10 Best Books to Read in 2024 So Far

In the dynamic realm of literature, 2024 has already witnessed the emergence of captivating narratives that defy convention and spark profound introspection. From tales of deception and ambition to explorations of love in its myriad forms, the literary scene is ablaze with diversity and innovation. Join us as we delve into the best 10 books that have captivated readers’ hearts and minds so far this year, offering a glimpse into worlds both familiar and fantastical, where the boundaries of storytelling are continually pushed and redefined. From the gripping intrigue of “Yellowface” by Rebecca F. Kuang to the transformative journey of “Martyr” by Kaveh Akbar, these novels beckon us to embark on unforgettable literary adventures, inviting us to explore the depths of human emotion and imagination.

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang Book Cover

1. Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang

This is a wild tale, but it’s not her story to share. When unsuccessful author June Hayward sees her competitor Athena Liu perish in an unexpected accident, she seizes the chance and takes it. What harm is there in snatching Athena’s last manuscript? What’s the big deal about assuming her identity? And what if the first deception is just the start? At last, June achieves the fame she’s always believed she deserved. Yet, someone is on the verge of uncovering her secret. What follows is entirely the fault of others.

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Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

2. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Welcome to the fierce and prestigious realm of Basgiath War College, where twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail expected a quiet life among books in the Scribe Quadrant. Instead, her formidable mother, the commanding general, has forced her to join the elite candidates vying to become Navarre’s dragon riders. With her slight frame and fragile body, Violet knows dragons don’t bond with the weak—they incinerate them. More cadets than dragons mean many see Violet’s death as a chance to better their own odds, while others target her for being the general’s daughter, especially the ruthless wing leader Xaden Riorson. As Violet relies on her wits to survive, the war outside grows deadlier, protective wards fail, and the death toll rises. Amidst uncovering leadership’s dark secrets, she learns that at Basgiath, everyone has an agenda, and survival means graduating—or dying.

Good Material by Dolly Alderton

3. Good Material by Dolly Alderton

In the intricate mosaic of relationships, this particular one unfolds with a unique complexity—a single beginning accompanied by dual endings. Andy’s unwavering love for Jen contrasts sharply with her apparent departure, leaving him grappling with unanswered questions. Now adrift, he finds himself homeless, his aspirations pinned to a burgeoning stand-up career while feeling out of sync with the maturation of those around him. Amidst the tumult of heartbreak, Andy clings to the hope of understanding their fractured bond, yearning for Jen’s potential return. Yet, amidst the wreckage, he realizes there’s much to learn, especially from Jen’s perspective. From the acclaimed author of Ghosts and Everything I Know About Love, this sharply funny and profoundly relatable narrative delves into the intricacies of heartache and friendship, offering guidance on navigating the chaos of life’s unexpected turns.

Great Expectations by Vinson Cunningham

4. Great Expectations by Vinson Cunningham

In the eagerly awaited debut novel from a rising star at The New Yorker, a transformative presidential campaign alters the trajectory of a young Black man’s life. David’s initial encounter with the Senator from Illinois sparks a profound ambivalence, as he grapples with the juxtaposition of the Senator’s idealistic rhetoric and the inevitable compromises of political reality. As David immerses himself in the Senator’s bid to become the first Black President of the United States, he embarks on an eighteen-month journey that forces him to confront a myriad of existential questions. Through encounters with diverse individuals, David navigates themes of history, art, race, religion, and fatherhood, ultimately leading him to a deeper understanding of his own identity as a young Black man and father in America. “Great Expectations” is not merely a coming-of-age tale but a rich exploration of politics, religion, family, and identity, heralding the emergence of a significant new literary voice.

Butter by Asako Yuzuki

5. Butter by Asako Yuzuki

Nestled within the confines of the Tokyo Detention Centre, Manako Kajii, renowned for her culinary prowess, finds herself ensnared in allegations of seducing and dispatching lonely businessmen with her exquisite cooking. Despite the nation’s fervent intrigue, she remains aloof, eschewing all media contact until journalist Rika Machida’s letter, delicately inquiring about her famed beef stew, breaches her solitude. Rika, an outlier in her male-dominated newsroom, finds refuge in nocturnal work and humble ramen, but as their unconventional correspondence unfolds, transcending mere journalistic inquiry into a culinary pas de deux, Rika discovers unexpected parallels with the enigmatic Kajii. With each shared meal, dormant emotions stir within Rika, blurring the lines between captor and captive. Drawing from the notorious saga of “The Konkatsu Killer”, Asako Yuzuki’s Butter offers a tantalizing blend of suspense and culinary allure, exploring the intricate dynamics of misogyny, desire, and the transformative potency of food in Japanese culture.

Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

6. Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

In the latest offering from the acclaimed author of Such a Fun Age, emerges a captivating tale weaving the lives of a residential aide, a visiting professor, and three rebellious students. Set against the backdrop of the University of Arkansas in 2017, Millie Cousins, a senior resident aide, yearns for graduation, employment, and homeownership. When offered an unconventional opportunity by Agatha Paul, a visiting professor and writer, Millie eagerly accepts, only to find her ambitions threatened by peculiar companions, retaliatory dorm antics, and clandestine schemes. Come and Get It delves into the depths of longing, excess, and impulsive behavior, offering a fresh and intimate exploration. Pulsating with tension, it navigates themes of wealth, indiscretion, and moral ambiguity, marking yet another highly anticipated addition to Kiley Reid’s acclaimed repertoire.

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Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story by Leslie Jamison

7. Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story by Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison’s ascent to prominence in contemporary literature is marked by her profound exploration of reality, truth, and complexity, earning comparisons to icons like Joan Didion and Susan Sontag. In her latest memoir, “Splinters,” Jamison ventures into uncharted territory, dissecting intimate relationships with the precision of a seasoned surgeon. From the consuming love for her daughter to the remnants of a fractured marriage and the lingering shadows of her parents’ intricate bond, Jamison paints a portrait of womanhood in all its multifaceted glory—mother, artist, educator, lover—juxtaposing the enchanting with the mundane in surprising ways. This nonfiction tour de force grapples with the essence of joy amidst loss, intertwining hope with the scars of the past, all while showcasing Jamison’s linguistic audacity and emotional acuity, reaffirming her mastery of the genre with each revelatory page.

Ellipses by Vanessa Lawrence

8. Ellipses by Vanessa Lawrence

In the luminous streets of Manhattan, Lily finds herself unexpectedly offered a ride home by cosmetics magnate Billie, sparking hopes of a professional connection. Billie’s storied rise as a queer woman from New England privilege promises a potential mentorship opportunity for Lily, a magazine writer navigating workplace biases and existential doubts about her print career’s relevance in the age of social media. Compounded by a stagnant relationship with her girlfriend Alison and the struggle to assert her mixed-race, bisexual identity, Lily is drawn into Billie’s charismatic orbit, eagerly awaiting her mentor’s guidance through digital exchanges. However, what begins as a lifeline soon becomes an all-consuming obsession, with Lily perpetually suspended in anticipation of Billie’s next message, reflecting the broader theme of navigating authenticity in a world shaped by fleeting connections and aspirational facades. Through “Ellipses,” the debut novel explores the complexities of self-discovery and forging a path on one’s own terms in the digital age.

How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

9. How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

In the realm where Helen Zhang, the bestselling author unable to pen her own happiness, collides with Grant Shepard, the screenwriter blessed with movie-star looks but burdened by financial constraints, an unexpected narrative unfolds. Tasked with adapting Helen’s literary works for television, the convergence of their talents should be a pathway to dreams fulfilled: Hollywood beckons for Helen’s fresh start, while Grant sees an opportunity to alleviate his financial woes. Yet, the reunion is marred by Helen’s lingering resentment towards Grant, stemming from an unresolved past that stretches back thirteen years. Despite her reluctance, as they immerse themselves in the collaborative process, unforeseen sparks of attraction ignite between them. Their intertwined history is riddled with complications, their magnetic pull undeniable, leading them down a path where emotions run deep. Their narrative was never intended to evolve into a love story, but as they navigate the complexities of their shared journey, they find themselves ensnared in a captivating plot twist—their hearts entangled in a storyline they never saw coming.

Martyr by Kaveh Akbar

10. Martyr by Kaveh Akbar

In the literary realm of 2024, a singular masterpiece, eagerly awaited by Time, Nylon, Oprah, Marie Claire, and CNN, and celebrated as one of Sarah Jessica Parker’s picks of the year, emerges. John Green, acclaimed for The Fault in Our Stars, vows, “I will carry this story, and the people in it, with me for the rest of my life,” while Ann Patchett, renowned for Tom Lake, hails it as “Smart, dazzling, different… This book is thrilling. It’s like watching the novel itself be reinvented.” Natalie Portman, captivated, declares, “This book vibrates with love of life, beauty, and language. I’m in awe…” Enter Cyrus Shams, adrift in the labyrinth of his own existence. Since his mother’s tragic demise in the senseless downing of a plane over the Persian Gulf during his infancy, Cyrus has wrestled with her absence. Now, newly sober, he embarks on a quest to unravel the enigma of her life. A chance encounter with a dying artist propels Cyrus into the depths of his own history – an uncle cloaked as the Angel of Death traversing Iranian battlefields, an evocative masterpiece by an exiled painter. Once more entangled in his mother’s narrative, Cyrus grapples with the realization that she may have been far more complex than he ever imagined. As he pieces together the fragments of his existence, a revelation emerges, reshaping his entire reality. Martyr! is a revelation unto itself – electric, humorous, utterly original, and deeply profound. It heralds the advent of a brilliant and indispensable new voice in contemporary literature.

Which of the above do you plan to read?

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