• The Hub

    News, Notes, Talk

    Billy Wilder! The Wife of Bath! 21 books out in paperback this March.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    March 1, 2024, 4:55am

    Astonishing as it may seem, March—and, with it, the spring of 2024—is already here. March, like much of 2024, will almost certainly be a month of major events, given the extraordinary confluence of conflicts and political jockeying we’ve already had in the first two months of the year. It’s easy to give in to a feeling of dark unease if you’re the kind to doomscroll (and I do not recommend doomscrolling for anyone). On the other hand, we also have less darkness to look forward to as the sun keeps setting slightly later, granting us a little more daylight. And why not use that daylight and warmth to curl up with a new book?

    If that sounds like you, you’re in luck, Dear Reader. Below, you’ll find twenty-one books coming out in paperback this March. If you missed them the first time around, you’ve got another chance to get them now. And it’s worth it. You’ll find searing fiction from Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, Catherine Lacey, Eleanor Catton, Cecile Pin, Aleksandar Hemon, Soraya Palmer, and many other brilliant writers; a study of Chaucer’s resonant character, the Wife of Bath; a lyrical genre-bending memoir by Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton; an updated edition of Julia Serano’s groundbreaking trans text, Whipping Girl, complete with a new afterword from the author; the film critic Joseph McBride on Billy Wilder; and much, much more.

    It’s a month of new blossoms and new books alike, and, as with both, there’s almost always something lovely to look at, no matter what you’re in the mood for. May your to-be-read lists grow and grow.


    In Memoriam - Winn, Alice

    Alice Winn, In Memoriam

    “It’s hard to believe that In Memoriam is a debut novel as it’s so assured, affecting and moving. Alice Winn has written a devastating love story between two young men that moves from the sheltered idyll of their public school to the unspeakable horrors of the Western Front during the First World War. Gaunt and Ellwood will live in your mind long after you’ve closed the final pages.”
    –Maggie O’Farrell

    Dust Child - Nguyen, Mai Phan Que

    Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, Dust Child

    “Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai will win…readers with her powerful and deeply empathetic second novel. From the horrors of war and its enduring afterlife for men and women, lovers and children, soldiers and civilians, she weaves a heartbreaking tale of lost ideals, human devotion, and hard-won redemption. Dust Child establishes Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai as one of our finest observers…and proves…her ability to captivate readers and lure them into Viet Nam’s rich and poignant history.”
    –Viet Thanh Nguyen

    Biography of X - Lacey, Catherine

    Catherine Lacey, Biography of X

    “This is a major novel, and a notably audacious one. Lacey is pulling from a deep reservoir. Beneath the counterfactuals, and the glamour and squalor of Manhattan nightlife, and the mythologies bought and sold, she’s telling a love story of a broken sort. C.M. is flinging rope between her present and past. This book is about facing, and accepting, the things you didn’t want to know.”
    The New York Times

    The Wife of Bath: A Biography - Turner, Marion

    Marion Turner, The Wife of Bath: A Biography
    (Princeton University Press)

    “The history of women in the Middle Ages is fraught with uncertainties, especially when it comes to source material and authorship; Turner unfurls this complexity in elegant, quietly angry prose, grounded in deep scholarly research….Turner’s biography of Alison of Bath demonstrates the stunning resonance of medieval prejudice in the present.”
    The New York Times Book Review

    Black Chameleon: Memory, Womanhood, and Myth - Mouton, Deborah D. E. E. P.

    Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, Black Chameleon: Memory, Womanhood, and Myth

    “The book is lyrical, tender, and generous, celebrating the beauty of the oppressed with wildly imaginative and artfully rendered prose….This innovative mix of myth and nonfiction is a pleasure to read. A formally inventive celebration of Black womanhood.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    This Isn't Going to End Well: The True Story of a Man I Thought I Knew - Wallace, Daniel

    Daniel Wallace, This Isn’t Going to End Well: The True Story of a Man I Thought I Knew

    “Novelist Wallace (Big Fish) pays loving tribute to his late brother-in-law, William Nealy, in this deeply felt memoir….Wallace’s elegiac narrative shimmers with deep admiration for a man who always played by his own rules and stood by the people he loved. This will entrance readers from the first page.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Birnam Wood - Catton, Eleanor

    Eleanor Catton, Birnam Wood

    “A generational cri de coeur….A sophisticated page-turner….Birnam Wood nearly made me laugh with pleasure. The whole thing crackles….Greta Gerwig could film this novel, but so could Quentin Tarantino.”
    The New York Times

    Künstlers in Paradise - Schine, Cathleen

    Cathleen Schine, Künstlers in Paradise

    “Few authors could pull off what Cathleen Schine does in Künstlers in Paradise: creating a seamless, multilayered saga about family dynamics and relationships, immigration, the early days of Hollywood and the often disturbingly cyclical nature of history….Künstlers in Paradise is truly a trove of unexpected rewards.”

