What We Read in March

1st Apr 2014

From fast-paced thrillers to frank non-fiction and quaint short stories, March’s batch of new releases is a truly eclectic mix...

Half Bad by Sally Green

This YA tale has already generated a great deal of interest, having been translated into 45 languages before it was published. This impressive feat gained it two Guinness World Records and attracted an unusual amount of interest for a debut novel.

Set in an alternative world where good white witches and bad black witches live side by side with humans, this is a story of magic, danger and a race against time.

Nathan is the son of a white witch and a black witch, and is imprisoned and abused by those who fear him. In order to escape death, he must free himself and find his father – the cruelest black witch – before his seventeenth birthday.

Recommended for: Anyone who likes tension, the supernatural and a race against time.




Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection by Deidre Kelly

This frank and honest account of the ballet world was sparked by the firing of Kimberly Glasco, a 39-year-old dancer who stood up for the employment rights of her company.

Kelly worked as a dance critic for 17 years before starting work on her book and has an intense admiration for the talent and artistry of ballerinas.

She explores the issues of anorexia, sexual abuse and poor working conditions that are common in the dance world, and gives shocking real-life accounts of how they have affected individual ballerinas.

This book looks at the history of ballet as a discipline, and suggests that the feminine ideal of perfection is preventing real change in the industry.

Recommended for: Dance fanatics and anyone interested in the myth of female beauty.


Short Stories


The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan

Logan’s collection comprises of 20 short fairy stories on the themes of lust and loss. These enchanting tales include clockwork hearts, paper men and lascivious queens, transporting readers to alternative worlds filled with awe-inspiring characters.

One story, set on the island of Skye, follows a girl with antlers and a boy with a tiger’s tail, who decide never to become friends despite their unique bond.

Another depicts the coming of age of a girl in 1920s New Orleans, who lives in her mother’s brothel. Some tales are radical retellings, some are originals, but all look at the strange substitutions humans find for love.

Recommended for: Readers who enjoy magical realism and modern fairytales.




A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

The first novel in a trilogy, A Lovely Way to Burn is an apocalyptic tale set in contemporary London. The population has depleted rapidly due to a deadly virus named ‘The Sweats,’ and chaos and violence is widespread.

Stevie Flint discovers the body of an emotionally unavailable doctor she has been dating, and sets about trying to discover whether he has succumbed to the virus or committed suicide.

Welsh adds sinister tones to ordinary scenes, depicting human catastrophe through familiar settings that make her sixth novel as compelling as it is shocking.

Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys apocalyptic stories with a strong dose of violence.




B is for Breast Cancer by Christine Hamill

This honest, frank and unflinching memoir serves as a practical guide for anyone affected by breast cancer. Providing tips, advice, reassurance and laughs, the book is inspired by Hamill’s own experience of breast cancer treatment.

It explores in-depth the vast range of emotions felt during cancer diagnosis and treatment, from fear, to anger, to sadness, to optimism, and guides readers through each with a strong sense sensitivity.

Hamill dedicated her time in between radiotherapy appointments to writing, and created an uplifting yet honest account of the realities of breast cancer.

Recommended for: those whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Which of your March reads would you recommend?

[Top image via Duncan]