Comfort in Chaos: 25 New Reads for March

Hi, friends. Just when we thought the world couldn’t get any stranger… As you can probably imagine, we bookworms have turned to the written word for solace in these unpredictable times, and we’ve rounded up 25 new titles for your consideration. We hope they bring you rest and reprieve. This list doesn’t contain books about what is currently happening in Europe, but if you’re looking to understand more about Ukraine and Russia, we’d recommend picking up The Future is History by Masha Gessen and The Gates of Europe by Serhii Plohky. As always, take care & read on.

Recommended by Lindsay

Checkout 19: A Novel Cover ImageCheckout 19: A Novel

By Claire-Louise Bennett

If an immaculately written, mostly plotless book of careful observations about the contemporary world sounds like your idea of a good time, then, wow, I am excited to introduce you to the work of Claire-Louise Bennett! I’ve been a fan since her debut Pond came out in 2016 and am happy to say that her latest, Checkout 19, is just as gorgeous.

Recommended by Ben

Nobody's Magic Cover ImageNobody’s Magic

By Destiny O. Birdsong

In this sexy, gritty, unapologetic debut novel, Birdsong embodies three black women from Shreveport, Louisiana who each have albinism. Their unique struggles, defining decisions, and hard-earned self-actualization kept me glued to the pages. The region is vividly portrayed, the dialogue so startlingly real I thought the characters were sitting right next to me. Read it now; it’ll be talked about all year.

Recommended by Andy

The Berlin Exchange: A Novel Cover ImageThe Berlin Exchange: A Novel

By Joseph Kanon

Joseph Kanon, author of Istanbul Passage and The Good German is one of the true masters of this genre. Historical accuracy coupled with suspenseful story telling resonates throughout his work. A prisoner swap in Berlin at the height of the Cold War sets the stage for this thrilling espionage tale.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Unsinkable Greta James: A Novel Cover ImageThe Unsinkable Greta James: A Novel

By Jennifer E. Smith

A singer-songwriter is forced to go on an Alaskan cruise with her father after her mother’s unexpected death. The strained relationship with her father over her music career, specifically a now-famous song she wrote about him, makes things awkward on the ship. A cast of characters from Greta’s childhood and a cute author on board may band together to show Greta a way back to her music career and her relationship with her dad.

Recommended by Sissy

Manhunt Cover ImageManhunt

By Gretchen Felker-Martin

This is the best horror of the year, in my opinion. An illness changes the Earth’s men into beasts, leaving women and the trans community struggling to adapt to a violent new reality. Felker-Martin explores the new sexism that arises with warring factions and heartfelt characters. The story’s so great I found myself forgetting to breathe.

Recommended by RJ

A River Enchanted: A Novel (Elements of Cadence #1) Cover ImageA River Enchanted: A Novel (Elements of Cadence #1)

By Rebecca Ross

A River Enchanted is a gorgeous Scotland-inspired fantasy set on an island where the wind carries gossip, music holds power, and a centuries-old feud is carved directly into the earth. Beautiful prose, mysterious disappearances, and multiple romances make this a read perfect for those looking to be utterly transported.

Recommended by Ben

Pure Colour: A Novel Cover ImagePure Colour: A Novel

By Sheila Heti

This weird and wonderful novel is told by Mira as she grieves for her father and falls in love with her friend, Annie. Set in a “first draft” of Creation, people are descended from birds, fish, bears, and Mira spends an extended period of time as a leaf on a tree. Elliptical as myth, it explores relational depths through ecological and theological lenses, scattering tiny truths within its wise vignettes along the way.

Recommended by Sarah

The Verifiers Cover ImageThe Verifiers

By Jane Pek

This is both a twisting locked-room mystery and an insightful social commentary on the complexities of our data-driven world. I quickly became invested in Claudia’s life and the puzzle she’s trying to solve. It was a refreshing and captivating read!

