I think we can all agree that 2020 will go down in history as one of our collective and personally most challenging years. I know mine was. But along the way, many amazing books came out, helping us escape and delight in our interior lives when the exterior world was bleak. Now with the shining promise of a new year beckoning, I’m definitely ready for healthier times, less loss, more certainty, and many, many great reads. As a literary podcast host, I’m in the enviable position of getting advance copies of many books months before they hit the shelves. Here are a few sneak peeks of upcoming reads which confirm that 2021 will definitely bring fantastic literary offerings, if not worldwide vaccination.
1. Ashley Audrain, THE PUSH (1/5/21)
A dark look at motherhood and inherited trauma, this captivating novel explores many generations of women in a family and what happens when the child you bring into the world exhibits the worst of those that have come before you.
2. Melissa Gould, WIDOW-ISH (2/2/21)
This memoir by a woman whose husband falls ill and succumbs to the West Nile virus after getting bitten by a mosquito by their pool in California is one of my recent favorites. A medical odyssey, parenthood, friendship, a new love affair and a sense of humor combine to make the author someone you want to hug and befriend.
3. Susan Conley, LANDSLIDE (2/2/21)
This absolutely gorgeous novel about a wife whose husband gets hospitalized after a fishing accident, leaving her money-strapped and raising three teen son in Maine, is a modern-day tale of survival.
4. Anna Malaika Tubbs, THE THREE MOTHERS: HOW THE MOTHERS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., MALCOLM X, AND JAMES BALDWIN SHAPED A NATION (2/2/21)
Part history and part memoir, this compelling and beautifully written, slim tome sheds light on the power of black motherhood in history — and in the author’s story.
5. Rebecca Sacks, CITY OF A THOUSAND GATES (2/2/21)
A literary novel set in present-day Israel and Palestine interweaves many stories in a delicate dance of desire of independence, providing for our children, and safety.
6. Kristin Hannah, THE FOUR WINDS (2/9/21)
It was hard not to stop everything and read this new novel from the #1 bestselling author of THE NIGHTINGALE and THE GREAT ALONE. Set in 1930s Texas during a period of drought and unemployment, this Dust Bowl Depression story follows one woman who has to answer big questions to find her path.
7. Zibby Owens (ed.), MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO: A QUARANTINE ANTHOLOGY (2/16/21)
Shameless plug for my own anthology with 60+ essays from bestselling and notable authors who have been guests on my podcast writing essays inspired by the following things moms don’t have time to do: eat, read, work out, breathe, and have sex. My second anthology, MOMS REALLY DON’T HAVE TIME TO, comes out in November 2021 by another 60+ authors, inspired by five additional things moms don’t have time to do: sleep, get sick, lose weight, see friends, and write.
8. Jennifer Ryan, THE KITCHEN FRONT (2/23/21)
Inspired by true events during the World War II-era England, four women compete in a cooking competition to land a spot on the BBC in this delightful novel interspersed by recipes.
9. Julia Turshen, SIMPLY JULIA (3/2/21)
Part cookbook, part memoir, this collection of recipes and accompanying stories from a master home cook will feed your family and your soul.
10. Maisy Card, THESE GHOSTS ARE FAMILY (3/2/21)
What would happen if a secret you told came back to bite you 30 years later? This case of a hidden identity rears its ugly head when a man on his deathbed comes face-to-face with his own daughter — who shows up as his home health aid.
11. Jessica Winter, THE FOURTH CHILD (3/9/21)
A haunting tale of teen motherhood and the effects of adoption, this sizzling novel tracks both mother and oldest daughter in their struggles as the one adopted child in the family refuses to bond.
12. Chris Whitaker, WE BEGIN AT THE END (3/16/21)
An un-putdown-able story about two children from a self-destructive mom and the local cop whose “friend” gets released from prison, only to stir up trouble for all involved.
