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The Best New Book Releases Out March 12, 2024

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

Come November, we will no doubt have Haruki Murakami’s new novel The City and Its Uncertain Walls in our featured list. Until then, you can read about the author’s first book in six years. If you’re interested in true stories, there’s this roundup of the best nonfiction coming out this month by Kendra Winchester.

There’s a random trend I noticed with the new books out today: “doll.” There are a couple of books with “doll” in the title — the Anna May Wong biography Not Your China Doll by Katie Gee Salisbury and the fictional account of generational trauma Mother Doll by Katya Apekina. There’s also a story with talking dolls in Gina Chung’s Green Frog, which I discuss a little more later.

For the holy rollers, the chain-smoking queer nun Sister Holiday is back in Blessed Water by Margot Douaihy. Another sequel finds an enforcer searching for the reason mangled bodies keep showing up in a pre-apocalyptic town in Micaiah Johnson’s Those Beyond the Wall. In a similarly dystopian vein, there’s Premee Mohamed’s The Siege of Burning Grass, which looks at the ramifications of war in a speculative world.

If you want your heart tugged a little (a lot), Musih Tedji Xaviere writes about the dangers of queer existence in Cameroon in These Letters End in Tears. Poet Morgan Parker gives us a personal look at American culture, history, and its relationship with Black Americans with the essays in You Get What You Pay For.

The books below are by greats — like Gabriel García Márquez and Marilynne Robinson — and newcomers alike. With them, we explore the misadventures of trifling wives, the book of creation, and the tiny seeds that make their way in the world.

cover of Until August by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; image of a marble statue of a woman

Until August by Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Anne McLean

Ana Magdalena Bach has been happily married for 27 years, and yet, every August, she takes a ferry to the island that holds her mother’s grave and finds a new lover for one night. Each year, she gets closer to the thing driving her away from her safe life with her husband and children, and further into the arms of conmen and lechers.

Interestingly, this novella almost didn’t exist. García Márquez never wanted it to be published, but his sons eventually decided that it would be. You can read more about that here.

cover of Reading Genesis by Marilynne Robinson

Reading Genesis by Marilynne Robinson

This one’s a little different. It’s a reinterpretation of the book of Genesis by someone whose highly acclaimed work has been greatly influenced by it. But before you start thinking it’ll be overly academic and dense, well, it is somewhat dense — it’s based on Genesis after all — but it is written through a more artistic lens.

cover of Great Expectations  Vinson Cunningham

Great Expectations by Vinson Cunningham

Great Expectations takes us back a few years. Obama is just starting to ramp up his bid for presidency when another young Black American man takes notice. David is intrigued by the Illinois senator’s promises, but is ultimately doubtful. Then he goes to work for his presidential campaign, where he meets all manner of people who make him question everything, including the nature of art, history, and race.

cover of Dispersals: On Plants, Borders, and Belonging by Jessica J. Lee

Dispersals: On Plants, Borders, and Belonging by Jessica J. Lee

I love books that remove that boundary humans have placed between us and the rest of nature. Here, in 14 essays, Lee hones in specifically on the parallels shared by plants and people when it comes to belonging and adapting to new home environments. All of the plants she mentions don’t belong where they’ve wound up…at least, not at first. With research, history, and personal experiences, Lee explores how plants and people come to belong.

Green Frog by Gina Chung–a fictional short story collection–is another book out today that ties the natural world more closely to humanity, if not women more specifically.

cover of Happily Never After by Lynn Painter

Happily Never After by Lynn Painter

Okay, so the premise of this latest romance by the bestselling Painter hinges on what has to be the most hater job ever: professional wedding objector. Max is the first objector we meet in the story. He’s the one who Sophie hires to object to her marrying her fiancé, since she’s too scared to break it off. On the one hand, a wedding objector may be helping to stop someone from wasting years of their life being married to the wrong person; but it appears the reason Max does it is that he is cynical when it comes to love — i.e., he is a hater. But when he and Sophie start working together as professional objectors, they grow closer. Then his ex’s current fiancé hires them to object to her wedding and Max starts to have reservations.

cover of Just Another Epic Love Poem by Parisa Akhbari

Just Another Epic Love Poem by Parisa Akhbari

Starting when they were 13, besties Mitra Esfahani and Bea Ortega have kept The Book — a worn moleskine notebook that holds stanzas on stanzas of an epic, never-ending poem. The Book has always been a place where either girl can fully express herself and work through her issues — from Mitra’s feelings surrounding her absentee mother, to Bea’s breakup. Except this one thing. Mitra is in love with Bea and that could change everything. I haven’t finished this one yet, but the way it uses form — stanzas of poetry, texts, and journal prompts dispersed amongst prose — makes me all the more immersed in the girls’ story.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:

  • All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
  • The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
  • Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!