There was a lot going on in 2020—we don’t exactly need to tell you (and your new sourdough skills) just how much. So it’s no wonder why a few other things might have flown under your radar—including these truly exceptional books.
What’s the best way to work through unsettling, paradigm-shifting times? Through good stories and great conversation, of course.
If you find yourself needing a dose of escapism, get lost in fiction with these must-read novels—you’ll be glad they found their way to your shelf.
Dark humor, complex love stories, and a brutally honest examination of identity—it’s no wonder NPR Books distills their review of Luster into one sentence: “Read this now.”
As is the case with many of the other books from Susan Orlean’s Private Collection Book Club, this complex and endlessly captivating novel is an unpacking of identity. It follows the life of Edie, a woman fumbling around her twenties, just trying to make sense of her career, love life, and purpose in a complicated world.
Sexy, sarcastic, and infinitely stimulating, this is one that’ll make you want to skip a Saturday night out and hunker down in your apartment to finish in one sitting.
A Long Petal of the Sea
Just have a look at the author of A Long Petal of the Sea and all doubts about whether or not you should read this book will be squashed.
Isabel Allende’s contributions to the literary world have not gone unnoticed—she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama and won the Chilean National Prize in Literature. This novel, centered around themes of exile, identity, and hope amidst the Spanish Civil War, is another one that is making a name for itself.
For readers with a passion for history and unconventional love stories, this is one you won’t want to miss.
The Authenticity Project
What would you jot down if you were to share a raw, unfiltered version of your life thus far?
An addict, an Instagram mom, and an unconventional artist are just a few members of an unlikely friend group, all bound by the liberating act of sharing their truths within the pages of a green notebook. The Authenticity Project is a coffee shop musing that quickly turns into a thought-provoking social experiment.
If you sometimes grapple with the performative behaviors that often seem to run rampant in our world today, the honesty of this Clare Pooley novel will be a breath of fresh air.
Latitudes of Longing
For most people, a trip to the mountains and islands of India is only a dream—but Latitudes of Longing is the next best thing.
The ghost of an evaporated ocean. A clairvoyant who speaks to trees. Shubhangi Swarup takes a deep dive into the magic of nature in four different novellas, wrapped into one dreamy frolic across the South Asian subcontinent.
For those who live in constant awe of the relationship between humans and earth’s ecosystems, Latitudes of Longing will leave a lasting impact.
The Cold Millions
Labor, class, and a brotherly bond collide in Jess Walter’s The Cold Millions.
Well-researched and masterfully written, this historical fiction novel takes readers through the lives of Gig and Rye. As orphaned brothers, the pair must build a life for themselves despite the odds stacked against them. Along the way, they encounter murderers, miners, activists, and even a vaudeville singer. These are the labor battles and the free speech movement of the 1900s, fictionalized.
Featuring a vibrant tapestry of characters and an unfiltered look at life in early twentieth century America, The Cold Millions educates, entertains, and will keep you fully invested to the very end.
Stay in the Literary Loop with Literati
Worried you’ll miss what’s next in the literary scene? Stay in the loop with Literati. Pick from an array of book clubs and get the latest finds delivered right to your door. Settle in for conversations that will help you make sense of 2020, and approach whatever turbulence lies ahead with a fresh, clear-eyed perspective.