18 Must-Read Books Out in April
We love everything about spring, from the fancy floral spring brunches to the pretty pastel jewelry. That is… except for transitionary weather. In order to get those lovely May florals, we have to endure our fair share of April showers. Luckily for those of us who love a good cozy read, rainy April is the perfect month to catch up on our fave lit. Scroll on for 18 new books out in April to splurge on for a rainy day.
1. It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook by Gwyneth Paltrow ($20): If you loved It’s All Good ($19), you’re going to swoon for this new massive healthy-living haul of over 125 recipes from the pop culture health queen herself. This collection features recipes that take little to no prep time, making it the perfect read for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
2. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter ($24): The musical that’s sweeping the nation is now available in hardback, along with hilarious commentary by creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and an exclusive look at the notebooks, emails and interviews that went into making this Broadway show a spectacle for the ages.
3. One With You: A Crossfire Novel by Sylvia Day ($10): With the Crossfire series optioned for television by Lionsgate, it’s clear that this is a love story hitting a generation right in the feels. The final book in the quartet, One With You will reveal all the secrets you’re dying to find out. For those of you who can’t wait for the release on April 5, read an excerpt of the first chapter here.
4. The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love and Loss by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt ($17): After Gloria Vanderbilt’s brief illness at the age of ninety-one, she and her son, CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, decided to commit to a year-long conversation about life, love and dreams. This powerful memoir is as funny as it is inspirational, and will definitely have you calling your mother after you’re through with it.
5. The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R King ($18): Move over, Watson: This story is all about Holmes’ romantic life. But fans of the classics need not worry, there’s enough crime, drama and detective work to satisfy every Sherlock junkie — plus King’s fantastic ability to keep us guessing just might make you want to read it all in one go.
6. Something to Food About: Exploring Creativity With Innovative Chefs by Questlove and Ben Greenman ($19): Actor, food guru, producer and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon drummer, Questlove is a man devoted to the pursuit of art. In his latest book of photo essays, he explores the culinary world like only he can, with 10 in-depth interviews with America’s top chefs.
7. The Scrapbook of My Life by Alfie Deyes ($11): With over five million subscribers on YouTube, Alfie Deyes offers an inside look into the everyday life of a YouTuber. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that he’s once again opening up his exciting life to the public with his latest memoir slash diary, The Scrapbook of My Life.
8. Think Big: Overcoming Obstacles With Optimism by Jennifer Arnold, MD and Bill Klein ($17): Stars of TLC’s The Little Couple Jennifer and Bill share their tips on staying optimistic through adversary, something that the couple knows quite a bit about, in this packed-to-the-brim non-fiction book.
9. Asking for It by Louise O’Neill ($11): When 18-year-old Emma O’Donovan attends a summer party, she has no idea that she’ll end up unconscious on her parents’ doorstep with no memory of what happened the previous night. A gripping YA novel about the effects of rape and public shaming, this must-read is culturally relevant and impossible to put down.
10. Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki ($18): A dorky girl in a small town, Montgomery Sole loves hanging out with her two best friends in Jefferson High’s Mystery Club. From dealing with bullies to tackling gym, this story is relatable to all — and the perfect pleasurable April read.
11. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater ($13): The fourth book in The Raven Cycle series, Stiefvater’s final installment answers the question we’re all itching to find out: Does Blue really cause her lover’s death?
12. Stop Here, This Is the Place by Susan Conley ($13): When Winky Lewis, a photographer in Portland, sent Susan Conley a photograph she had taken of life in Maine, Susan sent back a story to match. This sprouted a year-long conversation of art and prose about growing up, living life and stopping to remember — all compiled in this beautiful must-read.
13. Extreme Prey by John Sandford ($19): Pulitzer Prize winner John Sandford knocks it out of the park once again with his latest political thriller about an attempted governor assassination. Fair warning: You might end up sleeping with the lights on after reading this one.
14. The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington ($15): Co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington is a strong advocate for sleep. In this scientifically rigorous and personal non-fiction, Arianna divulges all the reasons that we should really strive for a good night’s rest.
15. I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting by Karen Alpert ($11): Honest, hilarious and totally relatable, Karen Alpert’s exposé of mediocre parenting will have you rolling with laughter and nodding in agreement at the same time.
16. As Time Goes By by Mary Higgins Clark ($19): When television journalist Delaney Wright gets asked to cover a sensationalized murder, it’s the career boost of a lifetime. But with a secret bursting in her mind and her work taking over her life, let’s just say life can get a little complex.
17. Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld ($19): Can you imagine the Bennet sisters doing CrossFit and earning online degrees? In this classic-made-modern experiment, Curtis Sittenfeld crafts an awesome retelling of a Jane Austen phenomenon — including a modern day Mr. Darcy that will make you fall in love all over again.
18. Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen ($19): A story of family heritage and saucy secrets, this newest novel from Anna Quindlen has such an inspiring protagonist, we wouldn’t be surprised if you quoted her for an Instagram caption.
