After finally saying goodbye to 2020, we’re determined to stay hopeful for what 2021 may bring. One thing we know for sure is that the new year is going to bring us loads more amazing books to read any time we want to escape the real world. From stunning debut novels to motivational non-fiction from bestselling authors, self-help guides and more, we’ve rounded up the books that we’re adding to our 2021 reading list.
Robert Jones Jr.’s brilliant debut novel follows the lives of two young enslaved men working on a Deep South plantation and tells the tale of their beautiful love story, set against the darkest of backdrops. Isaiah and Samuel are each other’s refuge in a place ruled by cruel masters. But when an older man begins to preach the master’s gospel on the plantation, Isaiah and Samuel’s once easy love is transformed in the eyes of their fellow slaves into something sinful. The Prophets weaves a story of pain and suffering, while simultaneously portraying the enormous power that love holds.
The Prophets is out now. Head here to shop.
From the bestselling author of Traffic and You May Also Like, Beginners is an inspirational journey about continuing to learn new things, regardless of how old you are. In today’s society, with online courses on sites like Skillshare and an abundance of YouTube tutorials, there is no shortage of ways to learn. In this book, Tom Vanderbilt details his year of learning new skills, which include joining the Britpop Choir, surfing, taking up drawing, and juggling – he even ends up making his own wedding ring! Beginners not only highlights the joys of learning, but also opens our eyes to the limitless possibilities we have inside ourselves.
Beginners is out now. Head here to shop.
In 1986, when Ruth visits her friend in the hospital, she notices a door painted red. She also notices that all the nurses are reluctant to tend to the patients inside. Out of impulse, Ruth enters the room and proceeds to care for the man inside. Word soon spreads that Ruth is the only person willing to help the young men who had become victims of the growing HIV and AIDs crisis in conservative America. Throughout her career she defies religious and medical communities, and advocates passionately for the safety and recognition of those men. This deeply moving memoir, which honours the incredible life of Ruth Coker Burks, not only highlights the prejudice and ignorance that these young men faced at that time, but also shows how the work and determination of just one person can change the lives of so many others.
All the Young Men will be available from Thursday, 21 January, 2021. Head here to pre-order.
Tiller is an average American college student with not many aspirations in life. Pong Lou is an outlandish and creative Chinese-American entrepreneur who takes Tiller under his wing and brings him along on a trip across Asia. Tiller is transformed through a series of eye-opening experiences that change his perspective of the world forever. Chang-rae Lee’s astounding prose makes way for a deep commentary on the effects of cultural immersion, globalisation, Western and Eastern attitudes, mental health and so much more. Simultaneously filled with light humour and dark pain, My Year Abroad is a provocative story that is ultimately about human connection.
My Year Abroad will be available from Tuesday, 2 February, 2021. Head here to pre-order now.
Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating climate change and in this book he calls for urgent action, setting out a practical and accessible plan for how to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions and circumvent a climate catastrophe. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster gives us a clear description of the environmental challenges we face and describes the essential innovations that are arising in the technology sphere that are already combatting emissions. Gates not only lays out a plan for what governments should do, but also what we, as individuals, can do to keep ourselves and our employers accountable. It is clear that achieving zero greenhouse emissions is no easy feat, but this book demonstrates that such a goal is certainly achievable.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster will be available from Tuesday, 16 February, 2021. Head here to pre-order.
From the Nobel Prize-winning author of Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, Ishiguro’s new novel explores the ambiguous waters of AI and human relationships. The novel centres around Klara, an “Artificial Friend” who is hopeful that one day a customer will choose her and take her home from the store. However, when the opportunity for her to leave the store comes along and she has the chance to have her life changed, she is warned against investing too much hope in humanity. Told through the eyes of a memorable narrator, Klara and the Sun makes readers ponder on everything from technological development and ethics, to altruism and being human. Ultimately, this book asks the question of what it means to love?
Klara and the Sun will be available from Tuesday, 2 March, 2021. Head here to pre-order.
In Unwinding Anxiety, American psychiatrist, neuroscientist and writer Judson Brewer explains how to reduce anxiety by using brain-based tips and tricks that anyone can do. Dr. Brewer teaches readers to understand their mind and discover triggers, training their brains with methods that his lab has proven to work. Utilising over 20 years of experience with a wide variety of patients, from Olympic athletes to government leaders, this book provides a step-by-step guide to reducing or even breaking the cycle of worry and fear that has been plaguing many of us (over the past year in particular), which ultimately leads to anxiety.
Unwinding Anxiety will be available from Tuesday, 9 March, 2021. Head here to pre-order.
Haruki Murakami has earned his fair share of literary awards, and his surrealist novels have captured the hearts of many. The eight masterfully told stories in this book cover youthful nostalgia, jazz albums and baseball, all narrated in first person by a dreamlike narrator. Together, the stories create a philosophical and mysterious book filled with magic and wonder. At times, a narrator seems to possibly be Haruki himself, leaving the reader to question whether this book is fictional or a memoir. First Person Singular beautifully tells stories of love and loss, with Haruki’s talent for magical realism shining through each and every one of them.
First Person Singular will be available from Tuesday, 6 April, 2021. Head here to pre-order.
Fans of Madeline Miller and Pat Barker will love Jennifer Saint’s excellent debut novel that reimagines the Greek myth of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur, from Ariadne’s perspective. As Princesses of Crete, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up alongside the monstrosity that is the Minotaur, whose hoof beats echo from the Labyrinth beneath them – and also happens to be their brother. When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives as a sacrifice to the Minotaur and Ariadne falls in love with him, she must question where her loyalties lie. Will she betray her family and her country or will she lose her lover forever? Ariadne gives a voice to the women of Greek mythology – about time, we say!
Ariadne will be available from Tuesday, 4 May, 2021. Head here to pre-order.
Nell is born in Victorian London with facial birthmarks that isolate her from community and lead her to a life of being a circus freak. Her father sells her to Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders, promising Jasper his very own “leopard girl”. But, as Nell’s fame and friendship with Jasper’s brother Toby grows, she starts to wonder if joining the circus could possibly be far better than she ever imagined. When audiences gather to see her and she becomes known as the eighth wonder of the world, her fame threatens Jasper Jupiter himself, leaving Nell in danger of what is to come. Circus of Wonders is an astounding story about power and fame, as well as all the instability that comes with it.
Circus of Wonders will be available from Thursday, 13 May, 2021. Head here to pre-order.