Washington Post book critic Ron Charles

If you’re looking for something to read next spring, check out a few titles I’ve been enjoying lately:

A random house

Curtis Sittenfeld’s new novel, “Romantic Comedy” (Random House) is a surprise! – a romantic comedy.

It’s about a woman named Sally who writes sketches for TV shows like Saturday Night Live. She’s determined to never fall in love with anyone in the studio again, but then a beautiful pop star arrives to host the show, and Sally can’t figure out if it’s the real thing or a climax.

READ THE PASSAGE: A romantic comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

“Romantic Comedy” by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House), in hardcover, large print, ebook, and audio, available April 4 via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Indy




Rebecca Mackay’s new novel makes us wonder how the stories of murdered women are turned into macabre entertainment.

“I have a few questions for you” (Viking) begins with a popular pod cast being invited to teach at her old prep school. Back on campus, she begins to reminisce about the death of her high school roommate and the sloppy investigation that sent a black man to prison.

More than 20 years later, can a retrial of the case bring justice, or just more mystery?

READ THE PASSAGE: “I Have a Few Questions for You” by Rebecca Mackay

“I have a few questions for you” Rebecca McKay (Viking), in hardcover, e-book and audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Indy



Farrar, Strauss and Giroux

Birnam Wood (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is Eleanor Cattan’s first novel since she won the Man Booker Prize in 2013 for The Shining.

This time, Catton has directed a thriller that revolves around a plot of land in New Zealand. Some radical ecologists want to use the land for a free vegetable garden, but nearby an American billionaire is stealing minerals for a fortune.

Both sides think they can use and deceive each other, but the results are a deadly disaster.

READ THE PASSAGE: “Birnam Forest” by Eleanor Catan

Birnam Wood Eleanor Catan (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux), in hardcover, large print, e-book and audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Indy



Poets have always recited their poems aloud, but about 50 years ago a collection of voices emerged to create spoken word poetry, a vibrant new form of expression, celebration and resistance that has attracted millions of fans.

Joshua Bennett, one of the genre’s most fascinating and accomplished writers, presents a broad cultural history of the form in his new book “Spoken Word” (Knopf). It’s a story that takes him from the Obama White House to Broadway to street corners and coffee shops across the country to hear America sing.

READ THE PASSAGE: The Spoken Word: A Cultural History by Joshua Bennett

“The spoken word: a history of culture” Joshua Bennett (Knopf), in hardcover, large print, e-book and audio formats, available March 28 via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Indy


For more suggestions on what to read, ask your librarian or local bookseller.

That’s it for Book Report. I’m Ron Charles. Until next time, read on!

For more information:

For more reading recommendations, check out these previous Book Report features by Ron Charles:

Produced by Robin Sanders and Roman Fizer.


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