March Books: Top Rated Titles of the Last Month

“Booth”, by Karen Joy Fowler

In his exquisite new historical novel, Fowler lifts the curtain on a cast of ego-driven family members, including future assassin John Wilkes Booth, as they jostle for a spotlight while carelessly thrusting into the shade the shyest of them.

“The Cartographers” by Peng Shepherd

After the death of her father, a once-promising cartographer discovers a 90-year-old road map with fantastical properties that sets her on a dangerous hunt for answers.

“Disorientation”, by Elaine Hsieh Chou

In this satire, an unfortunate doctoral candidate upsets her campus community after discovering that the university’s most famous professor – supposedly a Chinese poet – is actually a white man.

“Fencing with the King”, by Diana Abu-Jaber

Abu-Jaber’s eighth book is about an upstate New York poet whose desire to understand her ancestry sends her on a trip with her father to Jordan, where she finds herself at odds with her uncle, the arm right of the king.

“French Braid”, by Anne Tyler

The Pulitzer Prize winner’s 24th novel may sound familiar to her fans, but that doesn’t make it any less engaging. Tyler begins his story in 1959, exploring the trajectories of a Baltimore family whose choices reverberate through generations.

“Glory”, by NoViolet Bulawayo

What Bulawayo thought was a non-fictional account of the 2017 coup that ended Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s oppressive 37-year rule turned into this satire, which recreates those real events using animals as the main characters.

“Groundkeeping”, by Lee Cole

Cole’s debut novel, a love story about two people from divergent backgrounds, is a harrowing examination of class differences and political polarization, which the narrator approaches with unusual empathy for the side he opposes.

“Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey”, by Florence Williams

In an attempt to come to terms with the wreckage that followed her divorce, Williams, a science writer, wrote this raw and exhaustively reported exploration of her emotional and physical pain.

“In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss”, by Amy Bloom

Bloom’s moving memoir recounts the emotional journey she went on with her husband, who chose to end his life after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Pioneering Architect,” by Victoria Kastner

Morgan, whose many designs included Hearst Castle, is the subject of this book – part biography, part coffee table decor – which takes us quickly through his extraordinary life and career.

“The Last Confessions of Sylvia P.” by Lee Kravetz

Sylvia Plath continues to fascinate us almost 60 years after her death. Add this first novel to the many books she inspired. Kravetz weaves together three stories in different timelines that reflect Plath’s iconic status.

“Lessons from the Edge”, by Marie Yovanovitch

Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine fired by President Donald Trump in 2019, rose to fame during his first impeachment hearings. She looks back here on her life as a diplomat who sought difficult assignments in countries where corruption was endemic.

“The Love of My Life” by Rosie Walsh

A classic example of the “I Married a Stranger” domestic thriller, Walsh’s sequel to “Ghosted” revolves around a man who learns that his funny, warm, and compassionate wife is also a liar.

“Lucky Breaks”, by Yevgenia Belorusets, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky

The Ukrainian author’s series of thin but meaty stories about women displaced by war uses humor and fairy tale tropes to portray a community traumatized by the 2014 Russian invasion.

Mecca by Susan Straight

The story of a California patrol officer haunted by a murder he committed decades ago is just one installment in this voluminous novel about people of color forming the backbone of agriculture, healthcare and hospitality.

“The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo”, by Garrett Hongo

Hongo’s wandering intellect creates surprises on every page of these memoirs, which ostensibly speak of his coming of age and his love for music, but also make room for meditations on sound waves, poetry and race in America.

“Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth”, by Elizabeth Williamson

Williamson’s meticulously reported book about a decade-old tragedy is more relevant than ever. She draws a direct line between the “Sandy Hook truthers” – as they called themselves – and later conspiracy theorists whose delusions spilled from the far reaches of the internet into real-world violence.

“The Second Half: Forty Women Reveal Life After Fifty”, by Ellen Warner

The women share the hard-won lessons they have gleaned. Photojournalist Warner accompanies his insightful interviews with stunning photography.

“A Sunny Weapon”, by Jacqueline Winspear

In Book #17 of this bestselling series, Maisie Dobbs becomes embroiled in a plot that involves attacks on military aircraft, a missing soldier, and a group of men hoping to kill First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

“Tell me everything: the story of a private investigation”, by Erika Krouse

Krouse, a famous fiction writer struggling financially, recalls how she turned her superpower — a face that immediately elicits confessions from strangers — into a career as a private detective.

“The Auditors”, by Jane Pek

Pek’s gripping plot centers on the potential for evil in the online dating industry, but it’s the vivacious and playful heroine and her complex Chinese immigrant family that you can’t get enough of.

Colin L. Johnson