5 Best Books to Read in May, According to an Award-Winning Author
Now that May is here, you’re probably planning your next beach vacation or Memorial Day weekend getaway. There’s no better way to spend that time and get lost in a captivating book. Not only are warmer weather and long weekends something to look forward to, but it’s also Mental Health Awareness Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
In observance of this important month, Weike Wang, the critically acclaimed author of “Chemistry” and the recent release “Joan is fine” stopped by at the 3rd hour of TODAY to discuss her favorite May reads. You won’t want to miss these choices, from an honest memoir about mental health to a light novel about coming of age.
If you’ve already completed May’s Read With Jenna pick and are looking for your next book, keep reading to see all the recommendations below.
Best Beach Reading
This debut novel follows a Dominican American family in New York City as they face sacrifice and tribulation, such as cultural family tensions and increased neighborhood gentrification.
“I chose this book for its immersive storytelling, haunting family drama, for its verve, wit, and bold take on the concept of home,” Wang said. “This book will be an excellent travel companion and in the best possible way, it will make you forget that you are even at the beach by immersing yourself in its universe.”
What Weike Wang reads
This sequel to the Pulitzer-nominated novel “The Idiot” follows Selin who is known as “the luckiest person” in her family. During her sophomore year at Harvard in 1996, she navigated into adulthood, traveled abroad, and embarked on a journey of self-discovery.
“I chose this book because Batuman has a sense of humor, language, style, all the things I envy in a gifted, gifted writer and the story is a refreshing take on coming of age standard,” Wang said. “Plus, I went to Harvard, so maybe I’m reliving all that.”
Best Read for Mental Health Awareness Month
“I don’t know anything about horses, but I know the power of animals and how their presence can help us heal,” Wang said. “I chose this book for the cathartic and honest way in which Maum talks about her depression, her sadness, despite having a husband, a daughter, despite all the trappings of a privileged life.”
Best Read for AAPI Month
“Don Lee is one of those masterful storytellers that’s both classic and modern, who can transport you to any setting, with any character,” Wang said. “As corny as it sounds, it puts the author in authority. … I chose Score for the precision and control with which Lee writes about Asian American identity, race, and just plain about people and their relationship to themselves, in the big world.”
This thesis highlights the power of a mentor-student relationship. AJ Verdelle recounts his lifelong friendship with famed writer Toni Morrison, née Chloe A. Wofford. She celebrates Morrison’s life, navigates her grief over Morrison’s death, and recalls the risks black women have taken as writers.
“I adore Toni Morrison and know what it’s like to be the young writer seeking the mentorship and generosity of teachers you deeply admire,” Wang said.
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