The Books We're Excited to Read in 2021

You don't need a good reason to curl up with a book at home, but here's a couple: 1. It's winter — what's cozier than reading by the fireplace or nestled under a fuzzy blanket? And 2. Much of the country is still under lockdown, so while we still can't live our lives like we normally would, we can at least live vicariously through the characters in these stories. Below, we rounded up a reading list of picks our editors are excited to dive into this year. From a Reese Witherspoon-approved bestseller to a classic thriller, you're sure to find your next book here.

Outlawed by Anna North

“I have a tendency to reach for nonfiction, so this year I want to push myself out of that comfort zone. While I was looking at some suggested fiction, I came across Outlawed and couldn’t be more excited for it to get here so I can get started. Reading a review that likened it to “The Crucible meets True Grit” had me sold. Plus, it made the cut as a Reese Witherspoon-approved book.” –Jayla Andrulonis 

The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

“I’ve read “The Mothers” by Brit Bennet and was hooked so I’m really excited to read “The Vanishing Half.” The novel centers around two twin sisters growing up in the south, who separate in adulthood but remain entwined thanks to a shared secret past. It comes highly acclaimed (a “New York Times” bestseller and one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020 ) so I can’t wait to pick it up.” –Stephanie Perry 

Luster: A Novel by Raven Leilani

“Luster, Raven Leilani’s debut novel, has been on my list to read since last year. I’m typically drawn to fiction focused on women in their twenties as I, too, am a woman in my twenties, and Leilani’s book delivers on pinpointing many of the nuanced issues that arise during this tumultuous decade, layering in themes of race and class along the way. The main character, Edie, is a deeply authentic, flawed woman struggling to navigate both her professional and personal life, while tethered between Bushwick and New Jersey after getting involved with a married man in an open relationship. Life is messy, and Luster promises to deliver just that, all through sharp, poignant prose.” –Christie Calucchia

Educated by Tara Westover

“This book has been sitting on my dresser for a while now, waiting to be read. I’ve always been a fan of memoirs, and it came highly recommended by my mother. Plus, my office book club read it a few months back, and everyone seemed to love it. I couldn’t make the zoom call that day but ordered the book anyway as I knew it would be up my alley. I plan on finally starting it this weekend, and I can’t wait!” –Rebecca Carhart

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

“Recently, I’ve fallen in love with social scientist Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast, which explores the messy, beautiful human experience. Now, I’m ready to fall in love with her writing. My friend actually gave me “Rising Strong” a couple of years back, telling me it helped her as she transitioned from grad school to the working world. It’s about how to lean into the discomfort of failing and grow from our mistakes. I know I’ll be facing a lot of change this year, meaning lots of stumbles, too. I’m hopeful “Rising Strong” will give me the tools to approach these challenges with courage.” –Katie Macdonald

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré

“As a huge fan of detective and espionage thrillers, I’ve always loved John Le Carré’s novels and their adaptations, particularly Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Night Manager. When Le Carré passed away in December of last year, I realized it was a great time to remember the author by re-reading his masterpieces, starting with the book that established his career: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. A Cold War tale full of twists and duplicity, this novel is my favorite that sets up prominent characters of Le Carré’s bibliography, including George Smiley. It’s the perfect thriller to read with a cup of tea at night, especially in the winter cold.” –Nina Huang

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