My Most Anticipated Popular Fiction Reads of 2021

My Most Anticipated Popular Fiction Reads of 2021

Guest post by Savannah Cordova at Reedsy

2021 is already shaping up to be a stellar year for fiction, and the coming months are packed with promise. In fact, there are so many new and upcoming releases fidgeting on my TBR that whittling it down to just five was no easy task. That said, the books on this list have really caught my eye — and not just because of their colorful covers.

1. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

This debut novel from Torrey Peters follows three New Yorkers whose lives coalesce around an unexpected pregnancy when Ames — who is detransitioning from life as a trans woman — accidentally gets his boss-turned-lover, Katrina, pregnant. Wary of traditional, nuclear-family fatherhood, he puts forth an intriguing proposal: they could raise the child with the help of his ex-girlfriend Reese, a trans woman gripped with longing for a baby.

In discussions about the book, trans women have spoken about deeply appreciating a character like Reese, who is grappling with the idea of motherhood and how she can achieve it. To bear children, Peters has said, is to be “unquestionably” a woman; having a child and finding motherhood is tangled with a sense of legitimacy.

What makes me so excited about this book (aside from the incredible premise and beautiful cover design) is that many cis readers will also be able to match their experiences against Reese’s, and contemplating questions of motherhood and gender through a trans lens could make this an incredibly eye-opening read. As its editor has said, this contemporary tragicomedy is really about the business of living, about identities, and families — even if this oze is slightly unconventional.

2. Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

Milk Fed is the story of an anorexic Hollywood assistant’s love and obsession with an unabashedly fat, Orthodox Jewish, frozen yogurt heiress. The assistant, Rachel, also comes from a Jewish family, but prays primarily to the god of thinness, substituting calorie-restriction for Judaism — which she sees less as a religion and more as a dangerous siren song of calorie-packed treats.

When her therapist suggests she begin a 90-day detox from her weight-obsessed mom, Rachel ends up falling for Miriam — who experiences as much pleasure from food as she gives to Rachel through sex — and is forced to contemplate the fraught intersections among pleasure, appetite, and diet culture.

Broder has written before about the notion of a higher power being central to both religious and eating-disorder-prone mentalities. In Milk Fed, she wants readers to ask themselves: Whose voice is in my head? Who are my gods? As someone who is definitely guilty of living life by the rules of atheistic (and aesthetic) “higher powers” — beauty standards, validation, approval — I for one will be shimmying this title up my TBR.

I’m expecting a story that’s deeply human, darkly comic, and yet intensely sad, since Melissa Broder (born on “sad-girl Twitter”) is a bona fide authority on what it means to be young, funny, and depressed. Her first novel The Pisces (which has also made it onto my reading list) is about a woman who has sex with a merman (?!), and yet I’ve heard it described as painfully emotive — so I have high hopes that Milk Fed will tug on some heartstrings.

3. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I am such a fan of Daisy Jones And The Six, so when I saw that Taylor Jenkins Reid had written yet another glamorous story about a music legend and their familial fallouts, I was immediately on board. Malibu Rising comes out in early summer, and I can tell just by the cover that this is going to be the perfect literal beach read.

The story is set in Malibu, August 1983, and the action takes place over the course of one unforgettable night. It’s Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at fever pitch as everyone tries to steal a moment with the famous offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva. Among his progeny are Nina, the surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a renowned photographer, the other a championship surfer; and their adored baby sister, Kit.

Alcohol’s flowing, music’s playing — I’m picturing a Great Gatsby sort of soiree — and the loves, lies, secrets, and scandals that have shaped this family for generations come fizzing to the surface. By the time the party ends, the Riva family will have come crashing down and their Malibu mansion will have gone up in flames. I personally cannot wait to devour this escapist delight, and find out what really happened on the night of the Riva party.

4. The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura

Another novel I’ll be devouring this summer is The Woman in the Purple Skirt. When Natsuko Imamura published this book in 2019, she took home Japan’s most prestigious literary award. Now Lucy North has translated Imamura’s unique voice, and I can’t wait to read this psychological thriller, which somehow sounds both whimsical and horrifying.

The story is about the otherwise nameless Woman in the Purple Skirt, who spends each afternoon sitting in the park, on the same bench, with the same cream bun, seeming not to notice the local children who make a game of trying to get her attention. Though she doesn’t know it, The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan watches her, always perched just out of sight.

Both single, aging, and short of money, the two women eventually become friends — they even end up working as housekeepers in the same hotel. But something is off: one woman is not who she seems, and the friendship slides towards a dangerous obsession.

