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I devour Best Of lists because they help me keep up with what books people are loving, especially outside of my usual go-to genres. Just in time for summer reading, Amazon’s Book Editors released their list of Best Books of the Year So Far. The Top 20 list includes hand-picked titles released between January 2021 and June 2021. Most of them are bestsellers, but the editors also try to highlight some books that may have fallen under readers’ radar.
In the number one spot is Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, a literary saga that follows the stories of two women, 100 years apart: the daredevil woman pilot who disappears in Antarctica and the disillusioned Hollywood actress cast to portray her on film. The reviews on this one are gushing, calling it “unforgettable,” “a masterpiece,” and “sumptuous…exhilarating.”
Number nine on the list is one I’ve been hearing a lot about from friends. The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz is about a one-time novelist and third-rate MFA professor who steals a dead student’s book plot and makes it big with the resulting book. But someone knows his secret.
The publication announcement of Zakiya Dalila Harris’s The Other Black Girl made a huge splash in publishing circles, as it’s a psychological thriller set against the unbearable whiteness of NYC publishing written by a former editorial employee. Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is thrilled to have another black woman in her office, but things quickly take a turn for the worse.
Also on the list is the much-anticipated follow-up to The Martian: Project Hail Mary from Andy Weir. Once again we have a solo astronaut stranded far from home, but this time the stakes are even bigger. Millions of miles from home and his memory unreliable, Ryland Grace has to solve a complicated scientific puzzle to prevent the extinction of the human race.
One of two memoirs on the list, Ashley C. Ford’s memoir Somebody’s Daughter released last week. She tells the reader about growing up a poor Black girl in the midwest and the way her father’s incarceration shaped her childhood. Author Laurie Halse Anderson said it “is a powerful book that will give everybody the courage to love again.”
Those are the five that caught my eye, but other books selected by the Amazon editors include Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster, The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross, and Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
The top 20 list has quite a few literary and mystery selections, but you can check out their genre-specific lists in various categories such as young adult, science fiction and fantasy, biography, and children’s books along with the full Top 20 list on Amazon’s Best Books So Far page.
If you, like me, can’t get enough of Best Of lists, stay tuned for Book Riot’s own contributors’ list of the best books of 2021 thus far, coming soon!