Recommended by Ashby

George Orwell's 1984: The Graphic Novel Cover ImageGeorge Orwell’s 1984: The Graphic Novel

By Matyáš Namai (Illustrator), George Orwell

In much the same way that Maus is haunting yet relevant as much now as ever, 1984 is too. Namai’s art is stark yet powerful. Having read the book long ago, and again a few years ago, this graphic version made me think again, deeper, and even more critically about how prescient Orwell was for his time and forever.

Recommended by Patsy

Vladimir: A Novel Cover ImageVladimir: A Novel

By Julia May Jonas

This biting debut novel follows a 58 year-old English professor in an open marriage as she develops a crush on a younger new hire while her husband faces repercussions of his decades of relationships with students. It’s a provocative study on the changing attitudes towards power, authority, & aging, studded with literary references, one that might result from a Zoe Heller, Philip Roth and Stephen King collaboration.

Recommended by Ben

Chilean Poet: A Novel Cover ImageChilean Poet: A Novel

By Alejandro ZambraMegan McDowell (Translated by)

As funny as it is perceptive, Zambra’s latest follows Gonzalo, an aspiring poet, and Vicente, his stepson who may have more poetic talent than him. With utterly fantastic sentences, he combs the quagmires of romance; the bonds between fathers and sons, friends and lovers; the inexplicable quest to create lasting art. As a poet who has lived in Chile, this book has everything for me: humor, insight, life.

Recommended by Chelsea

Delilah Green Doesn't Care Cover ImageDelilah Green Doesn’t Care

By Ashley Herring Blake

Delilah Green is called back to her hometown to photograph her estranged stepsister’s wedding and maybe accidentally fall in love with her stepsister’s best friend. Ashley Herring Blake’s adult debut is the best of the romance genre with fleshed out characters, emotional growth, and just enough spice. Plus readers may recognize a certain bookstore’s cameo appearance!

Recommended by Ashby

A Perfect Equation (The Secret Scientists of London #2) Cover ImageA Perfect Equation (The Secret Scientists of London #2)

By Elizabeth Everett

The second in The Secret Scientists of London series. Brilliant Victorian female scientists. And throw in romance…for strong-headed, determined women. Funny characters with interesting stories. And then there is love. Easily imagined as a film. Make Austen’s Emma a scientist and you will have some idea of what you are in for with this one!

Recommended by Aly

New Animal Cover ImageNew Animal

By Ella Baxter

After a sudden death rocks Amelia’s world, she’s desperate to do anything besides grieve, even if it means running away to her estranged father’s house and disappearing into a new identity that brings out the worst in herself.

Recommended by Marcia

A Flicker in the Dark: A Novel Cover ImageA Flicker in the Dark: A Novel

By Stacy Willingham

I picked up this debut novel on a whim and didn’t put it down until I finished it. And I do mean, I DID NOT PUT IT DOWN. Read it at stoplights, in the school pick up line, and while cooking dinner. A psychological thriller with more plots twists than I expected. I’m anxiously awaiting her next book!

Recommended by Erin

Meet Me in the Margins Cover ImageMeet Me in the Margins

By Melissa Ferguson

Imagine You’ve Got Mail set in a publishing house in Nashville, add in some of your favorite spots around town, and you’ve got this sweet rom com full of Southern charm. (And no, I’m not just a fan because Parnassus gets name-checked. Twice. But clearly, the author has good taste, right?!)

Recommended by Ashby

The Forest Cover ImageThe Forest

By Thomas Ott

Ott manages a complex story in 25 images. Scratchboard – starting with black and scratching away to create images – seems fitting for the story of a boy in a forest facing fear and choosing his path. No words but the story is apparent through Ott’s black and white images. I am both mystified and drawn in by Ott’s way of telling a story.

