The Best, Most Talked-About Books of 2024 (So Far)

This year is shaping up to be a good one for book lovers. There’s a posthumous printing of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Marquez’s languorous last novel, Until August, in which a happily married woman makes her annual trip to a waterfront town, where she takes a lover for the night; the first-ever biography of Andy Warhol star and queer icon Candy Darling (there’s also a biopic starring Hari Nef out later this year); All Fours, the first novel from actor and author Miranda July since 2015’s The First Bad Man; James, a radical reimagining of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the perspective of the enslaved Jim, by American Fiction writer Percival Everett; and the highly-anticipated memoir of Anna Marie Tendler, who recounts all the times throughout her life that men have called her—or, nearly driven her—“crazy.”

There’s also The House of Hidden Meanings, a juicy memoir from RuPaul that traces his life story from being an alienated young Black boy in 1960s San Diego to becoming the media mogul and gay icon he is today, an investigation into modern eating disorder culture from writer Emma Specter, philosopher Judith Butler’s latest contribution to the field of gender studies with the clear-eyed Who’s Afraid of Gender?, and several exciting debuts from writers and poets including Kaveh Akbar, Honor Levy, Ashleah Gonzales, and Liz Riggs. Whether you’re downloading a book to your device or heading to a brick-and-mortar bookshop, here are the best titles of the year to check out (so far):

Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar


01f4d129 4cab 452f a32b 7dae3f40c428 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 85042 pm

In his celebrated poems, Iranian-American writer Kaveh Akbar examines deeply personal topics—addiction, the feeling of displacement, and identity. With his touching debut novel, Martyr!, Akbar explores these themes further through his protagonist Cyrus—a newly sober, orphaned Iranian immigrant. Obsessed with the concept of martyrdom, Cyrus searches for a family secret that leads him to unexpected places physically, spiritually, and regarding his complicated lineage.

Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

Come and Get It

921d27bd 004b 4c44 b5ef 9e3e7d0514d4 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 64812 pm

In Kiley Reid’s 2019 bestselling debut, Such a Fun Age, the author explored the uncomfortable relationship between a young Black babysitter and her privileged white employer. With Come and Get It, Reid turns her focus to a modern college campus in Arkansas, where discussions of money, race, class, and gender happen organically given the melting pot nature of academia. Told through the three perspectives of a visiting professor recovering from a breakup, a young resident advisor laser-focused on saving for a down payment on a home, and a clueless transfer student running from an embarrassing incident at her last school, Come and Get It is filled with incisive observations on the different versions of the American dream that drive us, and how we each choose to get there.

Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange

Wandering Stars

c5cc83e6 f479 4b61 bd62 daaf0bdcc68e screen shot 2024 03 27 at 65453 pm

Tommy Orange, a Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe member from Oakland, burst onto the literary scene with his 2018 debut novel There, There, which became a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. Its follow-up, Wandering Stars, is part prequel, part sequel to the story, revisiting several of its characters. The tale takes place over a century, chronicling the events of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre and the devastating impact of the forced assimilation of Native children wrought by institutions like the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. It continues into the 21st century, where a new generation of young Native Americans grapples with the legacy of generational trauma and addiction. With Wandering Stars, Orange again delivers a powerful narrative steeped in historical context and cultural commentary.

Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K. Reilly

Greta & Valdin

8d30f67e 19ec 4943 8919 cd13be56b9f6 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 85900 pm

This heartfelt debut from New Zealand author Rebecca K Reilly captures the messy, complicated realities and anxieties of 21st-century young adulthood. Narrated alternately by Auckland-based queer sister and brother (Greta and Valdin), the two protagonists face their share of modern foibles—from dipping into the dating pool after a breakup to unexpected run-ins with exes and the relentless self-consciousness of being on dating apps. They also come from a sprawling, Maori-Russian-Catalonian family—many of whom also happen to be queer. Like its characters, Greta & Valdin defies categorization, inviting readers to relish in endearingly chaotic family connections and the lifelong search for purpose and love.

Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi

Parasol Against the Axe

1ec9f5ec 906f 40aa bab5 61da87b77584 screen shot 2024 04 04 at 124916 pm

The award-winning, bestselling author of books like Mr. Fox and Peaces, returns with her eighth novel, Parasol Against the Axe. Born in Nigeria and raised in South London, Oyeyemi has called Prague home since 2013, and Parasol marks the first time she’s set one of her stories in the Czech capital. While many of Oyeyemi’s past works have played on the concept of fairy tales—with 2014’s Boy, Snow, Bird reworking “Snow White” and 2019’s Gingerbread a modern take on “Hansel and Gretel”—Parasol questions the boundaries between fact and fiction, and how the truth itself can change depending on who is telling or it, or where it’s being told.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Anita Montes Laughs Last

1143b7a7 b77c 416e b5c7 fda0131cc505 screen shot 2024 04 04 at 123428 pm

A story told from three different points of view, Anita de Monte Laughs Last is a masterfully complex exploration of the intersection of art, commerce, gender, and race. Third-year art history student Raquel is navigating the delicate social hierarchies of an Ivy League School (where Raquel is first-generation), when she discovers the work of Cuban-American conceptual artist Anita de Monte for her thesis project. A New York City art star of her time, Anita died mysteriously in 1985, her legacy quickly forgotten. Like Raquel, she was in a relationship with a powerful older white man in the art world, for which she faced backlash, criticism, and suspicion from his privileged friends. The novel is told from Raquel, Anita, and her (potentially murderous, definitely narcissistic) husband Jack’s perspectives, seamlessly jumping between timelines, social commentary, and thriller-level intrigue. As Raquel learns more about Anita, she finds undeniable parallels between herself and the deceased artist, and despite the decades between them, sees that some things never change.

Until August by Gabriel García Marquez

Until August

f5408732 d20d 465b 97eb 62ac5654b127 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 74736 pm

The Nobel Prize-winning Gabriel García Marquez changed the world forever with novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Now, ten years after the celebrated Colombian author’s death, a posthumous printing of his last novel offers one final story of love and regret. In Until August, Ana Magdalena Bach makes a yearly pilgrimage to the island where her mother is buried. Though happily married, her annual tradition includes taking a new lover for the night. Until August is a sensual contemplation on time, freedom, and self-transformation from one of the world’s greatest writers.

James by Percival Everett


2c1e323c 003b 4805 8c3d 763d9f397203 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 80448 pm

After the wild success of 2023’s Oscar-winning American Fiction (based on Percival Everett’s 2015 novel Erasure), you won’t want to miss the cult favorite author’s electric new work. A reimagining of Mark Twain’s 1884 masterpiece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Everett’s James flips the classic narrative. Told from the perspective of Jim, the novel’s enslaved runaway, rather than the young Huck, James completely reimagines one-half of Finn’s famous duo, elevating him from unwitting sidekick to reluctant hero. Everett is a master in working with historical figures, including 2009’s I Am Not Sydney Poitier and 2004’s A History of the African-American People (Proposed) by Strom Thurmond, as Told to Percival Everett and James Kincaid. Everett brings that laser-sharp wit to James, creating a radical new American adventure.

My First Book by Honor Levy

My First Book

2b121e47 13d8 40ba 938c 4bb3851aafdc 9780593656532

Inventive Gen Z writer Honor Levy has been making waves in the literary world since 2020 when both The New Yorker and cult indie press Tyrant Books published her kaleidoscopic flash fiction (she was just 21 at the time). Now, Levy is releasing her aptly-titled debut, My First Book, a collection of surreal short stories about characters grappling with the existential questions and formative romantic experiences of youth, against the chaotic background of the digital age.

All Fours by Miranda July

All Fours

2995c1e8 c9b6 4f1d 9e7f ac68a17bede6 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 80813 pm

After nearly a decade, bestselling author, director, screenwriter, and actor Miranda July returns with the novel All Fours. The sharply funny book tells the story of a 45-year-old woman who in a bit of midlife mania embarks on a solo road trip from LA to NYC, leaving her husband and young daughter behind. Just thirty minutes into her journey, she pulls into a motel and finds herself drawn to the young man working at a nearby rental car counter and his girlfriend, too. In typical July form, All Fours focuses on the boundary lines of human connection and sexuality, in this case, while exploring the desires and creative instincts of a woman in the transitional time of middle age. July enters this territory with humor and heart, leaving readers with plenty to chew on.

