What to read in March.

How the fuck is March already?

I have no idea. But I do know that March has some fantastic books you should check out and two of them are my book picks for the month.

First up is my pick for Nightmares from Nowhere, Lone Women by Victor LaValle. I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype I’d been hearing but I devoured it in a single day because I could not put it down.  The perfect mix of fascinating historical fiction and true horror.  Like if Little House on the Prairie was haunted.  And Laura Ingalls had a dark secret.  And was orphaned.  And was black.  Actually, not like Little House in the Prairie at all, now that I’m thinking about it.  You know what?  Here’s a better description:

“Blue skies, empty land—and enough room to hide away a horrifying secret. Or is there? Discover a haunting new vision of the American West from the award-winning author of The Changeling.
Adelaide Henry carries an enormous steamer trunk with her wherever she goes. It’s locked at all times. Because when the trunk is opened, people around her start to disappear…”

And my pick for the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club is a fantastically smart, funny and cozy memoir called Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller by Oliver Darkshire.

“Some years ago, Oliver Darkshire stepped into the hushed interior of Henry Sotheran Ltd on Sackville Street (est. 1761) to interview for their bookselling apprenticeship, a decision which has bedeviled him ever since.
For while Sotheran’s might be a treasure trove of literary delights, it sings a siren song to eccentrics. There are not only colleagues whose tastes in rare items range from the inspired to the mildly dangerous, but also zealous collectors seeking knowledge, curios, or simply someone with whom to hold a four hour conversation about books bound in human skin.
By turns unhinged and earnestly dog-eared, Once Upon a Tome is the rather colorful story of life in one of the country’s most ancient bookshops and a love letter to the benign, unruly world of antiquarian bookselling, where to be uncommon or strange is the best possible compliment.”

Need more than two books to get you through the month? I HAVE YOU. Some of my favorite new reads for March are:

The Angel Makers: Arsenic, a Midwife, and Modern History’s Most Astonishing Murder Ring by Patti McCracken   the true story of a 1920s midwife who may have been the century’s most prolific killer leading a murder ring of women responsible for the deaths of 160 men.   HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS STORY?

Weyward by Emilia Hart Three generations of women separated by centuries.  Witchcraft.  Secrets.  Dark suspense.  I think this one is going to get a lot of attention.

The Strange by Nathan Ballingrud – A western science fiction tale, like if True Grit and The Martian Chronicles had a baby.

Piñata by Leopoldo Gout –  A terrifying possession tale filled with Mexican and Aztec cultural elements.

The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts by Soraya Palmer  – Folktales and spirits animate this coming-of-age tale of two Jamaican-Trinidadian sisters in Brooklyn grappling with their mother’s illness, their father’s infidelity, and the truth of their family’s past.

Tombs by Junji Ito – If you love horror and you love manga you probably already know the bizarre, confounding and award-winning horror of Junji Ito.  This short story collection proves why he’s a master of body horror.

Chlorine by Jade Song  An unsettling novel about immigration, sapphic longing, and fierce, defiant becoming. Also, mermaids.

I’m going to open up discussion about Maame by Jessica George on the Fantastic Strangelings page but in case you don’t do facebook I’ll leave my thoughts in the comments.

And while we’re talking books…a giant thank you to the team at Nowhere and our amazing community (this means you!) for making us readers’ choice best bookshop in San Antonio and best place to Sip and Shop. HIGH FIVES TO EVERYONE.

Happy reading, y’all.

PS. Thank you for all of your sweet thoughts. I’m feeling better today. Trying to push myself without overdoing it.

16 thoughts on “What to read in March.

Read comments below or add one.


    My thoughts on Maame:

    I loved this complicated and character driven story for so many reasons:

    Maddie is 25 but this feels like a coming-of-age novel because Maddie has been in many ways stunted by the incredible responsibilities dropped at her feet at such a young age. I think we so often think that kids who have to grow up quickly are more mature but the truth is that they miss the time needed to grow up the way that they should and I loved how well this was examined.

