In her introduction to this list, Laura Maylene Walter, author of the novel Body of Stars, calls herself “a skeptic who doesn’t read horoscopes in my daily life.” But, she continues, “hand me a work of fiction about astrology or psychics, and I’m captivated.”
Many of the books on this list examine issues surrounding the topics of fate, free will, the future, and alternate life possibilities.
Experimental (or maybe inventive is a better word) fiction fascinates me, especially novels that bend genre conventions or play with narrative structure.
Here Anne Jaconette lists “a few books with unique narratives that will grab your attention from the first page!”
Jamie Canaves recently realized that she’d been “rushing through books as fast as I could to get to the next one on my can’t-wait-to-read-it TBR, and also trying to break the previous year’s number of how many books I had read.” And I had the same realization when I read this description.
She had this realization during 2020 and decided to change her reading life at the beginning of 2021 by asking herself three questions: “Why are you doing this? What is the point? Is it adding to the enjoyment of your reading life?” And, she reports, her reading life has greatly improved this year: “I guess I just needed to get myself back to reading for enjoyment and not some weird imaginary sport.”
Dismayed that reading had nearly disappeared from her busy life, freelance writer and editor Rachel Charlene Lewis developed a new habit: She now sets her alarm so that she can read in bed—even before brushing her teeth or making that first cup of coffee—for an hour in the morning.
Charles King, professor of international affairs and government at Georgetown University, profiles Zora Neale Hurston for Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities: “As a budding anthropologist, the storyteller began to find her way.”
This article is adapted from King’s book Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century.
“The author’s oeuvre has long been the subject of cinematic preoccupation, inspiring over 20 screen adaptations and counting. Here, a close read of four of the best and worst of them.”
Kerry Manders examines four films based on the novels of Patricia Highsmith:
- Strangers on a Train (1951), based on the 1950 novel of the same title
- Carol (2015), based on the 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan
- A Kind of Murder (2016), adapted from the 1954 novel The Blunderer
- The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), based on the 1955 novel of the same title
Books that talked about racism and racial justice — or told the stories of people of color or the LGBTQ community — were among the most challenged as inappropriate for students in 2020, according to a survey by the American Library Association.
The article concludes with the list of the 10 most challenged books of 2020.
Publishers Weekly highlights “the authors of new fiction and nonfiction titles . . . bringing a wide range of queer experiences to the fore.”
© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown