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The Best Books Coming in January 2021

As I reflect on my 2020 reading accomplishments, I can't help but to anticipate what 2021 will bring.

The first month of the year really seems to set the reading tone for the next few month of the year for a lot of readers. (See my post about the very super important task of choosing the Goodreads Reading Challenge color.)

For me, I'm looking to get back to the basics; I want to read more novels that make me feel happy, even if just for a day. It's really important to me to utilize my leisure reading to nurture myself and I feel like I'm not alone in that!

That said, there are many new books that will be hitting shelves in the new year. I'm happy to share with you the most highly anticipated reads so that you can begin to organize your 2021 TBR pile. Maybe even put some on hold at your local library or preorder them from your favorite book shop!

1) Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas is back again with a book that takes place before the events of The Hate U Give. In Concrete Rose, readers get access to an entire novel devoted to Maverick's backstory. Mav is balancing his duties as a student, a member of a gang, and as a new father. These commitments do not come without challenges, and Maverick is tested as he tries to turn his life toward the straight and narrow.

2) The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard

August is an orphan who was "selected" by a rich family to work as a groundskeeper. The entire staff is Black, including Miss Mamie who is a fabulous cook. The Barclay family ends up desperate for money so they begin to bottle and sell Miss Mamie's rib sauce with a label featuring August wearing a bejeweled crown and a clownish grin. Immediately I am making connections in my brain to Aunt Jemima's syrup. Now, I will simply provide you with the blurb that had me immediatelly adding this title to my Goodreads list:

"Elegantly written and exhaustively researched, The Rib King is an unsparing examination of America’s fascination with black iconography and exploitation that redefines African American stereotypes in literature. In this powerful, disturbing, and timely novel, Ladee Hubbard reveals who people actually are, and most importantly, who and what they are not."

3) Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion

Simply, ten pieces from Didion in a unique collection. The writings span from the years 1964 to 2000. Didion writes about subjects ranging from Martha Stewart to Nancy Reagan, Gamblers Anon to WWII, and beyond. This collection is at the top of many readers' lists for January because, although these have all been previously published, the content is relatable to modern readers as much as it was relevant during the time Didion was writing. Fans are especially interested in her critical analysis of Ernest Hemmingway which is included in this collection.

4) Nick by Michael Farris Smith

When we think of book and the '20s, what do we think of? The Great Gatsby, of course! I love what Michael Farris Smith is doing here; he takes a character we all know and creates the story of before Gatsby became Gatsby. Before the move to West Egg. Smith recounts the journey that forms the ol' narrator we all know and love so much, and in perfect time for the 2020s.

5) Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Lore has a cover that intrigued me from the moment I saw it. We see a white stone bust of Medusa with what appears to be a human eye peering through the letter O in the title. I'm a sucker for new takes on mythological stories so I immediately knew I needed to do some quick research. According to the author's website, Lore is a "standalone contemporary fantasy" that tells the story of Lore, a New Yorker who's family was brutally murdered by decendants of ancient bloodlines in a recurring fight for the power of gods. Lore is joined by Athena and Castor who convince her to return to the fight once more. A great choice for fans of Greek mythology and The Hunger Games.

Do you plan to snag a copy of one of these? Let me know what you're reading in the new year!


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