March 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us – Ms. Magazine

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

The aims of these lists are threefold:

  1. I want to do my part in the disruption of what has been the acceptable “norm” in the book world for far too long—white, cis, heterosexual, male;
  2. I want to amplify indie publishers and amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities—you know, the rest of us; and
  3. I want to challenge and encourage you all to buy, borrow and read them! 

Happy March!

Historically, March is a very popular month for new books, and this year it is no exception. 

And more new books mean more new books to choose from and more for me to consider suggesting to readers via this monthly list. In order to keep it a manageable size, I make tough choices every month and sadly choose to exclude some great titles by wonderful writers.

It’s one thing to make that choice, but it’s another when a book doesn’t even reach my radar. As a professional book jockey, I pride myself on knowing what books are being released in my areas of expertise, but occasionally, even I miss one. And I hate it when that happens! 

Such is the case with a book that was released last November entitled Latina Leadership Lessons: Fifty Latinas Speak (Arte Público Press). This book was recently brought to my attention and I wanted to ensure I gave a shout to the editor, Delia García, and the other amazing contributors, including María Gabriela “Gaby” Pacheco, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, Sylvia R. Garcia and Dolores Huerta, who wrote the foreword. Be sure to get your hands on a copy! 

So here’s to all the books: the ones I couldn’t include, the 30 on this list and the ones I just plain missed!

Wild, Beautiful, and Free: A Novel

By Sophfronia Scott (@Sophfronia). Lake Union Publishing. 335 pages. Out Mar. 1. 

Award-winning writer Sophfronia Scott is back with this fresh and absorbing story of one woman’s journey through love, loss, enslavement, sisterhood, war and more in her desperate search for family and freedom.


Black Chameleon: Memory, Womanhood and Myth 

By Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton (@livelifedeep). Henry Holt & Co. 320 pages. Out Mar. 7.

This is a loving memoir, lyrically and uniquely written by the first Black Poet Laureate of Houston, Texas. An ode to Black womanhood, it explores the complexities, depths, pains, joys and brilliance of living your truth. 


Drinking from Graveyard Wells: Stories

By Yvette Lisa Ndlovu (@Lisa_teabag).  University Press of Kentucky. 160 pages. Out Mar. 7.

Bold and original, this debut collection will haunt you as much as it will delight you. Ndlovu brings the heat and the heart to these stories, from Zimbabwe to the U.S. and beyond. 


The Faithless

By C. L. Clark (@c_l_clark). Orbit. 512 pages. Out Mar. 7.

The second book of the Magic of the Lost trilogy will thrill you as much as the first. With badass women at the helm of this fantastical tale, The Faithless is an epic for the adventurer in us all.


Fat Off, Fat On: A Big Bitch Manifesto

By Clarkisha Kent (@IWriteAllDay_). The Feminist Press. 264 pages. Out Mar. 7.

In this part-manifesta, part-memoir, Clarkisha Kent pulls no punches when laying out her signature no-holds-barred critiques of cisheteronormativity and messages of empowerment, independence and respect made especially for fat, Black, queer women.


The Fifth Wound 

By Aurora Mattia. Nightboat Books. 288 pages. Out Mar. 7.

Aurora Mattia has written a strange, twisting, mythical maze of a book that centers trans loves and lives in ways that will thrill and delight you. Allow yourself to be transported.


Flowers of Fire: The Inside Story of South Korea’s Feminist Movement and What It Means for Women’s Rights Worldwide 

By Hawon Jung (@allyjung). BenBella Books. 304 pages. Out Mar. 7.

Journalist Hawon Jung offers this timely and important exploration of feminism in South Korea and the courage of the movement in the face of deeply ingrained patriarchy and seemingly ubiquitous barriers to women’s equality.  


The Mimicking of Known Successes 

By Malka Older (@m_older). Tordotcom. 176 pages. Out Mar. 7.

I’m not usually one for cozy mysteries or romances (even if they are Sapphic), but this one may just turn me … it’s set on Jupiter! I am excited to give it a try, especially because Charlie Jane Anders calls it “an utter triumph.”


Now You See Us: A Novel

By Balli Kaur Jaswal (@balli_jaswal). William Morrow. 320 pages. Out Mar. 7.

From the author of Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows comes this engrossing murder mystery focused on three Filipina domestic workers in Singapore. Fresh characters and sharp plotlines make this a page-turning read. 


River Spirit 

By Leila Aboulela (@leilaaboulela). Grove Press. 400 pages. Out Mar. 7.

Leila Aboulela, the first-ever winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, has written a novel about one of the most important events in Sudanese history, the Mahdist War, and has centered women while doing it. 


Set Fear on Fire: The Feminist Call That Set the Americas Ablaze 

Written by LasTesis (@lastesisoficial). Translated by Camila Valle. Verso. 112 pages. Out Mar. 7.

This is the unflinching, defiant, triumphant manifesta of LasTesis, the badass Chilean performance collective on the leading edge of the feminist movement across South America. 

Read the rest of the list at Ms. Magazine...