18 Books You Should Read This Spring

Time to turn off Netflix for a sec.

April 10, 2015

It's spring! Bare your limbs and go read in a park or something. None of the books on our list are explicitly about spring; there are short stories about sadism, essays on Selma, thrillers set in Mormon country. There are a few books about New York City 30 years ago that depict a version of the city so unrecognizable in 2015 they almost feel like science fiction. The 18 books we've chosen are old and new and long and short, but they all have one thing in common: we couldn't put 'em down.

1. Going Into The City, Robert Christgau

Memoir, Pages: 384, Published: February 2014

The acclaimed essayist and self proclaimed "Dean of American Rock Music" walks us through the bohemia of the East Village in the '60s. Get it here.

2. Words Without Music, Philip Glass

Memoir, Pages: 432, Published: April 2015

Glass's memoir is a wry and poignant glimpse inside the world of a true icon, covering everything from his initial rejection from Juilliard to Einstein on the Beach. Get it here.

3. Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill

Short Stories, Pages: 224, Published: January 1988

This infamous short story collection tells short, potent tales of fetishes and infatuation, pain and pleasure, power and prostitution—all set, where else, in 1980s New York. Get it here.

4. After The Tall Timber, Renata Adler

Nonfiction Essays, Pages: 528, Published: April 2015

For years, Adler fans had to hunt down her out-of-print novels, but the iconic author is back with a collection of weighty essays that matter right now. Get it here.

5. Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies For Electronic Music Producers, Dennis DeSantis

Nonfiction, Pages: 340, Published: April 2015

This new producers' bible is a cross between music theory, life hacks, and Ableton tricks, with tips for every step of making laptop jams. Get it here.

6. Selected Tweets, Mira Gonzalez & Tao Lin

Tweets & Essays, Pages: 378, Published: May 2015

Mira's tweets are self-deprecating to the point of hilarity, and Tao's are more neurotic—still "funny" but, like, in the way people sometimes use that word to describe a thing that's behaving oddly, like '"My air conditioner is acting funny." They both tweet the word "Xanax" a lot. Get it in May.

7. Jillian, Halle Butler

Novel, Pages: 240, Published: February 2015

This story about being 25 at a dead-end job and despising your peers would make life feel totally hopeless if the author hadn't written it between stints at the same sorts of shitty doctors' offices where her main characters work. Instead, it's kinda inspiring? Get it here.

8. Girl in Band, Kim Gordon

Memoir, Pages: 288, Published: February 2015

Kim Gordon is cooler than you. Get it here.

9. Pity The Animal, Chelsea Hodson

Memoir, Pages: 30, Published: July 2014

Hodson uses her experiences on sugar-daddy dating sites to explore the relationship between being a woman, an animal, and an object. Get it here.

10. Preparation For The Next Life, Atticus Lish

Novel, Pages: 250, Published: November 2014

The year's must-read book follows the truly fucked-seeming lives of a former soldier and an illegal immigrant, two people desperately intertwined and trying to survive in an America that'd be just as happy if they didn't. Get it here.

11. There Must Be Some Mistake, Frederick Barthelme

Novel, Pages: 304, Published: October 2014

One of the most slept-on authors living today's latest book is also one of his best. Barthelme is an effortless and low-key social critic. His protagonist's everyday struggles make being 50 seem bizarre and worth sticking around for. Get it here.

12. Diary of a Madman, Brad Scarface Jordan

Memoir, Pages: 223, Published: April 2014

The subtitle sums it up: "The Geto Boys, life, death, and the roots of Southern rap," written by the hermitic legend, Scarface. Get it on April 21st.

13. Quick Kills, Lynn Lurie

Novel, Pages: 135, Published: October 2014

An upsetting and unforgettable story about shame, hopelessness, and the vulnerability of children. Definitely one for days when you want to feel something. Get it here.

14. Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It, Maile Meloy

Short Stories, Pages: 256, Published: July 2009

Each story in this mind-blowing collection is a glittering slice of American life: despairing, but fulfilling. Get it here.

15. An Elemental Thing, Eliot Weinberger

Essays, Pages: 194, Published: May 2007

A cleverly compounding series of short essays about real lost societies and their mystical traditions. Read a chapter of this unusual book every night before bed and you'll not only have insane dreams but learn a super-lot. Get it here.

16. The Dig, Cynan Jones

Novel, Pages: 156, Published: April 2015

Gripping story of people living alongside animals in the Welsh countryside. If you're stuck in a cramped apartment, you'll be both excited to imagine the alternatives and happy to be where you're at. Get it here.

17. The Bishop's Wife, Mette Ivie Harrison

Novel, Pages: 256, Published: January 2015

Fiction that reads like an unexaggerated documentary about modern Mormons, except when it's a full-on murder mystery. Get it here.

18. Wildlives, Sarah Jean Alexander

Poetry, Published: April 2015

Out later this month and already decreed "the best poetry collection of 2015." Judging by some of the excerpts that've slipped out, we believe it. Get it here.

18 Books You Should Read This Spring