Arts + Culture

10 Books to Read in 2020 (So Far)

It's only January, but we've already bookmarked and pre-ordered these hot new releases—the best books of 2020 (so far) worth consuming right now. Happy reading!

1

Night Theater

Imagine this: you’re a surgeon working with limited supplies in an isolated Indian village. One fateful night, a family arrives at your clinic. They’ve just been murdered—but, if you can fix their injuries before sunrise, they will live again. Do you accept? Do you use all your resources at the cost of tomorrow’s patients? Is bringing these people back the right thing to do, morally? Vikram Paralkar, a physician himself, is well-suited to tackle questions of healthcare, mortality, and the afterlife in his thought-provoking second novel.

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2

Cleanness

Whittled down to its core, this is a story about sex and all the ways it shapes our lives. The beauty in Garth Greenwell's What Belongs to You follow-up, however, is less about the story and more about the voice of its nameless gay male narrator and the haunting, poignant stories he shares as he searches for human connection during his expat years teaching in Bulgaria.

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3

Topics of Conversation

For women, reading Miranda Popkey’s debut novel might feel like intellectual eavesdropping. The text is comprised entirely of conversations an unnamed female narrator has with women she encounters through two decades of her life, and touches on almost every emotion linked to relationships both sexual and platonic: love, loneliness, envy, desire, fear, power, and all the little lies we like to tell ourselves and each other.

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4

Wow, No Thank You

Get ready to laugh like a banshee while paging through Samantha Irby’s hilarious and incredibly relatable new collection of essays, which recount absurd anecdotes she’s collected while tackling her life’s next curveball: trading the streets of NYC for small-town living in the Midwest with her wife.

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5

Uncanny Valley

Early in her career, Anna Wiener left the low-paying New York City publishing world behind for a hot new tech start-up in San Francisco. Multiple years and jobs later, she’s back above water and spilling secrets in Uncanny Valley—a biting, gossipy memoir that spills what really goes on behind the scenes in Silicon Valley, where brash, inexperienced, 20-something billionaires have recklessly gained control over the privacy of American citizens. Inflated egos, giant wage gaps, and the issues of accountability all come into question.

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6

Little Gods

A child is born in Beijing the very same night as the Tiananmen Square massacre—and so begins an epic tale that spans countries and lifetimes until it reaches America, where a Chinese-American woman seeks to uncover her family's history. 

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7

Followers

There’s an eerie element of foreshadowing in this fictional dystopian novel, which follows two timelines. In 2015, a celebrity blogger works to get her roommate internet famous. In 2051, a government-controlled celebrity’s life is ruled by sponsorships and pleasing the public. The realities of both are starkly different, but it's the similarities the two share that will keep you racing to the finish line.

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8

Separation Anxiety (March 3)

One of this list’s lighter reads is a weirdly funny and touching tale about a woman who begins to wear her family dog in a baby sling as middle age throws curveball—a difficult teenager—after curveball—an even harder marriage—in the hopes of turning her life around, one moment of joy at a time.

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9

Pew (May 12)

An indescribable stranger—genderless, raceless, silent—is found asleep inside a small-town church in the American South. Locals are entranced, taking turns inviting them into their households and, sensing security, begin one-sided conversations that slowly reveal personal secrets and fears. However, trust slowly turns to suspicion, and the community begins a downward spiral with unsettling results, sparking questions about identity, fear of the unknown, and what perception can unlock in all of us.

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10

The Lying Life of Adults (June 9)

Brace yourselves, Neapolitan Novels fans: Elena Ferrante’s newest installment is almost here (translated into English after being released in Italy last year) and it’s sure to fly off the shelves. The story follows young Giovanna as she transitions from sweet adolescent to raging teenager in 1990s Naples, and discovers that her life of privilege isn't all it's cracked up to be. We’re already anticipating a follow-up.

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