I’m not the sort of reader who’s put off by an unappealing narrator, so I can definitely see myself enjoying the chillingly voyeuristic, taut, and unstable point of view of The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. Immamura is also known for doing an excellent job of writing characters who are a little out of the ordinary, so I’m bracing myself for a strangely beguiling read.

5. No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

In No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood renders the experience of being Extremely Online: fragmentary and surreal, brimming with memes and texts, bite-sized serotonin bursts, and flashes of hot-take fury. But the story is actually about a woman — a viral celebrity who travels the world on the back of her tweets — who comes to realize through a family tragedy that the internet cannot possibly contain all the wonders and horrors of real life.

Out of interest, I took a quick look at some of Patricia Lockwood’s poetry (though poetry isn’t normally my thing), and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered someone with such a clear understanding of the world and her own experience of it, with the power to make others see it too. I think her novel is going to make me laugh, make me cry, frighten me, shred my brain, and scrape my guts out. And I couldn’t be more excited.

Independent Bookstore Day

I love indie bookstores and as many of you know, Independent Bookstore Day was postponed to August 29th which is today!

I decided to do a little post about some of my favorite indie bookstores to share with you guys. Most of my bookstores are local to me but I did include a couple of others that I have found through Instagram/Bookstagram while others I have found from visiting other cities.

Be sure to comment with some of your favorite indie bookstores today do we can celebrate them! Here is my list, in no particular order. Continue reading “Independent Bookstore Day”

Design Review: LITERARY BOOK GIFTS

What bookworm doesn’t love bookish merchandise? I have a number of book t-shirts, socks, and of course tote bags in my closet and I am always on the hunt for cute little bookish gifts as well as more to add to my collection.

While Out of Print tends to dominate the bookish merch market, here is why you should be looking at smaller companies that offer a quality product and original designs for bookworms—–personal touch.

I recently discovered the company, Literary Book Gifts and they have a large selection of t-shirts (men and women styles) as well as a variety of colorful tote bags in a range of sizes.

I recently ordered a women’s t-shirt and canvas tote bag to gage the quality for myself and I was impressed by the quality of both as well as the variety of colors and styles available. I ordered the medium size tote and it was a perfect size and the canvas was heavy duty and I have since received multiple  about it when I am out and about. The womens t-shirt do run small so I would recommend sizing 1 or 2 sizes up for comfort.

One of the things that I love most about this store, is the attention to design details. Many book merch companies just put the cover design on the their products but this store showcases unique designs from our favorite books. Often larger companies only feature a few of the more common classics for their merchandise, but this company has many of your favorite classics as well as a few obscure ones—Darwin I am looking at you.

Take The Picture of Dorian Gray for example. This design focuses on the vanity of the painting and Dorian himself. Rather than just putting a cover art on this t-shirt, Literary Book Gifts gets to the heart of the story itself.

I also think it’s important to have choices. As you will see, the owner gives a fabulous write up about her company below, but one thing that hit home for me was the choices of this store. There are a number of different colors and books to pick from. There are a number of favorite classics and all styled with elegance and simplicity, and yet consumers can customize their choice by picking a color.

The Frankenstein shirt, shown here in red/maroon, is eye catching and captures a classic horror feel. But if you wanted something a little darker you might pick a black or charcoal.

There are so many books to choose from in this store. They have everything from classic children books like The Secret Garden and Black Beauty to adult classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice and then of course other darker classics like Poe and Dracula. They even have other designs that feature things like National Parks and Michelangelo.

You might be curious which design is my favorite…..while I had multiples that stood out, the Ulysses design was my favorite. The simple bow was eye catching and classy and I loved the vertical placement of the letters. These designs are ones that I feel like I could incorporate into my regular wardrobe and not feel like I was being overly nerdy, if that makes sense. They are elegant and simplistic which I think makes them a classic design.

Sometimes other companies use too many colors and the shirts get too busy but with this company the focus is on the simplicity of the design and show casing the spirit of the book.

This is a small company just getting its start and as we get into the holiday season and you are shopping for your bookish friends…..or maybe even shopping for yourself, this is one store that isn’t to be missed. I found them reasonably priced with fast shipping and a quality product that boasted soft t-shirts and sturdy tote bags. Their website if easy to navigate and like the product designs—-the website is simple and customers will easily find their way around and products that they will love.

I am thrilled to be able to also offer you all a discount with their store! If you are doing your shopping, be sure to use THELITBITCH20 for a 20% off!  I can’t say enough great things about this company and I highly recommend you take a few minutes to peruse their website! 

