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What to Read in March: 13 Titles for Spring

Dazzling short stories, a historical novel about Lady Di and new novels from Anne Tyler and Karen Joy Fowler round out our pick of March’s best books / BY Nathalie Atkinson / February 25th, 2022

Dolly Parton’s collaboration with blockbuster novelist James Patterson on Run, Rose, Run (our current Zoomer cover story) may top our most-anticipated fiction list, but it’s not the only great read coming out this month. Dazzling short stories, a historical novel of Lady Diana Spencer, classic comic-book nostalgia, and juicy new novels from Anne Tyler and Karen Joy Fowler round out our pick of March’s best bets.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image. 

1Boothby Karen Joy Fowler

The Booker-winning author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (and the beloved The Jane Austen Book Club) turns her attention to the troubled history of America leading up to the Civil War, as told through the distinguished 19th-century theatrical family that produced John Wilkes Booth, the infamous actor who assassinated U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 during a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. (Mar. 8)

2Gloryby NoViolet Bulawayo

Inspired by the 2017 coup and fall of Zimbabwes longtime ruler Robert Mugabe, this political allegory set in the animal kingdom (think: Animal Farm) brings to life corruption, dictatorship and revolution in a small fictional African nation in inventive ways. The way Bulawayo, the Booker finalist for We Need New Names, harnesses the mythology and folklore of oral traditions to give the immersive read a cautionary, fable-like quality. (Mar. 8)

3Run and Hideby Pankaj Mishra

Mishra, the Indian editor who “discovered” Arundhati Roy and championed The God of Small Things, published his own debut novel, The Romantics , more than 20 years ago. The follow-up worth the wait, as his astute new literary novel plumbs the modern values and moral wasteland of the New India, and the commentary takes a layered epistolary form, populated by old-money Muslims, aspiring transnational citizens and the new hedge fund billionaires of global capitalism. (Mar. 1)





4A Coin for the FerrymanMegan Edwards

This inventive fantasy novel reaches back into classical antiquity to pluck Julius Caesar out of the past in the split second before he’s murdered. The test, to debrief historical figures, is part of an experimental time travel project headed by a Nobel laureate. It’s a premise, reminiscent of Michael Crichton’s Timeline, that pays off, especially with when the Roman politician shares his view of the modern world he’s been transported to – and the novel’s 1990s Las Vegas setting, in particular. Will they return Caesar to his rightful place in time before a disruption to the historical timeline has far-reaching consequences for the future? Beware the Ides of March, indeed. 

5French Braidby Anne Tyler

As Tyler, 80, herself recently admitted, “nothing happens in any of my books if you get right down to it.” Yet the Pulitzer winner’s novels still seem to contain everything in life. Her engrossing, 24th novel explores female artistic ambition and regret as it follows a Baltimore family in the 1950s and 1960s, and leading up to 2020, when the retired couple are delighted to have their adult son and grandson move in with them to ride out the pandemic. (Mar. 22)

6Beat the Devilsby Josh Weiss

Humphrey Bogart makes a cameo in this novel of an alternate 1958 America, one where Joseph McCarthy (the senator who instigated the blacklist and cultivated anti-communist sentiment) has parlayed his flair for paranoia into a presidential win. His infamous committee is now a full-fledged secret police force, and an LAPD detective and Holocaust survivor has to contend with this climate of widespread and barely concealed anti-Semitism as he investigates the suspicious deaths of filmmaker John Huston and a rising journalist named Walter Cronkite, who speak out against the oppressive White House regime. This paranoid thriller is surprisingly enjoyable, considering the xenophobia in this period so clearly mirrors our own. (Mar. 22)

7Daughters of the Deerby Danielle Daniel

The Sudbury author of children’s books turns her attention to century-old injustice and lays settler culture bare with her atmospheric new historical novel, inspired by her family’s ancestral link to a young girl who was killed in the 1600s. The story about Marie, a daughter of the Weskarini Deer Clan in the Algonquin territories (near Trois-Rivières) who is forced to marry a French settler, and her two-spirited daughter Jeanne, is a darkly illuminating origin story of France’s colonization of North America. (Mar. 8)

8Kamila Knows Bestby Farah Heron

What if Jane Austen’s Emma was set in Toronto and had a South Asian twist? This is the cheerful book I didn’t know my soul needed. In her follow-up to her breakout hit Accidentally Engaged, Heron reimagines Austen’s meddlesome matchmaker as an accountant who loves to tinker with her friends’ love lives. Kamila’s hobby is planning elaborate Bollywood movie nights, which means the Canadian author once again draws on her Tanzanian Muslim heritage for mouth-watering descriptions of meals. Reach for this rom-com when you need some diverting uplift — i.e. immediately.

9Not Everybody Lives the Same Wayby Jean-Paul Dubois

A middle-aged man, sharing a Montreal prison cell with a Hells Angels enforcer, looks back on his life, from his childhood in France to the Quebec mining town where he grew up. The nature of his crime isn’t revealed until the very end of the novel, which won the 2019 Prix Goncourt, France’s top literary prize. One juror called it a masterpiece “full of humanity, melancholy, irony.” (Mar. 29)

10Seeking Fortune Elsewhereby Sindya Bhanoo

Every one of the eight short stories in this collection by the U.S. journalist cuts to the quick. But the daughter who has consigned her mother to a far-away retirement home in India, and the small but significant way her mother rebels, stands out even among the gems about love, aging and family alienation. (Mar. 8)

11Secret Identityby Alex Segura

This is a perfect read for fans of Michael Chabon’s Kavalier & Clay, as Segura, an award-wining crime writer, inserts an aspiring creative into the seedy, thinly veiled world of comic book publishing in 1970s New York. The literary mystery that ensues follows a talented LGBTQ womans struggle for opportunities and recognition, while being equal parts hardboiled noir and a love letter to classic comics, with illustrated pages from fictional The Legendary Lynx peppered throughout. (Mar. 15)

12Stray Dogsby Rawi Hage

Along with religion, photography is one of the recurring themes in Hage’s new book of stories. The Lebanon-born Canadian writer knows the medium intimately, having tried to make a living as a photographer before turning to words, and it is still an abiding passion. His philosophical interest in images appears in this wide-ranging collection, revealing snapshots of characters from Beirut and Berlin to Tokyo and his own backyard in Montreal’s Little Italy. (Mar. 1)

13The People’s Princessby Flora Harding

In the film Spencer, Kristen Stewart’s Oscar-nominated portrayal of Princess Diana hinges on the royal’s haunting visions of Anne Boleyn, the doomed queen she’s been reading about on Christmas holidays at Sandringham. This affecting, dual-timeline tale takes a similar approach, but imagines Lady Diana Spencer during her engagement to Prince Charles in the months leading up to their 1981 wedding, as she reads the intimate journal of 19th-century Princess Charlotte of Wales and makes an emotional connection with the royal who felt trapped and died tragically young. (Mar. 15)


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