Very Bad Company by Emma Rosenblum

Very Bad Company

032fa8c5 7c80 4944 aeb0 46eb2aad0bcd screen shot 2024 03 27 at 82908 pm

Following the success of her bestselling debut Bad Summer People—a wild tale about a group of close-knit but possibly murderous friends vacationing on Fire Island—Emma Rosenblum is back with Very Bad Company. This time, Rosenblum (who is the chief content officer of BDG) presents a cast of tech executives misbehaving on an exclusive company retreat in Miami. When a top employee dies on the first night, the week of brainstorming and team building leads to a journey into the company’s (and its employees’) dark secrets. With its comedic send-up of corporate dynamics and culture, Very Bad Company is another irresistible summer read.

Perfume and Pain by Anna Dorn

Perfume & Pain

df3c6134 61ca 4609 a666 981c0b23bc21 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 82607 pm

In this satirical novel, Anna Dorn (author of 2022’s Exalted) tells the story of Astrid Dahl, a Los Angeles-based writer attempting to both resuscitate her flailing career and find true love—two tasks made harder by the fact that she’s been sort of canceled among her community and is highly self-destructive. Still, Astrid throws herself into distraction, befriending and dating several women simultaneously, and trying her best not to sabotage a major moment of professional redemption. Dorn’s writing is a nod to 1950s lesbian pulp fiction, heavy in melodrama, humor, and self-deprecation.

Tehrangeles by Porochista Khakpour


173a45b4 fd42 4363 8cdb 6201206c5f90 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 82305 pm

From the acclaimed author of Brown Album and Sick comes Tehrangeles, a Kardashian-coded story about a successful Iranian-American family living in the Hollywood Hills on the verge of landing a reality show. Parents Ali and Homa Milani run a microwavable snack empire, and their four daughters fit into familiar archetypes of the times: model, influencer, health fanatic, and chronically online overachiever. As the prospect of reality TV fame looms over their McMansion like a promising storm cloud, the family must face their deepest secrets and reevaluate what it means to be a family.

Lo Fi by Liz Riggs

Lo Fi

f0b6498e 7808 4488 9e89 be13c8e7083f screen shot 2024 03 27 at 85249 pm

Liz Riggs’s debut novel, Lo Fi, is a tribute to those early, unvarnished days in a young creative’s life before the big break comes and the dream of success is still a distant mirage. Set in Riggs’s home of Nashville, Lo Fi’s protagonist Alison Hunter is a young, aspiring artist working nights in a sweaty nightclub where everyone is somehow involved in the music industry. Like a sultry country song itself, Lo Fi sees Hunter navigate her way through dating, heartbreak, and difficult but transformational decisions.

This Is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets edited by Kwame Alexander

This Is the Honey

8a4629a8 d698 4597 8a22 23ea96411a4e screen shot 2024 03 27 at 91811 pm

This vibrant anthology edited by New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander brings together the works of some of the most groundbreaking contemporary Black poets writing today—like Jericho Brown, Warsan Shire, Rita Dove, and Ross Gay—to celebrate diverse perspectives and poetic expression.

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World edited by Ada Límon

You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World

440f65e6 c508 4aaa 8daf 9c14c26a6be8 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 92154 pm

In a moment where many are reevaluating their relationship with the natural world, this collection of poems by 50 celebrated contemporary writers reflects on just that topic. Published in association with the Library of Congress, and edited by Ada Límon, the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States, You Are Here challenges readers to rethink what they know about “nature poetry,” as both the poetic landscape and the literal landscape of the world are currently changing before our very eyes.

Rangikura: Poems by Tayi Tibble

Rangikura: Poems

3ee46f36 3d0f 4720 bcb3 0aa8b51b73e5 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 92638 pm

The second collection from acclaimed Indigenous New Zealand writer Tayi Tibbl, Rangikura encourages readers to question their relationship to desire and exploitation. Written with Māori moteatea, purakau, and karakia (chants, legends, and prayers) in mind, Rangikura explores how the past haunts us, even when we try to escape it.

Fake Piñata by Ashleah Gonzales

Fake Piñata

73523561 8c6a 4475 b8f9 60c2d1298ad2 fakepinatafinal

Celebrity manager Ashleah Gonzales first became known for her great taste in books; as Kendall Jenner’s agent, Gonzales’s reading recommendations went viral after the top model was photographed around the world, toting alt-lit finds stamped with Gonzales’s trademark turquoise sticky notes. Now, Gonzales has her first collection of poems on the way, via Chelsea Hodson’s small but trendy press, Rose Books.

Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt by Brontez Purnell

Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt

4c9debd9 6814 473e 920d b319f34f216a screen shot 2024 03 27 at 83111 pm

After the success of 2017’s Since I Laid My Burden Down and 2022’s prize-winning 100 Boyfriends, musician, dancer, and writer Brontez Purnell is back with Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt, a collection of 38 pieces exploring themes like sexuality, generational trauma, and the ethics of art. A queer artist from Oakland by way of Alabama, Purnell infuses his avant-garde, punk rock ethos into the medium of memoir, playing on the genre with a mixture of poetic humor, brilliant cultural criticism, and empathetic clarity.

Grief Is for People by Sloane Crosley

Grief Is For People

Grief Is For People
9d6bcfb4 3c59 4b2b 9712 6d8bf545a2f3 screen shot 2024 04 04 at 121106 pm

In her eighth book (and first memoir), Sloane Crosley brings her talent for keen observation to the thorny topic of grief. In 2019, a month after her apartment was burglarized, resulting in the loss of a precious family heirloom, Crosley’s dear friend and publishing mentor died by suicide. This chain of events inspired Grief Is For People, a meditation on loss organized by the five famous stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and afterward (in place of acceptance). As Crosley investigates what happened to her stolen things, she also retreads her relationship with her friend, combing through text messages and replaying exchanges in her head, searching for clues she might’ve missed. With biting wit, Crosley ties in the societal effects of the pandemic, making the project of understanding grief both universal and deeply personal.

The House of Hidden Meanings by RuPaul

The House of Hidden Meanings

d4b6725e bd6b 43af bb12 b64665c7a18d screen shot 2024 03 27 at 74305 pm

Drag icon and TV mogul RuPaul takes readers behind the makeup, wigs, and six-inch heels with his first memoir, recounting his life story from growing up as a queer Black kid in San Diego to finding his identity as an artist in the punk and drag scenes of Atlanta and New York. Filled with witty Ruisms and reflections on life—including his hard-earned journey to sobriety and self-love (If you don’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? as his famous tagline goes)—The House of Hidden Meanings is a moving memoir and a peek inside the entertainment industry over several decades of profound change.

Who’s Afraid of Gender? by Judith Butler

Who’s Afraid of Gender?

1dbbd119 80eb 414c 9caa ebc4c33017bf screen shot 2024 03 27 at 80147 pm

Judith Butler is no stranger to publishing groundbreaking works. The American philosopher’s iconic 1990 book, Gender Trouble, became a mainstay on university syllabuses, radically shifting how many think about traditional gender roles and sexuality, after all. Now, Butler’s latest work explores how fear and discomfort around these very topics is fueling a global rise in reactionary politics—and offers solutions to combat the growing intolerance of individual differences.

Candy Darling: Dreamer, Icon, Superstar by Cynthia Carr

Candy Darling

1d47446d 89a4 4ce2 b6f4 f99a787c9d96 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 84042 pm

From acclaimed biographer Cynthia Carr comes the first full look at queer icon and Andy Warhol collaborator, Candy Darling. The biography celebrates Darling’s life, legacy, and contributions to art and counterculture before her untimely death at 29 from leukemia in 1974. Known for her boundary-pushing, fearless spirit, Darling had a wild list of achievements, like inspiring songs by Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones and performing alongside Tennessee Williams in his play, Small Craft Warnings. (It’s a big year for Candy fans, as a biopic starring Hari Nef is also in the works).

You Get What You Pay For: Essays by Morgan Parker

You Get What You Pay For: Essays

5e4d6d48 2652 4c63 b682 dce0fcee9b20 screen shot 2024 04 09 at 24545 pm

Morgan Parker’s poetic sensibility is at the forefront in You Get What You Pay For, her debut collection of essays. The award-winning author of poetry collections like 2017’s There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and 2019’s Magical Negro, Parker draws on both her personal experiences—with writing, therapy, beauty culture, and relationships, for instance—as well as bigger cultural phenomena, like the complex legacy of Serena Williams and Bill Cosby’s fall from grace, to reflect on Black women’s experiences throughout American history.

