After the hiccups of 2020, the book industry has sped back up to full speed, and the slate for 2021 — both fiction and nonfiction — is brimming with vitality and energy. These are the best books of the year (so far), and based on early review copies, there will be plenty more throughout the spring, summer, and beyond. If you are a book author yourself, click here to up your game in your book business marketing. However, there’s no reason for you to not read these suggested books below especially after a long day of work.
- KLARA AND THE SUN by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ishiguro recently told 92nd Street Y that his art is becoming happier as he gets older. That’s a difficult statement to reconcile with the film Klara and the Sun, which follows Artificial Friend “AF” Klara — a partially self-aware, sensitive humanoid robot — from her time in a shop, waiting to be bought, to the years she spends with Josie, the sickly teenage girl who befriends her, buys her and takes her home. Set in a slightly altered America, where automation has rendered humans obsolete in their jobs and genetic manipulation has “lifted” some children intellectually, Ishiguro delves even deeper into sci-fi territory than Never Let Me Go, but poses similar questions about technology and the body, as well as whether self-awareness is the prominent element of humanity. His calm prose is as soothing and alluring as ever — until the shocking surprise. Cheerful? That depends on how bleak the world appears to you right now.
- HOW THE WORLD IS PASSED by Clint Smith
This profound engagement with slavery, as portrayed in the nation’s monuments, plantations, and landmarks, is the most visionary piece of nonfiction this summer. Smith sees the wounds of slavery hidden in plain sight as he travels the country, from Confederate cemeteries to farms turned tourist traps like Monticello. Smith discusses how slavery has influenced our collective history and how we could hope for a more truthful collective future as he considers how the darkest chapter of our nation’s past has been sanitised for public consumption.
- THE OTHER BLACK GIRL by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Nella is overjoyed when another Black woman is hired at the publishing house where she works: someone with whom she can lament about microaggressions and embarrassing business diversity training, and who can help elevate authors who might not otherwise get published. Nella is ecstatic when she learns that another Black woman has been hired at the publishing house where she works: someone with whom she can commiserate about microaggressions and awkward corporate diversity training, and who can help elevate authors who might not otherwise be published.
- PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION by Emily Henry
Bibliophile at home, Alex spent a decade of summer holidays with free-spirited globetrotter Poppy. But something happened on that trip two years ago, and the buddies haven’t communicated since. Poppy can’t get enough of him, so she persuades Alex to join her on one more escape, her last chance to put things right.