21 Books I Want to Read in 2021
Each year I always create a list of books I want to read, in this case, 21 books I want to read in 2021. I hardly ever read every book on these lists but I give it a good go. Also, I love having this kind of structured list to inspire me when I undoubtedly go through a reading slump mid-year.
In 2021, these are the books I want to read:
Careless is Kirsty Capes’ debut novel, and Kirsty is a co-worker at HarperCollins UK with me. She’s lovely, and her real-life story of growing up in the care system has inspired her debut novel. The story follows Bess, who has discovered she is pregnant but she doesn’t know who to tell: her care worker, her foster mother, or ‘the boy’. I cannot wait to read this, and you should read it too.
Another exciting debut novel on the grapevine is Another Life by Jodie Chapman. Anna and Nick are two young adult co-workers at a cinema. They’re attracted to each other, but Anna has grown up in an ‘end-of-days’ fatalist family, and her relationship with David is over before it begins. Years later though, they are reunited and their love story has endured. It sounds mysterious and romantic, with just a hint of intrigue due to the ‘end-of-days’ element. I’ve been given an e-arc of this and I cannot wait to dive in.
Everyone and anyone in the publishing industry in the UK have seen this book, because of some incredible marketing that the team has done. They sent proofs to publishing professionals with the words ‘Get out of Publishing’ on them. Spooky, right!
This story is set in the publishing industry and follows a black woman, Nella, who is delighted when another black woman, Hazel, is hired in the notoriously white-employee company. However, when Nella starts receiving threats to ‘leave Wagner’, the company she works at, she looks at Hazel differently. It’s a twisty thriller that I’m going to tear through as soon as I can get to it.
My friend, Rob, got me the first in the Heartstopper series for Christmas. This is an LGBT graphic novel about two teenage boys. I don’t know much about their romance beyond that, but I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this series and I know I’ll love it.
So, ever since watching Bridgerton on Netflix I have been obsessed with the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. I have read the first four novels out of the nine in the series, and I cannot wait to binge-read the rest. In my Bookish Resolutions, I said I wanted to finish a series in 2021, and I think this will be the one. It’s a lot of fun!
I started reading this in 2020, but had to put it down to focus on my book, What Planet Can I Blame This On?, which I was editing at the time. I’ll be picking back up soon though, as this is a sexy and intriguing read. The story follows Violet, an artistic woman in London who’s stuck in a dead-end job and currently estranged from her best friend. She meets Lottie, and her husband Simon, and is roped into their expensive world of art, orgies, and connections due to a potential job offer. What follows is a romp of epic proportions.
This title is everything. As an often burnout millennial, I need this book. Running several side hustles whilst also working full-time and having a social life is not easy, but I do it because I enjoy it. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t get burnout. I would love to learn more about the subject.
This is my book club pick for January-February in 2021, and it is a tome! How Jilly Cooper wrote this entirely by hand I’ll never know. I will finish this in 2021 – mostly because I have to for book club – but also because it’s a family favourite. It turns out my sister was named after a character in the sequel!
This is a really random book that I heard about on BookTube in December. It’s set during the Second World War, but the Greek Gods are involved. The story follows a selection of characters in the UK, but the story is narrated by Aphrodite on Mount Olympus. How this is all tied together I’ve no idea. But as a lover of Greek mythology retellings, I cannot wait to find out.
Daphne Du Maurier is one of my favourite authors. I’ve only read Rebecca and The Frenchman’s Creek but her writing style, stories, and general backstory is fascinating to me. I’ve been meaning to read My Cousin Rachel for ages, and this is the year I’m going to do it.
I’ve never read any of Rupi Kaur’s poetry, which I think is quite sacrilegious given her popularity. I believe she is an Instagram poet, who’s renown has grown since the publication of her first collection Milk and Honey. Since I would like to read more poetry in 2021 I feel like this is a great place to start.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include a collection of Greek myth retellings in a to-read list, would I. I enjoyed A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes and I’m looking forward to reading her latest collection Pandora’s Jar, about the women of Greek myth who were forgotten or neglected in the original tales.
Last year, I read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I would like to continue reading his works by listening to the audiobook of Bleak House in 2021. I struggle to read the paperbacks of Charles Dickens because more often than not, they’re huge! Because he wrote most of his books as serials before turning them into books, they go on for an age. As such, the audiobook is a lot easier to process.
I’ve still yet to read anything by Anne Bronte, and she’s my favourite of the Bronte sisters. She wrote two books in her lifetime and was the youngest of the lot, yet she is neglected by the history books and by the literary critiques. First up on my list is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It was brilliantly modern for the times, particularly given it was written by the daughter of a clergyman.
I’ve never read any Joan Didion, which I believe is quite a bad thing to admit for someone fairly well-read. I’ve recently downloaded the audiobook of The Year of Magical Thinking and I’m looking forward to listening to it over 2021. It’s less than three hours long, so I can imagine myself going for a good walk and finishing that.
Another author I’ve yet to read is Toni Morrison. A lot of my friends have read Beloved and all of them shudder at the time idea of ever having to read it again, not because it’s bad in any way but because it is so harrowing. That is precisely why I want to read it in 2021.
My book club pick for February-March is Cinderella is Dead by Kaylynn Bayron, an LGBT fantasy about the world in which Cinderella existed. 200 years after Cinderella’s death, 16-years-old are subjected to a ball where they have to find a husband or a wife, otherwise, they will be killed. But what if you’re gay and you aren’t allowed to marry the women you love?
Having read The Vanishing Half in 2020, I would love to read Brit Bennet’s debut novel The Mothers. I’m told it’s actually better than The Vanishing Half, which would be quite a feat since that novel was amazing. I don’t actually know what the plotline is of The Mothers but I think it will make a nice change to go into a book with absolutely no idea of what’s coming, for once.
At the end of 2020, I treated myself to the ebook of Writers & Lovers by Lily King. I’ve heard some amazing reviews and it looks like it’s fairly short. As someone who is a writer, I find the storyline of a writer struggling with writer’s block after the death of her mother, quite intriguing.
Another book I started in 2020 that I would like to finish, is that The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I can’t say I’m enamored with this book; it’s very American and hallmark-ish, plus it’s set in a publishing world I don’t recognise. But, fiction does encourage us to suspend reality after all, so I’m going to give it another go.
This book is everywhere at the minute, and for good reason. I have a proof copy and I’m going to properly hunker down and read it in February, I hope. The book is set in Scotland and follows a woman who has ‘stolen’ the identity of her friend who is a famous wine connoisseur. She has to figure out wine, as well as she has to keep up the façade of her false identity, all the while trying not to fall for the sexy chef. Sounds fun, and the perfect piece of escapism for the winter months.
What books are you hoping to read in 2021? Let me know in the comments below.