thought she knew better than anyone else in the world, Mara must confront what she knows about herself — and the secrets she’s hiding that need to come to light. A sensitive and brave look at teen sexuality and family dynamics.
    (On Sale: 5/15/18)

  • She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

    by Carl Zimmer

    If you are tall, you’ve probably spent much of your life being asked which of your parents is tall. Same if you have red hair, are left-handed, or can curl your tongue. And if you’re a parent, you’ve probably spent some time hoping your child doesn’t inherent your less-desirable traits, while crossing your fingers that your more advantageous attributes will survive another generation. But just about everything we think we know about genetics and heredity is wrong, scientist Zimmer writes — or at least woefully incomplete. The true effect of DNA is “incredibly subtle,” he writes — and, as you’ll discover in his book — incredibly beautiful and complex.
    (On Sale: 5/29/18)

  • There Are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story

    by Pamela Druckerman

    What makes you a grown-up? When your haircut costs more than your bar tab? When someone calls you sir or ma’am? When you stop eating cereal directly from the box? How about … nothing? In this hilarious memoir, Druckerman confesses that even as she approaches the wide center aisle of middle age, she feels no less of a grown-up than she did when she was a child. She confesses to having acquired a bit of wisdom along the way, however, and she dispenses it here in a cheerful tone sure to soothe even the most arrested adolescent at heart.
    (On Sale: 5/29/18)

What books are you excited to dive into this month? Let us know in the comments below!