About Literary Book Gifts

I began Literary Book Gifts earlier this year, with the store launching to the world wide web just a few months ago. Like many others, I have a great love of books, literature, and other forms of writing such as poetry. What I noticed though, was that the taste of readers was as diverse as the many books available. For example, those interested in Frankenstein may also like The Picture of Dorian Gray but may not be interested titles such as Black Beauty or The Secret Garden. Essentially we all have different tastes. And I thought what better way to service such a variety of likes and dislikes than through an online store. In addition, there are tons of sizes and colors to suit each and every reader or writer.

I am deeply inspired by the books I’ve read and the ideas that come from them. The classics give us representations of author’s worlds from so long ago. Fantastic and magical stories and characters we can only know through literature. And 100 lives we’ve never lived. I’ve gone on adventures with Tom Sawyer and down the rabbit hole with Alice in her Wonderland adventures. Literature is meant to be discussed and shared. Whether you are reading paperbacks, eBooks, listening to audio books, or wearing books on t-shirts, I encourage everyone to talk about the ideas and pass on their favorite reads to others!

Review: Adagio Tea Book Blends

There is nothing like drinking a cup of warm tea while curling up with your favorite book in front of the fire. Especially in the winter time.

Adagio Teas is a unique line of teas that does a number of literary inspired tea blends and pairings. Now I am far from a tea connoisseur but I know that I like chai, black, and orange teas so surely I would be able to find something that I liked on their website.

I was blown away with how many different fan blends they have for book lovers! There are literally over 100,000 blends! This is mostly a site where readers and fans can create their own blends which I love because it allows the fan to create something special an unique.

You can make your own blend with ease as well as find adorable art (or create/upload your own) to go with whatever book you are reading! It’s truly a wonderfully unique way to get involved with your book and share your love with other readers and tea lovers.

So I decided to try a few blends. I selected 10 based on my tea tastes and book tastes and here is the list:

Jon Snow 

Lady Mary 

Pumpkin Potion 

Perfect Pumpkin Pie Chai 

Pumpkin Chai Latte 

Ours is the Fury 

Orange Spice Rooibos 

Mr Darcy 

Dark Prophecies Draft 

Targaryen Spirits 

Now you can find out more about each tea blend and what they contain as far as flavors and teas by clicking on each link above.

I spent about a month showcasing, reviewing, and pairing my tea samples on my Instagram page which was a super fun way to interact with my readers and followers. I got to meet lots of new people and book lovers in a way that I hadn’t thought of before. So be sure to head over to my Instagram page and follow along.

Anyway, the teas arrived super fast and in small little sample tins. The samples were inexpensive and made about 5 cups depending on how strong you like your tea. Fast shipping as well so I didn’t have to wait weeks for it to arrive. The teas smelled super fresh and the samples were in tins so nothing leaked out in the box.

The first one I busted into was the Jon Snow blend. I was really impressed with the balance of the blend. The person who created this one had a vision and it was spot on. It had a little hint of ginger for edge and a kick, but the other ingredients balanced it out making it smooth and memorable.

I won’t go into detail about every single tea I tried because that would take pages. But I feel confident that I leaned a lot about teas in this experiment. There are literally hundreds of blends you can try or create your own. The website is easy to navigate and the teas have a gourmet feel for a fraction of the price. And seriously who can resist a tin with your favorite book character or title on it?

This is such a fun company and I highly encourage anyone who loves tea and books to try them out. Or send a few samples to your relative for holiday gifts! I know I am wording a bunch as stocking stuffers for all my bookish friends and family members!

 

Read-a-ton 10 years, 10 books

Get ready for a walk down memory lane readers. Nostalgia warning…..

This year I decided on a whim to participate in Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon. I feel like every single year I miss this event and that just makes me sad so this year I decided it was now or never. At the urging of some of my bookish friends, I did sign up.

So far I am 10 hours in and I’ve finished one book and am almost done with another. I hope to finish 3 books but would be happy with 2. I am documenting my pursuits on Instagram and on Twitter so please follow along.

What is the purpose of this post you ask? Well every hour or so, Dewey’s hosts mini challenges which I have actively been participating in throughout the day on my Twitter and Instagram.

This hour is about 10 years, 10 books where we are asked to post our favorite books published during every year the Dewey’s Readathon has been happening. I decided that a post on Twitter or other social media was rather overwhelming so I thought I would post a singular list here.

So here it goes:

2007: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 

2008: Graceling (Graceling #1)

2009: An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7) 

2010: Mischief of the Mistletoe (Pink Carnation #7)

2011: The Night Circus 

2012: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy) 

2013: Letters from Skye 

2014: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)

2015: The Lake House 

2016: A Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan #1) 

2017: The Last Christmas in Paris