    “It made me grow up when I should have had more time. It made my dad overlook me when I was a child, my mum leave me behind, and my brother get away with doing the bare minimum. It made me lonely and it made me sad. It made me responsible and guilty. It made me someone, if given the choice, I wouldn’t want to be.”

    Ow. I loved the complicated family dynamic she shared and how she learned to put herself first and prioritize herself and I was devastated when her father died when she wasn’t there because it seemed so unfair, but honestly life (and death) are unfair at times. I loved the examination of grief and guilt and coming to terms with past trauma and resentment while celebrating her triumphs.

    An emotional and complicated book, but also so relatable. Being caught between “duty” and “self, struggling to fit in as a second-generation immigrant, peer pressure, wanting to fit in, mental illness…there’s a lot going on here…but I felt like I was going through it with Maddie in such a great way.

    I loved how she found her way and how she was still working through it with therapy (rather than the quick fix of I-found-the-right-man-and-he-cured-everything) and how her mother stayed stubborn but started really listening and they all began healing.

    The author’s own story is so similar to the book it makes me wonder how much was autobiographical. In a way that would make sense since so much of this book felt so very personal and almost like a diary. Either way, It made Maddie feel like a friend and that’s such a good mark of a good book.

  2. Gad, where do I begin? I’ve heard good things about “Lone Women.”

  3. So you read Tombs! How did you like the art? Have you read any of Ito’s other work?

    (So good. I think I’ve read almost everything he’s done. ~ Jenny)

  4. So glad to see this post with loads of great books! Been thinking of you and sending so many good thoughts. You are never alone.

  5. I have a book recommendation. And fuck me for not reading this book before last week. It sat on my TBR staring me down for years. I’m STILL writing the review.
    Y’all Coming of Age Romance Readers who love the Carnival go 1-Click Rewrite The Stars by Charleigh Rose right now. This book has it all. Danger. Family Drama. Family Curses. STEAM. First Time Cotton Candy Eater. That was not a euphemism. You will fall in love with Evan(geline) and Sebastian. Gah, I feel a reread coming on.

  6. Oooh goody, books recommendations!
    And thank you to all your commenters for suggestion good podcasts, movies, tv shows and books to help us when we are feeling blue.
    I’m glad you are feeling a wee bit better, don’t push too hard, and take good care of yourself.

  7. Congrats to the Nowhere Bookshop team! I almost want to come to San Antonio to see the store IRL.
    p.s. I’m really enjoying the reading bingo. I’ve shared it with coworkers.

  8. Thank you, for this post, your last post, and all your posts! You really help. I hope the world get easier for you.

  9. Excellent list to make my TBR list even longer. Congrats to Nowhere!!
    Hope you’re feeling a bit better Jenny. Sending gentle hugs your way.

  10. Has anyone read The Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan? Southern drawl, quirky characters, ghosts and Prince of Darkness Funeral Parlor. OMG! Loved it!

  11. Now I want a steamer trunk that makes people disappear. I have a list. Is that wrong?

  12. It is not wrong to want a steamer trunk that makes people disappear. Nope, not at all. I happen to have two steamer trunks. Have people disappeared? I can neither confirm nor deny.

  13. I just received my 3rd payment order as well as the $30,000 I created on my laptop in a month through an online agent.{a38″ This job is good and his regular salary is much better than my normal target position. Be in this job now and
    start making money online by yourself go here…… http://usaworking7.blogspot.com

  14. Dear Jenny, I hope you’re looking into esketamine (Spravato) treatment for your treatment-resistant depression. It really works, and is covered by insurance. I just googled Spravato clinics San Antonio and got a number of hits. Please try it; it can be miraculous. Love, Judy

  15. I had to join the Nightmares from Nowhere book club because I heckin’ love horror novels, and it makes me happy to support your bookstore. The Spite House was ah-may-zing in all kinds of ways. Creepy, atmospheric, suspenseful, and so good that I didn’t want it to end. I can’t wait for the March book! Much love to you & your family & the Nowhere team!

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