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6 New Must-Read Books to Brighten the Coming Season

Enjoy the warmer months with these cool illuminating reads.

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Collage of book covers, with flower elements around.
Franziska Barczyk
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Spring and summer are perfect reading times, the seasons to lounge outdoors, in a hammock or Adirondack chair. The weather is warm, leaves are filling out trees and flowers are blooming a prism of colors. At night, you can take a book to bed, reading yourself into a dreamy sleep.

Aside from relaxation and enjoyment, studies show that the act of reading is a boost for cognitive health, particularly as we age. Researchers at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois found that "regular, engaged leisure reading can strengthen memory skills in older adults, laying the groundwork for better practices in preserving our mental abilities as we age."

By stimulating the brain’s neural pathways, you may be able to expand your capacity to keep learning into your golden years. So, whether you love mysteries or novels, historical fiction, memoirs or simply a short book that makes your spirit feel large, I’ve got you covered with my following list of new reads.

By Zibby Owens

Owens, a bookstore owner, media mogul, podcaster, publisher and every writer’s North Star, has written her own crackerjack first novel, which takes off from every writer’s nightmare: facing the blank page. When 40-something writer, wife and mother Pippa feels her once successful writing career is over, she comes up with a crazy idea that could change the trajectory of her livelihood and maybe the publishing world itself. And to her surprise, the idea works, jumpstarting a whole new life, too, and proving to her and to her delighted readers of all ages that it is never too late to change.

Somehow: Thoughts on Love
By Anne Lamott

Beloved national treasure Lamott offers the kind of self-help that’s thoughtful, engaging and also really witty. Here, she reflects on how we can cope with aging, with the darker world around us, and with each other. And her answer, the antidote, is the power of love. Written in Lamott’s wry, comfortable voice, Somehow shows us how love can be unexpected (Lamott married for the first time in her 60s). Love can comfort us, challenge us and even surprise us if we let it. This is a wonderful little book that’s meant to be bought in multiple copies because you’re going to want to give it to your friends, as well as keep a copy for yourself close to your heart.

The Last Murder at the End of the World
By Stuart Turton

Turton's famous for his wily whodunits, (Case in point: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Harcastle.) Here his latest hold-your-breath mystery is narrated by an AI assistant-creation that has secrets of its own. The story's set on an idyllic island run by three scientists, a refuge from an eerie apocalypse that's blanketed the world in a dangerous fog. But this paradise is short-lived. A murder occurs, somehow unleashing the encroaching fog onto the island to kill all of them. There are only 92 hours to stop the killer and the fog, but everyone's memory of the murder vanishes. Scary, spooky and page-turning fun.

The Second Coming
By Garth Risk Hallberg

Can we really move on from our pasts? That's the question in bestselling author Hallberg's latest. When Jolie, a 13-year-old girl, drops her cell phone into the subway, it somehow connects her to her estranged dad, a convicted felon and recovering alcoholic. Both father and daughter set out to find and save each other, even as life swirls around them and their relatives and friends put up obstacles. A stunner about the way people find one another — and about how sometimes, if they're very lucky, they stay.

By Dawn Tripp

Who wasn’t — and still isn’t — enthralled by Jacqueline Kennedy? Her seemingly fairy tale romance, her devastation at her husband’s murder, her marriage to charismatic shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, and her working life as an editor in publishing, all come dazzling to light in Tripp’s luminous read. Tripp, the author of the mega-seller Georgia, about Georgia O'Keeffe, channels Jackie in this book, inhabiting her intelligence, her style with substance and her determination to keep changing for the better. For readers who want one last glimpse into the Camelot Jackie helped to create, this book is absolutely incandescent.

The Cliffs
By J. Courtney Sullivan

From Sullivan, the best-selling author of such acclaimed novels as Friends and Strangers and Maine, unfolds the story of Jane Flanagan who returns to an old Victorian house she had fled to as a teenager to escape her mother’s violence. Twenty years later, she returns, only to find the house transformed from the refuge she had once depended on to a cold, modern showplace. The new owner, like Jane, has troubles and secrets of her own, but she hires Jane to research the history of the house and then rid it of the ghosts she knows are there. Sullivan, as always, tells an enthralling story of loss, alcoholism, psychics and the discovery of the beautifully linked chain of women that came before us and will come after us, too.

And, of course, you could also pick up my new book, Days of Wonder. It’s a mystery about mothers and daughters, two teenagers in love who are charged with a horrific crime they don't remember, guilt, innocence and the way all of us embroiled in family challenges yearn to forgive and love.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Penguin Random House (4), Bloomsbury Publishing, Zibby Owens.

Book of the Month is a curator of bestselling and new hardcover books, allowing you to select your favorites to be delivered to your home on your schedule.

AARP members get their first book for $5 and future books for $16.99 — cancel or skip at any time. If you sign up before June of each year, you get a FREE add-on book in July, just for being an AARP member. If you’re not an AARP member but registered on aarp.org, you get special benefits as well. Learn more.

Note: AARP and Book of the Month (BOTM) have a business relationship under which BOTM makes available special offers, free resources and more to AARP members and others.

What book are YOU reading right now? Let us know in the comments below.

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