Douglas Stuart’s acclaimed debut novel draws heavily on his upbringing in 1980s Glasgow, where, like Stuart did, Hugh “Shuggie” Bain is growing up with an alcoholic mother and facing a culture of homophobia that makes him feel like an outcast. “In tender, intimate and distinctive writing, Taylor explores race, sexuality and desire with a cast of unforgettable characters.”. The protagonist of Murata’s new novel, Natsuki, is detached, having suffered a traumatic childhood, and struggles with the expectations placed on her. It is a glimpse of a saner world. “This exodus is the basis for Allende’s riveting new historic saga, which has echoes in today’s global refugee crises – and parallels to Allende’s own life,” says Jane Ciabattari on BBC Culture. Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such A Fun Age first crossed my desk in … A translator herself, Matsuda knows how to play with language, infusing her narrators with memorable idiosyncrasies. The best romance novel protagonists make you feel empowered and better about yourself and … “The genius of The Best of Me is that it reveals the growth of a writer, a sense of how his outlook has changed and where he finds humour,” says the New York Times. The New York Times describes it as a “haunting, arresting” read. Piranesi is, according to inews, “The most curious confection… blending elements of mythology and fantasy, with nods along the way to CS Lewis and Tolkien… [it has a] genuinely moving climax that throws open the doors of the halls in more ways than one.” Its author Susanna Clarke is known for her 2004 debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an award-winning alternative history. “Her ear is attuned to inconvenient truths and double standards, particularly misogyny in America. “Li has crafted an epic story of a life full of regret, but also of hope and perseverance and the importance of passing down our legacies,” according to Vulture. He continues the story of a US teacher living in Bulgaria, and explores his memories and sexual encounters through a disordered narrative. Porter explores how this national pathology has stunted the nation’s development and the growth of the institutions needed for a healthy, cohesive society – including labour, education, health and welfare. Yet this debut novel is written with a light touch, and makes for a witty, if uncomfortable, social satire. Join BBC Culture Book Club on Facebook, a community for literature fanatics all over the world. Refinery 29 describes Hood Feminism as “blistering... A fresh new and necessary black voice in feminist literature”. The new book by former President Obama tells of the journey from his earliest political aspirations to his presidency, and is an “elegant, thoughtful memoir”, according to the Independent. And by “best” we mean “most terrifying.” Jules and Will have chosen to hold their wedding on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. Sittenfeld answers this question with Rodham, a novel that weaves an imagined tale into real historical events. The 11 stories that comprise Laura van den Berg’s beautiful and bold collection feature a cast of contemplative women navigating situations that are strange, sad and unsettling. On a vacation like no other, a group of families share a lakeside summer home, where the parents care little about what their children are up to. Reading fiction in 2020 was an act of defiance—of turning our attention away from the catastrophes playing out around us to engage in a quiet, imaginative act. Thirty years later, and Tully has some news. She is “vividly drawn”, according to The Observer. In Where the Wild Ladies Are, Japanese author Aoko Matsuda guides readers through supernatural events and introduces them to otherworldly characters as if they were completely ordinary. A ship takes 2,000 refugees from the Spanish Civil War to Chile in 1939. You are unlikely to forget it.”. The acclaimed journalist Deborah Orr died in November 2019, and earlier this year her remarkable and unflinching book Motherwell was published. In 900 richly detailed pages, The Mirror & The Light lays out the downfall of Thomas Cromwell, consigliere to King Henry VIII and powerbroker of the Reformation. The Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich. That’s all part of Akhtar’s point: his project uses fiction as a filter through which to tell an essential story about a man facing the turmoil of American life after 9/11 and his family’s attendant struggle to define itself. Where the Wild Ladies Are is, says the Guardian, “funny, beautiful, surreal and relatable – this is a phenomenal book”. Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis is co-authored by Thunberg’s mother Malena Ernman, who is the primary narrator, her father Svante, and her sister Beata. Pulitzer-winning Marilynne Robinson has written a fourth novel in her acclaimed Gilead series. Debut Novel Want to Read saving ... Best Books 2020: Winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards NBC News 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards Winners Announced Book Riot Winners of 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards: Barack Obama, Margaret Atwood, Ina Garten USA Today. The Washington Post shared that it is “filled with suspense and surprises,” while The New York Times called it “a nervy and well-crafted novel” that “lingers long after its voyage is over.” As the Scotsman observes: “It is disconcertingly honest and self-revealing. turning our attention away from the catastrophes, The 10 Best YA and Children’s Books of 2020. The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel. In Susie Yang’s debut novel, protagonist Ivy is raised in China by her grandmother, and then sent to the US to live with her emotionally distant parents and her younger brother. Her thoughts on the burgeoning natural disaster capture the dual personalities of a sulking teen, sick of her parents, and a young person forced to grow up too fast. The best new books of 2020, including fiction and non-fiction by N.K. Her struggles and dilemmas – and her relationship with her mother – are relayed, and the themes of religion and science are central. A shy young man from Alabama, he has left his family behind – but not his troubling childhood memories. Two men, one Israeli and one Palestinian, had a daughter killed in in the conflict. View the Top 100 best sellers for each year, in Amazon Books, Kindle eBooks, Music, MP3 Songs and Video Games. In the process she tells her own, rather different, version of events, revealing the secrets of her past. The tales feature various supernatural elements, including zombies, ghosts and digital afterlives. Then come confrontations with colleagues and a surprise encounter with a classmate. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. “Exhilarating, a bravura piece of writing… Mendez looks set to shake up the literary establishment in the most thrilling way,” says the i newspaper. Whether in the tumultuous halls of power in Tudor England with The Mirror & the Light, a storm-ravaged mansion in A Children’s Bible or a ghost-filled Japan with Where the Wild Ladies Are, readers could find joyful, thrilling distraction, models of resilience and empathy and challenges that somehow made our own feel more bearable. Dystopian novel The New Wilderness has been shortlisted for the Booker. Mantel’s Cromwell is a complex, consummate player, more powerful in many ways than the king himself. Buy Now: The Mirror & the Light on Bookshop | Amazon. The Mirror and the Light charts his downfall, and as The Atlantic points out, “Cromwell’s charisma is never allowed to dissipate”. It is, says the Washington Post, “brilliant… the deceptively casual flow of her stories belies their craft, a profound intelligence sealed invisibly behind life’s mirror”. Suddenly, she’s gone, leaving a devastated Desiree behind. Full of Chinese symbolism, this debut novel is an adventure story that explores the themes of memory, family and belonging. There’s 30-year-old Natsu, her older sister Makiko and Makiko’s daughter Midoriko. 2020 came and went fast, but fortunately, the publishing industry kept pace with the passage of time with a slew of the year’s most anticipated titles. Along the way they encounter hardship but also glimpses of a different future. Novellas are generally books under 180 pages. Amazon / Metamorphosis. In addition to being dubbed the best fiction title of the year by Amazon editors, Migrations received so much praise from respected publications throughout 2020. In its musings, jokes, and snatches of memory, the book “zooms from the micro to the macro”, according to the New Statesman. These stories will get you through the holidays and the last nine decades of 2020. It shares the page-turning verve of its predecessors,” says the Observer, and has “the power of letting a story appear to tell itself”. It is, says Vulture, “that rare and precious thing: a funny dystopia”. Her 2011 book How to Be a Woman was hugely influential; her latest, More Than a Woman, is a reflection on what it means to be a woman in middle age. You can unsubscribe at any time. When a catastrophic storm tears through the house, the adults choose to ignore the chaos and turn to the liquor cabinet instead, leaving the kids to seek safety on their own. An eloquent new entry to literature on that most vital of subjects, identity, The Vanishing Half is the novel of the year. “You won’t find a romance darker than Susie Yang’s White Ivy,” says the LA Times of this “wonderful” novel. “White Ivy’s final, bleak wedding isn’t so much a parody of romance as an embrace of its sublimated, hidden darknesses.”, In Sweet Dreams, Dylan Jones explores the 1980s New Romantic movement and the era when flamboyant fashions and synth-led music took the world by storm. It follows Tambudzai’s progress, as she faces setback after setback and as she finally reaches breaking point. Sharks in the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn, Intertwining Hawaiian folklore with the reality of the modern-day US, Sharks in the Time of Saviours is a debut novel by Kawai Strong Washburn. New to Boston, small-town girl Lily manages to get gorgeous neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid to… Write to Lucy Feldman at lucy.feldman@time.com, Annabel Gutterman at annabel.gutterman@time.com and Ciara Nugent at ciara.nugent@time.com. The girls then go their very separate ways. The novel explores the heart and mind of a man who is struggling to negotiate unexpected events in his life. The 63 Best Books of 2020. Piranesi has been much lauded, and described by critics as “brilliantly singular” and “utterly otherworldly”. Buy Now: Breasts and Eggs on Bookshop | Amazon. An American Marriage was named a top book for 2018 by the likes of Amazon, the New York Times, and NPR (it was even an Oprah's Book Club pick! Motherwell is, says Andrew O’Hagan in the Guardian, “a masterpiece of self-exploration”, and its “greatness lies mainly in the psychological dimension, in the vivid portrait of her parents’ narcissism and the just-as-vivid portrait of her own”. By signing up you are agreeing to our. Buy Now: A Children’s Bible on Bookshop | Amazon. Love books? This love affair will grab your attention from the first page and keep you hooked till the end. Shuggie is the youngest of three children, and … “Very funny – one of Tyler’s best yet.”