10 books to read to start 2021 right

By Harriet Piercy

Updated Nov 16, 2020 at 02:11 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

If you’re looking to start your year right, direct your gaze to books! They are momentous teachers, and we love them. Due to COVID-19, lockdowns may have rekindled many information seekers’ love of books already, or they may have introduced nonreaders to words in a whole new light! Either way, here are 10 of the best books to read and put on our bookshelves as we meet the year to come.

Books for thinkers

1. ‘Thinking fast and slow’ by Daniel Kahneman

Written by Nobel Memorial Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, this book is simply brilliant. It’s engaging. It’s a must read. It’s a book about experiences and human nature, an interesting take on behavioural economics and a study of systems of thought. The pages are quite thin, the information is dense, so if you really aren’t much of a reader but want to know what Kahneman has to offer, download the audiobook.

2. ‘Zero to one’ by Peter Thiel

A book of business, innovation and philosophy. It’s for those who are playing with the idea of how to start a company (but more than that, it’s about how to build the future) and how to save the world. Peter Thiel explores the relationship between technology, society and historical moments.

Books for word lovers

3. ‘The Gift of Rain’ by Tan Twan Eng

Historic fiction at its finest, Tan Twan Eng’s debut novel is an utterly remarkable feat. Written in lush prose, it’s a story of love, family, war and of acceptance and defeat. This is one of those books that once read, the story will follow you everywhere. Well worth a try, but I wouldn’t recommend it as an audiobook, you’ll want to hold the pages.

4. ‘The Starless Sea’ by Erin Morgenstern

This is a book to remind all adults how important the imagination is. Set in a secret underground world, a labyrinth tells a cleverly woven story of discovery. Erin Morgenstern writes with enough space to leave the reader to think for themselves. Magic is in the everyday if we are open to seeing it, you won’t want to put this book down.

Books for daydreamers

5. ‘The Incandescent’ by Michel Serres

A powerful, challenging, and crucial read on the fundamentals of what it means to be human. Michel Serres writes with an ambitious philosophical narrative and references art, poetry, science, philosophy and literature. He covers matter, space, thought and life. Non existence and nonsense. This is a book that you will continue to read even with the pages of it shut.

6. ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

If you’re craving a mystery novel that will lift you up and into an entirely new world, this is it. Simply and personally, this is one of the best books I have read in 2020. Delia Owens writes a story that asks how isolation influences our behaviour, it will question your relationship with not only your perception of yourself but also, I hope, it will allow you to fall in love with nature. Nature holds many many secrets, even some of our own without us ever noticing. Read this book.

Books for romantics

7. ‘A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments’ by Roland Barthes

An ultimate vintage (1977) classic. Roland Barthes writes this book for everyone and anyone who has ever been in love, or thought themselves immune to it. This book is filled with references that range from Goethe’s Werther to Winnicott, from Plato to Proust, from Baudelaire to Schubert. Love is universally known or misunderstood to all of us, and it is possibly the most contemplated idea of all. This book is an analysis of the experience and language of love.

8. ‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller retells Homer’s epic iliad in an extraordinary way. An almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart. This book is truly unputdownable, it is profoundly moving and I was completely floored by the sincere and complex beauty of the story, which felt undeniably relatable and I feel it will be for all who reads it.

Books for humourists

9. ‘Trivial Pursuits’ by Raven Smith

Raven Smith’s debut novel is a refreshing and irresistibly funny book that explores everyday modern life and culture. The book echoes a witty and curious stream of consciousness that will surely entertain anyone who reads it, some parts may even feel like your own stream of consciousness. Hilarious and unapologetic, I loved it.

10. ‘Solutions and other problems’ by Allie Brosh

Vulnerably honest, Allie Brosh’s autobiographical comic will have you in fits of laughter. I’m not a reader of comics in general, but this one was well worth trying. The story is filled with general musings on life and as Bill Gates reviewed it has “the observational skills of a scientist, the creativity of an artist, and the wit of a comedian.” Brosh is also the author of the bestselling book Hyperbole and a Half, which was named the Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Humor Book of the Year.

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