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7/2/2022: NPR staff and critics favorite books so far this year

Here are the 14 books that NPR staff and critics are loving the most so far this year. Link to the column here.
[the mini reviews posted here are borrowed from the npr reviews!]

Books: 
The Hacienda Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593436691
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - May 3rd, 2022

I'm a sucker for gothic novels, and I've been loving the trend of gothics that take place somewhere unexpected (i.e., not Europe).


The Paris Apartment: A Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780063003057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - February 22nd, 2022

Lucy Foley is back with her latest whodunit, this time set in an eerie Parisian apartment complex. With characters suspicious and unlikable in their own way and a fun twist, you're in for a dark and moody escape.


How High We Go in the Dark: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063072640
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - January 18th, 2022

Sequoia Nagamatsu's debut is beautiful and unsparing in its depiction of a world reeling from a climate catastrophe-driven plague. Though the universe these stories are unfolding within is undeniably bleak, Nagamatsu imbues his characters with a sense of cosmic hope and humanity.


Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780385547345
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - April 5th, 2022

The 1950s weren't just unkind to women with aspirations outside the home — they were punishing. This book is an often funny-yet-infuriating read.


Chilean Poet: A Novel Cover Image
By Alejandro Zambra, Megan McDowell (Translated by)
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593297940
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - February 15th, 2022

This book paints a beautiful, hilarious, sometimes excruciating portrait of what it means to be a cliche at different stages in your life. Alejandro Zambra makes all of these stages feel rich and human, and the characters never become too old — or too stuck in their ways — to outgrow themselves.


Black Cake: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593358337
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - February 1st, 2022

Do any of us really know our parents? I kept returning to this question as I read this novel about Eleanor Bennett, a Caribbean-born woman whose secrets bring her two estranged children together only after her death.


Disorientation: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593298350
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - March 22nd, 2022

If you graduated only to feel disillusioned about academia, you'll relate to Disorientation, a literary satire that takes a hilarious and refreshingly honest look at the power dynamics of college campuses.


Funny You Should Ask: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593357323
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dell - April 12th, 2022

Chani Horowitz lands the dream gig: She's assigned to write a profile of a Very Hot Movie Star. The two spend a weekend together — and the ensuing article leaves readers wondering what really happened between them. A divorce, a drinking problem and a decade later, Chani and the star reunite for another interview. Is it a PR stunt or something else? Listen, it's bad journalism to (maybe) sleep with your sources. But what warmblooded human could pass up the dream of landing an interview with a Michael B. Jordan or a Harry Styles, only to have them fall in love with you?


Mouth to Mouth: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781982181802
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - January 11th, 2022

When you save someone's life, do you become responsible for them? This is the question that propels Mouth to Mouth forward. It's a lean, existentialist drama, and capped with a satisfying twist ending.


Sea of Tranquility: A novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780593321447
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - April 5th, 2022

World builder is a phrase that's rightly used to describe Emily Mandel's immersive powers as a novelist. I didn't just read Station Eleven, The Glass Hotel or Mandel's latest, Sea of Tranquility. I lived in those novels.


Siren Queen Cover Image
By Nghi Vo
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250788832
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tordotcom - May 10th, 2022

Magic permeates everything in Nghi Vo's version of the world, with Wild Hunts stalking the backlots and monstrous studio heads devouring the unlucky and the unfavored. She can take even the most ordinary of actions and describe it in a way you never thought of before and do it with heartbreaking beauty and layers of subtext.


The Nineties: A Book Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780735217959
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - February 8th, 2022

This book took me back through the decade, but this time as an adult. And for the first time, everything going on in 2022 fell into place, like I'd been watching the second season of a TV show and finally caught up on the first. If you were there, The Nineties is a perfect refresher on what the decade was really like. If you were too young, it'll tell you all you need to know.


What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593238103
Availability: Backordered
Published: Ballantine Books - February 22nd, 2022

In her debut memoir, Stephanie Foo confronts her history growing up in an abusive household and, as an adult, battling complex PTSD, a disorder that many refuse to even recognize. It's an unflinching reminder of the hidden struggles many face, told with the keen eye of a researcher and the brutality of a documentarian.


Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062899767
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - February 22nd, 2022

Scoundrel is an unusually engrossing work of nonfiction, a true-crime thriller that intersects seamlessly with the history and politics of its 1950s to '70s setting.