Fashion’s Big Night Out: A Met Gala Look Book by Kristen Bateman

Fashion’s Big Night Out: A Met Gala Look Book

f6ab1244 b5a4 43e3 a513 239ea82dacb9 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 90828 pm

Fashion writer, editor, and consultant Kristen Bateman and designer Jeremy Scott teamed up for Fashion’s Big Night Out, a detailed look at the history of the Met Gala from its relatively tame inception in 1984 to becoming the splashiest most-talked about sartorial event each year. Behind-the-scenes images give a peek into what goes into making the glittering extravaganza come together while highlighting the gala’s most iconic fashion moments.

Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk by Kathleen Hanna

Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk

8d738c25 da3d 42da b2c1 3de62a193343 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 83533 pm

Bikini Kill and Le Tigre frontwoman Kathleen Hanna delivers a searing memoir in which the pioneering punk icon recalls her journey through music and activism as a founding member of the riot grrrl movement. Hanna recounts her rocky childhood through her early years in the music scene, making clear that playing in a punk girl band came with its fair share of challenges, like being at the receiving end of brutal criticism and actual violence. Still, she makes the case for hope and resilience in the face of hardship—illustrated by her meaningful relationships with her bandmates and friends, like Kurt Cobain and Kim Gordon, and the lasting positive impact of her work.

No Judgment: Essays by Lauren Oyler

No Judgment: Essays

1c223b6d 2d4d 4957 a74c cfe872bbfdc0 screen shot 2024 04 04 at 124619 pm

When you go viral for a scathing 5,000-word review of a writer in your milieu (in this case, Lauren Oyler crashing the London Review of Books website with her 2020 takedown of fellow millennial essayist Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror), your work is bound to draw its own level of scrutiny. With her new collection of essays, No Judgment, Oyler is self-aware in her observations, covering at length, for instance, the dominance of autofiction over the last decade, a genre that Oyler explored with her 2021 debut novel, Fake Accounts. It’s rare that young writers get the chance to go this granular on topics of their choosing; with, No Judgment Oyler takes this advantage and runs with it, diving into subjects like the utility of gossip, anxiety, life in her now-home city of Berlin, and the rise of the star rating system for books—or, the act of reviewing itself.

I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself by Glynnis MacNicol

I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself

26752556 058e 4eb3 946e 5471d0a90907 screen shot 2024 04 02 at 42324 pm

Halfway through the pandemic, Glynnis MacNicol, aged 46, found herself exhausted from the isolation of living alone during lockdown. When travel opened up and she was able to return to a Parisian apartment she’d sublet in the past, MacNicol, unmarried and childfree fled to France and embarked upon a journey of radical pleasure filled with good friends, good food, good wine, and good sex. I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself is an intimate account of that time as MacNicol finds purposeful, decadent joy beyond the confines of society’s expectations.

More Please by Emma Specter

More Please

7158be46 624f 426e 91f6 54fc06598981 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 82049 pm

Just as soon as the body positivity and body neutrality movements of the late 2010s seemed here to stay, trends like the surge in celebrity use of weight-loss drugs like Ozempic, the Y2K fashion revival, and “pro-ana” (pro-eating disorder) Tumblr culture migrating to TikTok indicate the pop culture pendulum may be swinging back towards the skinny glorification of recent past decades. With More Please, writer Emma Specter takes a clear-eyed look at this fraught relationship with body image and food, blending memoir with cultural commentary and reported interviews to dive into topics like wellness culture, dangerous dieting practices, and the ongoing American obsession with thinness.

Men Have Called Her Crazy by Anna Marie Tendler

Men Have Called Her Crazy

c549c7e5 28fd 4d24 86b7 7e5f42f02383 screen shot 2024 03 27 at 84443 pm

Artist and writer Anna Marie Tendler unwittingly found her life splashed across the headlines in 2022 following her highly publicized divorce from comedian John Mulaney. Now, Tendler is releasing a powerful memoir recounting her experiences in her own words, from unrequited high school love to being hospitalized for depression, anxiety, and self-harm, to dating and family planning in her 30s. By reclaiming her story, Tendler questions the unreasonable expectations placed on all women in the modern era.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top