What is your favorite rainy day read? Tweet us your picks by mentioning @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)
Artist Dev Heyrana On How Bravery, Resilience and Sunshine Influence Her Work
Ever meet someone who you feel immediate kinship with on a deep almost spiritual level? That is legit every person's experience upon meeting Dev Heyrana, the star of this edition of Creative Crushin'. A fine artist, hip hop dance teacher and constant collaborator, Dev's particular brand of creativity is one-of-a-kind. She manages to be warm, welcoming and woke, with a focus on inclusivity, social justice and motherhood that comes through in every piece of art she creates.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and one of many humans who has benefitted from Dev's boundless generosity and kindness. We first connected at a launch event, then I asked her if she and her family would like to model for a B+C shoot (they did!), then months later, I asked the IG universe if anyone would be down to co-parent with me for a day so I could speak at a conference. Dev said yes! And for those that know her, none of these serendipitous moments are surprising.
Now it's time to delve more into Dev's story, her creative inspiration, her thoughtful approach to parenting and what makes her more passionate than ever about bringing her point of view and artistic voice into the universe.
Anjelika Temple: First, foundations. Where did you grow up? What is your heritage? What did you study in school? Where do you live now?
Dev Heyrana: Born in The Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. when I was 9 years old. Me and my family are from the island of Cebu and I'm a proud Cebuana. My childhood in the Philippines felt like freedom. I had my swimsuit in my backpack for whenever we decided to swim and I biked everywhere.
Immigrating here at 9 yrs old was a transition, to say the least. My parents had big dreams but the move was heavy on them. It wasn't easy. I had to grow up fast. I took care of my sisters while my parents worked night shifts. By the age of 12 I would cook dinner and get my sisters ready for bed. Something I didn't realize was that kids my age didn't do those things until I got older. We would play these make-believe games to make, in hindsight, our hard situation brighter.
I think this is really when art played a big role in my life. It was something I could escape in and always felt healing.
I witnessed racism towards my family and didn't know how to make sense of it. These events left a mark. I was a quiet kid and observed everything and everyone around me. I think about my grandparents, Lolo Jose and Lola Rita, a lot as I walk through life. When I make decisions. As hard as it feels, you have two choices, do you let it take you down or take it one step at a time forward. I kept going and it really shaped me as to why I am the way I am today.
I studied Fine Arts at The Corcoran in DC. I owe that decision to my art teacher, Mr Giles, in High School. He was retiring and wore a Hawaiian shirt every day during my senior year. He was a curmudgeon and I felt incredibly special since out of everyone in the school he really believed in me. As grumpy as he seemed to the class, he would tell me things like "Go into the other studio and break some glass, then put it on a canvas." He's the reason why my abstract pieces have elements like clay and sand in them.
I've had incredible mentors and all were teachers. Mr. Giles in High School and Christine George in College. Christine was the one who told me to go either to New York or San Francisco because "D.C. is no place for an artist like you." She told me to not listen to anyone, how I can still paint, be a graphic designer, and, if I choose to, have a family. I've never had anyone tell me anything like that before.
I took a chance because of her. Moved and went to Design School in 2006 and I've stayed in the Bay Area ever since, raising two girls with the love of my life.
Anj: You are one of those magical human beings that has figured out how to be a full-time artist. What was your career path like before you were able to dive fully into your creative passions?
Dev: The most radical thing I could have done in my family, I did, I went to college for Fine Arts. A mix of being so young and having to do it on my own, I went with the school that gave me more scholarships. Even then I worked three jobs to be able to get through it. Hard work is ingrained in me.
With my sculpture background, I fell in love with Print and Packaging and why I came out here to San Francisco. I appreciated the security of having a career in Graphic Design. I also learned how to work with clients and the business side of things. Even then, I never stopped painting.
A few years ago I went through a pretty hard time with my health. I dealt with six surgeries in one year and I still have to do some follow-up ones. That experience almost broke me and what got me through was my family and painting in bed while I recovered.
When I finally got back on my feet, my heart just wasn't in Graphic Design anymore. So I made a two year plan. With a toddler and a mortgage, I wanted to make sure my steps were thought out. I put myself out there as an Artist while I still worked in Design. After a year I worked part time as a Graphic Designer and stepped down from my Creative Director position. I loved it, to be creative as an Artist and as a Designer. I looked at 2018 as my year to make the jump. If my work as an Artist balances out with my salary then I would quit in the Summer of 2019. And so here we are. I also am sharing a studio with my good friend, Naomi PQ, and I feel like my creative drive is just beginning.
Anj: What do you love about painting? How do you feel when you're in a creative flow state?
Dev: Like every part of me is free. Free to express myself through the stroke of my hand. How all of it leads back to my heart. These elements I use to paint have a mind of their own and how I need to respect the process.