13. Amy Solomon (ed.), NOTES FROM THE BATHROOM LINE: HUMOR, ART, AND LOW-GRADE COMEDY FROM 150 OF THE FUNNIEST WOMEN IN COMEDY (3/16/21)
Award-winning writers, stand-up comics and actresses and more share their funniest bits in this hilarious collection.
14. James Brown, APOLOGY TO A YOUNG ADDICT (3/30/21)
A sensationally-written memoir about the effects of alcoholism and addiction on family as told by the dad of three grown sons.
15. Gabriela Garcia, OF WOMEN AND SALT (3/30/21)
A Cuban immigrant in Miami who battles addition takes in the daughter of a friend detained by ICE in a story about roots — and the choices mothers must make.
16. Erin French, FINDING FREEDOM: A COOK’S STORY REMAKING A LIFE FROM SCRATCH (4/6/21)
A memoir about food, motherhood, love, and everything you’d ever want to read about from the owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen.
17. Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney, GOOD COMPANY (4/6/21)
A woman realizes her marriage and family might be built on lies when a Hollywood star from their past opens up secrets.
18. Vince Granata, EVERYTHING IS FINE (4/13/21)
Vince’s younger brother, plagued by schizophrenia, killed their mother. In this memoir, Vince explores the grief and trauma behind what tore apart his family.
19. Paula McLain, WHEN THE STARS GO DARK (4/13/21)
A suspenseful, thrilling, psychological drama from the New York Times bestselling author of THE PARIS WIFE, this book tracks a grieving, missing persons detective who becomes consumed with solving a crime in her hometown.
20. Cate Doty, MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS: OR, EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE I LEARNED ON THE WEDDING PAGES (5/4/21)
A behind-the-scenes memoir that shines a light on the wedding section of the New York Times from a Southern romantic.
21. Laura Dave, THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME
The internationally bestselling author Laura Dave tracks a woman’s search for her missing husband in this fast-paced thriller that is already an Apple movie in the works.
22. Jessica Anya Blau, MARY JANE (5/11/21)
A coming-of-age novel about a bookish 14-year-old in the 1970s who babysits a family that soon welcomes in a famous rock star.
23. Joyce Maynard, COUNT THE WAYS (5/25/21)
When one of the couple’s kids sustains a tragic accident, the grieving husband takes up with the babysitter in this intimate story of a family broken by tragedy.
24. Jean Hanff Korelitz, THE PLOT (5/11/21)
From the bestselling author of books that leap to the screen (like Admission and The Undoing), THE PLOT by Jean Hanff Korelitz is about an MFA professor who steals the book his student writes after his untimely death. But is he really dead?
25. Jack Wang, WE TWO ALONE (6/1/21)
These evocative, immersive stories about the Chinese immigrant experience show sacrifice, love, and the diaspora in action.
26. Claire Nelson, THINGS I LEARNED FROM FALLING: A MEMOIR (6/8/21)
This true story account from the London-based woman who survived a 25-foot fall and four days alone and injured in Joshua Tree — and what came before — will give burnout a new meaning.
27. Lisa Taddeo, ANIMAL (6/8/21)
Lisa’s non-fiction book THREE WOMEN was one of my favorites — and launched as a #1 New York Times bestseller. (Her writing style is so compelling that after I reluctantly put down THREE WOMEN, I went online and read every article she’d written.) Now she has written a novel about female rage, tracking a woman from New York to Los Angeles who witnesses a shocking act of violence that brings up the primal horrors she saw as a child and which she finally decides to face with he help of a friend.
28. Christina Clancy, SHOULDER SEASON (7/6/21)
A newly orphaned 19-year-old becomes a small town Playboy bunny in this literary take on love on the egde.
29. Kelly McClorey, NOBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY (7/6/21)
A story about isolation, anxiety and loneliness, this book highlights the journey of a chambermaid and aspiring EMT as she takes up with her landlord.
30. Esther Freund, I COULDN’T LOVE YOU MORE (7/13/21)
From the author of HIDEOUS KINKY comes a story of three generations of women from the 1960s to present-day London about sex, motherhood, and lies.