Even though my bookshelf is fully stocked with books I have yet to read, I’ve already started a list of books being released in 2021 that I want to get my hands on and read as soon as they’re published.
Keep up with my #52BooksIn52Weeks challenge at @ocbookshelf and you can find all 78 books I read in 2020 here along with their reviews.
Below, I’ve compiled my research and made a list of the 10 books I most want to read in 2021. A mixture of fiction, memoirs, non-fiction and politics – enjoy!
The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend’s wedding in rural Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed. But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie’s ex, Dylan, who she’s avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier. Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they’ve totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with four hundred miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can’t avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship… Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly… is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?
After reading and loving The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary in December, I’ve already ordered The Switch and am highly anticipating the release of The Road Trip this year. I’m not usually one for romcoms and soppy romance books but Beth makes them highly entertaining and I found it hard to put The Flat Share down!
Release Date: 29th April 2021
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective-the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.
Even though this was released in November 2020, it’s making my list of anticipated reads of 2021 because it’s probably going to take me all of 2021 to get through it. I really hope it’s something similar to his wife Michelle’s book as it was one of my top reads of 2020. I’ve heard only great things so far and can’t wait to get reading it.
Release date: Available now
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates
In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical – and accessible – plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe. As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.
Global Warming is coming, and it’s coming very fast. I think the more we know about it the better so that we can begin to change the speed with which it’s descending upon us. Bill Gates is a very, very smart man and although he may be tracking your daily walks to Aldi after being vaccinated (please know I’m being sarcastic here), he is a smart man we must listen to. I’ll be buying this book as soon as it’s released!
Release date: 16th February 2021
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust. Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
I’m all for a crime/thriller novel and the blurb of this book sounds like it’s a bit of me. Mystery, drama, and crime all wrapped into one, I can’t wait to read The Other Black Girl when it’s released in June!
Release date: 1st June 2021
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
I loved Alex Michaelides’ previous book, The Silent Patient. It was one of my top reads of 2020 and I can’t wait to read his new release in 2021. A great author of crime and thriller, this book sounds right up my street, and if it contains a twist as good as The Silent Patient, then it will probably feature on my top reads of 2021 list!
Release date: June 2021
Working Hard, Hardly Working by Grace Beverley
We all know the pressure of feeling like we should be grinding 24/7 while simultaneously being told that we should ‘just relax’ and take care of ourselves, like we somehow have to decide between success and sanity. It’s a seemingly impossible choice, and one that doesn’t reflect the complex working world we find ourselves in. In Working Hard, Hardly Working, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed ‘lazy workaholic’ Grace Beverley confronts this unrealistic and unnecessary split, and offers a fresh take on how to navigate modern life.
I’m a huge fan of Grace Beverley, and have been since she was posting on Instagram from her university bedroom in Oxford. Grace has built herself an empire all thanks to social media and with a music degree from Oxford, her fitness brands are the must-have equipment and fashion right now. I can’t wait to get my hands on this as I’d love to know more about Grace and how she built this life for herself.
Release date: 15th April 2021
That Old Country Music by Kevin Barry
Since his landmark debut collection, There Are Little Kingdoms, and its award-winning sequel in 2012, Dark Lies the Island, Kevin Barry has been acclaimed as one of the world’s most accomplished and gifted short story writers. In this rapturous third collection, we encounter a ragbag of west of Ireland characters, many on the cusp between love and catastrophe, heartbreak and epiphany, resignation and hope. These stories show an Ireland in a condition of great flux but also as a place where older rhythms, and an older magic, somehow persist.
That Old Country Music was actually released in October 2020, but I’ve only just came across the book and have added it to my wishlist straight away. As someone from Ireland, it brings me no greater pleasure than to read a book set in my home country. The book sounds witty, clever and nostalgic and I hope it lives up to be all of the above when I read it this year.
Released date: Available now
Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu
When Nadia Owusu was two years old her mother abandoned her and her baby sister and fled from Tanzania back to the US. When she was thirteen her beloved Ghanaian father died of cancer. She and her sister were left alone, with a stepmother they didn’t like, adrift. Nadia Owusu is a woman of many languages, homelands and identities. She grew up in Rome, Dar-es-Salaam, Addis Ababa, Kumasi, Kampala and London. And for every new place there was a new language, a new identity and a new home. At times she has felt stateless, motherless and identity-less. At others, she has had multiple identities at war within her. It’s no wonder she started to feel fault lines in her sense of self. It’s no wonder that those fault lines eventually ruptured. Aftershocks is the account of how she hauled herself out of the wreckage. It is the intimate story behind the news of immigration and division dominating contemporary politics. Nadia Owusu’s astonishingly moving and incredibly timely memoir is a nuanced portrait of globalisation from the inside in a fractured world in crisis.
I think the description of this book speaks for itself. It would be an honour to read about Nadia’s life story, the trials and struggles that she went through from a very young age to who she has become today because of it. Nadia sounds like a very strong and powerful individual and I look forward to reading about her story.
Release date: 4th February 2021
My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee
Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese American entrepreneur who sees something intriguing in Tiller beyond his bored exterior and takes him under his wing. When Pong brings him along on a boisterous trip across Asia, Tiller is catapulted from ordinary young man to talented protégé, and pulled into a series of ever more extreme and eye-opening experiences that transform his view of the world, of Pong, and of himself.
After introducing myself to some Asian fiction in 2020 (The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida and Crazy Rich Asians to name two) I vowed to read more in 2021 as I really enjoyed them. I hope (COVID-19-dependant) that I am able to visit Asia in 2021 as it’s somewhere that’s been on my list for a very long time. Singapore, Bali, Thailand etc. – just reading about them isn’t enough, I want to fully embrace the Asian culture through being there, seeing it and eating all the Asian food (it’s my favourite cuisine!).
Release date: 2nd February 2021
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
A book that everyone had on their reading list last year was Red, White & Royal Blue (a book I’m hoping to get around to reading in 2021) and this new release from the same author promises to be another big hit in the publishing world in 2021. Romance, New York, time travelling – what’s not to love really?
Release date: 1st June 2021
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