Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Books Preview: 28 of Spring’s Top Reads

David Baldacci, Stephen King, Salman Rushdie, Tana French, Erik Larson and more authors with new releases this season

spinner image
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Getty Images (3))

It’s spring! That means, besides warmer weather, we’ll be getting loads of new reads following the relatively slow (book-wise) months of winter. The publishers are starting to launch the year’s potential award winners, as well as fun fiction from popular writers, blockbusters from big-name authors, and more. These 28 are some of the many standouts to look forward to this season.

spinner image
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Bloomsbury Publishing; Knopf; Doubleday; Getty Images (2))


Tough Broad: From Boogie Boarding to Wing Walking—How Outdoor Adventure Improves Our Lives as We Age by Caroline Paul

Paul is also the author of The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, so it’s not a stretch to say this “tough broad,” in her late 50s, is out there. Out there paragliding, surfing, skateboarding and, in this inspiring book, encouraging women to embrace the exhilaration and vitality that come with an adventurous life. “At some age … many women start believing they can’t, or shouldn’t be out there,” she writes, but “the real peril for us as we age is a sedentary life that lacks pizzazz and challenge.” (March 5) 

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

Until August by Gabriel García Márquez

Turns out that when Gabriel García Márquez, the Nobel Prize–winning Columbian author of the 1967 classic One Hundred Years of Solitude, passed away 10 years ago he left behind a novel, which will be published in English this month. Its release is a bit controversial: Márquez, who wrote it while living with dementia, didn’t want it made public. But his sons, Rodrigo García and Gonzalo García Barcha, have decided it should be shared with the world, according to the publisher, which describes it as “an extraordinary and profound tale of female freedom and desire.” Its focus is a woman who spends one night on a Caribbean island every year, taking a new lover each time. (March 12) 

How to Be Old: Lessons in Living Boldly from the Accidental Icon by Lyn Slater

A former professor of social work, Slater, 70, reinvented herself in her 60s as a fashion influencer on Instagram and became internet-famous as the “Accidential Icon.” Part of her appeal has been her proud flaunting of her wrinkles and gray hair, while also rocking badass boots and whatever else she feels like wearing. Here she writes about her time in the spotlight, and how she’s continued to evolve, with the message that it’s never too late to embrace new adventures — regardless of what other people may think (or of what you think they think). “While other fashion bloggers receive comments about their new bag or what they wear,” she writes, “my followers comment that I make them feel less afraid of being old. I give them courage to take a risk in older life, to disregard someone telling them they are too old to wear something or dye their hair purple if they wish.” (March 12)

James by Percival Everett

Everett’s brilliant story revisits Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the perspective of the enslaved Jim (James, actually), who flees town when he hears he’s set to be sold and sent to New Orleans. Joined by Huck, also on the run and presumed dead, he begins a wild journey down the Mississippi in a story full of wry social critique (Jim hides his fierce intelligence and eloquence when in the presence of white people), humor and suspense. Everett’s 2001 novel, Erasure, was the basis for the recent film American Fiction. (March 19)

Also of note: 

The Great Divide by Cristina Henríquez (March 5): Henríquez (2014’s The Book of Unknown Americans) centers her historical novel around the construction of the Panama Canal and the high human cost that came with it. Booklist calls it “beguiling and bright with love, humor, and magic.” 

The House of Hidden Meanings by RuPaul (March 5): The drag star describes growing up as a queer Black child in San Diego, his explosive success in entertainment, marriage to Georges LeBar, and more. He’s said the book is deeply personal, posting on Instagram that “writing this book left me gooped, gagged and stripped raw.”  

The Hunter by Tana French (March 5): French brings back her protagonist from her 2020 novel The Searcher: Cal Hooper, the retired Chicago cop who’s settled in rural Ireland and faces a new adversary. 

