5 books not to miss: Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Whereabouts,’ ‘Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend,’ more

In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases. All books are on sale April 27 unless otherwise noted. 

1. “Whereabouts,” by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf, fiction)

What it’s about: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Interpreter of Maladies” comes a meditative story of an unnamed, middle-aged woman questioning her place in the world

The buzz: “His beautifully written portrait of a life in passage captures the hopes, frustrations, and longings of solitude and remembrance,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

“Whereabouts,” by Jhumpa Lahiri. (Photo: Knopf)

2. “Little and Often,” by Trent Preszler (William Morrow, nonfiction)

What it’s about: After years of estrangement, Preszler is called back South Dakota – and to his terminally cancer-stricken father. In his ensuing grief, he decides to make use of his one inheritance: an old wooden toolbox. With no experience in woodcraft, he sets out to build a canoe.

The buzz: “Woodworking meets bridge-building, and sorrow meets understanding in this impeccably written, loving memoir,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

3. “Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend: Notes from the Other Side of the Fist Bump,” by Ben Philippe (Harper Perennial, nonfiction)

What it’s about: In this hilarious and biting memoir-in-essays, Philippe chronicles a lifetime of being the “Black friend” in predominantly white spaces

The buzz: “Philippe has created a funny, and at times harrowing, memoir of his experience as a Black man,” Library Journal says.

4. “Everything Is Fine,” by Vince Granata (Atria, nonfiction)

What it’s about: When Granata was in his 20s, his younger brother, Tim, in the grips of unchecked schizophrenia, killed their mother in their childhood home. This moving memoir of grief and love unpacks the loss and the illness that led to it.

The buzz: “Candid and carefully argued, Granata’s memoir helps us better understand the horrors of mental illness,” Kirkus Reviews says.

5. “Negative Space,” by Lilly Dancyger (Santa Fe Writer’s Project, nonfiction, on sale May 1)

What it’s about: The author always thought her childhood a happy one, despite her parents’ struggle with heroin addiction and her artist father’s early death. Now, as an adult, she investigates the man he really was, using his art as a guide.

The buzz: “This fierce, intimate work explores the ways in which we construct identities for the people with whom we’re closest,” Refinery29 says.

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