Five books to read in 2021
It’s that time of year when everyone begins to think about setting resolutions to improve themselves. Some may promise to exercise regularly, eat healthily or perhaps learn a language in the next 12 months. One great goal that’s achievable to most is to try and read more. There are many reasons to make reading a priority in 2021, such as the fact it reduces stress, strengthens the brain, builds vocabulary, increases empathy and is a great form of escapism. Here are five books to read next year.
Conversations With Friends, Sally Rooney
Many have heard of Normal People thanks to the fantastic BBC adaptation, but Rooney’s debut novel Conversations With Friends is also a brilliant read, plus it’s getting its own show in 2021. The delicate, sparring prose tells the story of college students Frances and Bobbi, who befriend a married couple, leading to a complicated relationship between the four. Interlaced with social commentary on class as well as poignant insights into love and infidelity, this is a great book to read ahead of the series.
White Feminism, Koa Beck
Subtitled From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind, White Feminism delves into the commodification and “girl boss” era of feminism and how it not only doesn’t help women, but actively harms them. Beck points out that this is not a new phenomenon, but has been around for decades. Her insightful book, released on the 5th January 2021, will offer the best way forward to achieve a more inclusive and all-encompassing feminism that leaves no one behind.
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca was adapted into a Netflix film of the same name this year and was popular with many viewers. However, many fans of the book believed it lacked some of the subtitles and nuances that the 1938 gothic novel had to offer. The haunting story is told from the perspective of an unnamed woman who marries a man – Maxim de Winter – only to find that his household is haunted by the ghost of his ex-wife, the titular character.
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
If there’s a book that many know they should read but put off due to its length, it’s Anna Karenina. However, those who wish to be able to say they’ve read what many consider the greatest novel ever written should make it a goal for 2021. Tolstoy paints a picture of Russia that transcends time and provides universalities on human nature, as well as some of the best and most memorable characters in literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as a housewife and turns to fulfil her passions with Count Vronksy, all leading to terrible consequences.
The Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger
For those who haven’t read The Catcher in the Rye, it’s definitely a book to tick off the to-read list. First published in 1951, this story of teenage rebellion and grief was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Salinger’s straightforward yet loaded prose, both disarming and beautiful, is the reason this simple but complex novel is loved by so many.