A Promise Land, Uncanny Valley, Stamped, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Deacon King Kong, Hamnet, The Hiden Valley Road, Homeland Elegies, The Vanishing Half, and Transcendent Kingdom are some of the most popular books of 2021.
1. A Promised Land
- A Promised Land is a nonfiction memoir by former U.S. President, Barack Obama.
- Barack Obama was the first African American to be elected the 44th president of the United States and a recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
- The book is described by publishers as a ” riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy.”
- It is named among the best book of the year by The New York Times, Washington Post, Barnes and Noble.
- In the book, Barack Obama tells the story of his extraordinary odyssey, explaining in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his groundbreaking presidency, a time of profound change and chaos, from a young man looking for his identity to the leader of the free world.
- The book also provides a unique and thoughtful analysis of both the incredible scope and the limitations of presidential influence, as well as unique insights into the complexities of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy.
2. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
- The Caste is a nonfiction book by Isabel Wilkerson.
- Isabel Wilkerson is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal and is regarded as a leading figure in narrative nonfiction books. Her previous works have received multiple awards like Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities.
- The NYT describes the book as “An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.”
- Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is named one of the best book of the year by The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, The Oprah Magazine, Time, Marie Carie.
- Isabel Wilkerson explores how the hidden caste system has shaped America and throughout its history. She goes on to discuss eight foundations that underlie caste systems through societies, using enthralling stories about individuals such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Satchel Paige of baseball, herself, she illustrates how every day the insidious caste undertow is encountered.
- The book also explores how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America and exploited it for their plans to out-cast the Jews. The book also narrates the effects of the caste system on culture and politics.
3. Deacon King Kong
- Deacon King Kong is a work of fiction by James McBride.
- James McBride is an accomplished jazz musician, screenwriter and author. His landmark memoir is considered an American classic and read in schools and universities across the U.S. and his novel, Miracle at St. Anna was turned into a 2008 film.
- The Deacon King Kong is recognized as one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, Time Magazine, Oprah’s Book Club, Washington Post’s Notable Novel.
- The mystery, crime novel is set in the late 1960s Brooklyn and revolves around an old church deacon, Cuffy Lambkin a.k.a Sportcoat, “veteran resident of the Causeway Housing Projects, widower, churchgoer, odd-jobber, home brew-tippler and, now, after inexplicably shooting an ear clean off a local drug dealer, a wanted man.”
- The elastic plot stretches to involve competing drug crews, a smuggler from Italy, buried treasure, church sisters, and the long-dead wife of Sportcoat and explores the effect of the shooting on the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was a deacon, the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters.
- Hamnet is a fiction novel by Maggie O’Farrell.
- Maggie O’Farrell is known for her contemporary fiction novels and was featured in Waterstones’ 25 Authors for the Future.
- Hamnet was named as one of the 10 Best Books of 2020 by the New York Times, The Washington Posts, Waterstone Book of the year.
- The author describes Hamnet as a “novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves.”
- Hamnet is set in the 1580s England during the Black Plague. A young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman, Agnes who is revered for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people.
5. Hidden Valley Road
- Hidden Valley Road is a nonfiction work by Robert Kolker.
- Robert Kolker’s investigative journalism work on sexual abuse helped bring an abuser to justice and his exploration of an eighteen-year murder-exoneration case received the Harry Frank Guggenheim 2011 Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award.
- Hidden Valley is a New York Times Bestseller and listed among the top ten books of the year by The Washington Post, Amazon, and The New York Times.
- The novel is about the tragic tale of a mid-century American family of twelve children, six of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia in the mid-1970s, which became the great hope of science in the search to understand the disease.
6. Homeland Elegies
- Homeland Elegies is a work of fiction by Ayad Akhtar.
- Ayad Akhtar, a novelist and playwright is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, among other awards and accolades, he is a Board Trustee at New York Theater Workshop, and PEN America. His work has been published in over 20 languages.
- Homeland Elegies is listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, Publishers Weekly, O Magazine, Kirkus Reviews.
- To tell an epic tale of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made, Homeland Elegies combines reality and fiction. “The story’s sinuous plot concerns the lives of a playwright and his Pakistani immigrant father, assessing their attitudes toward the United States as their fortunes rise and fall.”
7. The Vanishing Half
- The Vanishing Half is a work of fiction by Brit Bennett.
- Brit Bennett is an African American New York Times Bestselling author. Her novel, The Vanishing Half’s screen rights have been optioned by HBO in a seven-figure deal after the company outbid 17 rival TV companies to adapt your book for the screen.
- The Vanishing Half is listed as one of the best books of the year by New York Times, Time Magazine, Washington Post, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.
- The Vanishing Half challenges readers on questions concerning racial identity and the degree to which “passing” may describe a phenomenon more common than people think. The story is about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. The sisters adopt different racial identities with one living as a black woman in a neighborhood she once tried to escape and the other secretly passing for a white woman with her unsuspecting white husband.
8. Transcendent Kingdom
- Transcendent Kingdom is a fiction novel by Yaa Gyasi.
- Yaa Gyasi is a Ghanaian-American author. In 2017 Yaa Gyasi was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists, Forbes 30 Under 30 (Media) and in 2019 the BBC selected her debut as one of the 100 Novels that Shaped Our World.
- Transcendent Kingdom, a novel about faith, science, religion, love, is a profoundly moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants shattered by depression and addiction and grief.
9. Uncanny Valley
- Uncanny Valley is a nonfiction novel by Anna Wiener.
- Anna Wiener is a first-time author whose novel, Uncanny Valley is listed among the top 10 best books by The NYT.
- Uncanny Valley is a memoir about Anna Wiener’s time working for Silicon Valley startups. The memoir explores her journey from working in a book publishing company to venturing into the tech industry in Silicon Valley. The book is described as a “cautionary tale, and a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.”
10. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is a young adult nonfiction book by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds.
- Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds are African-American authors. Ibram is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. Jason Reynolds is a best-selling writer in the popular middle-grade and young-adult genres in American publishing and he was recognized as Time Magazine’s Next 100.
- The book is a New York Times bestseller and a USAToday bestseller.
- “Stamped traces the history of racism and the many political, literary, and philosophical narratives that have been used to justify slavery, oppression, and genocide.” The book reveals that race constructs have always been used to gain and maintain power, whether financially or politically, and that this power has been used for more than four hundred years to systemically and systematically suppress Black people in the United States.