12 Must-Read Books of March 2024


The groundhog didn’t see its shadow this year, and our team can confirm that it certainly feels like spring is nearly here. I can’t lie and say I’m not looking forward to a March where I can grab a light jacket and a book and head outside for some outdoor reading. But whether or not these warmer temperatures are here to stay, we certainly have some hot new releases for you to enjoy!

This month is packed with new books from some of our most prolific authors working today—including Hanif Abdurraqib, Percival Everett, and Helen Oyeyemi—as well as a number of exciting debuts you’ll definitely want to pick up. Take a look at our 12 must-read books of March 2024 and then make the most of the springtime weather by heading to your nearest local bookstore!

The Divorcées
By Rowan Beaird
Flatiron Books

Chicago author Rowan Beaird’s debut novel is an utterly compelling exploration of friendship and life after divorce. The Divorcées is set in the 1950s at a Reno “divorce ranch,” a six-week residency that was the state’s sole divorce requirement and the only option for wives looking to escape fractured, loveless, or abusive marriages. There, Lois Saunders meets Greer Lang, a mysterious and beguiling figure who shows her how to push against the limits that have always restrained her. The Divorcées casts a sharp eye on a lesser known facet of American history, and in the talented hands of Beaird it becomes an unforgettable ride through the ruggedness of gin-soaked casinos and the allure of new beginnings. 

There’s Always This Year 
By Hanif Abdurraqib
Random House

Here at the Chicago Review of Books, we’ll always look forward to a new book from Hanif Abdurraqib. There’s Always This Year is a poignant reflection on growing up during the golden era of basketball and the ways in which the sport shaped his life. Abdurraqib is known for his deeply moving accounts, and in his latest release he brings his talent for introspection to explore his relationship to the sport, who we think deserve (or doesn’t deserve) success, and the very notion of role models. 

Wolf at the Table
By Adam Rapp
Little, Brown and Company

In the summer of 1951, thirteen-year-old Myra Larkin meets a young man she believes to be Mickey Mantle, who offers to give her a ride home. The experience consumes her until later that night, when a triple homicide occurs just down the street, opening a specter of violence that will haunt the Larkins for a half a century. In Wolf at the Table, acclaimed filmmaker, playwright, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp brings his attention for suspense to the page in this multigenerational tale about a family harboring a serial killer. The novel is consistently gripping and difficult to put down as it traces the violence that exists just beneath the image of a good society.

Through the Night Like a Snake: Latin American Horror Stories
Two Lines Press

It’s no secret that some of the most gripping horror comes out of Latin America, and thankfully the genre is getting its spotlight in the latest edition in Two Lines Press’s Calico Series—a series devoted to translated literature curated around a particular theme, region, language, historical moment, or style. Through the Night Like a Snake features ten haunting stories that prod at the taboo regions of our psyche and the chilling undercurrents of our modern life. In one entry, a boy explores the abandoned house of a dead fascist, while in another two girls have a close encounter with a neighbor accused of murdering his family. Through the Night Like a Snake is both beautiful in its writing and translation and a welcome sight for horror fans everywhere.

Street Fight: The Chicago Taxi Wars of the 1920s
By Anne Morrissy
Lyons Press

Did you know that, in the 1920s, two taxi companies struggling for dominance in Chicago sparked a war of violence, backroom dealing, and government bribery that would shape the modern city? We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. Written like a heartracing thriller or true crime podcast, Street Fight is a fascinating look at this understudied conflict in the city’s history that combined a perfect storm of labor suppression, organized crime, government corruption, and turf warfare. Anne Morrisy’s latest is a must-read for history buffs of all kinds.

By Percival Everett
Doubleday Books

Percival Everett continues his blistering pace of unforgettable fiction with James, a reimagining of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn told from the point of view of Jim. Everett infuses this well-known story with a refreshingly contemporary jolt of agency, intelligence, and compassion, bringing new life to the character of Jim and the American epic. 

The Missing
By Ben Tanzer
713 Books

When Gabriel and Hannah’s daughter Christa goes missing, the two are forced to finally confront the fissures in their marriage and who they’ve become as parents and individuals. From issues of alcoholism and womanizing to the worries that their parenting may have pushed their daughter away, the bonds of their love slowly begin to unravel. Emmy award-winning author Ben Tanzer has created a deeply psychological portrait of a marriage on the brink, infusing raw emotion and the bitter numbness of loss into every breakage. 

Parasol Against the Axe 
By Helen Oyeyemi
Riverhead Books

We’re thrilled to see that Helen Oyeyemi, the bestselling author of Peaces and Gingerbread, is officially back with a joyous new novel that follows a woman who finds herself in Prague for a bachelorette weekend hosted by an estranged friend. But all is not what it seems in the Czech capital. For one thing, the book she brought with her seems to change its text depending on when it’s being read or who is doing the reading. Then uninvited guests begin to arrive at the bachelorette outings, including someone the narrator knows from her past. Parasol Against the Axe is kinetic and kaleidoscopic at every turn, keeping readers on their back foot even as Oyeyemi draws them in with the allure of warped reality and hidden secrets. 

See Also

The Palace of Forty Pillars 
By Armen Davoudian
Tin House Books

We were proud to share the first look at Armen Davoudian’s debut poetry collection back in August, and our team has been greatly anticipating the book’s release ever since. The Palace of Forty Pillars tells the story of a self estranged from the world around him as a gay adolescent, an Armenian in Iran, and an immigrant in America amid the specter of multiple global tragedies. Davoudian’s lyrical genius is on full display in this debut, as each poem highlights a careful attention to rhyme and meter and a live wire of deeply held emotion that makes every line crackle on the tongue. 

Until August
By Gabriel García Márquez
Translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean
Knopf Publishing Group

It’s not often we get to celebrate a posthumous novel release from one of our most celebrated and influential authors, so we consider Until August a gift to readers everywhere. Every August, Ana Magdalena Bach travels by ferry to the island where her mother is buried to take a new lover, even though she is happily married. Gabriel García Márquez’s writing is brimming with sensuality and desire, taking readers across sultry Caribbean evenings and into deep meditations on the mysteries of love and anticipation.

By Rita Bullwinkel

Headshot brings together eight teenage girl boxers who have made their way to Reno, Nevada, to compete to be named the best in the country. Between bouts of electric and at times brutal face-offs, Rita Bullwinkel explores the moments that have led each character to this moment, from unexpected past tragedies to a family’s unbearable expectations of success. Bullwinkel weaves together the girls’ disparate yet resonant pursuits of perfection to create a remarkable debut shedding light on the pleasures that motivate them to fight. 

Modern Poetry
By Diane Seuss
Graywolf Press

Diane Seuss takes the title of her latest collection from the first textbook she encountered as a child and the first poetry course she took in college. In many ways, then, Modern Poetry is something of a return to her linguistic roots, as many of her poems make use of forms she first encountered at that time while also grappling with the works of writers who are often overrepresented in the American literary canon. Seuss’s work proves to be as sharp and incisive as ever here, as she deconstructs the question “what can poetry be now?”


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