The official first day of winter was December 21. In certain parts of the country, we’ve been knee-deep in snow for over a month already. We’ve been rocking our parkas for weeks. But now that the season of
curling-up-with-a-good book to avoid the winter is here, it’s time to do just that. There are so many great books to read this season, I refuse to leave my house until April. Consider this my official notice to my friends, family and employer. These books are so excellent they will help you fulfill your “read more” New Year’s resolution. They’ll make you laugh, cry, think and say “fuck the patriarchy” out loud to no one in particular. Allow these books to be your friends while your real ones are outside freezing their asses off. Suckers. Here are our picks for the must-read books of winter 2020. Out December 31
The phrase “highly anticipated” is usually reserved for books by famous authors we already know and love, or the conclusion of a YA trilogy, or (for me) for books that my friends and colleagues can’t stop yelling at me about.
Such A Fun Age
by Kiley Reid is the latter. This debut from Reid, a Philadelphia-based writer who has an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s workshop, is being hailed as “striking and surprising.” It follows the story of Emira Tucker, a Black babysitter, and Alix Chamberlain, her well-to-do white employer. The story of these two women, their differences, and their professional and personal entanglements unfold as a searing commentary on race and privilege.
More Out January 7
Dionne Brand is one of Canada’s most decorated and necessary literary voices. Her work has won the Governor General’s literary award, the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Trillium Book Prize, just to name a few. She was also named to the Order of Canada in 2017. So yeah, she’s kind of a big deal.
What We All Long For
are two of Brand’s most beloved novels. Together for the first time in a single volume, these books are just as relevant now as they were when they were released (2005 and 2015 respectively). They both tell profound stories of the lives of diverse Torontonians dealing with love, identity and family dynamics.
More Out December 31
Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote one of the most talked-about and bestselling books of 2019:
Daisy Jones and the Six.
Karma Brown’s Recipe for a Perfect Wife
a “bold, intoxicating, page-turner” and “a thrilling, audacious story about women daring to take control.” High praise. The novel is about Alice Hale, a woman who gives up a promising career in publicity in New York City to move to the suburbs with her husband. She becomes obsessed with an old cookbook in her new home and the woman who used to own it, a 1950s housewife named Nellie Murdoch. Alice discovers some of Nellie’s secrets, and in doing so, learns she might have to keep some of her own to protect herself from a marriage that may be far from perfect.
More Out January 7
If any of your New Year’s resolutions have to do with loving your life just a little bit more, Cynthia Loyst’s debut book is for you. As the co-host of
and longtime relationship and sex expert, Loyst has been dishing out love advice for years. But
Find Your Pleasure
isn’t just about sprucing up your romantic relationships, it’s about a “
,” in every aspect of your life with no guilt or shame for experiencing unadulterated joy in work, sex and at home. Through this book, Loyst hopes to do away with a “society [that] has told women to feel guilty or ashamed for embracing pleasures.” Full disclosure: I was Loyst’s producer on
for six seasons and I can tell you that this woman is pleasure incarnate. This deeply personal collection of anecdotes and pretty pictures isn’t your average lifestyle self-help book. It’s like going for coffee with your really enlightened and non-judgmental BFF.
More Out February 25
It’s no secret that the mainstream pop feminist movement — the one that’s all $500 “The Future is Female” t-shirts and $100 “Girl Power” yoga pants — is dominated by white women. In
, Mikki Kendall not only pushes for intersectionality, she argues that “food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues.” She makes the point that, with this new wave of capitalist feminism that prioritizes being a #girlboss above all else, “the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few.” In this blistering debut, Kendall establishes herself as a fresh new and necessary Black voice in feminist literature.
More Out March 10
When she was 15, Vanessa Wye started having what she thought was a passionate affair with her 42-year-old English teacher. Seventeen years later, he’s being accused of sexual abuse by another former student and Vanessa is forced to reckon with the reality of their relationship. Is the man she thought she loved just another predator among the many powerful men who are finally facing their reckoning? Set against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement,
My Dark Vanessa
tackles trauma, memory and consent through the dueling narratives of a teenage girl discovering her body and the grown woman who may not be able to trust her past feelings.
Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn
calls it, “an absolute must read.”
More Out January 28
In the latest novel starring Thomas King’s sly investigator, Thumps DreadfulWater, the ex-cop is rocked when the producer of a true-crime reality TV show — a woman named Nina Maslow — turns up dead after working on a cold case (the Obsidian murders) that still traumatizes him. The book’s synopsis asks, “Is it possible that the elusive serial killer who murdered his girlfriend and her daughter all those years ago has resurfaced in Chinook? Or is this the work of a copycat looking to mess with Thumps by stirring up memories from his past?” This is a page-turning thriller that will satisfy fans of award-winning and celebrated Canadian author.
More Out January 9
It was just a matter of time before the intense and fraught world of social media became the setting of a futuristic thriller. Thirty-five years in the future, the government determines who gets to be famous, but the price is a constant life in front of the camera — as in, every moment of the day in documented.
tracks the influencer-origin story of two women, Orla and Floss, who hatch a plan to gain notoriety online, no matter the cost. Meanwhile, Marlow, one of government-appointed celebrities who has 12-million followers discovers a secret about her past that sends her reeling. As per the publisher, “
traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time for each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval.” How’s this for high praise?
co-creator Abbi Jacobsen says, “If anyone is going to explore a future version of our high-tech, internet-obsessed culture, please let it be Megan Angelo.
is pure gold.”
More Out March 24
She was barely legal drinking age in the U.S. when
became the country’s youngest sommelier at a Michelin-starred restaurant. At 21, she “was selling bottles worth hundreds and thousands of dollars during the day, passing sommelier certification exams with flying colours, and receiving distinction from all kinds of press.” Sounds like a nice life, right? Well, James had to deal with groping from patrons and abusive bosses in an industry that is still very much run by men.
called it a, “gritty, eloquent...a captivating story of resilience from a sommelier who hustled hard to conquer her profession."
More Out January 14
Hailed as “
a defining memoir of our digital age
is an unprecedented glimpse into the early days of Silicon Valley through the eyes of a young woman coming of age in a world of transition. In her mid-twenties, Wiener moved from New York to San Francisco for a gig at a big-data startup. The world quickly turned into tech’s take on Wall Street — debauchery, boys’ club and all. Here’s the
: “Part coming-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power.”
More Out now
In his debut novel, Jeffrey Colvin depicts several generations of one family “bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, time and fate" in
, the small Nova Scotia town settled by former slaves. According to
, as the novel “explores notions of identity, passing, cross-racial relationships, the importance of place and the meaning of home,
tells the larger story of the black experience in parts of Canada and the United States.”
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