Best Books of the Month: March 2012

See this month's editors' picks and other featured new releases in our Best Books of the Month store, or browse this month's editors' picks in Kindle Books.


Teddy Roosevelt attempts to clean up a sin-loving New York. A Tokyo pickpocket tries to escape his criminal past. And a heroin user flees her failed marriage and her mother's death, hoping to find peace in the wild. From psychics to thieves, cops to jazzmen, Greek gods to animal lovers, this month's best books are all about character--mysterious, colorful, troubled and troubling characters, many of them in pursuit of a more hopeful tomorrow.
1. The Vanishers
The Vanishers
by Heidi Julavits
2.9 out of 5 stars (56 customer reviews)
In Stock
Doubleday
March 13, 2012
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: The Vanishers is a lot of things: a paranormal detective story, an affecting exposition of familial and female dynamics, and a hilarious satire of academic politics. Here, Heidi Julavits has crafted a novel that is as ambitious as it is strange. ... Read more

2. Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York
Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York
by Richard Zacks
4.1 out of 5 stars (112 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Doubleday
March 13, 2012
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: Those living in New York City today may be surprised (or not!) to read about the state of their city in the 1890’s; overrun with prostitution, gambling, boot liquor and Tammany Hall, NYC was known as the “Island of Vice.” Enter ... Read more

3. Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
by Esi Edugyan
3.8 out of 5 stars (119 customer reviews)
In Stock
Picador
February 28, 2012
Paperback

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: Looping from Nazi-occupied Berlin and Paris to modern-day Baltimore and back, Esi Edugyan's Giller prize-winning Half-Blood Blues is a haunting song of a novel. In Paris 1940, the three remaining Hot-Time Swingers run take after exhausted take, trying to get one ... Read more

4. The Song of Achilles: A Novel
The Song of Achilles: A Novel
by Madeline Miller
4.1 out of 5 stars (724 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Ecco
March 6, 2012
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: Betrayal, ardor, war, and prophecies--in The Song of Achilles, author Madeline Miller brings together everything I love about The Iliad without the labor of epic poetry. In this new twist on the Trojan War story, Patroclus and Achilles are the ... Read more

5. The Thief
The Thief
by Fuminori Nakamura
3.4 out of 5 stars (86 customer reviews)
In Stock
Soho Crime
March 20, 2012
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: In Fuminori Nakamura's new novel, the main character weaves along the streets of Tokyo pickpocketing his way through the flow of humanity, as if in a dream. He lifts wallets filled with cash and credit cards with a masterful ease, his ... Read more

6. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
4.3 out of 5 stars (7,568 customer reviews)
In Stock
Knopf
March 20, 2012
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: At age 26, following the death of her mother, divorce, and a run of reckless behavior, Cheryl Strayed found herself alone near the foot of the Pacific Crest Trail--inexperienced, over-equipped, and desperate to reclaim her life. Wild ... Read more

7. The Reconstructionist: A Novel
The Reconstructionist: A Novel
by Nick Arvin
3.7 out of 5 stars (20 customer reviews)
In Stock
Harper Perennial
March 13, 2012
Paperback

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: You wouldn't think that earning a pair of mechanical engineering degrees would lend itself to fine literature, but Nick Arvin is an exception: His thoughtful, offbeat, original sophomore novel, The Reconstructionist, has a caliber as unexpected as its author's. Antihero Ellis ... Read more

8. White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
by Aaron Bobrow-Strain
3.7 out of 5 stars (16 customer reviews)
In Stock
Beacon Press
March 6, 2012
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: It's in, it's out, it's good for you, it's bad for you: over the last hundred years, bread has gone from industrial-strength cure-all to nutritionless fluff, and every place in between. White Bread is Aaron Bobrow-Strain's look at the central place ... Read more

9. Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories
Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories
by Megan Mayhew Bergman
4.4 out of 5 stars (52 customer reviews)
In Stock
Scribner
March 6, 2012
Hardcover

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List Price:$24.00
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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: Megan Mayhew Bergman’s collection of stories contains all of the elements that, it could be said, make up the very best in short fiction: each story is beautiful, full of palpable pain or joy--sometimes both--all loosely connected and based on the ... Read more



More About Amazon.com's Best Books of the Month

Each month, Amazon.com's editorial team reads with an eye for the Best Books of the Month, plus the best books in popular categories like Cooking, Food & Wine books, Literature & Fiction, Children's books, Mystery & Thrillers, Comics & Graphic Novels, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, the best books for teens, and more. We scour reviews and book news for tips on what the earliest readers have loved, we swap books amongst ourselves, and spend our nights and weekends tearing through as many of the best books as possible. Then we face off in a monthly Best Books showdown meeting to champion the books we think will resonate most with their readership.

The titles that make our Best Books of Month lists are the keepers, the ones we couldn't forget. Many of our editorial picks for the best books are also customer favorites and bestsellers, but we strive to spotlight the best books you might not otherwise hear about.

The books included in Amazon's Best Books of the Month program are entirely editorial selections. We have great passion for uniting readers of all ages and tastes with their next favorite read, helping our customers find terrific gifts for booklovers, and drawing more attention to the best books by exceptional authors of all stripes.