It centers me and reminds me that the process is just like the life we lead. I know I still have so much more to learn but while I'm painting no matter how it's going, I'll embrace this moment.
Anj: You reference your roots quite a bit in your work. Talk to me more about how your roots inspire your work.
Dev: One of my earliest memories is of my Lolo Jose teaching me how to water mango saplings. He converted to Buddhism when my mother was young, so he viewed the world with love and kindness. I didn't realize it then but watering those mango trees were life lessons. We need to take the time to nurture, practice patience, and respect all living things. I still imagine him walking beside me often, carrying his teachings as I find my way in this world.
Nature and the Sun drive my pieces. My abstract works are fragments of moments. Like the sunset I grew up with when I was seven years old in the Philippines, like how I saw the water in Cebu when I dove in as a young adult, and like when I saw the redwoods with my children for the first time.
I see earth in our skin and especially when I paint people. How our mango trees grew and blossomed because the dark earth was rich with nutrients. I imagine the Sun piercing through these women I depict. I paint their love and bravery because their resilience cannot be contained. I want to celebrate all of it.
This is the beauty of Art, I am able to paint exactly how I see it.
Anj: Motherhood and your daughters are also central themes in your work. How has motherhood changed your approach to creating artwork?
Dev: Everything. I was still deep in my Design Career and I would paint at home. One day Quinn, who was 3 years old at the time introduced me at the park to a mom. "This is my mom, she's an Artist." It struck me that my toddler knew who I was more than I knew myself. That's really when I really owned it. I am more fearless because of my girls.
I own my body, I thank people when they compliment me, and I am selective but fearless when I use my voice. I am more in tune how I speak about myself because of them. When I paint these women I want to celebrate them. I notice how I embrace myself is translated in my paintings.
Anj: What advice can you give to parents who are trying to tap into their kiddos' innate creativity?
Dev: I don't have a lot of guidelines set up. I'll say "Let's draw the biggest fish we can draw" or "how many silly lines can we make" and I let them lead me. They ask me questions, show me things, and I sit there with my coffee watching their eyes wide with excitement. Watching them in their creative process is pure joy for me. Those silly lines can turn into a dragon or waves and next thing we know, we're drawing a big beach scene. My advice would be that you can suggest something to start it off but be open to how they take it. It is such a beautiful window into their minds.
Anj: Shifting gears to HIP HOP DANCE! Talk to us about his component of your creative expression.
Dev: I loved the Hip Hop scene in DC and discovered how much fun the clubs were in college. My friends told me about this Hip Hop Crew I should try out for, I was so scared because I've never taken a dance class in my life. I got in and it was like having another family. We competed all over the East Coast, it was a blast!
I found hipline when I started my first Design Job and needed an outlet. It was exactly what I needed and one of the owners asked if I was interested to teach. I've been teaching there since 2009 and am still going strong. It's a wonderful community of women. Now we're virtual and reaching clients all over.
Anj: What does a typical [pandemic] day look like for you? How does it differ from your rhythm before COVID?
Dev: I've been practicing being kinder to myself lately. Both me and my husband work full time and so having the girls at home is a challenge. Some days we are amazed by how smooth it went and then there are others where if the girls are clean and bellies are full, it's a total win.
Now that we're on month 8 our rhythm before covid felt more chaotic to be honest. I felt like we were always rushing out the door while carrying so many bags. Now my husband and I try to have coffee together, if he has a break from his meeting, and we sit with Quinn before school to see what she has to do for the day. Rowan's preschool closed down but we were able to find a wonderful speech therapist for her and she has an Adventure Pod we go to two times a week.
The one thing we really try to do is go outside once a day. Have some magic in their childhood no matter how small. It could be just going up for a hike by our home and picking up leaves, riding our bikes, or watching the sunset from our window. Seeing how the girls' react to these adventures we have is pure magic.
Anj: When you get creatively blocked or burnt out, how do you reset? Do you have tips you can share?
Dev: I go outside. I go out for a hike or go to the beach. Even if it's 15 minutes, something about grounding yourself in Nature is really healing. I also do exercise where I doodle for two minutes because it feels doable. Judgment-free doodles, always opens the doorway to more.
Anj: I know firsthand that community-building is huge for you. Tell us more about what your support system and creative community looks like.
Dev: I feel a lot of love and strength when I think of my community. My relationship with my sister led the way what women supporting women looks like. It's listening, asking questions, remembering, cheering for all the wins, being there even if it's hard, and taking time to invest in them. The way me and my sister show up for each other is why I have these amazing women in my life. I can talk to them about my family, motherhood, and we're all trying to balance it all while sharing my most recent project. I feel really blessed especially looking back in my college years where I don't know where Art would take me.
Anj: When you need to give yourself a pep talk, what does it sound like?
Dev: I usually take a deep breath then say or think "One step forward". Most of the time, I'm scared (as shit) but the thought of not trying scares me more. That one step forward can be hard as hell and maybe even heartbreaking, but I have to try.