Books to read in March

Bethanne Patrick

THE WASHINGTON POST – Spring’s early arrival leaves us less time to curl up inside with a good book but more time to read in your favourite outdoor location. This month’s intriguing titles include a Post-Holocaust Memoir, the long-awaited conclusion to a beloved trilogy and one of the liveliest, funniest novels of the year; you won’t lack for reading material whether on your porch or in a park.

The Night Watchman: A Novel by Louise Erdrich (March 3)

The National Book Award winner returns with a book based on her grandfather, Patrick Gourneau, whose 1950s battle to retain Turtle Mountain Chippewa lands in North Dakota revealed racist governmental policies. No plot summary of this fictionalised account can evoke the power and magic of the author’s ode to her people and their survival.

The Mirror and the Light: A Novel by Hilary Mantel (March 10)

Devoted fans of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy centred on the nefarious Thomas Cromwell’s political machinations will soon be able to read this last volume in the Wolf Hall trilogy. It starts: “Once the queen’s head is severed, he walks away.” Anne Boleyn is dead, the king’s mind “entirely on his new bride”; Cromwell’s mind? On his second breakfast. But not for long…

Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir by Rebecca Solnit  (March 10)

Today, Solnit is a powerful, acclaimed author whose Men Explain Things to Me resulted in the term ‘mansplaining’. Once, however, she was a young, poor, frightened new arrival to San Francisco who had to make sense of her ideas in the midst of a culture that didn’t support them. This is a feminist fable as well as a meaningful history.

The Mountains Sing: A Novel by Que Mai Phan Nguyen (March 17)

The author and poet, known in her native Vietnam as Nguyen Phan Que Mai, tells a comprehensive multigenerational tale, beginning in 1920s Vietnam and continuing through modern wartime. However, the larger history takes a back seat to family dynamics, demonstrating how different generations weather the burdens of conflict.

The City We Became: A Novel by N K Jemisin (March 24)

Three consecutive Hugo Awards and a cover blurb from Neil Gaiman – yes, it’s time for you to pick up a novel by Jemisin, whose speculative fiction has a degree of inclusivity rare in the science-fiction world. The City We Became focusses on New York; all cities have souls in this world, but New York City has six. How they develop and interact determines whether the Big Apple will survive.

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir by Esther Safran Foer (March 31)

The author’s son Jonathan Safran Foer wrote a novel partially based on his mother’s family and their Holocaust experience. Now, Esther chronicles her own attempts to discover what happened to her relatives in a book that is part personal quest, part testament and all thoughtfully, compassionately written.