Reading can be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend your free time, and engaging with great writing can be a fulfilling experience. There is an abundance of amazing books to read in 2021, and it can be hard to decide which to pick. To make it easier, this article will outline some of the most acclaimed and exciting books to read this year. Here are some of the top must-read books this year, listed alphabetically.

Atomic Habits by James Clear 

Atomic Habits by James Clear is an all-time bestseller that provides you with principles, tools and techniques to achieve a better life by honing in on your habits. Clear explains, with both research and real-life examples, how habits can make or break our ambitions, and how small decisions, done consistently and persistently, can lead to massive success in any field, including work, relationships, and fitness routines. If you want to make positive changes in your life, Atomic Habits is the perfect book to read in 2021.

Circe by Madeline Miller 

Circe by Madeline Miller is a bestselling novel that tells the story of Circe, a daughter of the Greek gods. The novel closely follows Circe’s journey as she struggles with her identity and place in the world alongside the titans, heroes, and gods of the mythology she’s part of. It’s a vivid, captivating retelling of the classic myth, and you won’t be able to put this book down.

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover is an incredible memoir that has been a huge bestseller since it was released. It tells the story of Westover’s upbringing in a severe fundamentalist family, and how she eventually pursued an education despite being denied it as a child. Westover’s struggles and successes make for a compelling and emotional read, and Educated has become a literary phenomenon.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson 

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson is a beautifully crafted and heartbreaking novel that tells the story of a dying Congregationalist preacher, John Ames. It follows Ames’ childhood, his involvement in the Civil War, and his life in the fictional town of Gilead. It’s a beautiful and introspective novel that’s not to be missed in 2021.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance 

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D Vance is a captivating memoir that tells Vance’s story of growing up in a working-class Appalachian family. Through it, Vance offers a unique look at America’s white underclass, and dives into the struggles of those living in these communities. It’s an eye-opening book and Vance’s sharp observations make it a great one to read this year.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara 

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara is a widely acclaimed and chilling true crime novel about the Golden State killer. The book follows McNamara’s investigative journey as she pieced together evidence of the killer’s identity. Tragically, McNamara died before she could finish the book, and her husband completed it after her death.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is a moving and powerful memoir about an innocent black man falsely accused of murder and Stevenson’s efforts to prove his innocence. It’s a gripping read that dives into the racism, poverty, and inequality of the criminal justice system. Just Mercy is an essential read that should not be missed in 2021.

Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li 

Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li is an engaging and powerful novel about three people whose lives have been fragmented by different tragedies over time. Li masterfully takes anecdotes from the past and weaves them into the lives of each character, and the result is a stunning narrative that makes this book a great read for 2021.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer 

Less by Andrew Sean Greer is an uplifting and clever novel about a gay novelist struggling with a failed romance. In a desperate attempt to avoid an ex-lover’s wedding, Arthur Less embarks on a series of absurdly comic adventures around the world. It’s an entertaining and bittersweet novel about getting older, growing up and choosing to be happy even in the face of devastating heartbreak.

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone 

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone is a funny and clever children’s book starring everyone’s favorite Sesame Street character, Elmo. Elmo discovers that a monster is living at the end of the book, and he can’t find it no matter how hard he looks. Elmo’s hilarious efforts to find the monster make this book a great one to read with your kids.

Normal People by Sally Rooney 

Normal People by Sally Rooney is an acclaimed novel about two young people struggling to find their place in the world. Connell and Marianne’s complex and layered relationship is explored through their various interactions and moments of self-discovery. This masterful and captivating piece of fiction is sure to be a crowd-pleaser in 2021.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong is a breathtaking and heartbreaking novel about a young Vietnamese-American man struggling with his family’s past. Vuong’s raw and honest writing combined with his vivid storytelling make this novel one that should definitely be on your reading list for 2021.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg 

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is a beautiful and delightful picture book that takes you into the Santa’s secret journey to the North Pole. Through stunning detailed illustrations, the book follows the adventures of a young boy who takes a magical train ride to Santa’s workshop. It’s an imaginative and captivating story that delights children and adults alike.

Queenie byCandice Carty-Williams 

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams is a funny, heartwarming and poignant novel about a twenty-something Jamaican British woman struggling to make her way in the world. Queens grapples with her mental health, her career, and her relationships and how they all intertwine. This book is sure to be a fan favorite in 2021.

Becoming by Michelle Obama 

Becoming by Michelle Obama is a bestselling memoir written by Obama during her time as First Lady of the United States. Obama candidly discusses her upbringing, her experience with racism, and how she flourished in spite of the challenges she encountered throughout her life. It’s a beautiful, powerful and inspiring book that is a must-read for 2021.

2021 is already off to a great start with an abundance of amazing books to read. From memoirs to fiction and everything else in between, there’s something for everyone in this list. Whether you prefer books about true crime, fiction, or memoirs, this list has everything you need for a great reading year in 2021.