    The World and All That It Holds - Hemon, Aleksandar

    Aleksandar Hemon, The World and All That It Holds

    “Aleksandar Hemon’s The World and All That It Holds is one of the finest novels I’ve ever read, and like all great stories, it refuses to be pigeonholed. It’s a road novel, an immigrant tale, a ghost story, a family portrait, a mystery, a historical epic, a war novel, and yes, a love story—it is all that and more, a feat of unfettered literary bravura. In short, a masterpiece.”
    –Rabih Alameddine

    We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America - Asgarian, Roxanna

    Roxanna Asgarian, We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America

    We Were Once a Family fills in [a] crucial gap by tracing how two Texas sibling groups…came to be removed from their families….By meticulously showing how social workers, legal officials, and other authorities repeatedly failed the families, We Were Once a Family powerfully uses this one story…to expose how what happened to these children is indicative of the classism and racism still baked into the institution.”
    The Atlantic

    Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity - Serano, Julia

    Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    (Seal Press)

    “Julia Serano is the wise, acerbic brain at the center of the transgender movement. The original edition of Whipping Girl forever connected trans theory to feminism and queer studies….Julia Serano is more than a brilliant writer and theorist; she’s also a tremendously compassionate, humane woman whose work has enlarged the lives of all her readers. Urgent, contentious, generous, and brilliant.”
    –Jennifer Finney Boylan

    Stfu: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World - Lyons, Dan

    Dan Lyons, STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World

    “Want to help with those loudmouthed jerks, the ones polluting our media and our minds of late? Want to avoid being one yourself? STFU teaches us what we all need to learn: how to listen, pause and speak. How to communicate with intention, and power. The book opens your mind by closing your mouth. I could go on, but I’ll shut up now.”
    –Aaron James

    The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts - Palmer, Soraya

    Soraya Palmer, The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts

    “What happens to stories that are born of another land? When they migrate multiple times and across multiple generations? Soraya Palmer’s ambitious and passionate debut, The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts, is a thoughtful exploration of these questions….This is a book written with the gods of storytelling in mind; it highlights what stories can do–that it’s not just the stories that evolve with each telling, but we ourselves who are rearranged too.”
    –Ingrid Rojas-Contreras

    Wandering Souls - Pin, Cecile

    Cecile Pin, Wandering Souls

    Wandering Souls is more than a story of sacrifice and familial duty. The author has greater ambitions, first signaled in the intricate story structure she builds….What emerges is something special—a polyvocal novel, an essay on inherited trauma and a quiet metafiction about telling stories we don’t own.”
    –Eric Nguyen

    Users - Winnette, Colin

    Colin Winette, Users
    (Soft Skull)

    Users creeps upon the reader like the well-designed programs it describes, disguising itself as a tome about the future, virtual reality, the tech world, and what tantalizing dangers it wreaks. But what is truly frightening about this extraordinary book is the center of its futuristic shell—an unsettling look at marriage, parenting, and relationships that will lurk in the reader’s mind long after the final page. Colin Winnette has written a delicious nightmare. Welcome to its open maw.”
    –Esmé Weijun Wang

    Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge - McBride, Joseph

    Joseph McBride, Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge
    (Columbia University Press)

    “Easily the most insightful, lively, and thought-provoking book on film I’ve come across this year; no one is better than McBride when it comes to exploring and clarifying the complex intersection between cultural, historical, and psychological forces that yields an artist’s work, and his volume on Wilder is as good as anything he’s ever written—which means it’s as good as anything any film critic has ever written.”
    –Jim Hemphill

    Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World - Harris, Malcolm

    Malcolm Harris, Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World
    (Back Bay Books)

    “Extraordinary. In lucid, personal, often funny, and always insightful prose, Malcolm Harris finds the driving thrust of reaction not in capitalism’s left-behind regions but in its vanguard: California, and specifically Silicon Valley. We have not yet felt the full force of the shit storm that the titans of tech have been conjuring. We soon will. If you want to understand what’s coming, you need to read this book.”
    –Greg Grandin

    Games and Rituals: Stories - Heiny, Katherine

    Katherine Heiny, Games and Rituals: Stories

    “Much of the world spent a year or two or three enclosed with the people we were supposed to be most intimate with. It seems only natural then that the interest now would be to put those relationships under scrutiny. Heiny’s new story collection tests the limits of these relationships over and over again, challenging the institutions of family and marriage….Heiny captures the domestic tension perfectly.”
    Chicago Review of Books

    The Drinker of Horizons - Couto, Mia

    Mia Couto, The Drinker of Horizons

    “In this concluding volume to an ambitious trilogy about the history of Mozambique, Mia Couto wrestles with issues like colonialism, religious conflicts, and notions of family. It’s also subtly subversive; the star-crossed lovers in the narrative are kept separate, and many of the political maneuverings take place offscreen. The result is a moving tale with complex characters that rarely goes where you’d expect.”
    –Tobias Carroll

    This Bird Has Flown - Hoffs, Susanna

    Susanna Hoffs, This Bird Has Flown
    (Back Bay Books)

    “A clever and entertaining debut novel about the nagging ambivalence of love, missed connections and the transcendent power of a great two-minute pop song….Hoffs spins the gears of her antic narrative with sharp, sardonic wit and an insider’s feel for the mixed blessings of pop fame and a fickle public….[This] is the power of music; it can give us the key to ourselves at those times when we need it the most. Hoffs understands this acutely, which is why This Bird Has Flown rings so true.”
    The Los Angeles Times

    He Said He Would Be Late - Sullivan, Justine

    Justine Sullivan, He Said He Would Be Late

    He Said He Would Be Late is mesmerizing and propulsive—at once a humorous and relatable exploration of motherhood and marriage and an entirely successful story of suspense. I absolutely adored this book.”
    –Nora Murphy