21 books to read in 2021

Posted on 29 January 2021
By Lauren Hughes
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As well all pull ourselves through another lockdown, one form of entertainment remains a constant source of comfort and inspiration… books!

Here is a list of 21 new book recommendations to add to your TBR list during the pandemic.

1. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Fantasy
Published: 06/10/2020

An unforgettable novel about a girl who is destined to be forgotten; the year is 1714, a young girl desperate to be free makes a Faustian deal with The Darkness, cursed to live forever and forgotten by everyone she meets.

An incredible journey spanning centuries and continents, through history, music, and art, as she fights to make her mark on the world, but after 300 years her life is about to change, as she meets a stranger in a hidden New York bookstore, and he remembers her…

2. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Genre: Fiction/ Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Published: 13/08/2020

After trying to take her own life, Nora Seed finds herself between life and death in the ‘Midnight Library,’ the shelves go on forever, filled with the lives she could’ve lived and now she finally has a chance to make things right.

She must hurry though as time is running out in the life she left behind and she must make a decision, what life is worth living? With the help of an old friend, Nora must take a journey of self-discovery, in this novel about regret, loss, forgiveness and hope.

3. Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Starting Living by Glennon Doyle

Genre: Biography & True Stories/ Memoirs
Published: 12/03/2020

American author, Glennon Doyle, is back with another incredibly powerful memoir, discovering what happens when we start living on our own terms and stop clambering to meet the impending expectations forced upon us. Relatable and beautifully written, Untamed is a must read, finding yourself tangled in tender messages and incredibly bold metaphors, a lesson for all women.

4. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

Genre: fiction/ Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Published: 01/10/2020

This inspiring debut follows Adunni; a teenage girl growing up in rural Nigerian village, who longs to have an education and find her ‘louding voice’ and possess a life that she alone controls. At fourteen she is about to be a bride, illegally married, to become a commodity, a wife and despite a sequence of unfortunate events, she is determined to be a success. An inspiring and heart-breaking novel about determination, resilience and a voice that was made to be heard.

5. If I had your Face by Frances Cha

Genre: fiction/ Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Published: 23/07/2020

This riveting debut follows the parallel stories of four women in contemporary Seoul, Korea, who are navigating their way through a world that is defined by unrealistic beauty standards. In a place where getting plastic surgery is commonplace and ruthless social hierarchies dictate your future; Kyuri, Miho, Ara and Wonna are battling for survival in a brutally competitive, consumerist city. A fascinating tale of the relentless journey towards self-improvement, even when it seems that the odds are stacked against you.

6. The City we Became by N. K. Jemisin

Genre: Fantasy/ Science Fiction/ Horror
Published: 26/03/2020

Five, that’s how many souls the city of New York has, those that live in and guard the city, five individuals that embody the five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. They must work together to defend the city from an ancient evil, stopping it once and for all. This book is a true love letter to New York, J. K. Jemisin’s affection pores from the pages, a weird and wonderful read, with unique storytelling.

7. Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

Genre: Fiction/ Short Stories/ Romance
Published: 20/08/2020

Bolu Babalola takes us through exquisitely crafted retellings of the world’s most beautiful love stories from history and mythology, from West Africa to Ancient Greece, China through to the Middle East, as well as places long forgotten, re-imaging Greek myths and ancient legends. These mesmerising and dazzling stories that travel across continents and genres, bringing them into the twenty-first century, is a true written celebration of love. A must read.

8. House of Earth and Blood – Crescent City 1 by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy/ Romance/ Adult
Published: 03/03/2020

Bryce Quinlan is half-Fae, half-human and lives a carefree life partying all night long, but all that changes when her closest friend is murdered by a demon, leaving her alone and her world crumbling down around her. After two years, and with the supposed accused behind bars, the crimes start again and Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation, shadowed by the fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, working together to uncover the mystery and a path that’s leading her towards her own dark past.

9. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women White Feminists Forgot by Mikki Kendall

Genre: Non-Fiction/Politics, Society & Education/ Feminism
Published: 25/02/2020

An engaging collection of essays, educating on the subject of intersectional feminism and those the feminist movement has forgotten about. Taking aim at the modern mainstreamed feminism that has failed in addressing the needs of women, apart from the privileged few. An intelligent and insightful read, a must for those who label themselves a feminist, unpacking serious problem and issues that can no longer be ignored by the feminist community. A clear voice for those left behind.

10. Writers and Lovers by Lily King

Genre: Fiction/ Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Published: 12/05/2020

The latest novel from Lily King, follows the life of aspiring writer Casey Peabody, who has been struggling to write a novel for the past six years of her life and now she finds herself lost and lonely. The thirty-one-year old is grieving the loss of her mum, working as a waitress and living in a shed, when she suddenly finds herself caught in a love triangle, divided between two completely different men and future, resulting in her world fracturing further. A tale of a lovable protagonist finding her way through a tale of love loss and growth.

11. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Genre: Fiction/ Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Published: 11/06/2020

This stunning novel follows the separate lives of estranged identical twins, living very different lives, as well as embracing different racial identities; one is raising a black daughter in the town she tried to escape from and the other is secretly passing for a white woman, unbeknownst to her white husband. Spanning from the 1950s to the 1990s, from the Deep South to California, their lives will end up colliding in more ways than one.

12. A promised land by Barack Obama

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Biography & True Stories
Published: 17/11/2020

The 44th President of United States has gifted us with this deeply personal memoir, an extremely interesting and masterfully written account of his life. From his days of youth to a reflection of his time as leader of the United States, through to his political education, a truly wonderful and inspiring novel. While you’re at it why not read, Becoming by Michelle Obama… It’s truly inspiration.

13. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Genre: Fiction/ Crime & Mystery
Published: 20/08/2020

This brilliant, funny, and compassionate novel takes place in a small town in Sweden on what presents itself as a normal day. Two hours later, and chose has ensued, a clumsily attempt at a bank robbery has gone wrong and advanced into a hostage situation involving seven trapped strangers and an offender who refuses to talk to the police. The wonderfully charming novel about a crime that was never committed, eight highly anxious strangers discovering common ground and a criminal who may need rescuing more than they do…

14. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Genre: Fiction. Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Published: 21/01/2020

Vanessa Wyse was just 15 when she first has sex with her English teacher, Jacob Strane, now she’s 32 and Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by another former pupil, who reaches out to Vanessa, who now faces an impossible choice; to remain silent and stand firm in the belief that her teenage self did what she did willingly or is forced to redefine her sexual awakening – as rape. My Dark Vanessa tackles complex and uncomfortable issues that plague our generations in a nuanced, highly intelligent novel.

15. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Genre: Fiction/ Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Published: 20/08/2020

When Vivek’s life ends, the story begins.

The Death of Vivek Oji is a dazzling, beautiful novel about family and friendship. In south-eastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door; the length of her son’s body swaddled in colourful fabric and lay on her welcome mat. Vivek was born on the day his grandmother died with a scar on his foot that matched her own. A tale of a family who struggles to understand their child, while he is discovering who he truly is. A beautifully written novel with unforgettable characters.

16. Me: Elton John Official Autobiography by Sir Elton John

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Biography & True Stories/
Published: 13/10/2020

In his first and only official autobiography, legendary music icon writes about his extraordinary life. This joyfully, unapologetically honest and moving story of one of the most successful singer/songwriters of all time is a complete must read for those who want to learn about his early life and read the uproarious self-degrading anecdotes. A must read.

17. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

Genre: Fiction/ Romance
Published: 19/05/2020

The Lovable Heroine of Dolly Alderton’s Ghosts, Nina Dean, is a 32-year-old successful food writer living in North London, but things slowly seem to start falling apart. Friendships are fading, the quiet ticking of her biological clock a reminder, not to mention her mother’s mid-life makeover and her dad disappearing before her eyes due to dementia. After trying online dating, Nina meets the charming Max, who announces of the first date he is going to marry her, but is it all too good to be true? Dolly Alderton’s Debut Novel is thoroughly captivating and funny

18. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Genre: Fiction/Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Published: 03/09/2020

The Thursday Murder Club, is set in a peaceful retirement village in England, where four unlikely friends meet together once a week to discuss unsolved murders. But when they find themselves at the centre of a real murder, they must work together, using all of their theories and shared knowledge to catch the killer before it is too late…

Follow the unorthodox group of octogenarians through this charming and warm as they try and solve the mystery, which may be closer to home than anyone first thought.

19. The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Genre: Young Adult/ Fiction
Published: 04/08/2020

Los Angeles, 1992, Ashley Bennett; a wealthy black teenager is living a charmed life with her white friends. Until everything changes one afternoon in April, four police officers are acquitted after nearly beating a black man to death and suddenly Ashley finds that she isn’t just “one of the girls” she is one of the black kids.

With the city in chaos and flames, her reckless sister joining the fight and the defensive mask her family wears starting to slip, Ashley is starting to question everything. The Black Kids, is a marvellous coming-of-age debut examining privilege, class and systematic racism, a truly authentic and thought-provoking read.

20. It’s not about the Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and race by Mariam Khan

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Politics, Society & Education/ Literary Essays
Published: 06/02/2020

Courageous essays from the voices of Muslim women from different backgrounds, telling us in their own words what it’s like to be a female Muslim within modern western society. The writings cover many different subjects from feminism to immigration and terrorism, but primarily taking control of their own stories, speaking for themselves without the filter of the media or false narratives. A striking, passionate, and necessary collection of essays, essential reading for all.

21. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Genre: Fiction/ Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Published: 03/09/2020

From the author of The Hunting Party comes this sizzling thriller, set on a remote Irish island. A wedding is happening in and the festivities have barely begun when one of the guests is found dead, now the guests find themselves trapped in by a storm. Everyone has a motive and secrets, and the mounting sense of doom is hanging over the party. You won’t be able to put down this, cleverly written, a novel that will keep you have you guessing until the very end.

New Releases to watch out for in 2021

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
The Road Trip by Beth O’leary
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Klarna and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

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