Whether you’re looking to dive into reading or gift a book, here’s our list of 21 important books released in 2021. | Literature


Someone’s Daughter: A Memory

By Ashley C. Ford

It’s a story like “relying on your past to seize your future”. One of the most powerful early novels of the year is a memoir of a poor and difficult childhood in Indiana.

Klara and the sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro

This is the eighth novel by the 2017 Nobel Laureate, and it’s not the first time that Ishiguro has chosen a dystopian sci-fi world ruled by a female first-person voice. Klara is the artificial friend of Josie, a 14-year-old human child. His concern for the sun – something beyond his ability to comprehend – provides us with another of Ishiguro’s famous lessons in sensitivity.

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

By Patrick Radden Keefe

The role of the Sackler family in the opioid crisis has been discussed widely, but rarely in such shocking and in-depth detail. It is a family story that follows the founding of Purdue Pharma to the scandal.

Chronicles of the land of the happiest people in the world

By Wole Soyinka

This 87-year-old Nigerian writer was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 (the first African winner). This is his early days as a novelist – an experiment with a form that is perhaps more suited to social satire.

Vitamin T for Tacos

By Mando Rayo and Suzanne Garcia-Mateus

This alphabet book for kids introduces each letter in a taco context, including taco types, ingredients and toppings. The emphasis is on the food, the culture of the Latinx community and their love for tacos. A cultural guide, a manifesto and a taco dictionary.

The Anomaly

By Hervé Le Tellier

Released in France in 2020, this heart-breaking psychological thriller is based on a flight between Paris and New York in March 2021. The novel comes from a member of the legendary literary group Oulipo which combines literature and mathematics.

Everyday Mojo Songs from Earth

By Yusef Komunyakaa

New and reprinted poems by Louisiana-born Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Komunyakaa. Topics range from the experience of blacks and southern rural life to the experience of Komunyakaa during the Vietnam War.

Modi’s India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy

By Christophe Jaffrelot

A powerful tale of how a popularly elected leader steered the world’s largest democracy towards nationalism, authoritarianism and religious intolerance.

Sleeping Beauty: and other stories of mysterious illness

By Suzanne O’Sullivan

An Irish neurologist investigates psychosomatic disorders traveling the world to hunt down mysterious diseases, from Kazakhstan to Nicaragua to Colombia. Riveting and distressing.

WEB Du Bois love songs

By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

The first novel by an American poet in 2021 explores the story of an African-American family in Georgia. The title refers to the black intellectual, sociologist and civil rights activist who was ubiquitous in the cultural environment of Jeffers.

Beautiful people, where are you

By Sally Rooney

One of the most important voices of her generation, this young Irish writer is famous for her pragmatic descriptions of the contemporary world, including money and class. The story of a “love quadrilateral” in the era of late capitalism.

What is a river?

By Monika Vaicenaviciene

A picture book for children that has touched the world. A Lithuanian illustrator working in Sweden explains the magic of a river – and its ability to connect.

The keeper of the secret

By Alka Joshi

Local author Joshi continues with the success of The henna artist, publish his second novel. The Pacific Grove-based writer left India for the United States at the age of 9, but her India-based stories don’t stop.

Aftershocks: Pandemic Politics and the End of the Old International Order

By Colin Kahl and Thomas Wright

This book provides an important analysis of the continuing impact of the pandemic on fundamental world institutions and the order built and abandoned by the United States. world.

crossroads

By Jonathan Franzen

Franzen is back with another big, thick novel. Both loved and hated by readers, he remains the foremost American naturalist true to the novel’s tradition as a “mirror.”

The Gilded Edge: two daring women and the cyanide love triangle that rocked America

By Catherine Prendergast

Prendergast teaches at the University of Illinois, but we consider this book a local treat since the story she chose to tell, by Nora May French and Caroline “Carrie” Sterling, largely unfolded in Carmel. And this upsets the mythology of the bohemian founding history of Carmel.

Silverview

By Jean le Carré

This British-Irish master of spy novels died in 2020. This is the latest adventure prepared by Le Carré, set in a peaceful English seaside town.

Examining the Anthropocene: Trials on a Human-Centered Planet

By John Green

A collection of personal and fun essays. Green looks at the changes we face as a humanity with dread, bewilderment, and the need to find hope.

The Atlas of Endangered Places: Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis

By Christina Conklin and Marina Psaros

A local choice, a work of art and a great resource for learning more about the devastating consequences of the climate crisis around the world. Both authors are based in San Francisco.

Salmon bites

By Glodean Champion

Champion, now based in Monterey, wrote this story about a 12-year-old Zayla. Set in an environment of racism and daily police brutality, bustling Watts, Los Angeles comes alive as Zayla comes of age.

Free: a child and a country at the end of history

By Léa Ypi

This novel will be published in the USA in January 2022 so we are cheating. Set in the early 1990s in Albania during the transition to the “free market,” the book examines the newly acquired freedom that brought about organized crime and sex trafficking.


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