March is normally a fruitful time for book releases, with authors traveling the world on book tours and gathering fans in bookstores for readings; this year, though, many authors are canceling their book tours and booksellers are laying off staff as the coronavirus sweeps the globe.
The silver lining, however faint, is that as we practice social distancing and self-quarantine, we have more time than ever to read. There’s no shortage of great books coming out this month, even if they’re not being met with the usual literary-world fanfare, and now is a great time to support your favorite authors by stocking up on reading material. Below, find a reading guide of new releases sure to distract you while you stick close to home.
A young woman struggles with grief, whirlwind romance, literary inspiration, and the drudgery of modern life in this book, which differs greatly from King’s 2014 novel Euphoria,, but pulls off the same rare literary feat of revealing people’s day-to-day lives as fascinating and precious in their flaws.
Set between colonial Jamaica and present-day Harlem, this wide-ranging novel revolves around a long-absent father and his adult daughter and brings up questions about family, connection, and the weight that our individual decisions can have on the people around us.
Wracked with anxiety over a failing marriage, a distant teenager, a sick friend and all the other trappings of adult life, Zigman’s protagonist Judy takes to carrying the family dog in a sling like a baby in this novel about stress, release, and the unlikely places we turn to for comfort in uncertain times.
Temporary by Hilary Leichter (March 3)
The near-farcical chaos of the gig economy is explored in this story of a young woman’s journey through a series of increasingly wild job placements, from shining shoes to swabbing the deck of a pirate ship. (Not to judge a book by its cover, but this one gets extra points for the coolest jacket we’ve seen in a while.)
Set in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in 1995, this genre-bending debut novel revolves around a rescued child who symbolizes favor from ancient Hawaiian gods, following that child as he and his siblings grow up and move apart while remaining tied by bonds of heritage that can’t easily be broken.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (March 10)
One of the most talked-about debut novels in recent memory, My Dark Vanessa isn’t exactly a feel-good read—it chronicles a teenager’s long and tortured affair with her English teacher—but it’s as powerful as it is painful, and deserves its reputation as one of the defining books of the #MeToo era.
The Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman’s story of trying to put together the puzzle of her family origins based on a few items she found after her grandmother’s death—a photo of her grandmother with a stranger, a Red Cross telegram, and a drawing signed by Picasso—is a history lesson full of twists and turns.
World-famous singer Alicia Keys recently captivated the Grammys audience with a moving tribute to Kobe Bryant, and now she’s out with a brand-new memoir that recounts everything from her New York City upbringings to her turbulent relationship with her father to her rise to fame as a teenager.