If You’re Going to Read One Book In March, Make It This One

updated Jun 9, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
bird's eye view of an open book, coffee and cookies, and a white dog laying on top of a pillow.
Credit: shutterstock/Monika Wisniewska

For many, this month marks the one-year quarantine anniversary. While it’s hard to find a lot of positives about 2020, there’s definitely something to be said about the way the world was forced to re-evaluate time spent pre-COVID. Were you doing enough things that you loved? Did you travel enough? Did work consume your life? This is why “There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job” by Kikuko Tsumura is the perfect book to read right now.

“There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job” was first published back in 2015, but it’s the first time there’s going to be a version translated in English. Following a 36-year-old unnamed protagonist who decides to drop her draining career and move back in with her parents, this book is ultimately about the pursuit of a life with meaning. The novel is about work, but it also dives into the purpose and true meaning of life.

As the woman tries to find the easiest, most brainless jobs to pass the time, she realizes she’s not looking for the perfect, easy position — she’s looking for purpose. Jumping from temp job to temp job (one is monitoring a hidden camera feed all day long, another is punching tickets to allow people into a park), the woman can’t seem to just do her job without being really good at it. Will she be successful in her pursuit of coasting through life? Can she be? 

Tsumara’s thoughtful and darkly humorous story about searching for the most non-job job in the existence of jobs is something that feels desirably relatable. The book also delves into the now prevalent conversation about millennial burnout, which proves Tsumara was ahead of her time when she questioned the modern day workplace culture six years ago.

Here are four other great books to pick up this month:

This novel takes place in a fictional African village and follows the lives of its community who bear the consequences of greed and corruption. The village of Kosawa has been overtaken by an American oil company that wreaks havoc on the land due to pipeline spills, which destroys crops and contaminated water. While there seems to be little hope left, as the village’s dictator is in cahoots with the oil company, the story takes a triumphant turn as the people of Kosawa decide to reclaim their land and freedom. 

In this collection of essays, Courtney Zoffness tackles motherhood in a way that is simultaneously fresh and achingly relatable. Through personal essays that go back to her childhood anxiety, first-time sexual experiences, and the journey to understand what her Jewish heritage means to her, Zoffness recreates tender, moving, and poetic moments that will etch their way into your brain and heart for a very long time. We should be so lucky to get more work from the young writer.

Five years after publishing the Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Sympathizer” comes Nguyen’s follow-up, “The Committed.” The story follows the Sympathizer, a Communist Vietnamese-French spy who travels to Paris as a refugee and starts dealing drugs, spending a great deal of time with left-wing intellectuals, politicians, and danger. The sequel is written as a stream of consciousness, so it’s recommended you set some time aside to read it and become fully enthralled (which won’t take long, promise).  Read it now before it inevitably becomes an HBO series.

“Black Girl, Call Home” is a striking collection of poems that explores themes like race, sexuality, family, being a Black queer girl in America, and more. Jasmine Mans is a spoken word performer (some of her readings are online), and when you read her poems, you can almost hear her voice come through in a way that’s beautiful and jarring. One of my favorites is “Unwelcome,” which only has eight lines: “He died / as if / God / thought / he / outstayed / the welcome / in his own skin.” When you read Mans’ work, you read words of power, authenticity, trauma, strength, and a force that cuts through paper.