New paperbacks to know: ‘Less,’ ‘Campaign Widows,’ ‘Hey Ladies!’ and more

The MTA may not always be reliable, but when the sun’s out, you can count on a picnic in the park (any park!) being a perfect way to spend a day in NYC. Break up your commute by packing a snack, blanket and paperback for a semi-impromptu before-, during- or after-work picnic. Join New York’s largest unofficial book club, The Subway Book Club, and page through one of these new paperbacks on your commute this May.

‘Hey Ladies!: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails’

By Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss

Hugely relatable and/or enlightening, depending on your lived experience, this new novel told exclusively through emails, text and other manners of modern communication between eight best friends in their 20s and 30s is funnier than your favorite group text. Based on a column of the same name previously published on The Toast, this quick-paced novel is indeed a paperback for the digital generation.

‘Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London’

By Lauren Elkin

Paperback is the ideal format for this musing on the joy of wandering. Walking and reading isn’t recommended (there’s an audiobook for that), but it’s easy to get lost in Elkin’s prose, so build in extra picnic time to enjoy the illustrated pages.

‘The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror’

By Daniel Mallory Ortberg

This new collection of updated folklore infuses the signature wit of Ortberg, who also wrote “Texts from Jane Eyre,” into classic stories. The dark, funny, feminist riffs may be familiar from Ortberg’s column on The Toast, “Children’s Stories Made Horrific.”

‘Campaign Widows’

By Aimee Agresti

If election-related escapist fiction is your preferred way to ignore the nonstop push alerts on your phone, this humorous page-turner is a good reason to flip your phone over and delve into the life of Cady Davenport, election widow. That is, her fiance is on the presidential campaign trail and she’s left behind in Washington, D.C., befriending an eclectic crew of “election widows” all of whom are alone in the district while their partners travel across the country. (Paperback out May 22)


By Andrew Sean Greer

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel takes readers on a series of clumsy adventures through Paris, Berlin, Morocco and beyond as the nearly-50- year-old aspiring novelist Arthur Less hilariously travels the globe to escape the reality that his ex-boyfriend is about to marry someone else and his career is less than he expected it to be by his impending milestone. (Paperback out May 22)