As we hopefully begin to thaw out from what has been a very long winter, March offers up enough great books to help us get through what should be (but, I mean, who knows these days?) the last truly rough days of winter. No matter what happens, the month offers plenty to look forward to: great debut novels, follow-ups to new classics, true crime as memoir, a new chance to get into an author you should have been reading all along, and a novelist’s ascension.
Deep Ellum, Brandon Hobson (March 1)
Brandon Hobson starts off his short novel by telling us, “I left Chicago and returned to Dallas when our mother overdosed.” From there, his narrator takes us through his hometown, where beauty, ugliness, sadness, and happiness blur into one big waking dream.
Clever Girl, Tessa Hadley (March 4)
Tessa Hadley gives us everyday people, and makes their lives seem like works of art. Here, in her latest, we follow Stella through life, where Hadley gets all of her failings and little triumphs to shine like prized gems.
Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi (March 6)
This is the novel that will get everybody who hasn’t yet jumped on the Helen Oyeyemi bandwagon to agree that she is operating on another level. Bending and twisting fairy tales, Oyeyemi is capable of a sort of magic that will leave you gasping for breath.
October, Zoë Wicomb (March 10)
America: We should all make a promise to start reading Zoë Wicomb this year, because not only did Toni Morrison call the South African writer “extraordinary,” but this latest book gives us the immigrant experience on a different continent other than ours, and another unique perspective written flawlessly by a writer we should all get caught up on ASAP.
Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade, Walter Kirn (March 10)
They’re saying that Walter Kirn’s Blood Will Out is the In Cold Blood of our time. Obviously that’s a loaded comparison, but Kirn’s book about his strange relationship with a man who turns out to be a kidnapper and murderer makes for truly addictive reading.
Painted Cities, Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski (March 11)
There is no time like the present for a city like Chicago to give us a new writer who is actually from a place that, if you boil it down, could explain so much of what is right and very wrong with America. In his debut, South Side-raised Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski, shows us the very American city from a very unique vantage point.
Made to Break, D. Foy (March 18)
We can easily get behind any book whose back cover compares it to both Denis Johnson and Roberto Bolaño, but we also reserve the right to be skeptical about such lofty claims. D. Foy’s debut, which explores the limits of friendship and also has one of the finest explorations of what is and isn’t “plotzing” (you have to read the book to get it) that we’ve ever read, doesn’t even need to be linked to those masters; Made to Break stands up perfectly on its own.
The Thing With Feathers, Noah Strycker (March 20)
There’s bird watching, then there is obsessing over why nearly 2,500 different species do the things they do. That’s Noah Strycker, and this lovely book will be compelling to both those who chart the different birds they see on walks and the rest of us, who just gaze longingly at them as they fly through the air.
Every Day Is for the Thief, Teju Cole (March 25)
Teju Cole filled the void between his books by writing for everything from the Times to The New Inquiry, which eased us through the wait for his latest book after 2011’s Open City. If the latter was one of the best books of the last five years, his latest only solidifies the fact that Cole is truly a writer with few equals.
Sleep Donation, Karen Russell (March 25)
Leave it to Karen Russell to write a dystopian novella about insomnia. If you’re a fan of either her work or science fiction, you’re going to love this one.