Mysteries, Murder and Magical Realism: What to Read in March
Book of the Month’s March picks are gritty, beautiful and urgent reads — all written by female writers.
You may have heard of Book of the Month (they’ve been around for a casual 90 years), but in case you’re not familiar, it’s a service that delivers a book to your doorstep each month. Even if you already know about BOTM, what you may not know—I sure didn’t, before writing this—is how intentional their book choices are: a large majority of picks feature emerging female authors, elevating these voices at a time where it seems, finally, people are willing to listen.
Each month, you get to pick from five really great books, curated for you, which removes the anxiety of going to a bookstore only to leave daunted by the reality that you’ll never read it all. For March (which happens to be Women’s History Month), Book of the Month is featuring an amazing lineup of all women authors: Jessica Strawser, Emily XR Pan, Abbi Waxman, Clarissa Goenawan and Nova Jacobs.
And vitally, the picks this month deftly explore the nuance of situations that are too-often minimized or sensationalized: topics like domestic violence and mental health, grief and the power of female friendships. And is there a better time to be reading books by women, about women, while also supporting women? Nope! Below is a brief overview of the March picks. If you’re already a BOTM subscriber, enjoy! If not, you can sign up now and use code YESPLZ to get your first month free. If you’re not ready to commit, we’ve included Amazon links to each book, as well.
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
Strawser’s second book draws an obvious parallel to shows like Big Little Lies or the most recent series of Broadchurch: under the saccharine-sweet surface of small town life, there’s something very sinister going on. The book focuses on a close-knit group of female friends, who trade neighborly gossip over wine and commiserate about their children. But things start to unravel when one among their ranks mysteriously disappears, leaving behind clues that tell a very different story about her home life than the version everyone else knew. (On Amazon)
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily XR Pan
After her mother takes her own life, main character Leigh Chen Sanders is certain her mom has transformed into a large, looming bird. Mixing magical realism with the stark realities of grief, this young adult novel is heavy and vitally important. In her debut book, Pan communicates what seems many lifetimes of wisdom: the intricacies of grief, how mental illness ripples through families and what it means to find love in the midst of so much loss. (On Amazon)
Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman
Meet your new favorite wry writer: in this book, Waxman tackles four different marriages, investigating the myriad of ways in which these relationships are fraying, all with a quick and unrelenting wit. Even when tackling themes like trust, betrayal, raising children and keeping friends, Waxman manages to inject humor and compassion into every situation she writes about. (On Amazon)
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan
In Goenawan’s mysterious and dark novel, main character Ren Ishida is in graduate school when he hears about his sister’s brutal death. Left in charge of her affairs, he finds himself sorting through many unanswered questions, far more intangible than who killed her: what happened to their relationship and their family? And who was she, really? (On Amazon)
The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs
Hearing “math mystery” may not seem like the next book you want to read, but trust me, it’s a page-turner that will leave you hunting for the clues alongside the main characters. The story is about a bookseller who inherits a series of clues from her grandfather, a famous mathematician. The clues lead to a mysterious equation—one that, for uncertain reasons, seems imperative to find before the others looking for it do. (On Amazon)
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