As we step into 2024, the literary world continues to offer an ever-expanding universe of narratives that promise to enchant, challenge, and transform us.
From the depths of historical fiction to the cutting edge of science fiction, from soul-stirring memoirs to groundbreaking young adult tales, this year’s lineup of books is a testament to the power of storytelling.
Whether you’re looking to escape into a fantastical realm, uncover the mysteries of the human psyche, or find solace and inspiration in the pages of a self-help guide, there’s something for every kind of reader.
So, without further ado, select any book from the below list and begin your reading journey.
Best Books To Read in 2024
“The City of Mist” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
A posthumous release that adds to his enchanting universe, “The City of Mist” is a collection of stories that serves as a fitting epilogue to Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s beloved “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series.
The stories within this book weave through the mysterious alleyways of Barcelona, blending the mystical with the gothic, to enchant readers with the magic that has made Zafón a global phenomenon.
“Olga Dies Dreaming” by Xochitl Gonzalez
“Olga Dies Dreaming” is a novel that touches on family, politics, and the Puerto Rican diaspora with sharp wit and a compelling narrative.
It follows Olga and her brother Pedro, two successful siblings who are forced to confront their past and the history of their mother’s radical political activism, against the backdrop of a hurricane-hit Puerto Rico.
Gonzalez’s debut is a poignant exploration of identity, ambition, and belonging.
“Sea of Tranquility” by Emily St. John Mandel
In “Sea of Tranquility,” Emily St. John Mandel takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through time and space, spanning from the early 20th century to the far reaches of the future.
This novel explores themes of reality, the echoes of individual actions through time, and the enduring search for meaning and connection.
Mandel weaves together the lives of seemingly unrelated characters across different timelines in a narrative that questions the very nature of existence.
“The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles
Set in the 1950s, “The Lincoln Highway” is an adventure that takes readers across America through the eyes of Emmett Watson, a young man recently released from a juvenile work farm, his brother Billy, and an assortment of companions they meet along the way.
Towles crafts a meticulously detailed odyssey that explores themes of freedom, redemption, and the pursuit of the American dream, with his signature charm and depth of character.
“Detransition, Baby” by Torrey Peters
“Detransition, Baby” is a bold and thought-provoking novel that explores themes of gender, parenthood, and identity through the lives of its characters, Reese, Ames, and Katrina.
Peters delves into the complexities of relationships and the concept of family in the contemporary world, with a particular focus on the experiences of transgender women. This novel is a candid, sometimes raw, examination of the messiness of life and love.
“Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe
“Empire of Pain” is a deep dive into the Sackler dynasty, famously known for their ownership of Purdue Pharma and their role in the opioid crisis.
Patrick Radden Keefe meticulously details the rise and fall of this family, uncovering a story of ambition, philanthropy, and the dark side of the American dream.
This investigative work exposes the moral failings and greed at the heart of one of the most devastating public health crises of our time.
“The Code Breaker” by Walter Isaacson
In “The Code Breaker,” Walter Isaacson tells the story of Jennifer Doudna, the Nobel laureate whose work on CRISPR technology has revolutionized the field of genetics.
This biography not only chronicles Doudna’s groundbreaking discoveries but also delves into the ethical dilemmas and the potential for both great healing and harm that come with gene editing.
Isaacson presents a fascinating look at the science and the scientists reshaping our world.
“Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson
Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” offers a profound look at America’s social stratification, arguing that its rigid hierarchy is best understood through the lens of caste.
Through an analysis that compares the United States, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson reveals how unseen rankings influence every aspect of life, perpetuating inequality and division.
This book is a compelling call to address the underlying structures that divide us.
“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates
Bill Gates’s “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” provides insights into combating climate change from one of the world’s leading philanthropists and a tech visionary.
Gates outlines not only the scope of the crisis but also practical solutions and innovations needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero. Drawing on his experience in working with experts across various disciplines, Gates offers a hopeful yet realistic plan for averting a climate catastrophe.
“The Premonition: A Pandemic Story” by Michael Lewis
“The Premonition: A Pandemic Story” is an insightful look into the COVID-19 pandemic response in the United States, highlighting the efforts of a small group of medical professionals and scientists who saw what was coming and tried to sound the alarm.
Michael Lewis, known for his ability to translate complex subjects into compelling narratives, tells the story of these unsung heroes and the systemic failures that hampered the nation’s response to the pandemic.
