The Strop Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup: What to Read Each Week in March

Our top books to read in March: new work from Louise Erdrich, Kate Elizabeth Russel, and Emily St. John Mandel.

The Strop is a place to whet your appetite for damn good stories. Check back every Friday for our latest recommendations. This week, the recommendations come from Wrangler editor Brandon Williams.

In his words, “I don’t know about y’all, but I’m officially backlogged by books. For about a month, I managed to keep up with my own selections, and now that pile of new books is starting to tower again. Oh, what’s that, a month already, new books and new stacks? I’m going to slow down this month and just list the three for which I’m most excited.” Check out last month’s picks.

March 3: The Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich

From the synopsis: “Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.”

Was I just complaining about too many books? Wait, Louise Erdrich has a new one out, so I can shut the hell up and read my entire stack and go to the bookstore and buy this book and read it in the parking lot, like you absolutely should for a writer this amazing. And on top of all her books being amazing, this one is fictionalizing her own family and looks to be diving deep as ever into politics and the politics of self.

March 10: My Dark Vanessa, Kate Elizabeth Russell

From the synopsis: “Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.”

I never really thought of myself as going in for literary controversy, but here I am again fascinated by a book that has stirred up some complicated pre-pub buzz. Still, those are some heavyweight comparisons that synopsis is throwing around, and we look to be hitting on issues that are among the foremost topics of our time.

March 24: The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel

From the synopsis: “From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, an exhilarating novel set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events-a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea.”

Station Eleven was a great book, and yet somehow I’ve missed everything else that St. John Mandel has released. I have no idea how that happened, but it sure isn’t going to happen again. Another book that hits on the large moments of our time, exploring repercussions of Ponzi schemes and monetary standards run amok.

Brandon Williams is a writer, teacher, self-employed transcriptionist, half-hearted entrepreneur, aspiring gambler, itinerant driver, cowboy-hatted curmudgeon, and wandering Californian. He will take any opportunity to argue real country music.

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