After Annie by Anna Quindlen (March 12): When Annie Brown dies suddenly, her husband, four children and best friend are devastated, their lives transformed, in this moving novel about love and loss by the former New York Times columnist. It’s Barnes & Noble’s March book club pick. 

spinner image
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Harvest; Simon & Schuster; Union Square & Co.; Getty Images (2))


Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share by Valerie Bertinelli

In Bertinelli's third cookbook, the actress, 63, writes about how she’s forgone denial — she used to consider some foods “good,” others “bad” — and now relishes every step of planning meals and purchasing, preparing and eating dishes of all kinds, including filet mignon with béarnaise sauce and chocolate peanut butter dates. Her other mouthwatering-sounding recipes include Roasted-Tomato Panzanella, Spinach Ricotta Grilled Cheese and Maple Pecan Scones. This follows her 2022 book Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today, where she discusses giving up her battle with the bathroom scale: “I judged myself by a number that has nothing to do with who I am as a human being,” she told AARP. (April 2) (Visit AARP’s Members Only Access for an interview with Bertinelli and two exclusive recipes on April 2.)

The Night in Question by Susan Fletcher

I ate up this book, a mystery set in an assisted living community. Full of warmth and humor, it’s centered around Florrie Butterfield, a kindhearted octogenarian who’s led a life of adventure and romance — while carrying with her a long-ago trauma. After the community’s young manager, Renata, falls to her near-death from a top-floor window and ends up in a coma, Florrie and a new friend, Stanhope, try to find out what really happened. Everyone assumes it was an attempted suicide, but Florrie feels in her gut that there was foul play at work. As she and Stanhope piece together the puzzle, Florrie unspools her own dramatic story in this beautifully executed, life-affirming novel. (April 16) 

Shopping & Groceries


$20 off a Walmart+ annual membership

See more Shopping & Groceries offers >

Close to Death by Anthony Horowitz

This is another fun caper from the British author (the TV writer behind PBS’s Foyle’s War). It’s the fifth in his series that began with The Word Is Murder and playfully features the character Anthony Horowitz, a novelist who teams up with quirky detective Daniel Hawthorne as he investigates murders to get book plot ideas. Here they are investigating the killing within an exclusive gated community where everyone is a suspect — in part because the person murdered is a real jerk. Early reviewers have suggested it’s not as strong as earlier books in the series, but Horowitz’s true fans are likely to go along for the ride regardless. If you’ve never read his books, however, I'd start with his excellent Magpie Murders and Moonflower Murders. (April 16) 

The Rulebreaker: The Life and Times of Barbara Walters by Susan Page

Page, known for The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty and other nonfiction works, explores the life of the iconic broadcast journalist, who died at 93 in 2022 and was a groundbreaker for women journalists and one of the most famous, coveted TV interviewers in the world. The author works to uncover the woman behind the legacy, who, “despite her coiffed hair and society pals,” she writes, “was at heart a rulebreaker, even a revolutionary. Sometimes she didn’t exactly break the rules; she simply ignored them, as though they couldn’t possibly apply to her. Women can’t do serious interviews? Just watch her.” (April 23) 

The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War by Erik Larson

Larson, celebrated author of The Devil in the White City and other nonfiction page-turners, centers this narrative nonfiction history in Charleston, South Carolina, in the months between President Lincoln’s election and the Confederacy’s April 1861 attack on Fort Sumter, which ignited the war. He tells his story through a colorful cast of characters — the fort’s Union commander, a radical proslavery secessionist, and the wife of a wealthy planter, among them — to illustrate how the country reached this self-destructive boiling point. (April 30) 

Also of note: 

Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy by Sharon Malone, M.D. (April 9): The Washington, D.C. OB-GYN, 65, a friend of Michelle Obama’s, offers this book for older women that, she writes, is “not just a celebration of womanhood and empowerment; it’s a guide to help women take control of their well-being.”  

A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci (April 16): Former attorney Baldacci sets this courtroom drama in 1968 in a racially divided Virginia, where two lawyers — one Black, one white — make dangerous enemies as they fight to free wrongfully accused Black defendants in a double-murder case.  

Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder by Salman Rushdie (April 16): The Satanic Verses author describes the 2022 knife attack he survived, and the aftermath. 

Briefly Perfectly Human: Making an Authentic Life by Getting Real About the End by Alua Arthur (April 24): Arthur, a death doula, offers a memoir about her unique profession and how beauty comes from embracing the fact of our mortality and approaching the end with honesty and gratitude. “I want to saunter into my death like a tipsy woman might walk to a lover across a dark room,” she writes.  

