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13 Book Releases To Be Excited About in 2021

Culture /


Your 2021 reading list

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Wondering what you’ll be reading this year? Here are the most anticipated releases of 2021, from exciting debuts to long-awaited books from big names. 

Book Releases To Be Excited About in 2021

Acts of Desperation, Megan Nolan

Acts of Desperation, Megan Nolan

The debut novel from Irish journalist Megan Nolan started off as a non-fiction, exploring the destructive relationships she had in her teens. But in 2016, Nolan threw away 15,000 words and started again – this time as a fiction book. Acts of Desperation is the account of a toxic relationship from beginning to end, following the unnamed narrator’s obsession with a beautiful man named Ciaran. 4 March, Penguin

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, Richard Flanagan

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, Richard Flanagan

Booker Prize-winning Richard Flanagan’s new novel The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is a magical realist tale set in Tasmania. The book tells the story of Anna, an architect in her fifties whose mother, Francine, is dying of renal failure. Things take a surreal turn when Anna finds body parts gradually falling off – which becomes a metaphor for the climate crisis, which makes sense since all this takes place against the backdrop of Australia’s bushfire season. 14 January, Penguin

Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

One of the most talked about book releases of 2021 is the new book from Kazuo Ishiguro. His first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, Klara and the Sun tells the story of an artificial friend who yearns for a human owner, asking the question: what does it mean to love? 2 March, Faber & Faber

Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid

Loved Daisy Jones and The Six? You’ll be pleased to know Taylor Jenkins Reid is back with a new novel, and it’s set to be just as juicy. One fateful night in Malibu in 1983, the four Riva siblings are hosting their famous annual party when family secrets begin bubbling to the surface. 27 May, Cornerstone

Luster, Raven Leilani

Luster, Raven Leilani

It’s not even out yet, but Raven Leilani’s debut novel Luster is already in the running for a number of awards. It tells the story of Edie, a 23-year-old black woman from New York who becomes infatuated with Eric Walker, a white middle-aged man with a suburban family – including a wife who has sort of agreed to an open marriage, and an adopted daughter. If you’re a fan of Sally Rooney’s books no doubt you’ll love Luster, a darkly comic book about the nuances of being a young woman today. 21 January, Pan Macmillan

Milk Fed, Melissa Broder

Milk Fed, Melissa Broder

Readers can expect more of the wild eroticism seen in The Pisces in Melissa Broder’s new book – though this time, there are no mermen to be seen. Milk Fed is the story of 24-year-old Rachel, a lapsed Jew who has made calorie restriction her religion. Things change, though, when she meets Miriam, a young Orthodox Jewish woman intent on feeding her. Physical hunger, sexual desire and spiritual longing merge in Broder’s funny meditation on appetites. 4 March, Bloomsbury

Snow Country, Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks has been wanting to write this book for at least a decade, and now it’s finally within our reach. Though Faulks used the setting from his 2015 novel Human Traces, Snow Country is not a sequel.  Due to be published this autumn, the novel brings us to 1900s Vienna, where a young impoverished girl named Lena lives with her alcoholic mother and Anton, the son of a bourgeois family. Autumn, Hutchinson

Open Water, Caleb Azumah Nelson

Open Water, Caleb Azumah Nelson

Another of this year’s hottest debuts, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Open Water tells the story of two Black artists falling in and out of love as they try to make their mark on the city of London. 14 Feb, Penguin

Beautiful World, Where Are You, Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You, Sally Rooney

If the reaction to her two previous novels – plus the hit BBC adaptation – is anything to go by, Sally Rooney’s next book is sure to be a winner. Beautiful World, Where Are You follows Alice and Eileen, two friends in their twenties who find themselves on very different trajectories. Like Normal People and Conversations With Friends, much of their friendship plays out over email, where they exchange messages “about art, friendship, the world around them and the complicated love affairs unfolding in their own lives”. 7 September, Faber & Faber

Later, Stephen King

Love a good thriller? You’re in luck: Stephen King is releasing a new crime story this year about a young boy with a supernatural ability. Jamie Conklin can see what no-one else can see – which leads an NYPD detective to draw him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave. 2 March, Hard Case Crime

Animal, Lisa Taddeo

Animal, Lisa Taddeo

Another exciting 2021 debut, Animal is the debut novel from Lisa Taddeo, the author of the award-winning true story, Three Women, which she spent eight years researching. Animal, on the other hand, is a fictional book – though it covers some of the same themes. It tells the story of Joan, who has spent a lifetime enduring the cruel acts of men – but when one of them commits a shocking act of violence right before her eyes, Joan flees New York in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help make sense of her past. June, Bloomsbury

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates

Bill Gates, How To Avoid a Climate Disaster

While a lot of books about climate change offer a pretty gloomy view of the future, Bill Gates’ new non-fiction focuses on practical solutions to reversing the major issues. Following ten years of research, Gates proposes a plan for what we need to do over the next decade and beyond to eliminate greenhouse gases as individuals, businesses and governments. 16 February, Penguin

Breathtaking: Life and Death in a Time of Contagion, Rachel Clarke

Breathtaking, Rachel Clarke

How does it feel to be on the frontline in the face of a pandemic? In her new book Breathtaking, Rachel Clarke gives us an unflinching account of what it’s like to work as a palliative care doctor during coronavirus. An undoubtedly bleak subject – yet Clarke argues that, amid all the devastation, the past year has inspired a newfound gratitude in what really matters. 26 January, Little Brown

Things To Look Forward To in 2021 / Long Reads You Finally Have Time To Tackle