11 New Books for April

Releases we’re watching for this month include The Hard Crowd by Rachel Kushner, Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi, Blow Your House Down by Gina Frangello, and eight other titles by writers from California and the West.

april book releases
Alta

Editor’s note: Welcome to a new feature from Alta Journal, a monthly roundup of upcoming books focused on California and the West that you won’t want to miss. Happy reading.

1 ARE YOU ENJOYING?, BY MIRA SETHI
are you enjoying, mira sethi, knopf
Alfred A. Knopf

The stories in Sethi’s debut collection are surprising, unsettling, and touching. From childhood best friends who marry to protect their sexuality to a student who attacks his sister’s groom, these characters and narratives unpack what it means to want love, as well as the consequences of desire. Alfred A. Knopf, April 20

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2 BLOW YOUR HOUSE DOWN: A STORY OF FAMILY, FEMINISM, AND TREASON, BY GINA FRANGELLO
blow your house down, gina frangello, counterpoint press
Counterpoint Press

From Slut Lullabies to Every Kind of Wanting, Alta contributor Frangello has long examined the trials and desires of women. This memoir—which contends with the messiness of a tumultuous affair and the collapse of her marriage—is no different. Raw, edgy, and revealing, it is a book that dares to expose everything, not least its author’s vulnerability. Counterpoint Press, April 6

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3 BUILD BRIDGES, NOT WALLS: A JOURNEY TO A WORLD WITHOUT BORDERS, BY TODD MILLER
build bridges, not walls a journey to a world without borders, todd miller, city lights
City Lights Publishers

A resident of Tucson, Arizona, Miller has been writing about U.S.-Mexico border issues for more than 15 years. In this new book, his reflections culminate in a call to eradicate borders and a compelling argument for how a borderless world might help solve the global crises we face. City Lights Publishers, April 6

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4 ELADATL, BY SESSHU FOSTER AND ARTURO ERNESTO ROMO
eladatl, sesshu foster, arturo ernesto romo, city lights
City Lights Publishers

In this surrealist mashup constructed out of photographs, drawings, cataloged historical artifacts, and a variety of narratives, Foster and Romo present a detailed history of fictional events in which a coalition of air-travel supporters worked to promote the giant airships of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines and revolutionize society. City Lights Publishers, April 6

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5 FACE: ONE SQUARE FOOT OF SKIN, BY JUSTINE BATEMAN
face one square foot of skin, justine bateman, akashic
Akashic Books

Bateman’s new book examines why society considers older women’s faces unattractive. The actor, director, and producer recounts her own experiences and interviews more than 20 other individuals to present a series of fictional vignettes that argue that women’s aging faces should be viewed as beautiful—the proof of complex lives well lived. Akashic Books, April 6

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6 THE HARD CROWD: ESSAYS 2000–2020, BY RACHEL KUSHNER
ross sings cheree the animated dark, ross j farrar, deep vellum
Scribner

Kushner is a two-time finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, and her novel The Mars Room is a selection of Alta’s California Book Club. Her new book gathers essays from the past two decades. She offers reportage—including an account of her visit to a Palestinian refugee camp—and literary journalism, memoir, and cultural criticism, interrogating figures such as Denis Johnson and Marguerite Duras. Scribner, April 6

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7 INDEX OF WOMEN, BY AMY GERSTLER
index of women, amy gerstler, penguin
Penguin Books

Gerstler’s poems address questions of mortality, suffering, and survival and operate on many levels all at once. This new collection features the voices of women and girls who muse, confess, rant, and monologue on love, gender, and the meaning of humanity. Penguin Books, April 6

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8 JACKPOT: HOW THE SUPER-RICH REALLY LIVE—AND HOW THEIR WEALTH HARMS US ALL, BY MICHAEL MECHANIC
jackpot, michael mechanic, simon and schuster
Simon & Schuster

America likes to call itself a land of opportunity where anyone can become rich if they work hard enough. While the staggering wealth gap indicates otherwise, such a myth remains pervasive. Here, Mechanic explores these issues and interviews some of the United States’ most affluent individuals to see exactly what it’s like to be rolling in it, while also illuminating the devastating effects of uncontrolled wealth on society. Simon & Schuster, April 13

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9 MAKE YOUR ART NO MATTER WHAT: MOVING BEYOND CREATIVE HURDLES, BY BETH PICKENS
make your art no matter what, beth pickens, chronicle books
Chronicle Books

Pickens offers a handbook for artists of all disciplines on how to continue one’s craft in the midst of chaos. From meaningful advice on handling the emotional strain of creative work to practical tips for making decisions about finances and education, Pickens showcases the necessary tools for developing a lifelong, positive artistic practice that works. Chronicle Books, April 6

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10 PARADISE, NEVADA, BY DARIO DIOFEBI
paradise, nevada, dario diofebi, bloomsbury academic
Bloomsbury

All sorts of things go wrong and collide in Diofebi’s debut, which looks at Las Vegas through the lens of a variety of characters: Ray, a professional poker player; Mary Ann, a deeply dissatisfied cocktail waitress; Tom, a working-class Italian tourist; and Lindsay, a Mormon who aspires to write. Bloomsbury, April 6

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11 ROSS SINGS CHEREE & THE ANIMATED DARK, BY ROSS J. FARRAR
paradise, nevada, dario diofebi, bloomsbury academic
Deep Vellum Books

This debut collection from Bay Area poet Farrar evokes a sense of ceaseless wandering that comes from growing up in California. The poems here are dynamic and surprising, full of speculations about alternate, darker undertones of everyday experiences. Deep Vellum Books, April 6

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