Science Fiction & Fantasy
“Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir
“Project Hail Mary” is a gripping tale of survival and interstellar adventure by Andy Weir, the author of “The Martian.” The story follows Ryland Grace, the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission to save humanity from an extinction-level threat.
With only his ingenuity and the help of an unexpected ally, Grace faces the challenge of his life far from home. Weir combines hard science with thrilling suspense in this ode to human ingenuity.
“The Ministry for the Future” by Kim Stanley Robinson
In “The Ministry for the Future,” Kim Stanley Robinson presents a bold, visionary exploration of climate change solutions through the lens of speculative fiction. Established in the wake of a devastating heatwave in India, the Ministry for the Future is tasked with advocating for the world’s future generations and the planet itself.
Through a mix of gripping narrative and thought-provoking ideas, Robinson explores the social, economic, and technological changes necessary to sustain human civilization.
“The Galaxy, and the Ground Within” by Becky Chambers
“The Galaxy, and the Ground Within” is the final installment of Becky Chambers’ beloved Wayfarers series.
This novel focuses on four strangers stranded on a remote spaceport, each from different species and backgrounds, who must confront their prejudices and fears in the face of an emergency.
Chambers is celebrated for her character-driven stories and optimistic vision of the future, where diversity and empathy are strengths.
“The Last Graduate” by Naomi Novik
In “The Last Graduate,” Naomi Novik continues the story of El, a powerful sorceress navigating the treacherous halls of the Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means death.
As El enters her senior year, she faces ever greater dangers, not just from the malevolent creatures that roam the school, but from the alliances and rivalries among the students.
Novik’s blend of dark academia and fantasy offers a fresh take on magical education and the coming-of-age narrative.
“Light From Uncommon Stars” by Ryka Aoki
“Light From Uncommon Stars” by Ryka Aoki is a delightful blend of science fiction and fantasy, infused with a love of music.
The novel tells the story of a violin prodigy, a cursed music teacher, and a family of alien refugees, whose paths collide in Southern California.
Aoki explores themes of identity, transformation, and redemption, all while celebrating the power of music to connect across the most improbable divides.
Mystery & Thriller
“The Maidens” by Alex Michaelides
“The Maidens” is a psychological thriller set against the backdrop of Cambridge University, where a group of female students known as The Maidens worship their enigmatic professor.
When a series of murders shocks the campus, psychotherapist Mariana Andros becomes convinced that the professor and The Maidens are involved.
Alex Michaelides weaves a tale of obsession, tragedy, and the dark histories that haunt both the living and the dead.
“The Sanatorium” by Sarah Pearse
Set in a remote sanatorium turned luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps, “The Sanatorium” is a chilling mystery that unfolds when guests start disappearing during a snowstorm.
Elin Warner, a detective on leave, finds herself caught in the investigation as the hotel’s sinister past and her own troubled history converge.
Sarah Pearse delivers a debut novel filled with suspense, atmospheric dread, and a twisty plot that keeps readers guessing until the end.
“The Plot” by Jean Hanff Korelitz
“The Plot” centers around a struggling writer who discovers a story too good to pass up.
When he decides to use it, the book becomes a bestseller, but he soon receives anonymous threats accusing him of theft.
Jean Hanff Korelitz crafts a clever narrative about creativity, envy, and the consequences of stealing someone else’s story, exploring the dark side of literary ambition and the blurred lines between inspiration and appropriation.
“The Push” by Ashley Audrain
“The Push” is a psychological drama that delves deep into the complexities of motherhood, examining the fears and pressures that come with raising a child who may not be what they seem.
Ashley Audrain presents the story of Blythe Connor, whose experience of motherhood is fraught with anxiety and doubt, leading her to question her own sanity and the nature of her relationship with her daughter.
This gripping novel explores the dark, often unspoken realities of maternal instinct and familial bonds.
“Later” by Stephen King
In “Later,” Stephen King introduces readers to Jamie Conklin, a boy with the ability to see and learn secrets from the dead.
When his mother’s lover, an NYPD detective, draws him into pursuing a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave, Jamie’s unique gift becomes a terrifying liability.
King masterfully blends the crime thriller genre with his signature supernatural elements, delivering a compelling story about growing up with an extraordinary ability in an indifferent world.
“The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
“The Four Winds” is a powerful tale of American resilience and hope set during the Great Depression.
Kristin Hannah introduces readers to Elsa Wolcott, a woman who must make an unimaginable choice: fight for the land she loves or go west to California in search of a better life for her family.
