The 5 Best Books of May

One of life's great pleasures, it's finally that time of year where you can sit outside with a beer and read a book in the sun. Gone are the days of sitting inside and wishing you could just plant yourself on a park bench or an old lawn chair, now you can actually enjoy yourself and all of the great books out now or coming out in the next few weeks. 

Loving Day, Mat Johnson 

Authors usually don't love it when you compare them to dead writers, but it's really hard to talk about Mat Johnson and mention that he's pretty much the contemporary writer people should read if they really miss Kurt Vonnegut. Here, in his latest novel, race and family are explored in sometimes hilarious and almost always moving ways. 

Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey, Reid Mitenbuler 

Whiskey can be made anywhere in the world, but bourbon is a truly American spirit. In this engaging new book, Reid Mitenbuler breaks down exactly why that is.

Mislaid, Nell Zink

One of 2014's literary surprises, the Jonathan Franzen-backed Nell Zink would up on a lot of 'best of' lists with The Wallcreeper, and now makes her big publishing debut with with this unconventional but ultimately brilliant novel that takes family, race, and the how decisions you make could resonate for years to come. 

This Must Be the Place, Sean Doyle  

In his debut collection filled with true-life stories, Sean Doyle hides nothing as he looks back on the sex, drugs, and dirt of his life, all the while leaving a tiny hole at the end of the tunnel. Doyle's tales are harrowing, but they're about survival, and they're about trying to keep living. 

A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden, April Bloomfield 

It came out towards the end of April, but since April Bloomfield is a culinary hero, we're going to add her followup to A Girl and Her Pig in here as one of spring's cookbooks you must own.