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An April Read This Next! Book

It’s more tempting than ever to want to build a bomb shelter and retreat from the upheavals of life. But with this memoir, Mary Laura Philpott convinces us that, like Frank the turtle, we have to poke our heads out from time to time, confront the challenges, and keep going. Thank you, MLP, for making all of us worriers feel seen, and for helping us put into words the emotions (so very many emotions) that go along with being not just a parent but a person.

Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott, (List Price: $27, Atria Books, 9781982160784,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Lady Smith, Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Booth is about more than resurrecting a villain from the history books, though it does shine a spotlight on John Wilkes Booth from birth to his infamous assassination of President Lincoln. This is a tale of the entire Booth family, who might be remembered for their theatrical celebrity — from father Junius Booth to his three thespian sons, Edwin, John, and June — but for the crime that brought shame to the clan forevermore. The story takes its time, meandering through births, deaths, and sibling conflicts, and focusing much of its attention on the sisters who had to live in their brothers’ shadow. In the background throughout is Abraham Lincoln, who was gradually making his way to the White House, while the issue of slavery increasingly divided the country. We know about the big battles, from Gettysburg to Antietam, but here we also see the smaller riots and uprisings that inflamed someone like Booth to take matters in his own hands.

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler, (List Price: $28.00, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780593331439,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

When I started reading Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark, I would have hesitated to call it hopeful, but now I think that’s a perfect description. This novel reads like a series of connected short stories, and part of the joy of this book is finding the threads that connect these characters. Each chapter centers on people struggling through their own slice of a world steeped in death and damaged by plague and floods. But by the time I got to the end of this novel, I felt hope that we can get through calamity; there are possibilities, and there is hope.

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, (List Price: $27.99, William Morrow, 9780063072640, January 2022)

Elizabeth Hardin, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama


Sing Like No One’s Listening is a unique story with intriguing characters that will keep you interested until the end. Nettie Delaney is accepted into a prestigious school for the performing arts. The only obstacle on her way to success is that she has not been able to sing in public since her mother’s death. Nettie must overcome her grief and other challenges in order to find her voice again.

Sing Like No One’s Listening by Vanessa Jones, (List Price: $10.99, Peachtree Publishing Company, 9781682633311, October 2021)

Reviewed by Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama


Dare to Know starts with a fascinating sci-fi speculation: what if science could pinpoint the exact date and time of your death? That’s an intriguing proposal; however, this novel isn’t satisfied by simply exploring this question. What could have been a societal sci-fi story turns into something else entirely—a personal and riveting horror story full of terrors like sagging careers and failed relationships, oddly specific Gen X fears (bearded 1970s hippies and Don Henley songs), and universal horrors like death and the end of the world. This novel was frightening and smart and it made me think.

Dare to Know by James Kennedy, (List Price: 22.99, Quirk Books, 9781683692607, September 2021)

Reviewed by Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

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