Hannah captures the era with vivid detail, exploring the Dust Bowl’s devastating impact on American farmers and the strength of one woman’s determination to hold her family together in the face of adversity.
“The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdrich
Based on the life of Louise Erdrich’s grandfather, “The Night Watchman” is a compelling narrative that explores the struggle of Native American tribes in the 1950s to save their land from government dispossession.
The novel follows Thomas Wazhashk, a night watchman at a jewel bearing plant, who also serves as a tribal council member. Erdrich weaves a rich tapestry of characters and stories, blending history, fiction, and a deep understanding of the human spirit.
“The Dictionary of Lost Words” by Pip Williams
“The Dictionary of Lost Words” by Pip Williams is a captivating story set against the backdrop of the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The novel follows Esme, a girl who grows up in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and other lexicographers are compiling words.
Esme begins collecting discarded words—particularly those that pertain to women’s and common folks’ experiences. Williams’s novel is a tribute to the lost words and an exploration of the evolving language that shapes our lives.
“The Paris Library” by Janet Skeslien Charles
Based on the true story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris during World War II, “The Paris Library” is a testament to the power of literature, friendship, and resilience.
Janet Skeslien Charles tells the story of Odile Souchet, a young librarian, and her struggle to keep the library open and its books circulating among the Nazi-occupied city.
Interwoven with a narrative set in 1980s Montana, the novel explores the impact of history on individual lives and the enduring bonds formed through books.
“Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr
“Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr is a magnificent novel that interweaves stories across centuries around a single text—a Greek manuscript.
From the siege of Constantinople to a futuristic spaceship, Doerr connects the lives of five characters whose stories are bound by this ancient story.
With his exquisite prose and deep empathy for his characters, Doerr celebrates the power of storytelling and its ability to transcend time and bring solace in the darkest times.
“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry
A friends-to-lovers romance, “People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry is a delightful read that explores the complexities of friendship and love. Poppy and Alex are complete opposites but best friends who have taken a summer trip together every year.
After a falling out, they have one last chance to save their friendship—and perhaps turn it into something more. Henry’s witty writing and the palpable chemistry between the characters make for an irresistible romantic comedy.
“The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood
“The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood presents a fake dating scenario with a scientific twist.
When PhD candidate Olive Smith makes a fake relationship pact with the notoriously stoic Professor Adam Carlsen, she doesn’t expect the experiment to lead to real feelings.
Hazelwood combines humor, heart, and science to craft a smart and engaging romance that explores the chemistry beyond the lab.
“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston
Casey McQuiston’s “One Last Stop” is a magical, time-traveling romance that captures the heart and imagination. August moves to New York City and meets Jane on the subway, not realizing that Jane is actually from the 1970s and stuck in time.
As August tries to help Jane return to her own time, their connection deepens into love. McQuiston’s novel is a love letter to New York, queer history, and the belief in love’s power to transcend time.
“Bridgerton: The Viscount Who Loved Me” by Julia Quinn
The basis for the second season of the Netflix series, “Bridgerton: The Viscount Who Loved Me” by Julia Quinn is the enchanting story of Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sheffield.
In this Regency-era romance, Anthony intends to marry, but not for love—until he meets Kate, who challenges all his expectations.
Quinn’s witty dialogue, engaging characters, and steamy romance make this book a favorite among fans of historical romance.
“Beach Read” by Emily Henry
“Beach Read” by Emily Henry is a story about two authors swapping genres for the summer.
January Andrews, a romance writer, and Augustus Everett, a literary fiction author, are neighbors for the summer. They challenge each other to write in the other’s genre, leading to unexpected discoveries about writing and love.
Henry crafts a heartwarming and funny story about the joys and sorrows of love, the complexities of the creative process, and finding inspiration in the most unlikely places.
Self-Help & Motivational
“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
“The Four Agreements” offers timeless wisdom on personal freedom, based on ancient Toltec wisdom.
Don Miguel Ruiz presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. The four agreements are: Be impeccable with your word,
Don’t take anything personally, Don’t make assumptions, and Always do your best. Ruiz’s teachings provide a framework for eliminating limiting beliefs that may cause suffering and limitation in one’s life.
“Atomic Habits” by James Clear
James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” presents an evidence-based approach to building good habits and breaking bad ones. Clear argues that the key to changing your life is through the compound effect of small habits.