Recommended by Karen

Exit/In: Nashville’s Music Forum, Fifty years and Counting

By Chris Cobb

I was in high school the first time I went to a show at the Exit/In when a childhood friend’s mother sang there. Since then I’ve seen so many great shows there. There is a special place in Nashville’s heart for this storied club. It is a touchstone for so many entertainers and bands that have gone on to greatness. So pleased Chris Cobb put together this amazing collection of essays and photos.

Recommended by Andy

From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life Cover ImageFrom Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life

By Arthur C. Brooks

From Strength to Strength is a roadmap for finding purpose, meaning, and success as we age, from bestselling author, Harvard professor, and The Atlantic’s happiness columnist Arthur Brooks. Drawing on social science, philosophy, biography, theology, and eastern wisdom, as well as dozens of interviews with everyday men and women, Brooks shows us that true life success is well within our reach.

Recommended by Jennifer

This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us Cover ImageThis Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us

By Cole Arthur Riley

Written by the mind behind @BlackLiturgies on Instagram, This Here Flesh unites the spiritual with the real. Inspired by three generations of Black American family history, Riley inspires us to believe in the divine dignity of every human being, including ourselves. This is a truly inspiring work!

Recommended by Sydney

The Nineties: A Book Cover ImageThe Nineties: A Book

By Chuck Klosterman

I was born in 1998, so my memories of the twentieth century mainly consist of old cartoons and Lisa Frank sticker books. The Nineties offers a deep-dive encompassing the decade’s political ambivalence, cultural coolness, and how the Internet really has changed everything. My favorite Klosterman collection to date!

Recommended by Chelsea

Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free Cover ImageScoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free

By Sarah Weinman

A story so compelling that it reads like fiction, Scoundrel tells how Edgar Smith, convicted murderer, was able to befriend and write his way into a book deal and his freedom, only to murder again. Weinman has established herself as an acclaimed crime writer, and this proves that she can cast a critical eye at society and its short memory of violence towards women.

Recommended by Kathy

The Hag: The Life, Times, and Music of Merle Haggard Cover ImageThe Hag: The Life, Times, and Music of Merle Haggard

By Marc Eliot

An absolute must-read for any Merle Haggard fan. There’s stuff in here that few know about The Hag….

Recommended by Sydney

Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir Cover ImageComedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir

By Bob Odenkirk

As the title suggests, this memoir follows Bob Odenkirk’s career transition from comedy to drama in the entertainment industry. Odenkirk earned a special place in my heart after I binge-watched Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul over the pandemic. Funny and familiar, if you’ve enjoyed Odenkirk’s work in the past, pick this up!

First Editions Club: March Selection

Groundskeeping: A novel Cover ImageGroundskeeping: A novel

By Lee Cole


Dear friends,

Is there anything better than a good campus novel? I always love the atmosphere of old buildings, long walks across the quad, sprawling conversations about dead philosophers or classical literature, and, of course, the drama. Because we all know what happens when you isolate a group of intellectuals and creatives in one place for months on end: drama.

Enter Lee Cole’s stunning debut, Groundskeeping. Set on a university campus in Kentucky, Groundskeeping follows Owen, a wayward twentysomething trying to get his life settled by taking a job as a groundskeeper in exchange for a free creative writing class. Moving between the social circles of his fellow groundskeepers, the faculty and graduate students in his classes, and his far-right-leaning family, Owen searches for his own identity both as a person and as a writer. But when he begins a covert relationship with the visiting author on campus, things get much more complicated.

Told with an empathic heart and a keen observational eye, Groundskeeping has certainly earned a spot in the canon of campus novels. It’s also one of the best coming-of-age stories I’ve read in a long time. I’d stick it on the shelf somewhere between John Williams’s Stoner and Lily King’s Writers and Lovers. Lee Cole is one of the most exciting new voices of 2022, and I’m so excited to share his book with you.

Yours in reading,

Lindsay Lynch

Don’t miss our in-store event with Lee Cole on Thursday, March 3 at 6:30pm! He will be in conversation with our own Lindsay Lynch. Registration is required.