. The poetry explores, among other themes, the past and how to make sense of it, and Femi was the first Young People’s Laureate for London in 2016. Her new book focuses on hidden histories, race, class, gender and the white American man. Before being a novelist, Margaret Atwood was a poet, and Dearly is her first collection in more than a decade. Her Henry, meanwhile, is an apt reminder that self-pitying men with oversized egos enjoyed power long before the present. Bachelor’s unique role is serving as a “milkman,” an administrator who handles pensions and upkeep on retired spies. Full of her usual compassion, empathy and joyfulness, it is classic Tyler, and has been highly praised. Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half lives just outside the realm of realism, in that space where a touch of fantasy serves to underscore the strangeness of reality. In his third collection of short stories, Kevin Barry portrays an Ireland in transition, and also a country where tradition and myth still endure. The Sunday Times describes Hamnet as “powerful” and “an intense poetic exploration of parental grief”. American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed our Promise is a wide-reaching examination of US racism. It is easier to conjure the intellectual-literary atmosphere of an era when it is 30 years’ past than when it is a mere… They light the way, even while enabling temporary escape from life’s worries, which is why here, we wanted to share 20 of the best books 2020 had to offer. As any dedicated romance novel reader will tell you, it's the one genre that's there for you in the best of times (to make your day 10 times better) and the worst (to bring a little love into any sour situation). The Observer also praises the author, who has previously won the Booker: “Enright triumphs as a chameleon: memoirist, journalist, critic, daughter – her emotional intelligence knows no bounds.”. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from t… “Cline is particularly good at locking in the witty detail that speaks volumes,” says The Times. It’s been a bumper year for books, from dystopian fiction and memoir to powerful stories about race and identity. Best Book Club Books: End of 2019 The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 21 Best Books of 2020: The Books Getting Us Through This Wild Year (So Far) ... A novel like Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee, which retells Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in … A Promised Land takes the reader inside the Oval Office and the White House situation room, as well as locations across the globe, from Moscow and Cairo to Beijing. They share a magical, euphoric weekend in Manchester. This collection of stories, translated by Polly Barton, are inspired by traditional Japanese mythology, but with a feminist twist and a modern setting. Mantel’s Cromwell is a character for the ages—rough-edged yet introspective, with a mind as sharp as an axe. “Weather captures the anxiety and absurdity of the 21st Century.”, The Booker nominated Real Life tells the coming-of-age story of Wallace, who is studying for a biochemistry degree but is at odds with the midwestern university town he finds himself in. As she approaches womanhood, though, the headstrong Kirabo becomes rebellious. Andrew O’Hagan’s latest novel is inspired by real events, and the friendship between two men, Jimmy and Tully. Mandel’s award-winning dystopian novel Station Eleven was widely acclaimed, and her latest offering has been similarly well received. “Wildly, seditiously funny,” says the New York Times, “this is her voice: deadpan, confiding, companionable.”. The debut novel by Douglas Stuart draws on his own childhood in 1980s Glasgow, and is the winner of the 2020 Booker prize. An established publisher of comic books, picture books and everything fantasy, for … In describing these anxieties, Kawakami takes a stirring look at the expectations put on women by the world and by themselves. We found the best fiction books of 2020, ranging from historical fiction to romance, fantasy, and even creepy thrillers and mystery. It’s historical fiction, but dazzlingly literary in its ambitions and dramatic in the cut and thrust of its dialogue. McBride describes their world in densely packed, rhythmic specificities, fixating on the community’s rich local history and the voices that populate it. Nia Forrester Young, Rich & Black. The book succeeds, says the London Review of Books, “in providing a dazzling portrait of an era”. In this candid and occasionally humorous memoir, Orr recalls her 1970s, working-class upbringing in Scotland, and her complicated relationship with her mother. Described by the London Evening Standard as “an observant and timely guide”, I Am Not Your Baby Mother by blogger Candice Brathwaite is a memoir and a manifesto about black motherhood. “Long Bright River” by Liz Moore (January 7) Your first crime novel of the year is a page-turner with … ex: The Turn of the Screw & The Aspern Papers was one entry and The Turn of the Screw was another. It is, “an urgent, lucid, courageous account,” says David Mitchell in the Guardian. “This may be his debut,” says The New York Times Book Review, “but he proves himself an old hand at dissecting the ways in which places — our connections to them, our disconnections from them — break us and remake us.” (Credit: Canongate), A series of episodic vignettes, the widely acclaimed novel Weather is narrated by librarian Lizzie, who speaks with frankness about her daily preoccupations and ordinary anxieties. Read about our approach to external linking. The follow-up to Bennett’s 2016 debut The Mothers, The Vanishing Half has been widely acclaimed. The Telegraph calls Mayflies “a delightful nostalgia trip of enduring friendship.” The Times says: “A joyful, warm and heart-filling tribute to the million-petalled flower of male friendship.”. Powerful ” and “ an urban romantic with a Light touch, described... S Bible on Bookshop | Amazon historical events turning our attention away from the Civil! 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