Growing up, Newton was immersed in fabulous family lore. There was the relative who married 13 times and the one who killed a man with a hay hook; her own mother performed exorcisms in the living room. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Newton has been writing about genealogy for years. But a family story isn’t just about the people (even when they’re this colorful), and Newton touches on intergenerational trauma, mental illness, the influence of religion and more.
In 2017, Bruni, a Times Opinion writer, woke up to find his vision strangely blurry. He’d had a stroke overnight, which permanently left him blind in one eye. The book is part medical memoir, part investigation: Aside from exploring his own diagnosis, Bruni seeks out stories from people who have learned new skills to compensate for a hardship, and suggests a more empathetic view of aging and the wisdom that it brings.
‘Booth,’ by Karen Joy Fowler (Putnam, March 8)
An imaginative new novel offers glimpses of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s killer, and his family, told chiefly through the perspectives of some of his nine siblings. The Booths — headed by Junius, a mercurial Shakespearean actor — were a liberal, vegetarian, antislavery family, and Fowler sets their personal drama and conflict during the years heading up to the Civil War.
‘Checkout 19,’ by Claire-Louise Bennett (Riverhead, March 1)
A lifelong affair with language, books and reading guide this novel, which traces a woman’s literary development. Readers never learn her name but come to know her through her artistic taste and formative experiences with literature.
‘Glory,’ by NoViolet Bulawayo (Viking, March 8)
A crackling political satire, this novel unfolds in Jidada, a fictional African nation modeled on Zimbabwe during Robert Mugabe’s reign. Our guide is a goat named Destiny — the characters here are animals — who returns from exile to Jidada as it teeters on the cusp of revolution.
‘Groundskeeping,’ by Lee Cole (Knopf, March 1)
In this debut, it’s 2016 and Owen has returned home to Kentucky, where he takes a job as a groundskeeper at a local college. What he really wants is to be a writer — and once he begins a relationship with an author in residence at the school, desire and ambition overlap.
After Bloom’s husband, Brian, developed Alzheimer’s disease, he decided to end his life on his own terms — and implored Bloom to write about it. Bloom discusses it all, from the heartbreak of his illness to the barriers to assisted suicide in the U.S. to their discovery of Dignitas, an organization in Switzerland that helped Brian carry out his wishes.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian exposes the brutal underpinnings of the British imperial system, focusing on a few key events — including the Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica, the Irish war for independence and uprisings in the Middle East and Africa. As she writes: “Violence enacted on bodies, minds, souls, cultures, landscapes, communities and histories was intimately connected to the civilizing mission’s developmentalist dogma.”
This memoir promises an accounting of Barr’s two tenures in presidential cabinets: first in George H.W. Bush’s administration, and later in the Trump White House.
‘Run and Hide,’ by Pankaj Mishra (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, March 1)
The lives of three young men in India converge at an elite college, which promises a pathway out of poverty. But after graduation, Arun, the novel’s narrator, holds back, opting for a quieter, more literary life in the Himalayas with his mother, while his friends seize upon their new freedom. Years later, a woman sets out to expose the secrets of Arun’s classmates, pulling him back into his history.
The actress and screenwriter applies medical advice she received after a concussion to all areas of her life: to retrain her mind by engaging in the very things that triggered her symptoms. In this collection of essays, she talks about everything from stage fright to a difficult childbirth.
Lowenstein explores an aspect of the Civil War often overlooked by other histories: the Union’s financial policies, including how they continued to shape a Reconstruction-era America and beyond.
In his account of one of the world’s oldest mass political organizations, Kazin identifies one ideological constant: Democrats have worked toward a system of “moral capitalism,” with “programs designed to make life more prosperous, or at least more secure, for ordinary people.” Kazin traces the party’s evolution, drawing on presidential records and biographical sketches of prominent members from Jesse Jackson to William Jennings Bryan.
‘Vagabonds!,’ by Eloghosa Osunde (Riverhead, March 15)
This debut novel, set in Lagos, focuses on characters who live on the margins — a lesbian couple, a designer who gives birth to an adult woman and more — in a vibrant blend of big-city life and contemporary mythology.