In our monthly book club, we discuss whatever we happen to be reading and ask everyone in the comments to do the same.
Novelist Maggie Shipstead shows off in You Have A Friend In 10A, on shelves May 17. This snappy collection of ten short stories—each exhibiting Shipstead’s dazzling knack for conjuring darkly complex characters—reaches the emotional depths of her previous works, Seating Arrangements, Astonish Me, and Great Circle. But the limited word count sharpens Shipstead’s prose in a tight, compelling assortment of dramas. There’s a Montana-set love triangle, honeymooners in distress, a multi-generational World War II mystery, and more. Exacting in her language as ever, Shipstead presents a unified body of work while maintaining remarkable range of voice. If you struggle to keep from starting a few too many books at once—or in this writer’s case, waaay too many books—You Have A Friend In 10A offers an array of intriguing, satisfying, quick reads perfect for punctuating your May rotation.
Lifehacker Editor-in-Chief Jordan Calhoun returns to his childhood in the warm-yet-frank Piccolo Is Black: A Memoir Of Race, Religion, And Pop Culture. Calhoun, who was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, recounts his experiences growing up Black in Detroit, among them learning to “code” illustrated characters. The book’s title is a reference to the demonic alien warrior from Dragon Ball Z, who Calhoun and others perceived as Black.
“Piccolo being Black matters because I needed him to be, and so did countless other kids who were searching for heroes to represent who they were and who they could be,” the author wrote last winter in his newsletter for The Atlantic. Generous in his explanations of pop culture, Calhoun weaves delightful asides about the fictional stories that mattered to him into a bracingly honest exploration of his real life.
Former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown is an expert on the British monarchy, having penned a thoughtful examination of the late Princess of Wales, titled The Diana Chronicles, that was hugely popular in 2007. Now, Brown returns to her sparkly speciality with The Palace Papers: Inside The House Of Windsor—The Truth And The Turmoil.
In this unapologetic page-turner, the astute author brings her characteristically stylish writing to the more recent scandals and gossip surrounding the Crown. Her opinions have proven divisive with some, but Brown’s insight into the historically secretive dynasty is a dishy treat to anyone interested in pop culture.
Brown recently sat down with The A.V. Club to talk through Spencer, Meghan and Harry, the royals vs. Netflix, and much more. Sample the complete interview here.