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Here Are the 13 Books You Should Read in March TIME

From RuPaul’s memoir to Tana French’s latest mystery, the best new books coming in March will help you spring into the new season. Pulitzer Prize finalist Percival Everett’s James reimagines Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a liberation narrative. Helen Oyeyemi’s mind-warping novel, Parasol Against the Axe, will leave your head spinning—in a good way. Adelle Waldman’s Help Wanted is sure to fill the The Office-shaped hole in your heart, while Hanif Abdurraqib’s There’s Always This Year will get you pumped for the upcoming NBA playoffs. 

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Here, the best new books to read this month. 

Anita de Monte Laughs Last, Xochitl Gonzalez (March 5)

Xochitl Gonzalez’s mesmerizing follow-up to her 2022 bestseller Olga Dies Dreaming begins in the 1980s when the gifted artist Anita de Monte falls out a window of her apartment and dies. The novel, loosely inspired by the mysterious 1985 death of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta, then picks up 13 years later with Raquel, a first-generation Ivy League art-history student who is writing her college thesis on Anita’s famous husband, sculptor Jack Martin. Through her research, Raquel rediscovers Anita’s long-forgotten work and finds herself investigating the unusual circumstances surrounding her death. In this thriller that tackles racism, jealousy, and deception, Raquel starts seeing strange parallels between her own life and Anita’s—and she begins to worry that she’s destined to suffer the same fate.

Buy Now: Anita de Monte Laughs Last on Bookshop | Amazon

The Great Divide, Cristina Henríquez (March 5)

Cristina Henríquez’s fourth novel, The Great Divide, offers a panoramic view of the 1907 construction of the Panama Canal. With great empathy, Henríquez, whose father is originally from Panama, writes of the sacrifices and challenges the migrants, laborers, and locals made for the waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In her book, fisherman Francisco Aquino, a born and bred Panamanian, despises the project brought about by the Americans. But his willful teenage son, Omar, believes that the canal will bring great prosperity to the Central American country, which is why he gets a job as a digger. Ada Bunting, a teen from Barbados, arrives in Panama as a stowaway, hoping to make enough money to send home to her ill sister. She finds work as the caretaker for the sick wife of Tennessee scientist John Oswald, who is there to study tropical diseases. Moving between their perspectives, The Great Divide is a sweeping epic that dissects the physical and emotional toll of economic progress.

Buy Now: The Great Divide on Bookshop | Amazon

Help Wanted, Adelle Waldman (March 5)

Adelle Waldman’s clever new novel follows the employees of a superstore in a small, blue-collar town in upstate New York. The nine members of the “movement” team, those tasked with arriving in the early hours of the morning to unload the trucks and stock the shelves, are fed up with Meredith, their fairly incompetent boss. When the store’s manager announces he’s transferring, and that corporate is on the hunt for his replacement, the retail workers hatch a plan that will hopefully get their boss out of their lives for good. Help Wanted is a shrewd workplace comedy that never makes low-wage workers or the issues they face the punchline.

Buy Now: Help Wanted on Bookshop | Amazon

The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul (March 5)

With his memoir, The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul promises to reveal a side of himself that even the biggest RuPaul’s Drag Race fans haven’t seen yet. From his early days growing up as a Black queer kid in San Diego to his journey to sobriety to his marriage, the drag icon offers a vulnerable look at the first 40 years of his life. It might be why writing this book, his fourth, which took him two and a half years, left him “gooped, gagged, and stripped raw.

Buy Now: The House of Hidden Meanings on Bookshop | Amazon

Read an excerpt from The House of Hidden Meanings

The Hunter, Tana French (March 5)

A master of the modern mystery novel, Tana French returns to the fictional West Irish village of Ardnakelty in The Hunter, an absorbing sequel to her 2020 bestseller The Searcher. It’s been two years since retired Chicago detective Cal Hooper moved to rural Ireland looking for peace, only to find himself investigating a missing persons case with a wayward teenager named Trey Reddy. Now, Cal is finally settling into his new home and role as a surrogate dad to Trey. But when her long-lost father returns to town looking for a quick payday, Trey goes looking for revenge.

Buy Now: The Hunter on Bookshop | Amazon

Parasol Against the Axe, Helen Oyeyemi (March 5)

Helen Oyeyemi’s eighth novel is set in Prague, which the Nigerian-born, London-raised author has called home since 2014. In Parasol Against the Axe, writer Hero Tojosoa is in the Czech city for a bachelorette party that she regrets attending. The night she arrives, she begins reading a mysterious book her teenage son gave her. Each time she opens it, the text is different than before. Soon, she discovers that the party’s other guests are reading the same book and experiencing the same conundrum. Oyeyemi’s characters aren’t the only ones who may feel a bit disoriented though—Prague itself is one of the narrators of this delightfully weird, metatextual novel.