With practical strategies and real-world examples, Clear shows how tiny changes can lead to remarkable results over time, making this book invaluable for anyone looking to improve themselves systematically.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson
In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” Mark Manson delivers a counterintuitive approach to living a good life.
Manson argues that the key to being happier is to stop trying to be positive all the time and instead become better at handling adversity.
With his blunt humor and straightforward advice, Manson challenges conventional wisdom and offers an alternative path to happiness through the acceptance of limitations and the embrace of flaws.
“Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” is a compelling exploration of leadership that combines research, stories, and practical exercises. Brown argues that leadership is not about titles or power but about the courage to step up, take risks, and lead with vulnerability.
Her insights into brave leadership and courage-building offer valuable lessons for anyone in a position of influence, emphasizing the importance of empathy, connection, and authenticity.
“Think Again” by Adam Grant
In “Think Again,” Adam Grant explores the power of rethinking and unlearning in an ever-changing world. Grant encourages readers to question their opinions, open themselves to new ideas, and be willing to change their minds.
With engaging stories and rigorous research, Grant shows how the ability to rethink can lead to personal and professional success. “Think Again” is a persuasive call for intellectual humility and flexibility.
“Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
The sequel to the award-winning “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” this novel continues the story of Aristotle and Dante, two boys who have discovered the most important truths about themselves.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz explores themes of identity, family, and love with the same tender and poetic touch that captivated readers in the first book.
It’s a heartfelt exploration of the complexities of adolescence and the bonds that tie us together.
“Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley
“Firekeeper’s Daughter” is a groundbreaking YA thriller about identity, heritage, and resilience.
Angeline Boulley tells the story of Daunis Fontaine, an 18-year-old biracial, unenrolled tribal member who witnesses a shocking murder that thrusts her into the heart of an FBI investigation.
Blending Ojibwe culture, language, and spirituality, Boulley crafts a compelling narrative that explores themes of family, community, and the power of ancestry.
“The Box in the Woods” by Maureen Johnson
In “The Box in the Woods,” Maureen Johnson revisits the world of “Truly Devious,” featuring the sharp and intrepid teen detective, Stevie Bell. Tasked with solving a cold case at a summer camp, Stevie finds herself embroiled in a mystery that stretches back decades.
Johnson combines a cleverly plotted mystery with rich character development, making it a must-read for fans of the genre.
“Chain of Iron” by Cassandra Clare
“The latest in the Last Hours series, “Chain of Iron” by Cassandra Clare, continues the adventures of the Shadowhunters in Edwardian London.
With romance, mystery, and supernatural action, Clare expands the Shadowhunter universe, delving deeper into the lives and loves of her characters.
Fans of Clare’s work will enjoy the intricate plot and the blend of historical and fantastical elements.
“Gallant” by V.E. Schwab
In “Gallant,” V.E. Schwab tells a tale of ghosts, family secrets, and the thin line between the living and the dead.
The story follows Olivia Prior, who, after receiving a mysterious letter, returns to her ancestral home, only to find a world filled with shadows and secrets.
Schwab’s atmospheric writing and dark, Gothic tones make “Gallant” a mesmerizing read that explores themes of belonging, courage, and the power of one’s voice.
Graphic Novels & Comics
“The Secret to Superhuman Strength” by Alison Bechdel
“The Secret to Superhuman Strength” is a graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel that explores her lifelong obsession with fitness and self-improvement.
Through her signature blend of personal narrative and literary reference, Bechdel examines her own desires for physical and spiritual strength, weaving in philosophical and historical threads.
This introspective journey is both deeply personal and universally relevant, offering insights into the quest for resilience and the meaning of self-care.
“Maus” by Art Spiegelman
“Maus” by Art Spiegelman is a groundbreaking graphic novel that depicts the Holocaust through the lens of a son interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor.
Using animals to represent different races and nationalities, Spiegelman creates a poignant narrative that explores the trauma of the Holocaust and its impact on subsequent generations.
“Maus” is a powerful testament to survival and memory, offering a unique and unforgettable perspective on history.
“Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
“Saga” is a critically acclaimed space opera graphic novel series by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples.
It tells the story of Alana and Marko, a couple from warring extraterrestrial races, who struggle to care for their mixed-race daughter, Hazel, in a universe full of dangers.
“Saga” is celebrated for its imaginative storytelling, diverse characters, and exploration of complex themes such as love, family, and war. With Staples’ captivating artwork and Vaughan’s sharp writing, “Saga” offers a richly layered narrative that has captivated a wide audience.