Many of the best new books arriving this month fixate on the family, in all its complexities. In Good Talk, Mira Jacob opens up a dialogue with her six-year-old son, who is slowly gaining understanding of his biracial identity and place in the world after the 2016 election. In Survival Math, Mitchell S. Jackson traces his family’s history to better analyze his painful childhood. And veteran fiction authors Amy Hempel and Nathan Englander offer their own takes on discovering what it means to be a parent, partner and child. Here, 11 new books to read this March.
Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, Mitchell S. Jackson (March 5)
Mitchell S. Jackson, author of The Residue Years, explores traumatic childhood experiences with drugs, violence and addiction in his nonfiction debut about growing up as a black person in Portland, Ore. But beyond his own past, Jackson juxtaposes his history with those of his male relatives to illustrate the hardships of class and race on a generational level, creating a timely narrative centered around what it takes to survive in America.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir, T Kira Madden (March 5)
In her debut memoir, T Kira Madden details the struggles of growing up as a queer biracial teenager in Boca Raton, Fla., overwhelmed by her parents’ drug and alcohol addictions, which she had to navigate as an only child. Madden finds solace in a group of “fatherless girls,” who provide support in troubling times.
Daisy Jones & The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid (March 5)
Everyone loves the music of Daisy Jones and the Six in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest novel, but no one knows what broke up the iconic rock and roll band. In a novel being adapted for Amazon streaming by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Reid dives into the mystery of the fictitious band’s split, capturing the spirit of the ’70s as she describes what happened when Daisy, a singer-songwriter, got involved with the Six, a band that was desperately in need of her energy and talent.
Buy now: Daisy Jones & The Six
The Volunteer, Salvatore Scibona (March 5)
The Volunteer opens in an international airport, where a father has just abandoned his young son, due to a series of decisions that go back generations. National Book Award finalist Salvatore Scibona unpacks this moment by traveling back to the 1960s and introducing readers to Vollie, a young man who leaves his Iowan hometown to fight in the Vietnam War. By examining the choices Vollie made in his life — from his time in the Cambodian jungle to an assignment in Queens — Scibona asks readers to consider how the past can impact the future in unforeseeable ways.
Buy now: The Volunteer
Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story, Jacob Tobia (March 5)
As a child, Jacob Tobia, who identifies as gender non-binary, was often called “sissy” because of their tendency to enjoy stereotypically feminine activities. In their memoir, Tobia describes the confusion of struggling with gender identity and how it impacted their life, tracing their history from childhood memories in church to their time as a student at Duke University. In Sissy, Tobia adds a necessary voice to our national conversation about gender and acceptance.
Buy now: Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story
Lot: Stories, Bryan Washington (March 19)
What makes a community? Bryan Washington raises this question in his short story collection, which is focused on a boy working to understand his sexuality and his place in his family as he comes of age in Houston. Washington includes stories about the people who surround the boy — from a local baseball team to Hurricane Harvey survivors — to create a dynamic portrait of Houston and the people who live there.
Buy now: Lot: Stories
Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams (March 19)
Candice Carty-Williams’ debut novel centers around 25-year-old Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican-British Londoner whose life spins out of control after a painful breakup. To make matters worse, Queenie is frustrated with her newspaper job, where she is always comparing herself to her white colleagues. As she wrestles with her growing self-doubt, she consoles herself in all the wrong ways. Carty-Williams adds her voice to a timely conversation about mental health, sex and womanhood.
Buy now: Queenie
kaddish.com, Nathan Englander (March 26)
When Larry’s father dies, he returns to his family of Orthodox Jews to learn that, as his father’s only son, he has been tasked with reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish every day for 11 months. Larry is not religious and he’s not interested in delivering the daily prayer, much to his sister’s dismay, so he uses the website kaddish.com to find someone else who will do it for him. But after Larry receives a note from the rabbi who will do what he refuses, he begins an unexpected journey that leads him to rediscovering his relationship with spirituality.
Buy now: kaddish.com
Sing to It: New Stories Amy Hempel (March 26)
From a story about a volunteer at a dog shelter to one centered around a wife reckoning with her husband’s affair, award-winning author Amy Hempel’s new collection demonstrates once again her ability to craft compelling characters. The 15 new short stories, her first collection in over a decade, vary in length (many are shorter than two pages) and address issues of loneliness, love and loss.
Buy now: Sing to It: New Stories
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations, Mira Jacob (March 26)
After the 2016 election, Mira Jacob’s biracial six-year-old son started asking hard questions about race, sexuality, gender and more. Jacob breaks down those conversations in Good Talk, a graphic memoir that emphasizes the complexities of being part of an interracial family and the struggles of parenting in the present moment.
Buy now: Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
The Other Americans, Laila Lalami (March 26)
Driss, an elderly Moroccan immigrant, is suspiciously killed by a car in The Other Americans, Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami’s latest novel. People from different stages of Driss’ life, from his daughter Nora to the undocumented laborer who witnessed the hit-and-run, narrate chapters as the investigation of his death continues. Along the way, they discover the secrets they’ve kept from each other and the role that their town played in what happened to Driss.
Buy now: The Other Americans