Buy Now: Parasol Against the Axe on Bookshop | Amazon

I Finally Bought Some Jordans, Michael Arceneaux (March 12)

Michael Arceneaux’s 2018 debut essay collection, I Can’t Date Jesus, made him a best-selling author, but his latest book, I Finally Bought Some Jordans, offers a chaotic, comical, and candid look at the things—barring the titular sneakers—money can’t always buy. Things like a home, which is the topic of an essay in which he looks at the role race plays in property values. Then there’s what all the money in the world can never fix. Arceneaux writes about the doors that are still not open to Black and queer creatives, finding relief from his anxiety through the music of his “Lord and Gyrator” Beyoncé, and the celebrities who have blocked him on social media for being a bit too honest. Throughout I Finally Bought Some Jordans, Arceneaux balances humor with heart to show how far he has come and how much further society still needs to go.

Buy Now: I Finally Bought Some Jordans on Bookshop | Amazon

Victim, Andrew Boryga (March 12)

Andrew Boryga’s debut novel, Victim, opens with protagonist Javier Perez, an aspiring Puerto Rican writer from the Bronx, admitting, “I wasn’t trying to play the victim until the world taught me what a powerful grift it is.” His hustling first begins in high school when his advisor encourages him to milk the story of his drug dealer dad’s murder for his college admissions essay. Leaning into the tragedy of his past, Perez receives a full academic scholarship to a prestigious university in upstate New York. Once there, he takes artistic liberties with his school newspaper articles. After graduation, he finds viral fame with a personal essay that barely resembles his real life. When a friend from the old neighborhood gets out of jail, Javier must find a way to keep him from exposing his lies. This scathing satire shows the lengths one is willing to go to earn recognition in the attention economy.

Buy Now: Victim on Bookshop | Amazon

You Get What You Pay For, Morgan Parker (March 12)

With her essay collection, You Get What You Pay For, best-selling poet and writer Morgan Parker wanted it to feel as if the reader was sitting in on one of her therapy sessions. The author of 2019’s Magical Negro uses scintillating cultural criticism to examine her own struggles with loneliness, singleness, and depression through the lens of being Black in a white world. She also looks at how the predominately white media has covered Black celebrities. In one piece, Parker writes about the mischaracterization of Serena Williams’ ambition throughout her career and how it affected the way Black millennial women saw themselves. In another, she questions the implications of Bill Cosby’s fall from grace and wonders whether you can “burn the man and keep the culture.” With You Get What You Pay For, Parker creates a safe space where she can feel free to express herself on her own terms.

Buy Now: You Get What You Pay For on Bookshop | Amazon

James, Percival Everett (March 19)

Pulitzer Prize finalist Percival Everett returns with his 24th novel, James, an audacious reimagining of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from Finn’s enslaved friend Jim’s point of view. The prolific writer behind 2001’s Erasure, the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated 2023 film American Fiction, doesn’t change the events of Twain’s modern classic; the floods, unexpected treasure, and scammers remain intact. What Everett does is give Jim—who, we learn, prefers to be called James—his agency, letting his intelligence and compassion shine through. James is a poignant if often distressing reintroduction to a beloved character who deserved better.

Buy Now: James on Bookshop | Amazon

Memory Piece, Lisa Ko (March 19)

National Book Award finalist Lisa Ko follows up her 2017 debut The Leavers with a sharp novel that spans the past, present, and future of a friendship. Memory Piece starts in 1980s New York City, where three Asian American teens from the New York tri-state area—performance artist Giselle Chin, coder Jackie Ong, and activist Ellen Ng—first bond over their shared sense of alienation. But as the three grow up and grow apart, they begin to question the trajectory of their lives with and without one another.

Buy Now: Memory Piece on Bookshop | Amazon

One Way Back, Christine Blasey Ford (March 19)

In 2018, Brett Kavanaugh, a White House lawyer for President George W. Bush and a judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals, was nominated to the Supreme Court. During his confirmation hearings, Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers. Now, Ford is offering new insight into her emotional testimony. Her memoir, One Way Back, looks at her life before, during, and after she took the stand that day more than five years ago. With courage and resilience, Ford reveals how she became an unlikely whistleblower—and why she would do it again.

Buy Now: One Way Back on Bookshop | Amazon

There’s Always This Year, Hanif Abdurraqib (March 26)

After tackling Black performance in 2021’s Little Devil in America, acclaimed poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib is taking on the NBA with his transcendent new memoir, There’s Always This Year. Abdurraqib has been a fan of basketball since he was a kid growing up in Ohio in the ’90s, and he uses his own love of the game to better understand what it takes to make it in the league and in life. In There’s Always This Year, he uses local standouts LeBron James and Kenny Gregory, who rose from high school basketball stardom to differing levels of NBA fame, to wrestle with his own feelings regarding his home state and his childhood dreams. With vulnerability and sincerity, Abdurraqib pushes readers to rethink what it means to be successful both on and off the court.

Buy Now: There’s Always This Year on Bookshop | Amazon

Shannon Carlin

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