Take a look back to survey your favorite reads in 2020. They might inspire which titles you pick up in 2021.
Here are 14 books, from a variety of genres, to consider based on recent favorites.
— If you enjoyed “Little Disasters,” by Sarah Vaughan, read “The Push,” by Ashley Audrain (out now)
What happens when a mother doesn’t love her daughter? Audrain’s debut is a tense, chilling dip into the dark side of motherhood, narrated by Blythe, whose own upbringing raises the question: Can one inherit an inability to parent? “The Push” is uncomfortable and provocative, like a train wreck that demands your gaze.
— If you enjoyed “Think Like a Monk,” by Jay Shetty, read “Think Again,” by Adam Grant (Feb. 2)
If there hasn’t been enough room in your brain to give your own thoughts any thought, we hear you. But Grant, an organizational psychologist, coaches readers on how to better understand their unexamined – and unchallenged – beliefs. “Think Again” delivers smart advice on unlearning assumptions and opening ourselves up to curiosity and humility.
— If you enjoyed “The Particulars of Peter,” by Kelly Conaboy, read “When Harry Met Minnie,” by Martha Teichner (Feb. 2)
In 2016, CBS News correspondent Teichner and her bull terrier, Minnie, were introduced to a woman dying of liver cancer. The woman wanted to ensure her own bull terrier, Harry, would have a good home when she was no longer around. The sweet — if wrenching — memoir is an ode to our dearest four-legged friends, and the people they lead us to.
— If you enjoyed “Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy,” by Ben Macintyre, read “The Princess Spy,” by Larry Loftis (Feb. 9)
In 1943, Aline Griffith, an American fashion model, was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services to hunt for Nazi supporters among Spain’s social elite. While there, she met and married a Spanish aristocrat, making her the Countess of Romanones. Loftis, a historian who’s written two previous nonfiction spy thrillers, delivers a rich, deeply researched account of Griffith’s espionage escapades.
— If you enjoyed “Transcendent Kingdom,” by Yaa Gyasi, read “Of Women and Salt,” by Gabriela Garcia (March 30)
This family saga centers on five generations of strong Latinas: Maria, one of the only women to work at a Cuban cigar factory in the 1800s; Carmen, an immigrant who’s found success in the United States; Jeanette, who’s addicted to drugs and abusive men; and Gloria, who’s taken into custody by ICE, leaving her young daughter behind. Their stories are a mesmerizing patchwork of determination, courage and survival.
— If you enjoyed “Joy at Work,” by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein, read “Laundry Love,” by Patric Richardson (March 30)
Richardson loves doing laundry – yes, laundry. He’s made a fulfilling career out of it, running Laundry Camp at the Mall of America to teach others his techniques. In “Laundry Love,” he shares his favorite tips and hacks for sorting your laundry, figuring out which settings to use for the best results – and changing your relationship with the often dry task. Add it to your laundry, ah, reading list for spring.
— If you enjoyed “All Adults Here,” by Emma Straub, read “Early Morning Riser,” by Katherine Heiny (April 13)
When you enter a relationship with a man who has had relations with, well, half the town, things will probably get weird. Jane, the star of Heiny’s offbeat and funny new novel, falls for Duncan – who comes with an oversize load of small-town baggage. The story, which spans 17 years, sparkles with Heiny’s trademark witticisms and cutting observations.
— If you enjoyed “The Searcher,” by Tana French, read “What Comes After,” by JoAnne Tompkins (April 13)
Two neighboring families in the remote Pacific Northwest are reeling over the deaths of their teenage sons when a pregnant girl with a secret emerges from the woods. As she becomes entangled in both families’ lives, they’re forced to reckon with their shared histories. “What Comes After” is a mystery — and a gritty meditation on loss and redemption, drenched in stillness and grief.
— If you enjoyed “Sex and Vanity,” by Kevin Kwan, read “Dial A for Aunties,” by Jesse Q. Sutanto (April 27)
When Meddelin Chan accidentally kills her blind date, her mother – naturally – calls in the “meddling Asian aunties” to dispose of the body. Despite good intentions, they problematically ship the body to the over-the-top, very important island wedding Meddy’s company is planning. Netflix has signed on to adapt the delightful rom-com.
— If you enjoyed “I Hold a Wolf by the Ears,” by Laura van den Berg, read “The Rock Eaters,” by Brenda Peynado (May 11)
Peynado’s curious story collection blends science fiction and fantasy, drizzled with magical realism: levitating children who eat rocks to stay tethered to the ground; oblations performed to cattle-like angels; lost limbs that correspond to lost rights. It’s a genre-bending sociopolitical commentary with prose that shines.
— If you enjoyed “Big Summer,” by Jennifer Weiner, read “Malibu Rising,” by Taylor Jenkins Reid (May 25)
It’s 1983 in Malibu, and the famous Riva siblings are hosting their annual end-of-summer party – a legendary affair. By morning, the house is in flames, a blaze fueled by smoldering secrets and long-simmering drama. Reid has once again crafted a fast-paced, engaging novel that smoothly transports readers between decades and story lines.
— If you enjoyed “When No One is Watching,” by Alyssa Cole, read “The Other Black Girl,” by Zakiya Dalila Harris (June 1)
Hulu has already snagged the rights to Harris’s bold debut, about a young editorial assistant who’s the only Black employee at a New York publishing company – until another woman arrives. Their budding friendship turns sinister as ominous notes hint at bad intentions. It’s a thrilling, edgier “Devil Wears Prada” that explores privilege and racism.
— If you enjoyed “You Should See Me in a Crown,” by Leah Johnson, read “Blackout,” by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon (June 22)
Talk about star power: Six YA powerhouses teamed up for this epic celebration of Black joy. As New York is blanketed in heatwave-rendered darkness, six young couples are forced to confront their feelings for each other, and about themselves. The story, which plays out over a single day, is a love letter to New York and teen romance.
— If you enjoyed “The Night Watchman,” by Louise Erdrich, read “Brothers on Three,” by Abe Streep (Sept. 6)
In 2018, Streep wrote a piece for the New York Times Magazine about the Arlee Warriors, a high school basketball team on Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation. It inspired “Brothers on Three,” in which Streep follows the Warriors – and their community — as they forge their way on the court and into adulthood. It’s a rich, expansive portrait of modern Indigenous life, set amid a suicide crisis.