10 Must-Read Books For March


March means only one thing: the frozen sea inside the heart of publishing is thawing. We will see books — first a trickle, then a flood. This deluge is so enormous, in fact, that we’ve decided to collect some of it in a bucket that we will call “10 Must-Read Books for March 2015.” Inside this bucket you will find Kazuo Ishiguro’s long-awaited follow-up to Never Let Me Go, great nonfiction, a non-diary diary, the “greatest Mexican novelist,” and more. Let the anticipation wash over you.

The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro (March 3)

Ishiguro, who some consider the best novelist in the English language, is back with his first novel in a decade, The Buried Giant. It has already been panned and praised, so decide for yourself. Either way, be prepared for themes of self-delusion and memory that have guided Ishiguro’s work for years. — Jonathon Sturgeon

Dark Rooms, Lili Anolik (March 3)

Short version: if you thought that the first season of Veronica Mars was perfect (and it was) and you miss it (which you should), this debut by Anolik, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, will satisfy your yearning with its atmospheric vibe and noir feeling. In a New England that’s both dreary and dreamy, heartbroken Grace searches for the truth about her sister’s death, and the result shows that Anolik is a nimble, provocative writer to watch. — Elisabeth Donnelly

The Sellout, Paul Beatty (March 3)

One of the best books of the year so far, and one of the funniest in decades (in a laughing-to-keep-from-crying kind of way — the sharpest, most lasting humor), The Sellout is a major work from the wildly talented Beatty, the author of two books of poetry and three previous novels, including the cult classic The White Boy Shuffle. The biting satire on race in America that we need in these times, it follows a gentleman farmer nicknamed “Bonbon” with the last name of Me as he, well, reinstates slavery (with the help of the last living Little Rascal) and brings back segregation. The result gets him in front of the Supreme Court, in a case called “Me vs. The United States of America.” This is a difficult and dazzling book that, if we’re lucky, we’ll be talking about for a long time to come. — ED

A Legacy, Sybille Bedford (March 3)

This remarkable novel by little-known author Sybille Bedford follows two families in Berlin in the years preceding WWI. In the introduction, Brenda Wineapple compares the book to Gibbon, Austen, and Virginia Woolf. That’s high praise, and A Legacy deserves it. JS

Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, Sarah Manguso (March 3)

This non-diary diary signals a reinvention or at least a reinvigoration of the form. After pregnancy and years spent maintaining a diary of 800,000 words, Manguso chose to write this concise meditation on time, presentism, and memory. — JS

B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal, J.C. Hallman (March 10)

If the title of this book isn’t irreverent and hilarious enough, hopefully the concept will lure you in. It’s basically the story of the writer J.C. Hallman discovering and reading the author Nicholson Baker, who himself wrote an influential book about reading John Updike (U and I). Eventually it all gets wrapped in “[o]ur relationship to books in the digital age, the role of art in an increasingly commodified world, the power great writing has to change us.” — JS

Signs Preceding the End of the World, Yuri Herrera (March 10)

Francisco Goldman’s declaration on the cover of this book, that Yuri Herrera is Mexico’s greatest novelist, sold me. I admire Goldman’s own work, so the recommendation couldn’t have come from a more trusted source. — JS

Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, Nina MacLaughlin (March 16)

In this beautifully written meditation on the meaning of work, MacLaughlin, a former writer for the late alt-weekly The Boston Phoenix, writes about finding a new career — and with it, purpose — as a carpenter’s assistant. Watching the thoughtful Maclaughlin learn about the tools of her new trade, and take genuine pleasure in work that demands a physical presence, will have you reconsidering how we value different kinds of labor. — ED

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson (March 31)

Guess what, everybody? The Internet is over. If you need proof, try Ronson’s excellent new book, which focuses on the concept of “public shaming,” and how tools like Twitter have become nightmares for people from Justine Sacco to Jonah Lehrer. It will change the way you think about social media pile-ons, and in a perfect world, it would usher in a new era of kindness. Whether it does or doesn’t, it still promises to be the most relevant book of the year on human behavior and the Internet. (For more on this topic, seek out Jacob Silverman’s Terms of Service, also out this month, a wide-ranging elegy for what we’ve lost since we found the Internet.) — ED

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on Their Decision Not to Have Kids, edited by Meghan Daum (March 31)

Finally, an anthology that shows you don’t need to be a parent to have a fulfilling and complete life. In this book, a range of beloved writers, from Geoff Dyer to Anna Holmes, take a wide variety of approaches to explaining why they’ve decided not to have kids. — ED