The Swans of Harlem: Five Black Ballerinas, Fifty Years of Sisterhood, and Their Reclamation of a Groundbreaking History by Karen Valby (April 30): Netflix has already optioned the rights to this biography of a trailblazing group of ballerinas who began performing with the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1968, facing a range of challenges while making history. 

spinner image membership-card-w-shadow-192x134


Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

spinner image
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Scribner (2); Riverhead Books; Getty Images (2))


Long Island by Colm Tóibín

Fifteen years after his 2009 novel Brooklyn (turned into a 2015 movie starring Saoirse Ronan), Tóibín brings back Eilis, now living on Long Island with her husband, Tony, and two kids — an Irishwoman surrounded by a close-knit clan of Italian American in-laws. After a betrayal, she takes an extended trip to see her mother in their small Irish hometown, a community where everyone knows your business — including the fact that Eilis and local bar owner Jim were in love before Eilis mysteriously fled 20 years earlier. The quiet, moving story is told from the perspectives of different characters, each with a heartbreaking inability to express what they truly desire. Note that you don’t need to have read Brooklyn (I hadn’t) to enjoy this follow-up. (May 7)  

This Strange Eventful History by Claire Messud

A sweeping story that covers the years from 1940 to 2010, this novel follows three generations of a French Algerian family that’s first split up during World War II, when they flee France, then are left without a homeland. They include Gaston and his wife Lucienne, their two children and, later, a grandchild who wants to explore her family's buried past. While all publicists praise the authors they represent, Messud’s rep caught my attention: He described her book in an email as “my favorite novel I’ve worked on in 25 years. (I underlined almost the entire second half of the book and wept like a baby when I finished it.).” OK, I’m in! (May 14)     

All Fours by Miranda July

This novel is hilarious — I loved it — though it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s a quirky, LOL-funny and raunchy joy ride, told from the perspective of a 45-year-old woman who leaves her emotionally distant husband and kid behind in Los Angeles for a cross-country road trip to New York. The twist: She ends up secretly holing up in a motel near home for a few weeks instead, and begins a very different, fantastically strange journey in search of freedom (or something). Her break from normal life includes a sexually charged obsessive relationship with a handsome young man named Davey, a wonderfully over-the-top motel-room redecoration project, and a passionate dance of desire that manages to be both very funny and poignant. (May 13) 

You Like It Darker: Stories by Stephen King

King does it again in this collection of stories, all featuring frightening and/or evil forces either human or supernatural (the former are scarier, I think). They include very short tales, as well as the novella-sized “Danny Coughlin’s Bad Dream,” about a vivid dream that turns out to be a psychic glimpse of reality. In “Two Talented Bastids,” we learn why it’s no coincidence that two best friends from a tiny Maine town both grow up to be fantastic successes. Each story is different, and some are more engrossing than others, but there’s no doubt that King is still a master. (May 21) 

Also of note:  

Bits and Pieces by Whoopi Goldberg (May 7): The actress, 68, writes about her upbringing — back when she was Caryn Johnson — in the New York City projects with her loving mother and brother, the kind of people who “give you the confidence to become exactly who you want to be.”  

All the Glimmering Stars by Mark Sullivan (May 7): Sullivan (Beneath a Scarlet Sky) based this novel on the real life experiences of Anthony Opoka and his wife Florence Okori, who were abducted as teens by Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony in the 1990s to fight with the Lord’s Resistance Army, and later escaped.

The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton (May 21): The author of The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle offers a mystery involving Earth’s few survivors of a deadly fog, marooned on an island, one of whom is murdered.   

Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan (May 21): The author of Crazy Rich Asians brings us Rufus Leung Gresham, whose mother wants him to marry a rich woman but he’s in love with “the girl next door.”  

What a Fool Believes by Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser (May 21): McDonald, 72, teamed up with friend Reiser, 68, to pen his memoir, capturing the highs and lows of his life in music, including his times with the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. 

Mind Games by Nora Roberts (May 21): A thriller featuring a couple who drop their daughter, Thea, off at her grandmother’s in Kentucky for a two-week visit, then are murdered. Thea is tormented by her gift/curse: She can see into minds and souls, including her parents’ killer’s. 

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?