Exciting book releases for month of March

Highly anticipated books being released in March as selected by Assistant Arts Editor Devina Bhalla are pictured. Ann-Marie Burke / The Tufts Daily

March 2020 brings an exciting array of new books. Here are eight of the most anticipated books of 2020 that launch this month.

“Deacon King Kong” by James McBride

“Deacon King Kong” is James McBride’s first novel after his award-winning work “The Good Lord Bird” (2013). This book dives into a Brooklyn community when a church deacon shoots and kills the project’s drug dealer in September of 1969. The effects and consequences of the shooting for the African American and Latinx community are illustrated vividly by McBride. The cops investigating the murder, the witnesses and even the white neighbors lives all overlap within a lively and difficult 1960s in New York City.

McBride also wrote “The Color of Water” (1995) and is a popular musician and screenwriter. “Deacon King Kong” is his latest work, encompassing tensions and rage that still live in our society.

“The Glass Hotel” by Emily St. John Mandel

“The Glass Hotel” will be released on March 24. It is one of The New York Times’ “20 Books We’re Watching For in 2020.” It is Emily St. John Mandel’s fifth novel. It follows Vincent, a bartender on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island when she meets Jonathan Alkaitis. Vincent poses as Alkaitis’ wife until his international Ponzi scheme collapses and she walks away into the night. In what at first seems unconnected, a victim of the Ponzi scheme is hired to investigate a woman disappearing off the deck of a container ship.

Mandel brings the reader through seemingly disconnected worlds like federal prisons, underground clubs and homeless campgrounds. “The Glass Hotel” strikingly attempts to search for the different ways life takes meaning.

“The City We Became” by N.K. Jemisin

“The City We Became” will be released March 24. New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin is back with her first book of the Great Cities Trilogy. “The City We Became” is about five New Yorkers defending their city from an ancient evil. The dark side of New York City comes alive and threatens to destroy the soul of this beloved city.

N.K. Jemisin is known for her fantasy and science fiction books. She received the Hugo Book Award for best science fiction or fantasy book in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

“The Mirror & the Light” by Hilary Mantel

Mantel completes her Wolf Hall trilogy with “The Mirror & the Light.” This book follows the last years of Thomas Cromwell’s life as he completes his journey from poverty to power. Cromwell was an English lawyer and statesman and the first Earl of Essex under King Henry VIII. The book begins in 1536 with the death of Anne Boleyn. “The Mirror & the Light” puts Cromwell’s aspirations for England within the turmoil of the time, with rebellions and traitors lurking all over the country. He was known for being a powerful force behind the English Reformation.

“The Mirror & the Light” has been eight years in the making and completes Cromwell’s unforgettable and historically significant life journey. Mantel is a best-selling author and won Booker Prizes for the previous two books in the trilogy, “Wolf Hall” (2009) and “Bring Up the Bodies” (2012).

“My Dark Vanessa” by Kate Elizabeth Russell

“My Dark Vanessa” is a delicate and raw novel that will be released on March 10. Vanessa, the protagonist, is confronted 17 years after having an affair with her 42-year-old English teacher as other sexual assault allegations come out against him. Her teacher, Jacob Strane, was her first love at 15. As Vanessa tries to decide whether or not to come forward, she faces the difficult decision of whether to continue seeing her affair with Strane as a loving one or as one of coercion.

The book takes place between the year 2000, when Vanessa had the affair with Strane, and the year 2017, where she is deciding whether or not to come forward. “My Dark Vanessa” doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations about consent, agency, troubled relationships and psychological dynamics. This is Russell’s first novel and she was Entertainment Weekly’s Breakout Author to Watch in 2020.

“House of Earth and Blood” by Sarah J. Maas

New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas released the first book of the new Crescent City series on March 3. “The House of Earth and Blood” is about Bryce Quinlan, a half-human, half-Fae girl, as she attempts to avenge the murders of her closest friends by a demon. She works with a fallen angel named Hunt Athalar to dig under Crescent City to stop the dark power threatening their world. Full of action, love and suspense, “House of Earth and Blood” captures you in its page-turning story.

Maas is known for her Throne of Glass series (2012-2018) and “A Court of Thorns and Roses” (2015).

“The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdrich   

National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich is back with “The Night Watchman,” which was released on March 3. “The Night Watchman” is based on the life of Erdrich’s grandfather, who worked as a night watchman for a jewelry plant and spent his life fighting Native American dispossession in rural North Dakota in 1953.

The book follows the lives within the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. Thomas Wazhashk, the character based off of Erdich’s grandfather, is a Chippewa Council member trying to understand the consequences of a bill that Congress is forcing upon them. Pixie “Patrice” Paranteau is working at the jewelry plant trying to make enough money to go to Minneapolis. “The Night Watchman” examines all of the tensions and struggles of trying to live and survive in a country that doesn’t want you. 

“New Waves” by Kevin Nguyen

“New Waves” follows two workers at a New York tech company, Lucas and Margo. Margo is a programmer the company’s only black employee. Lucas, who works as a customer representative, is one of many Asian employees. Both friends, however, are frustrated and decide to steal the company’s user database. Things don’t go as planned when Margo dies in a car crash and Lucas is left in shock. After his friend’s death, he finds out more about Margo and her world of secrets.

Nguyen’s knowledge of the tech industry is intricately paired with ideas about humanity in “New Waves.” This is Nguyen’s first novel and will be released on March 10.


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