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FIRST Book Club: 7 Feel-Great Reads You’ll Love for April 12th – April 18th

This week, we are sharing our new favorite romance, historical nonfiction, magical realism, self help books and more!

Welcome, literature lovers, to the FIRST for Women weekly book club!

Here at FIRST for Women, when we’re not hard at work bringing you stories about health, nutrition, beauty and lifestyle, we like to kick back with a good book.

We know firsthand that reading provides relief from stress, improves brain health and ushers in more joy. So we rounded up our editors’ top seven book picks — of new and old favorites — for  April 12th – April 18th, 2024 from romance, historical nonfiction, magical realism, self help and more. Keep reading for all of the FIRST book club picks!

We’d also love to hear what books you’re reading this month and how they made you feel!

Magical Realism: Shark Heart

by Emily Habeck

Shark Heart by Emily Habeck (FIRST Book Club)
S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books

“I was skeptical when a friend told me I just had to read this book about newlyweds who find out the husband is turning into an actual shark, but I figured I’d give it a shot,” says Patty Bontekoe, FIRST Executive Editor. “And I’m so glad I did!” The story of Wren and Lewis’ doomed relationship is told in alternating time lines, laying out the couple’s love story, Wren’s childhood and her future, as well as the grief, anger and struggles of caring for her husband, who received a rare diagnosis: he is rapidly (and dangerously) transforming into a great white shark. Says Patty, “This charmingly unusual book left me pondering love, loss and our ability to cope with — and grow from — change.” (S&S/Marysue Rucci, 2023)

Historical Nonfiction: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

by Erik Larson

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (FIRST Book Club)

“I usually gravitate to thrillers,” says Rachel Cosma, FIRST Health Director. “So when my book club opted for a nonfiction pick, I took the chance to try something new.” The Lusitania was the ship that was sunk by a German U-boat, which launched America into WWI. But there’s even more to it than that. With Captain William Thomas Turner at the helm, we dip into the world of the wealthy aboard, discover a bookseller carrying priceless pieces and get a glimpse of a groundbreaking female architect. Says Rachel, “Learning more about the ship, the crew and its enthralling passengers gave me a new perspective on this key event in world history.” (Crown, 2015)

Self Help: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (FIRST Book Club)

“Throughout my life, I’ve always struggled with bouts of worry and anxiety,” says Emily Boyette, FIRST Associate Food Editor. “Then recently I confided in a friend who recommended this wonderfully introspective read.” Professional therapist Lori Gottlieb works out of a Los Angeles office where she sees patients battling issues like terminal illness, narcissistic personality disorder, childhood trauma and even depressive disorder. As she dives deep into her patients’ worlds, it makes her take a closer look at her own, and causes her to bring very similar questions to her own therapist. After coming to several revelations, Gottlieb cracked the code on the relationship between the mind and the heart — and the meaning behind different emotions. “Not only did this warm and witty book help me appreciate how beautiful it is to be human,” says Emily, “it gave me a backstage tour of the mind and informed me on why we think the way we do.” (HarperCollins, 2019)

Historical Fiction: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

by James McBride

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (FIRST Book Club)
Riverhead Books

“I’ve lived in another state for years, but I still miss my hometown in Pennsylvania,” confesses Nancy Heller, FIRST Copy Editor. “So when I heard this novel by James McBride takes place in Pottstown, PA, I had to dive in!” A body is discovered in a well in the 1970s, then readers are taken to the 1930s following different characters. All their stories overlap as they work together to protect a young deaf boy. Says Nancy, “This captivating tale provided a dose of ‘home!’” (Riverhead, 2023)

Fantasy: Divine Rivals

by Rebecca Ross

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross (FIRST Book Club)
Wednesday Books

“After a hectic week, I cracked open this saga to whisk away my tiredness,” says Carey Ostergard, FIRST Executive Editor. “It took me to another world!” When Iris Winnow’s life is falling apart, she finds solace in writing letters to her brother who’s away at war. But when the letters magically vanish and wind up in the hands of Roman Kitt, her handsome newspaper rival, the duo form a connection that changes their world. Says Carey, “I was enthralled by the unique magic and beautiful writing.” (Wednesday, 2023)

Literary Fiction: Pineapple Street

by Jenny Jackson

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson (FIRST Book Club)
Pamela Dorman Books

“I’ve had this book, with its beautiful cover, sitting on my nightstand for too long,” says Melissa D’Agnese, FIRST Senior Editor. “I finally sat down to read it last week — and the family drama drew me in.” The plot follows sisters Darley and Georgiana Stockton and Sasha, who has married into their well-connected Brooklyn family. What follows is a series of juicy crises, observations about New York’s upper class and sharply funny moments. “This read was such a fun escape.” (Pamela Dorman, 2023)

Romance: At First Spite

by Olivia Dade

At First Spite by Olivia Dade (FIRST Book Club)

“This month I was caught in a bit of a reading slump,” says Carissa Mosness, FIRST Assistant Digital Editor. “And this book pulled me right out of it!” Fresh off of her failed engagement, Athena Greydon has no choice but to move into the Spite House that she bought for her and her ex. Little does she know that her ex’s older brother Dr. Matthew Vine’s home is attached to hers. Now, the two must figure out not only how to live next door to each other but also if their feelings go beyond hate and into something even scarier — love. Says Carissa, “This one had me laughing out loud and eagerly turning the pages.” (Avon, 2024)

For more FIRST Book Club picks:

FIRST Book Club: 7 Feel-Great Reads You’ll Love for April 5th – April 11th

FIRST Book Club: 7 Feel-Great Reads You’ll Love for March 29th – April 4th

FIRST Book Club: 7 Feel-Great Reads You’ll Love For March 22nd – March 28th

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