The reading lists I’ve put together have always been backward looking as a recap of the books I’ve read. I have a lot of books that I own and haven’t read yet, so wanted to put together a reading list for this year.
I’ve been adding new releases to the list too. A lot of my favorite authors (Kristin Hannah, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Christina Lauren, Jasmine Guillory) are releasing books this year that I’m really excited about. Now if only Robinne Lee would write a sequel to The Idea of You!
There is a good mix of memoirs, World War II historical fiction, romantic comedies and more on my 2021 reading list. I’m already off to a good start after reading two books on this list and am in the middle of another. Happy reading!
2021 Reading List
The Last Train to London: A powerful pre-WWII era novel based on the true story of the Kindertransport rescue of ten thousand children from Nazi-occupied Europe—and one brave woman who helped them escape.
Promise Me, Dad: A deeply moving memoir about the year that would forever change both a family and a country. Promise Me, Dad is a story of how family and friendships sustain us and how hope, purpose, and action can guide us through the pain of personal loss into the light of a new future.
I’ll Give You the Sun: At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
Code Girls: The astonishing, untold story of the young American women who cracked key Axis codes, helping to secure Allied victory and revolutionizing the field of cryptanalysis.
So You Want to Talk about Race: In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: Even after she left home for Hollywood, Emmy-nominated TV writer Bess Kalb saved every voicemail her grandmother Bobby Bell ever left her. Bobby was a force–irrepressible, glamorous, unapologetically opinionated. Bobby doted on Bess; Bess adored Bobby. Then, at ninety, Bobby died. But in this debut memoir, Bobby is speaking to Bess once more, in a voice as passionate as it ever was in life.
Irresistible: People have been addicted to substances for thousands of years, but for the past two decades, we’ve also been hooked on technologies, like Instagram, Netflix, Facebook, Fitbit, Twitter, and email—platforms we’ve adopted because we assume they’ll make our lives better. These inventions have profound upsides, but their appeal isn’t an accident. Technology companies and marketers have teams of engineers and researchers devoted to keeping us engaged. They know how to push our buttons, and how to coax us into using their products for hours, days, and weeks on end.
The Authenticity Project: The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness. (read February 2021)
And the Mountains Echoed: An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else. Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.
Big Magic: Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. (read February 2021)
Eat, Pray, Love: A celebrated writer’s irresistible, candid, and eloquent account of her pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what she really wanted out of life.
How to Be an Antiracist: Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.
We the People: See the U.S. Constitution in a new light with this bold, modern and accessible illustrated guide to the document that helped define democracy.
HRH: Veteran style journalist Elizabeth Holmes expands her popular Instagram series, So Many Thoughts, into a nuanced look at the fashion and branding of the four most influential members of the British Royal Family: Queen Elizabeth II; Diana, Princess of Wales; Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge; and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex.
A Promised Land: In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency–a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.
The Twelve Dates of Christmas: When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say Bah, humbug. The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood caf . But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?
Know My Name: Universally acclaimed, rapturously reviewed, and an instant New York Times bestseller, Chanel Miller’s breathtaking memoir gives readers the privilege of knowing her not just as Emily Doe, but as Chanel Miller the writer, the artist, the survivor, the fighter. (The Wrap). Her story of trauma and transcendence illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicting a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shining with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.
Fair Play: A revolutionary, real-world solution to the problem of unpaid, invisible work that women have shouldered for too long.
The Book of Lost Names: Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel. (read February 2021)
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany: A trio of second-born daughters sets out on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love. (read January 2021)
Reaganland: From the bestselling author of Nixonland and Invisible Bridge comes a complex portrait of President Ronald Reagan that charts the rise of the modern conservative brand unlike ever before.
A Sky Painted Gold: Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, seventeen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams. But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family? A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning Gatsby-esque backdrop. (read January 2021)
The Four Winds: A powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.
The Soulmate Equation (5/18): A witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate?
Malibu Rising (6/1): Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.
While We Were Dating (7/13): Two people realize that it’s no longer an act when they veer off-script in this sizzling romantic comedy.
The links for each book above go to bookshop.org, which supports independent booksellers. If you’re open to shopping there, please do! If you prefer Amazon, they’re linked below. You can find all my past reading lists here.