Your Spring Reading Horoscope
New season, new star alignments to guide your reading life
Editor’s Note: Your Reading Horoscope was created by McKayla Coyle, who is the usual author of this column. They will return for the next installment.
Spring has finally sprung, and you know what that means—it’s reading in the park season! But with so many great new releases to choose from, how do you decide which one to keep in your tote for spontaneous outdoor reading when the sun peeks out? That’s where I come in. Read on to find out the perfect book for your sign this season, and know that you can trust what I’m seeing in the stars because as a Cancer moon, I’ve got the emotional intuition for astrological predictions, as a Libra rising, I care enough about making you like me not to mess this up, and as a Capricorn sun, I have literally never been wrong about anything in my entire life (just ask me).
Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman
Playful, impulsive Aries is sure to see something of themselves in Acts of Service, which follows Eve, a young queer woman who, in a rash moment, posts her nudes online despite being in a monogamous relationship. This act leads her to entering a polyamorous affair that raises questions about sex and desire Eve struggles to answer for herself. This provocative, daring read is sure to hold even Aries’ fleeting attention.
Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda
A vampire artist hungering for connection and the indulgence of delicious food is about as Taurus as it gets. A sharp exploration of colonialism, mixed-race identity, and misogyny make the book’s vampire metaphor even more striking. This modern tale of appetites and art is sure to delight any Taurus. Read our conversation with Claire Kohda about vampirism’s legacy of colonialism.
The Candy House by Jennifer Egan
Because A Visit from the Goon Squad is one of the most Gemini books I have ever read in my life, The Candy House—a “sibling novel” to Goon Squad—is a no-brainer pick for Geminis. This book checks off all the Gemini boxes. Delightfully juggling multiple perspectives so you’re inside all the drama and never get bored? Check. A clever exploration of the technological age? Check. Good writing that will keep you engaged and make time fly? Check. And because I know Geminis hate nothing more than having to choose, this sort-of-sequel to a Pulitzer Prize winning book by a beloved author is about as close to having it all as you can get.
Heartbroke by Chelsea Bieker
My dear, sweet Cancers, do I even need to explain why this book is for you? I’m pretty sure you’re already sold on the title alone, but in case you aren’t, let me add some color: longing, heartbreak, and idiosyncratic characters with names like “Spider Dick,” all set against a backdrop of California’s Central Valley. This book is all lyrical heartbreak, each story like pressing your thumb into a bruise you didn’t even know you had. Bieker perfectly captures the soft, painful core of what it means to be human: the desire for connection and a sense of self, the sharp sting of being let down by love, and the lies we tell ourselves when it hurts too much to see the truth. It’s the perfect read for when you want to feel a little less lonely in a sometimes lonely world, or just want to be in your feelings (Cancers, I’m looking right at ya). If you need any more convincing, let the book speak for itself: you can read “Fact of Body” in Recommended Reading, a story from the collection about a boy and his mother living out of a car while selling dream catchers along a toxic beach.
Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder
Between a mother determined to win a seat in the Senate, her son writing a musical about Joan Didion, and her daughter in the news for protesting with extremists in Paris, this is a family in which every major character is either trying to be or unintentionally becoming the center of attention—sound familiar, Leos? A hilarious and touching novel about family and politics, Let’s Not Do That Again is full of characters that Leos will see themselves in and come to love.
Body Work by Melissa Febos
This may seem like an unconventional choice for Virgo, but hear me out! Hardworking Virgo can have a hard time making time for pleasure if it doesn’t feel productive, so this combination memoir/craft book—full of thoughtful, intimate musings on the writing life that doubles as craft advice—is the perfect way for Virgo to make time for pleasure reading under the guise of “working.” And because Virgos have the tendency to be their own harshest critic, I would argue this book is essential Virgo reading for writers and non-writers alike: Febos is a healing kind of writer, who shows her readers how to bring their craft to the next level and embrace their hardest truths. Febos’ ode to radical truth telling and self-acceptance offers Virgos the perfect assignment: to practice embracing their perfectionist selves while lending themselves more kindness and grace in the process. Read our conversation with Melissa Febos about how writing trauma is an act of subversion.
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li
The Zodiac’s #1 aesthetes need to get their hands on Portrait of a Thief, an art heist novel based on a true story of Chinese art stolen back from Western museums. Not only is it a fun thrill-ride of a novel, it’s also a beautifully written, thoughtful exploration of Chinese American identity and the impacts of colonialism. Libras love nothing more than the combination of art, beauty, and intellect, and this book is sure to satisfy on all levels.
When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
As passionate lovers of both love itself and all things supernatural, Scorpios are sure to be enamored with When We Were Birds, a love story set in Trinidad between a man forbidden from touching the dead, and the woman who protects and communes with them. Intense love, spirituality, a bridge between the living and the dead—this book couldn’t be more Scorpio. Read our conversation with Ayanna Lloyd Banwo discussing the book.
Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada
For the adventurous and intellectually curious Sagittarius, Scattered All Over the Earth is made for you. This novel has a lot of fun exploring the origins and meaning of language, travels across several countries, and is the most joyful novel taking place in a dystopian future I’ve ever come across. Sags will find themselves enamored with this novel’s playful expansiveness, and its ability to engage with heavier themes like climate change and identity without taking itself too seriously. It’s also the first of a trilogy, so if you love it as much as I know you will, there will be more where that came from!
Little Rabbit by Alyssa Songsiridej
Capricorns—my people, my loves, most neglected and mistreated of the Zodiac. Let me tell you something: I know the pain of being a Capricorn who seeks any sort of horoscope at all. We are so woefully misunderstood! I’m here to save you from a lifetime of bad horoscopes that treat us as like uptight sticks-in-the-mud, and I will not be recommending you something super self-serious or boring or work-related, because I know—like you all know—that we’re serious enough in our work life to allow ourselves some fun when it’s time to read. That said, my recommendation to you is Little Rabbit, which is as far from boring as it gets. An oft forgotten fact is about hard-working Capricorns is our love of blowing off steam with serious, down and dirty sex. Caps are literally the definition of business in the streets, freak in the sheets. A book about a queer, woman artist that takes both her artistic ambitions and sexual desires seriously is Capricorn through-and-through. So go crazy, my friends—this is my gift to you. For more recommendations of the sexy, literary sort, check out Alyssa Songsiridej’s list, and while you’re at it, indulge in this booktail (spoiler alert: it’s scotch-based which is, in itself, very Cap).
Eleutheria by Allegra Hyde
For my revolutionary, world-healing Aquarians (Aquariuses? Aquarii? Look, I’m here for my star-reading talents, not my astrological grammar skills), Eleutheria—a combination dystopian/utopian novel about a woman who grew up in an apocalypse-fearing bunker home and is now dead-set on joining a collective that vows to stop climate change—is a perfect fit. This novel has everything an Aquarius loves: railing against corruption and the authoritarian government, an exploration of colonialism, and even a whole subplot about freeganism. Read an excerpt of the first chapter over at Recommend Reading.
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Time travel and moon colonies, but make it auto-fiction: Sea of Tranquility is Pisces all the way. As if the title alone weren’t on-brand enough (sea! tranquility!), I know Pisces is sure to love the tenderness inside of these pages, the emotional resonance with our current pandemic moment, and the vastly imaginative settings and disrupted timelines. If you’re already an Emily St. John Mandel lover, you know the deal. If not, then let this book be your introduction to an author I know any Pisces will get down with.