Wondering which book to read next? In this month’s Books On Your Radar, BookSparks’ founder Crystal Patriarche raves about the books (shows and movies, too) that she loved this month. As an ultimate bookworm who reads across all genres, and devours all kinds of content across platforms, she definitely knows how to spot a great story. Here are the newest books (and shows) she says should definitely be on your radar.
Feature Image Credit: @the.bookish.photog
L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón
Oscar just wants a little rain in the dry, parched city of Los Angeles. Something to note, he’s obsessed with the weather, oh, and he has a secret. His wife doesn’t know what else to do but to desire a divorce in the face of wanting more intimacy and less weather channel. His three daughters are caught completely off guard and are left questioning everything. The Alvarado family will face more than secrets and personal struggles and they will be left with one question: Will they stick together or let their family ties burn?
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Beautiful World, Where Are You is a new novel by Sally Rooney, the bestselling author of Normal People and Conversations with Friends. Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young―but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Ailey Pearl Garfield has held the ideals of W.E.B Du Bois tightly to her heart since childhood. A sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive, or “Double Consciousness”. Ailey’s name is the descendant of two formidable Black Americans and despite their revering efforts in history, Ailey carries Du Bois’s Problem on her shoulders. In order to come to terms with her own identity, one that is not solely based on the belonging of her hovering trauma and maternal line that reaches back two centuries, Ailey must journey through not only her past but her family’s. She will discover there is more to her own legacy, a story of heritage and oppression, and resistance.
You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow
Emmy has been told who she is her whole life. The rich one, the little sister, the golden child especially compared to her stoner brother, Joey. Yet, one night seems to turn everything upside down. When Joey and Emmy are in a car accident that kills Candy MontClaire, it reveals just how bad Joey’s drug addiction is and how much Emmy has to define herself. She is starting to learn that there is more to the people around her than the lives that Mill Haven wants to present. Emmy may even learn that it is easier to love someone for who they are, rather than who they are supposed to be.
The Guide by Peter Heller
Kingfisher Lodge is the utopia of fishing lodges in the canyons. A mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the planet, known by locals as “Billionaire’s Mile”, and is locked behind a heavy gate. Safe from the plagues that have invaded America for years, this resort is for the wealthy and finest. It is also a promised second chance to Jack who has only known loss in his youthfulness. When he is assigned to guide a well-known singer, his only job is to rig her line, carry her gear, and steer her to the best trout he can find. However, Jack soon discovers that there may be a more sinister idea behind the fishing lodge, especially when a human scream echoes in the night.
A Calling for Charlie Barnes by Joshua Ferris
This is the story of a flawed father and a quest to reach the crumbling American dream. Charlie Barnes wants to know the truths of life because there has to be more to it than the life that he is living. A cynical life, with troubling circumstances that just seem to sow together his life so eloquently. Yet, against all odds, he’s given a second chance. At the hands of his storytelling son, Charlie is able to find the love he has so desperately searched for in his downfall, and might even be able to make amends for the past lives that have plagued him for so long. A story of truth and oddly hilarious sacrifices in order to become the man his son always knew he could be.
The Mad Woman’s Ball by Victoria Mas
There are more secrets than one might assume in The Salpetriere Asylum. In 1885, Dr. Charcot has shown the city of Paris the mystics of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad and cast out from society. The party of the year is approaching, the Madwoman’s Ball, when the sane and well people of Paris come to stare in amazement at the patients of the Salpetriere dressed up in their finery for one night only. In the background of this asylum is Genevieve, a senior nurse that praises the works of Dr. Charcot. But that all seems to change when she meets Eugenie, who has been locked away by her family. Eugenie sees spirits, and she will use Genevieve’s help to break out of her bonds – the ones that hold her in the asylum and the ones that have shackled her gender for so long.
These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall
In case you missed me raving last month about These Toxic Things, you need to add this to your TBR now! When her latest client dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors Nadia’s dying wish by working on a digital scrapbook of the most prized possessions she has collected in her travels across the country. As Mickie begins Nadia’s project, she starts receiving threatening messages from a serial killer urging her to leave the dead woman’s past alone. Between the peculiar choice of souvenirs and the mystery behind the killer’s identity, Mickie soon begins to investigate Nadia’s past—and quickly realizes she may be in way over her head. This book included two months in a row is definitely a must read!
The Chair on Netflix with Sandra Oh
She’s back and better than ever. Oh is bringing us comedic wit as she plays Ji-Yoon Kim, the first woman of color to become chair at an Ivy League school. Can she save the crumbling English Department while keeping her cool? It is the trials and tribulations of intelligence and captures the themes of modern-day academia and the humor that enlightens us all. We are giving you full permission to a non-guilty binge session for this show.
Superstar: John Ritter tribute
The latest installment of the ABC special “Superstar” takes a look and pays tribute to comedian John Ritter. You will hear his story, from becoming a comedy icon in the 1970s to receiving his starring role in “Three’s Company”. This special will discuss his ranging talents from Comedian to Actor to Father. His career will stand side-by-side to his personal life, with interviews from family and friends who honor and memorialize John after his tragic and unexpected death at 54, and continue to even now.
In this Amazon Original, you will be able to see the life of Val Kilmer with never-before-seen footage. A documentary that is centered around over 40 years of footage, Val Kilmer takes you behind the scenes of not only his time on blockbuster movies like Top Gun but of his very own personal life as well. A true look at what life as an artist is like, the excitement and extremes that fill one’s life. You only think you know someone until you really get to see them.
Never Have I Ever on Netflix
High School is hard enough, but when Indian-American Devi also loses her father, she also loses the functions of her legs for three months and any chance of escalating her social status. So, like any high school girl, she sets out to change her fate. It isn’t as easy as she thinks though, having to deal with her Indian identity, social life, relationship with her family, her crush, and her nemesis, Devi is in for a hilariously heartbreaking and cringy coming-of-age story. Lucky for us, they just released the second season and we get to watch Devi deal with new love and people as she tries to keep her life from imploding more than it already has.