Top 10 Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2021!

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Happy New Year! For my first post of 2021, I decided to put together a list of the 10 books I am most excited to read this year. January is brightening up just thinking of them! Wishing you all a year of happiness in both the real and fictional world…

1) Troy by Stephen Fry

Anything related to Greek mythology fascinates me, and the Trojan War involved some pretty incredible characters – I can’t wait to become absorbed in their lives. I also got a beautiful hardcover edition of Troy for my birthday so it’s looking very tempting on my bookshelf!

2) Henry V by William Shakespeare

I’m taking a module on Nation & Race in Early Modern Europe next semester which I’m very excited for, and Henry V is our first set text. I hadn’t read any of Shakespeare’s history plays until last year and I loved them. Hopefully this one will provide even more violence, drama and royal feuds!

Henry V by William Shakespeare Book Cover Image

3) Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

I enjoyed watching the Between the Covers book club (if you’re in the UK you can catch up on BBC iPlayer) and this was one of their weekly picks that instantly caught my attention. Love in Colour is a collection of short stories aimed at decolonising love, retelling well-known romantic mythologies from a West African perspective.

4) Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

I hadn’t heard of this novel until it won the 2020 Booker Prize! It sounds very raw and powerful, especially as the story is set in poverty-stricken 1980s Glasgow. The focus on family relationships and the love between a mother and son is what first attracted me to this book, plus any author whose debut novel wins the Booker deserves checking out!

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart Book Cover Image

5) Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera

Empireland is released in January 2021 – it’s a non-fiction book that examines ‘How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain’.

Here in Britain, I think we often fall into thinking that racism is an American problem, failing to acknowledge how pervasive it is in our society too. Empireland sounds like a really important read to help correct this problem.

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6) Austerlitz by W.G Sebald

Austerlitz is another book I am reading for uni, this time for a module on Literature & Evil – which sounds pretty dark but also very moving. Dark and moving basically sums up the premise of this novel, as a boy rescued from Germany on a Kindertransport in 1939 goes in search of his lost history.

Austerlitz by W G Sebald Book Cover Image

7) Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Another award winner – Hamnet picked up the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2020! It’s set in early modern Britain, imagines the story behind a Shakespeare play, and brings to life one of history’s forgotten women. How have I not read this yet?!?

8) Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

This one was recommended to me by the lovely Alyson Woodhouse and I can’t believe I’ve never read it before as it sounds right up my street! I always enjoy feminist non-fiction and, from the synopsis, it seems like Gay strikes the perfect balance between informative empowerment and fun relatability.

Bad Feminist Roxane Gay Book Cover Image

9) Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes

More feminist non-fiction! More Greek mythology! Natalie Haynes’ novel A Thousand Ships was one of my favourite reads of 2020 so I was very excited to hear she had released a non-fiction book about women in the Greek myths. You can read my review of A Thousand Ships here.

10) The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

This one is a recommendation from Stephen @ Stephen Writes who has brilliant taste in books! I don’t usually read much fantasy but this one sounds deeply embedded in real-life historical issues such as the struggle for women’s suffrage – it’s made me want to step outside of my comfort zone!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow Book Cover Image


Have you read any of these books? Which one should I put to the top of my list? Let me know what you think in the comments – I would love to hear from you!


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18 thoughts on “Top 10 Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2021!

  1. I’d like to read Hamnet eventually, though I don’t have it yet and I’ve been tempted by Alix Harrow’s book especially after reading 2 novels in 2020 inspired by Tituba the black slave woman accused of witchcraft and then the wonderful narrative nonfiction title A Spell in the Wild by Scottish author Alice Tarbuck.

    Once and Future Witches has so much going for it and I did enjoy her first book. Happy Reading.

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    1. Thank you for the comment Claire! I’m really looking forward to picking up Hamnet as it’s been too long since I read historical fiction. I’ll definitely check out those novels inspired by Tituba as well, I’d never heard of her before but it sounds like she had an incredible story. What were their titles? 📚❤️ X x x

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      1. Ann Petry wrote a wonderfully compassionate novel for young people called Tituba of Salem Village and Maryse Condé wrote I, Tituba Black Witch of Salem. I reviewed them quite recently if you’re interested. Condé’s novel goes back further and imagines an end, but both work with the historical facts (what little is known) of her life due to the trials.

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  2. I hope you enjoy Bad Feminist! I read it in 2020 and I really enjoyed it. Gay addresses both serious and lighthearted topics, and they’re both very interesting.

    The Once and Future Witches is on my TBR, and I can’t wait to get to it, it sounds excellent!

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  3. Great list, Florence, I have Shuggy Bain and Hamnet on my own tentetive TBR for this year, so it will be interesting to compare notes. I hope you enjoy Bad Feminist, it was one of my favorites from last year. xxx

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    1. Thank you for the comment Alyson, and thank you again for recommending Bad Feminist. I’ve started it already and so far I’m really impressed by the variety of the subjects covered! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Shuggie Bain and Hamnet too 📚❤️ X x x

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    1. Thank you very much Julie Anna! Literary fiction is one of my favourite genres so I hope you find something on this list you enjoy. I’m excited to read about Greek mythology in Pandora’s Jar as well, I’ve mostly just read fictional retellings before 📚❤️ X x x

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  4. I loved Hamnet and Shuggie Bain, and it looks like you’ve got a strong list here overall- I hope you’ll have an excellent reading year!

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  5. Wonderful list, Florence! 🥰 I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of these, and it sounds like you have got off to a good start with Bad Feminist! Pandora’s Jar, Troy, and Hamnet are all books I’m interested in reading too.

    And I’m so glad you included The Once and Future Witches! Thank you for the kind words – I hope you still think I have brilliant taste in books once you’ve read it!! 😉📚❤

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    1. Thank you so much Stephen! I will definitely let you know what I think, especially when it comes to Pandora’s Jar, Troy and Hamnet. I’m sure I’ll like The Once and Future Witches but if not don’t worry, I’ll forgive you! 😉 Hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2021 as well 📚❤️ X x x

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  6. The only one I have read is Hamnet. I was not sure about reading it, but it had so many great reviews. Well, I loved it. The writing was amazing. I hope to read The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow sometime in the next few months.

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    1. That’s great to hear how much you enjoyed Hamnet Carla! Now I’m looking forward to reading it even more 😊 I got a gorgeous hardback edition for Christmas and it’s looking very tempting on my shelf! Really hope you enjoy The Once and Future Witches as well X x x

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