Keep your 2021 reading list fresh with our selection of the best books of 2021. From classic fiction to memoirs and biographies, choose the perfect book for you here.
2021 was a fantastic year for books. Whether you’re looking for gripping fiction, thought-provoking biographies, or captivating young adult novels, the year didn’t disappoint.
This article will explore the best books of 2021 and why they deserve to be on your “new books” reading list. From American New York Times bestsellers to short stories, and nonfiction books, you’re sure to find the perfect read.
An overview of the best 2021 books
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Experience the lives of Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon as they explore love, life, and friendship while trying to discover a beautiful world in Sally Rooney’s third novel. With heartbreak, joy, and complicated relationships, this captivating story will take readers on an unforgettable journey.
Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters
This is a powerful debut novel about three women who must confront gender, motherhood, and desire after an unexpected pregnancy. An emotionally stirring story of self-discovery, resilience, and love.
Harrow by Joy Williams
Acclaimed author and Pulitzer prize nominee Joy Williams takes us into a post-apocalyptic world of environmental destruction. Khristen, a gifted teenage girl, embarks on an adventure to uncover the truth behind her mother’s mysterious disappearance and the sinister lake named Big Girl.
No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
In this book, Patricia Lockwood examines how the digital age and social media have shaped our lives, questioning if there is life after the internet. Follow one woman’s journey as she grapples with a world of online discourse, existential threats, and an epidemic of loneliness while searching for a way to cope.
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe
Discover the secret history of one of the world’s wealthiest families, the Sacklers, responsible for creating and marketing OxyContin. Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain is a meticulously researched exposé on this powerful dynasty and its devastating contribution to the opioid crisis.
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
Qian Julie Wang’s coming-of-age memoir, Beautiful Country, chronicles a Chinese family’s journey of immigrating to America and their struggle to build a new life.
Published by Doubleday (an imprint of Penguin Random House), follow Qian as she finds solace in books and learns the language of her new home while dealing with her family’s struggles amidst poverty and discrimination.
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Michelle Zauner tells a powerful story of growing up Korean American, balancing her mother’s expectations, and forging her own identity. Through struggle and heartache, she ultimately discovers the courage to embrace her culture and follow her dreams.
All That She Carried by Tiya Miles
This novel is an illuminating story of love and loss, inspired by Rose’s gift of Ashley’s Sack to her daughter. Tiya Miles weaves together Rose’s desire for her daughter’s survival with the power of memory to create a hauntingly beautiful tale of one family’s journey through slavery.
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
Harlem Shuffle is an exciting novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in 1960s Harlem. Follow Ray Carney on his descent from a line of uptown hoods and crooks as he attempts to make a decent life for himself and his family while juggling the expectations of those around him.
The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
In Robert Jones Jr.’s first novel, The Prophets, two enslaved young men find solace in each other despite the danger of their forbidden union on an American plantation. But when an older slave preaches the master’s gospel, they must fight to keep their love alive in this heartbreaking and lushly-told love story.
Matrix by Lauren Groff
In this riveting novel, Lauren Groff captivates readers as she tells the story of Marie de France, exiled from court and sent to an impoverished abbey. There, Marie finds a devotion to her sisters and a newfound conviction in her own divine visions.
Published by Riverhead Books, this sweeping saga of faith and courage will take you on an unforgettable journey.
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny
This is a bighearted novel published by Knopf is about unconventional love, disaster, and family. It follows Jane as she navigates her relationship with the world’s most prolific seducer of women and his entangled past. With joy and insight, Early Morning Riser makes readers reflect on stories in their own lives.
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura
In Intimacies, Katie Kitamura follows a woman caught between many truths as she navigates personal and political dramas. Amid simmering relationships and explosive political fires, this taut and electrifying story explores language, identity, and what it means to make a home.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
The Other Black Girl is an electrifying debut about two young black women navigating the starkly white backdrop of New York City publishing. As one rises to office darling, the other must confront microaggressions and isolation in a moving story of race and identity.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Klara and the Sun is an uplifting story of hope and friendship by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro. Follow Klara, an artificial friend, on her journey as she discovers her new role in helping a sick young woman, all while observing the world around her with a keen eye and innocence.
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
In this novel, the Hildebrandts grapple with their secrets and moral quandaries as stormy weather looms in Chicago. Russ’s marriage is on the brink of collapse, Clem has made an irreversible decision, Becky has veered into a counterculture lifestyle, and Perry searches for redemption.
A riveting exploration of family dynamics ensues.
Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert
Elizabeth Kolbert chronicles the stunning landscapes of the Anthropocene. She examines the engineers and biologists attempting ambitious projects to save our planet, from preserving rare species to converting carbon emissions into stone.
A must-read for anyone interested in the future of our world.
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To get started, all you have to do is sign up for a free account and download the app on your preferred device. Once inside, you can browse through recommended titles or search for specific books using keywords or by category. You can even add books to your wish list so that you don’t forget to check them out later.
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What is the most-read book of 2021?
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Which author was the most successful in 2021?
Which books from 2021 are adapted into movies?
They include Dune by Frank Halbert, Without Remorse by Tom Clancy, and Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Logline.