If there’s a theme that runs throughout our picks for notable March reading, it’s expertise. Some of that comes from the authors, several of whom are accomplished in their fields. Reading their insights on the subjects about which they know most offers a singular perspective. Other works here focus on the ways that expertise can go wrong — sometimes tragically so. These books range from educational to escapist; maybe one of them will be your next enthralling read.
Bob Odenkirk, Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir (March 1)
If Bob Odenkirk had never ventured to New Mexico to play an ethically dodgy lawyer, he’d still be considered one of the foremost comic minds of his generation. That he’s also revealed a penchant for drama is a fascinating shift in his career — and in this new memoir, he looks back at the breadth of his career, from Saturday Night Live to Better Call Saul, and beyond.
Mary Childs, The Bond King: How One Man Made a Market, Built an Empire, and Lost It All (March 15)
You might know Mary Childs from her work as the host of NPR’s Planet Money. Here, she offers an insightful look into the life and career of Bill H. Gross, best known for his work investing in bonds, which helped to transform financial markets. The Bond King makes for fascinating reading for those curious about seismic shifts in the world of finance.
Sarah Polley, Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory (March 1)
Sarah Polley first made her mark through her acting, turning in searing performances in films like The Sweet Hereafter and Go. Since then, she’s reinvented herself as an acclaimed director making both feature films and documentaries. Her new memoir furthers some of the themes she’s explored there, asking dramatic questions about memory and identity.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, The Wok: Recipes and Techniques (March 8)
If you’ve embraced home cooking in recent years, it’s very likely that you’ve read some of J. Kenji López-Alt’s writings on food, techniques and the like. His latest cookbook focuses on one particular piece of kitchenware: the wok. If you’re looking to learn something new or refine your techniques, this book is the place to go.
Sarah Fay, Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses (March 8)
How would you deal with being incorrectly diagnosed by a medical professional? What if that happened not once, but six times? Sarah Fay’s new memoir describes that very issue: over the course of 30 years, Fay received six different diagnoses related to her mental health. How did those change her life? You’ll need to pick this up to find out.
Tim McLoughlin, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms: Stories and Essays (March 1)
Tim McLoughlin’s writing abounds with a precise eye for detail and a lived-in sensibility. Besides his forays into noir fiction, he’s also spent years working in New York City’s criminal justice system. His new collection blends fiction and nonfiction, offering a fine overview of his literary work.
Harry Crews, A Childhood: The Biography of a Place (March 15)
This is an excellent year for fans of cult writer Harry Crews, who specialized in harrowing works of fiction set in the American South. (Run, don’t walk, to check out A Feast of Snakes if you haven’t already.) This spring brings new editions of two of his books, including A Childhood, his memoir of growing up in Georgia during the Great Depression. Want to know about the moments that shaped a great writer? You’ll find them here.
Abby Seif, Troubling the Water: A Dying Lake and a Vanishing World in Cambodia (March 1)
We’re living through a time of vast environmental change, one of the effects of which is getting to learn about unforeseen connections between elements of an ecosystem. Troubling the Water tells the story of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake — and how its delicate ecological balance has been upended in recent years, putting the community around it at risk.
Alex Segura, Secret Identity (March 15)
The 1970s were a fascinating time for the world of comic books. And, as it turns out, that industry at that time also makes for a great setting for a murder mystery. Alex Segura drew on his own knowledge of the industry to write this story of an up-and-coming writer whose professional challenges overlap with trying to solve a decidedly lethal mystery.
Russell King, Rajneeshpuram: Inside the Cult of Bhagwan and Its Failed American Utopia (March 8)
If you watched the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, you’re probably familiar with the Rajneeshpuram commune and its unsettling conclusion. Russell King’s new book offers a new perspective on the commune and its rise and fall — and what it can tell us about the way we live now.
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