They say that April showers bring May flowers, and we gotta say, these May books are blooming everywhere! Family is absolutely central to our list this month – so whether you like stories about families coming together or falling apart, escaping a biological family or creating a found family, or you need a guide to help your family, we’ve got something for you.
If you liked Enough Said, read A Better Next by Maren Cooper
For anyone who’s ever had their life crumble around them and had to make bold moves to start over, this story is for you. It follows Jess Lawson, 45-year-old healthcare consultant with the illusion of a perfect life – that is, until her husband, Arthur, announces that he’s taking a new job on the other side of the country. Without her. As infidelity and financial corruption come to light, her career also takes a hit. These loads are too heavy for one person to bear alone. However, with a group of friends, the load gets a little lighter.
If you liked The Fosters, read All the Sweeter: Families Share Their Stories of Adopting from Foster Care by Jean Minton
Twelve families. Twelve stories. One book. Every year, over 50,000 children are adopted form the US Foster Care System. This book not only shares 12 of these families’ stories, but also covers a diverse range of topics. These include complications with transracial adoptions, helping children understand adoption, relationships with birth parents and raising a traumatized child. This is a wonderful resource for families considering adoption and for those in the process of adopting.
If you liked The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver, read A Marriage of Equals: How to Achieve Balance in a Committed Relationship by Catherine E. Aponte Psy.D.
This straightforward and accessible guide acts as a roadmap for couples in how to negotiate collaboratively. Negotiating collaboratively is a new way to achieve marital and individual goals as well as solving differences equitably. It involves seeing yourselves as both individuals and a couple. This allows a sense of “being in this together,” while maintaining individuality and challenging gender roles that undermine balance in a relationship.
If you liked Dying of the Light, read Bring the Rain by JoAnn Franklin
Dart Sommers is a professor of psychology and founder of The Raindrop Institute, a think tank dedicated to eradicating poverty. Her friend Ash is a still-grieving widower whose wife died of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). When Dart starts to get hyper-focused on patterns and forgetting parts of her day, she knows the diagnosis before she gets confirmation. As she starts falling for Ash, she is determined to push him away and spare him the same heartbreak he went through with his wife.
If you liked Camp Granny by Sharon Lovejoy, read Camp Grandma: Next-Generation Grandparenting – Beyond Babysitting by Marianne Waggoner Day
After retiring from her highly successful career as president of retail services for CBRE, Marianne Waggoner Day settled into her new career as Grandma. But what if looking after the grandkids was more than just babysitting? Using skills and templates from the working world, she created activities for her grandchildren to grow strong, think critically and have fun all at the same time. These activities, along with Day’s fresh perspective on grandparenting are all laid out in Camp Grandma.
If you liked the Shiva Trilogy, read Guesthouse for Ganesha by Judith Teitelman
This novel beautifully incorporates magical realism into the story of Esther, a young German woman, as she travels through Europe and emigrates to India. The 22-year journey begins in 1923 and follows her against the backdrop of the Holocaust and the Hindu Kali Yuga. Her traveling companion, and narrator of the novel, is Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god, worshipped for destroying obstacles, bestowing wishes and avenging evils.
If you liked The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs, read Heartsong: Living with a Dying Heart: A Memoir by Anita Swanson Speake
When Anita Swanson Speake was 65, she was in the best place of her life. Her children were grown and had moved out. She had retired from her stressful nursing career. She was living with her husband in a big house on a lake. Then she was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy. In short, her heart was dying. The awful side effects of the medicine that would serve as a crutch had her wondering “Do I really want to get well?” As she navigates her new reality, her relationship with God also changes.
If you liked A Bronx Tale, read Out of the Bronx: A Memoir by Irene Sardanis
Irene Sardanis was born of an arranged marriage, to a Greek family living in the Bronx. Her family suffered betrayal after betrayal at the hands of her father, who regularly cheated on her mother. When Irene was 11, he left. Thus began her mother’s violent outbursts. Her older siblings escaped, but Irene was trapped. Even when she married, her husband controlled and dominated her in the same way as her mother. But Irene refuses to let that be her whole story.
If you like Jane the Virgin, read Profound and Perfect Things by Maribel Garcia
Isa, who moved away from her family, is afraid to let her traditional Mexican immigrant parents know that she’s a lesbian. One night, she experiments with a man – and ends up with an unwanted pregnancy. Isa’s sister, Cristiana, and her husband have been trying to conceive for years. Giving Cristiana the baby seems like the perfect solution – until Isa bonds with the newborn. Twelve years later, Isa wants to come forward and tell the child the truth. Before she can, tragedy strikes.
If you liked A Life Less Monogamous by Cooper S. Beckett, read Split-Level by Sande Boritz Berger
After an incident between her husband, Donny, and the babysitter, Alex and Donny attend Marriage Mountain, a “healing couples sanctuary.” Donny soon becomes obsessed with A Different Proposition, a spouse-swapping manifesto. At first, Alex scoffs at the idea, but when they meet the perfect couple, she hops on board. They soon get much more than they bargained for.
If you liked Colors of Goodbye by September Vaudrey, read The Red Ribbon by Nancy Freund Bills
In this insightful and moving memoir about loss and hope, Nancy Freund Bills is stricken with grief again and again. It begins on a fateful night in the summer of 1994 when a freak storm kills her husband and critically wounds her younger son. As she attempts to rebuild her life, her father, whom she was very close to, dies. More deaths follow. Meanwhile, her mother, who she has a painful history with, is aging and needs help. Compassion, wisdom, courage and humanity color this debut.
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