A new year is upon us, which means all-new reading material. 2019 was a great year for books, with writers like Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Sally Rooney, Bernardine Evaristo, and Helen Oyeyemi taking the literary world by storm. Still, we have a sneaky feeling that 2020 could shape up to be just as good for bookworms; below, find the books we’re most excited to read next year.
Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey (January 7)
Popkey’s debut novel is composed entirely of women talking to one another and all but guaranteed to please Rachel Cusk fans—though Popkey’s prose is entirely its own.
Little Gods by Meng Jin (January 14)
A baby is born in Beijing on the night of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Jin’s debut novel, which spans lifetimes and countries to tell the story of a fraught family.
Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener (January 14)
Wiener’s account of living and working in the West Coast’s tech-centric Silicon Valley is already being hailed as one of the best, buzziest books of 2020. (Be warned: It might make you rethink your reliance on your iPhone.)
Followers by Megan Angelo (January 14)
This dishy read comes to some conclusions about our current obsession with social media influencers that feel scarily logical—rest assured, though, it’s fiction.
Gay Like Me by Richie Jackson (January 28)
Broadway, TV, and film producer Jackson writes to his son, who came out at age 18, about Jackson’s own experiences as a gay man in a not-always-LGBTQ+-friendly America.
Verge by Lidia Yuknavitch (February 4)
Children harvest organs, janitors build magical worlds, and mourning lovers drive to destinations unknown in this searing, precise collection of short stories.
Brother & Sister by Diane Keaton (February 4)
Keaton shares the story of her brother, Randy, narrating their inseparable youth and his eventual backslide into a troubled adult life rife with alcoholism and personal struggles.
In the Land of Men by Adrienne Miller (February 11)
Miller (David Foster Wallace’s former editor) has more practice than most at surviving in a man’s world; in this memoir, she explains just how profoundly fighting to do so affected her.
If Men, Then by Eliza Griswold (February 11)
This second poetry collection from Griswold is profoundly of its moment (just look at the CBD oil references), but its language feels somehow eternal.
Weather by Jenny Offill (Feb 11)
The podcast revolution gets a name-check in this second novel from Department of Speculation writer Offill, who tells a complex story about an overburdened young librarian called upon to answer mail for her famous mentor.
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (February 11)
A young boy grows up under the care of his not-always-attentive mother in this novel set against the backdrop of heroin addiction in 1980s Glasgow.
Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber by Susan Fowler (February 18)
In 2017, 25-year-old Uber employee Fowler published a blog post detailing her account of sexual harassment at the company. Now she’s ready to share the full story, and it’s one that shouldn’t be missed.
Apartment by Teddy Wayne (February 25)
Sharing space can be a tricky proposition for any two people, especially in crowded New York; this novel delves into the experience of two writers cohabiting in the same apartment and uneasily learning to navigate life with each other.
Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong (February 25)
This essay collection tackles the complex question of what it means to be Asian American in a dominant culture that so frequently erases that, and many other, identities.
The God Child by Nana Oforiatta Ayim (March 3)
Maya, the only child of a Ghanaian expat couple living in Germany, learns to adjust to her parents’ newly adopted son in this sensitively told story about immigration and family.
Writers & Lovers by Lily King (March 3)
A former child golf prodigy grieves her mother and wrestles with the stresses of adult life (including a complex love triangle) in this latest novel from the author of Euphoria.
Thin Places: Essays From In Between by Jordan Kisner (March 3)
Kisner writes with honesty and spirit about her experience finding, and losing, her faith as a teenager, around the same time she developed obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (March 3)
Based on the life of National Book Award–winning author Erdrich’s grandfather, this book tells the story of a Native American night watchman fighting for his people’s rights.
Pretty Bitches: On Being Called Crazy, Angry, Bossy, Frumpy, Feisty, and All the Other Words Used to Undermine Women by Lizzie Skurnick (March 3)
This essay collection about the myriad ways in which women are pigeonholed and punished for speaking their minds includes contributions from Rebecca Traister, Meg Wolitzer, Jennifer Weiner, and more.
Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman (March 3)
A woman takes to “wearing” her family dog in a sling to deal with her increasingly untenable family life and friendships in this wonderfully weird, witty novel.
Under the Rainbow by Celia Laskey (March 3)
Queer life in a red state is explored beautifully in this novel, which centers around the teenage daughter of a “gay crusader” mom in a largely homophobic town in Kansas.
The Exhibition of Persephone Q by Jessi Jezewska Stevens (March 3)
Post-9/11 New York is the setting for this exploration of a pregnant woman’s confusion at receiving a photo book that appears to contain an image of her—or does it?
High Risk by Chavi Eve Karowsky (March 10)
The anxiety that many expectant parents feel before birth might not be entirely assuaged by this memoir, penned by a maternal-fetal medicine doctor, but it’s useful information, to say the least.
The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel (March 10)
The third installment of Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies trilogy tells the story of Thomas Cromwell after the execution of Anne Boleyn.
Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit (March 17)
This story of the first murder in Plymouth, Massachusetts, reframes America’s oft-told origin story, giving voice to two female pilgrims of different status and experience.
Wine Girl by Victoria James (March 24)
Once heralded as the country’s youngest sommelier, James recounts her experience working at a Michelin-starred restaurant in her 20s, relaying both the excitement and stress of the wine industry.
Always Home by Fanny Singer (March 31)
Singer, food legend Alice Waters’s daughter, has penned a memoir about life with her mother, and it’s as intimate, sweet, and appetite inducing as you might expect.
Betsey: A Memoir by Betsey Johnson (April 7)
The queen of out-there style bares all in this memoir, recalling everything from her experience as a single mother to the runway acrobatics at her legendary fashion shows.
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang (April 7)
Chinese identity and the immigrant experience are blended together in this novel about two orphans struggling to make a life for themselves as they escape their Western mining town.
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez (April 7)
This novel gives the immigration debate a deeply human face, chronicling the story of a recently bereaved retiree who takes in a pregnant and undocumented teenager.
This Is Big by Marisa Meltzer (April 14)
One writer describes her lifelong journey with Weight Watchers and exploration of its founder’s life, finding the latter more relatable and moving than she expected.
Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould (April 17)
A relatively carefree Brooklyn girl gets handed the outsize responsibility of motherhood in this novel, which neatly captures the anxiety of post-9/11 New York.
Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh (April 21)
In classic Moshfegh style, this novel about a dog owner who comes across a note about a dead body on a walk haunts the reader long after the final page.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub (May 4)
A school bus accident in a small town prompts reflection for a mother and her now-grown children in Straub’s most recent novel, which, like her others, gets at the messy heart of family life.
Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami (May 7)
This first full-length novel from the winner of the 2007 Akutagawa Prize chronicles the life of a teenage girl who communicates with her mother solely through writing.
Pew by Catherine Lacey (May 12)
A genderless, racially ambiguous figure is taken in by a town that slowly begins to unravel around its newest member in this novel about identity, community, and fear of the unknown.
My Mother’s House by Francesca Momplaisir (May 12)
This literary thriller tells the story of Haitian immigrants Luce, Marie-Ange, and their three children as they resettle in Ozone Park, New York, and fight the demons contained within their new home.
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan (June 2)
This debut novel about an Irish expat millennial teaching English and finding romance in Hong Kong is half Sally Rooney love triangle, half glitzy Crazy Rich Asians high living—and guaranteed to please.
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante (June 9)
The news of this new Ferrante novel broke with an excerpt in September, but the full-length book about a young Neapolitan woman coming to terms with herself is sure to set the literary world on fire this summer.
Broken People by Sam Lansky (June 9)
A depressed young man fixates on a shaman who claims to perform “open-soul surgery” on less-than-happy people in this story that cuts to the quick of Los Angeles life.
Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg (June 23)
This alarming, transfixing tale told from several different vantage points, all by people who have interacted with a gruesomely murdered college student, is a more literary Gone Girl for the new decade.
Originally Appeared on Vogue