Looking for the best book to read in 2021? Here’s our guide to 10 books you won’t be able to put down this year…
Whether it’s a breezy beach day, or raining buckets, it’s always the perfect weather to get tucked into a good book (especially if you’ve already had your Netflix binge). Sometimes overlooked on an international scale, there’s a whole host of amazing Australian authors with some truly incredible novels to show for it. Some of our choices are ready to find on the bookshelves, and some are there for you to look forward to in the next few months!
Better yet, if any of these reads tickle your fancy, we recommend purchasing them through Booktopia. Most of the titles can be found with 25% off, plus they offer efficient home delivery, so you can settle into a good read without leaving your sofa.
From comedy to mystery, real crime and historical non-fiction, here’s our guide to the 10 best new book releases for 2021.
Eating With My Mouth Open - Sam Van Zweden
Welcome to food writing as you’ve never read before. This collection of interconnecting essays go far beyond simply facts or recipes – here, you’ll find Sam van Zweden’s enchantingly personal and cultural exploration of food, memory, and hunger as it revels in body positivity, dissects wellness culture and all its flaws, and shares the joys of being part of a family of chefs. Tuck into this one in 2021.
A Home Like Ours - Fiona Lowe
An idyllic town, a picturesque community garden and a facade of welcoming and tolerance – but when three different women find their paths crossing, it suddenly becomes apparent that not all is as it appears. A very timely novel on prejudice and privilege, this new title from Australian author Fiona Lowe will be sure to have you turning pages on the beach this year.
Love Objects - Emily Maguire
If you’ve ever been fascinated by hoarding, you won’t be able to let this read go. Forty-five year old Nic seems well and good to her niece Lena at their weekly catch-up gossips sessions, but after Nic fails to turn up one day, Lena is shocked to find her unconscious in a house filled to the brim – almost as shocked as Nic is to return from hospital to an empty house she can barely recognise as her home. Light but thought-provoking, this is the perfect sofa companion this year.
A Room Called Earth - Madeline Ryan
This brilliant debut from neuro-divergent author Madeline Ryan will unveil the magical and sensitive world of life on the autism spectrum. Telling the story of a girl as she prepares for, attends and leaves a party, this novel is minutely aware of the details and people who come into view, with radical revelations on the nature of love and the need to belong. Hilarious, self-aware and painfully honest – this is bound to be one you share with your friends.
Hold Your Fire - Chloe Wilson
If you like to be captivated by short stories, then this debut collection from a dynamic new voice in Australian fiction has got to be top of your list. A playground incident steels the cold-war relationships of a modern family, a young couple move into the house of a recent murder and a diver pushes herself to higher and higher leaps. Interspersed between these enthralling tales are moments of flash fiction which will transport, inspire and fascinate – usually all at once.
Other People's Houses - Kelli Hawkins
For fans of Girl On A Train and The Woman in the Window, this stunningly tense debut is the thriller fiction that 2021 needs. Set in the picture-perfect opulence of Sydney’s wealthy north shore, Other People’s Houses follows grief-stricken Kate, still mourning the loss of her son ten years ago. Until one day, visiting a house, she sees a picture of a beautiful young couple and a boy who, for a moment, she believes is him. Curiosity turns to obsession as this novel lures you to turn page after page.
Gunk Baby - Jamie Marina Lau
In the suburbs of Pars Mars sits neat rows of estates and two shopping centres – in one of which Leen is setting up a ear-cleaning and massage salon, taking her mother’s Chinese ritual to the West. But, not everything is as it seems and, as managers are attacked, Leen finds herself forming new friends and caught in a community intent on disrupting the routines of capitalism. Daringly original, this is a voice worth listening to.
With The Falling Of The Dusk - Stan Grant
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, you shouldn’t judge this new read from Grant by its title either. Far from gentle, this is a full-blown exploration of many of the largest social and political issues facing us today, from islamic extremism to climate change. Intricately woven between personal experience and intellectual understanding, this is the book to read if you want to get a grip on the tides turning today.
Echolalia - Briohny Doyle
Subtly swinging between the before and the after, this inventive novel from the writer of This Island Will Sink is a hauntingly necessary tale of a world on the brink. Set in a fictional regional town struck by drought, Echolalia follows six different character through change and transformation in a dangerously critical world not too dissimilar to our own. Touching on climate change, the refugee crisis and inequality, you’ll be thinking about Echolalia long after you put it down.
One Hundred Days - Alice Pung
From the bestselling author of Unpolished Gem comes this hauntingly relevant modern fairytale. In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant, causing her over-protective mother to confine her to their fourteenth-storey apartment. But 100 days isn’t so long, right? Exploring the fault lines between love and control, this read from Alice Pung will stay with you long after you put it down.
Looking for more reading ideas? Check out these classics which we think you’ll love. Alternatively, if you’re looking to head out and about to pick up any of these titles, you’ll want to read our run down of the best bookshops across Australia.
Editor’s Note: Our writers and contributors have independently selected and curated this article, and all opinions are their own. This article does contain affiliate links which allows us to make revenue off some purchases made by our readers.