Quick book picks for March

In case you’re stuck for new books to read or want to know what’s coming out, here are my top books for March, with quick summaries and links if I’ve posted a review somewhere.

  • Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo – A moving story about hope, love, and freedom, set in Nigeria between 1985 and 2008 and charting Yejide and her husband Akin’s attempts to have children and live as the family they have imagined.
  • Little Nothing by Marisa Silver – A novel fusing fairy tale and reality that focuses on transformation and belief in the face of difference.
  • The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown – A timely historical novel about persecution and prejudice centred around Alice, the imagined sister of 17th century Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins.
  • The Lonely City by Olivia Laing – A memoir of loneliness in New York mixed with details and histories of major twentieth century artists who suffered from the same issue and how art and loneliness can connect.
  • Nasty Women by 404 Ink – A collection of essays about intersectional issues facing women in the twenty first century, often moving and funny.
  • The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel – A dark literary thriller about a seemingly privileged family and their secrets.
  • The Bomb Girls’ Secrets by Daisy Styles – A light historical novel about the social issues and personal drama of women’s war effort in WWII.

Little Nothing

Little Nothing by Marisa Silver

Little Nothing is a story about transformation, about a girl who is a miracle, a dwarf, and a beauty, who grows up to be many other things. A cross between The Tin Drum and a fairy tale, Silver’s novel skirts the line between reality and allegory, leaving a trail of myth in its wake. The events and characters in the book fit together like a puzzle, using the fixed narrative conventions and easy coincidence of fairy tale and legend to create a story that flows from one section to the next.

The improbability and unreality of some of the events in the book may not appeal to everyone, particularly in conjunction with the more realistic elements and depiction of harsh imprisonment. However, Little Nothing is a treat for anyone who likes retellings of and new fairy tales and myths. Though lacking in the linguistic playfulness of transformation found in authors like Jeanette Winterson in favour of a more straightforward style, the novel blends the telling and enacting of stories to create a work in which fairy tales are both invented tales and reality.