3 Books to Kick Off Your March Reading

Personal essays, an historic love story, and a symbolic short story collection

The King and Queen of Malibu, by David K. Randall
(W.W. Norton, $26.95, out March 2)

What is it? A nonfiction account that reveals how Malibu’s undomesticated ranchland blossomed into coveted beach property. Sound boring? Think twice: The book centers on Frederick and May Rindge, the wealthy odd couple that snagged the area in the late-1800s and turned it into their private kingdom, ultimately planting seeds for a dramatic eminent domain battle.

Who’s the author? A senior reporter at Reuters, Randall’s also the guy behind Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep. Malibu is his second book.

Why read it? If you want to know how Malibu became the kind of pricy place that’s fun to think about retiring to one day, Randall’s take on the city’s history covers May’s three-decade battle to protect her 17,000-acre treasure. After Frederick’s sudden death in 1905, a series of lawsuits involving the isolated area began. The stakes? Access versus privacy. The results? PCH and the groundwork for glitz and glam. Early reviews have been uniform in their praise for Malibu’s comprehensive research and compelling love story.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, by Helen Oyeyemi
(Riverhead, $27, out March 8)


Photograph courtesy riverheadbooks.tumblr.com

What is it? A collection of contemporary fairy tales, loosely interconnected in terms of plot, but all united by the idea of literal and metaphorical locks and keys.

Who’s the author? Sometimes described as a writer’s writer, Oyeyemi is the award-winning force behind Boy, Snow, Bird and The Icarus Girl; one of Granta’s previous Best Young British Novelists; and the scribe behind the Juniper’s Whitening and Victimese plays.

Why read it? Whether it’s the one about the puppetry school or the mystical diary, these nine virtuosic stories promise to mix up your reading diet with deliciously weird, thought-provoking, and fearless fare. As Amy Gentry writes, “The keys that appear in every story never unlock anything as simple as meaning. Instead, they open doors into stranger and stranger rooms, infinitely expanding each story’s world.”

So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
(Hachette, $15.99, March 15)


Photograph courtesy Amazon

What is it? A book of personal essays that range in topic from love and self-esteem to anxiety and the internet—all penned with blistering humor and honesty. The book’s title comes from the popular Twitter page with the same name.

Who’s the author? @SoSadToday began as an anonymous account, but Broder is ready to publicly transpose her heavily favorited and retweeted musings onto the printed page. Though she might seem newly revealed, you might recognize her as the Venice-based poet with four inventive collections to her name.

Why read it? If you aren’t sold after scoping out the O.G. Twitter account, Roxane Gay has this to say: “These essays are sad and uncomfortable and their own kind of gorgeous. They reveal so much about what it is to live in this world, right now.” And if you’re still interested in what kind of vibe you’ll get when you pick up the book, Broder has a pitch-perfect book trailer for you.