From classic tales of mystery and romance to exciting thrillers filled with adventure, there’s truly a book out there for everyone. However, with new books being released daily, knowing which one to read first can be challenging. That’s why we recommend creating a reading list based on your personal taste and preferences. And, if you’ve never created one, we’ve added some suggestions to get your 2021 reading list started below:
1. The Great Gatsby: A Novel: Illustrated Edition | F. Scott Fitzgerald
Originally published in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is arguably one of the most iconic American novels of our time. The story follows the journey of the affluent Jay Gatsby and his romantic yet, impractical obsession with Daisy Buchanan. Considered a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream, it explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess during prohibition-era America.
Complete with exquisitely detailed illustrations commissioned by Adam Simpson, this perfectly rendered edition of the 1925 classic brings readers closer to Fitzgerald’s depiction of the Jazz Age. This release will surely captivate and reintroduce readers back to a time of economic prosperity that was the Roaring Twenties.
2. Greenlights | Matthew McConaughey
Don’t be surprised to find yourself shouting “Alright, Alright, Alright” after reading Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey’s new book is all about the hard lessons he’s learned throughout his 50 years of life on Earth. It’s his “love letter to life” in the form of an unorthodox memoir filled with rowdy stories and thoughtful, yet abstract interpretations of life events.
Based on a collection of diary entries, McConaughey’s book is an open invitation to experience his witty reasoning and acceptance of both good and bad life experiences. From the ever-complicated relationship of his parents to his failed “dragon-slayer” workout routine, this book guides readers through McConaughey’s journey of turning both red and yellow lights into green ones while paving a path for readers to catch their own Greenlights.
3. Project Hail Mary | Andy Weir
In this thrilling science-based adventure written by #1 New York Times bestselling author Andy Weir, a lone astronaut sets out to save the world from the end of humanity. With MGM already working on obtaining the film rights, you know this will be one of the best books to read in 2021.
If you didn’t know, Weir is known for his successful book The Martian, which was turned into a blockbuster hit starring award-winning actor Matt Damon. The Martian is based on an astronaut sent to Mars on a mission that becomes stranded due to an intense storm.
4. Nicholas Black Elk: Medicine Man, Catechist, Saint | Jon M. Sweeny
If you aren’t familiar with Nicholas Black Elk, you should be. Black Elk was a medicine man, a heyoka, and an educator of the Oglala Lakota people. He lived a very interesting life as he was the second cousin to Crazy Horse, a war leader who Black Elk fought alongside in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Black Elk even traveled in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show! Later in life, Black Elk converted to Catholicism and became a catechist; however, he renounced his traditional “pipe religion” on his deathbed.
In Sweeny’s book, you’ll discover how Black Elk shared his time serving both the Roman Catholic and the traditional Oglala Lakota people. You’ll develop a deep appreciation for the life he lived and the vision he had.
5. The Four Winds | Kristen Hannah
Set in 1934 during the Great Depression, #1 New York Best Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes you back to the Dust Bowl Era in the Great Plains of Texas when farmers were fighting to keep their farms alive. Water was drying up and crops were failing - they had to make a choice: fight to keep their farmland prosperous and bountiful or abandon ship for California to find a better life.
Depression, poverty, sacrifice, and starvation - Kristin Hannah perfectly captures the emotions experienced by those who suffered in this highly anticipated book set for a February 2021 release.
6. Klara and the Sun | Kazuo Ishiguro
Elegantly written by Nobel Prize in Literature winner Kazou Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun paints a picture of Klara’s careful observation via a storefront as she eyes the behavior of both those shopping in the store and passing by outside the window in hopes of being chosen for love.
“Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?”
7. A Time for Mercy (Jake Brigance) | John Grisham
Considered a powerful courtroom drama, A Time for Mercy by John Grisham magnifies attorney Jack Brigance’s court-appointed defense case for Drew Gamble - a 16-year-old boy accused of murdering a Clanton, Mississippi deputy.
While the locals want a quick trial resulting in the death penalty, Brigance believes there is more to the story and is willing to put his career on the line to prove it.
8. Dog Flowers: A Memoir | Danielle Geller
After her mother died of alcohol withdrawal, Daniell Geller was forced to move back to Florida. Soon after, she collected various documents about her mother and decided to get to the root of her mother’s homelessness and addiction.
In this memoir, Geller invites you to join her on her journey as she retraces her mother’s life and confronts her family’s history all the way back to the Navajo Nation where her mother called home.
9. The Sentinel: A Jack Reacher Novel | Lee Child and Andrew Child
Jack Reacher returns in Lee and Andrew Child’s new book titled The Sentinel. In Lee and Andrew’s novel, Reacher ends up in Pleasantville, Tennessee where he quickly discovers that the town doesn’t live up to its name.
While exploring the town, Jack Reacher notices a man being ambushed by four other men and quickly intervenes. After learning more about the man he saves, Jack becomes intrigued to dig deeper into the town’s conspiracy.
10. Clanlands | Sam Heughan & Graham McTavish
Join the stars of Outlander to see what happens when they roam the Scottish countryside looking for adventure.
From traditional music and deep-rooted history to feuding and warfare, Clanlands is the essence of what Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish adore about the Scottish people and their culture.
11. The Next Everest: Surviving the Mountain’s Deadliest Day and Finding the Resilience to Climb Again | Jim Davidson
Most people wouldn’t return to the place that almost ended their life; however, Jim Davidson did just that. On April 25, 2015, Jim was pursuing his dream of reaching the summit of Mount Everest when the largest earthquake in Nepal within 81-years released its energy.
Known as the deadliest day in the history of Everest, the quake killed nearly 8,900 people in the area. Luckily for Jim, he wasn’t one of the 18 people who perished on the mountain that day.
It only took Jim two years to shake off the dust and try to once again reach the summit - and he did. The Next Everest is Jim’s account of his experience on that deadly day back in 2015 and how he found the courage to try again. It’s the motivational book we didn’t know we needed in 2021.