Top Reads for March
Prepare some popcorn, because we are getting ready for some blockbuster book-to-movie adaptations dropping this month. An Oscar nominee is also on the list, plus some fantastic new fiction and a must-read for Women’s History Month.
A Wrinkle in Time
Katie: With Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of the classic Madeleine L’Engle novel hitting theaters March 9, I was excited to reread A Wrinkle in Time. I adored this book as a kid, in part because it’s the story of how a regular girl saves the world. No superheroes needed! Imagine that.
One of the great works of literature for kids, this book is a pleasure to read again as an adult. Twelve-year-old Meg Murray’s scientist dad has been missing when, on “a dark and stormy night,” three mysterious astral travelers (Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which) appear. Together they set off with Meg, her little brother, and their friend on an adventure through space and time to rescue Meg’s father.
Full of wonder and a rousing admiration for imaginative scientific inquiry, A Wrinkle in Time will charm kids and adults alike, especially anyone who has ever felt different. Power flows from nonconformity, individuality, and love in this story. Discovering that what she thought were her faults are actually strengths, Meg the outcast becomes a hero.
Also available as an audiobook.
Alex P.: I’ve just started Lisa Halliday’s debut novel, Asymmetry, and I’m already in love. I know from (many, very positive) reviews that the story I’ve begun — the tale of a famous writer in his 70s and his relationship with a young ingenue — is only one half of the book. Given the assured and allusive writing, I’m very intrigued by the purported twist to characters so completely unlike the ones the story begins with. It seems a risky move, especially for a debut author, but if the reviews are to be believed, one that pays off in a big way.
Together We Rise
Adia: The Women’s March, held on January 21, 2017, was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. People, regardless of which city, country, or continent they marched on, were saying the same thing: they felt empowered and connected to one another. I know I felt the same way. Still, I didn’t make much of an effort to learn about the very crucial people and actions that made this such a successful, impactful march. This book was the perfect place to start.
If you marched, felt inspired, or just want to learn more about it, Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World is an important book to read. This behind-the-scenes look at the Women’s March covers the march’s origins, highlights the women of color who were leaders of the march, and discusses the obstacles, controversies, and triumphs the organizers faced. Whether you want to learn more about that historical day or want to inspire yourself for the future, Together We Rise is an important book to read.
Julie: The Scandinavian hockey teams always have a strong showing at the Winter Olympics — ever wonder how they get so good? It’s because there are entire towns that completely revolve around the sport. In Beartown, Fredrik Backman tells the story of such a town deep in the forest of Sweden that lives and breathes hockey.
When the coach’s daughter accuses the star player of assault, the community of Beartown is thrown into turmoil. Told from the perspectives of various different characters, the narrative hurtles toward a terrifying climax that leaves you guessing until the last moment.
Both suspenseful and moving, Beartown is about so much more than hockey. It tackles issues from class to immigration to #MeToo, and is ultimately a story of what unites and divides us.
The Disaster Artist
Dave: A few years ago my cousin invited me to a midnight screening of The Room. If you’re not familiar, it’s a cult classic that breaks absolutely every rule of filmmaking and storytelling in such a spectacular fashion that its ineptitude has come full circle in a way that makes the movie, well, surprisingly kind of great. I was surprised to find the theater to be packed (it was midnight on a Tuesday), and even more surprised to see so many people prepared to interact with the screening. There were people running through the aisles playing catch, others throwing plastic spoons at the screen at what felt like random intervals, and still others dressed as the characters from the film, waiting and ready to reenact key scenes. To put it plainly: the whole thing was wild. That’s why I was instantly drawn to The Disaster Artist, a book about the making of the film written by one of the film’s lead actors, Greg Sestero (he plays Mark, as in ‘Oh hai, Mark!’). I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s an amazing true-tale that’s almost too bizarre to be true, and it’s perfect to read before (or after) seeing The Room. And, one last time, please, if you haven’t, go see The Room. It is just … insane.
Also available as an audiobook.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Ashley: Do you love Oreos? Then you will love Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. (Spoilers: Simon really loves Oreos. Like, has eaten them as meals levels of love.) You’ll also love it if you’re a champion of more LGBTQ representation in young adult literature, and if you generally enjoy quippy teenage wit. Actually for me, I just really loved that one of Simon’s friends dressed up as Tohru from Fruits Basket to a Halloween party. TOHRU! FROM FRUITS BASKET! That’s random and such manga-loving nerds are my people.
Becky Albertalli’s debut follows the typical high school formula — the aforementioned Halloween party! Homecoming! Spirit Week! An Oliver! The Musical performance (even though it’s called a play throughout the book and yes this bothered me) — with enough heart and charm that it will win you over. It’s easy to see how the movie version (titled the far less awesome Love, Simon) could become a modern teen classic. Simon’s coming out story is a great blend of blackmail (yes, blackmail, that’s what I wrote), lovable teenage hijinks, mystery (who is the email pen pal Simon is falling in love with?!), and cute romance.
Also available as an audiobook.
Ready Player One
Andrew: I finally got around to reading Ready Player One after seeing the movie trailer in theaters, and I’m glad I did! It’s a fast-paced cyberpunk adventure packed with '80s references and exciting set pieces.
As a nerdy child of the '80s and '90s, I grew up on 8-bit games, John Hughes movies, and all sorts of science fiction. Ernest Cline, the author of Ready Player One, fed at the same pop-culture trough.
Beyond the fun references, Ready Player One paints a grim future, ravaged by climate change and late-stage capitalism. When we meet the main character, he lives in “The Stacks”: a vertically-stacked mobile home park. This is just the first of many details of the unsettling world where Ready Player One takes place, and does a lot to explain why the populace is so eager to escape into the virtual world (“The Oasis”) where much of the story takes place.
I was able to plough through it in a single weekend, mostly because I didn’t want to put it down. Warning: If you can’t stand the nerdy pop culture from '80s, this book isn’t for you. But if you can, it’s a blast!
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