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What books are on our shelves in 2021?

by The Concordian January 25, 2021
What books are on our shelves in 2021?

A glimpse at what The Concordian staff plans to read this year


Lorenza Mezzapelle, Arts Editor

Most of the books I plan on reading this year aren’t even new releases, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Danielle Ofri’s What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine is high up on my list, along with Stephen Brusatte’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World. I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction and I’m hoping these two will satisfy my curiosity and craving for a good, informative, niche read.

After reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, I look forward to getting my hands on A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines for more of his crude, yet eloquent, accounts of his gastronomic adventures. Reading Kitchen Confidential was like watching a really long episode of No Reservations; I often found myself chuckling at his (mostly) inappropriate jokes, all while being entirely enthralled by what he was saying.

I also recently bought How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan, as well as The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson, both of which I’m super eager to read.


Chloë Lalonde, Creative Director

In all honesty, I’ve been on a reading-for-leisure hiatus for years. University and work has left me wanting to indulge in the immediacy of audio-visual media, rather than the whimsical written world. But recently, and by recent I mean summer/fall 2020, I finished Eva Holland’s Nerve and Marie-Hélène Larochelle’s Daniil & Vanya, for reviewing purposes. It was a great reintroduction to reading for fun, and I hope 2021 can be the year I relearn to love reading. My mom gave me her second copy of the Bridgerton Prequel, First Comes Scandal, and because of TikTok, I will be seeking House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I cannot guarantee I will actually read these, but I really, really hope I do.   


Michelle Lam, Social Media Manager

I’ve also been on a reading-for-leisure hiatus for longer than I care to admit, but I’ve started getting back into it during the winter break! I read 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by Brianna Wiest over the break, and recommend it to everyone. I am currently reading The Defining Decade by Meg Jay and am pretty upset that my twenties are being spent during a pandemic.

Up next on my reading list is Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb and The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. Maybe I’ll finally finish Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, but don’t hold me to it.

I’m open to book recommendations if you have any!


Aviva Majerczyk, Commentary Editor

Since quarantine and my use of social media more broadly have zapped the attention-holding part of my brain, I find I often gravitate to books of essays over full-fledged novels. With that, as a female writer in her twenties, it seemed only right to start getting into Joan Didion, so I am currently reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Also on my bookshelf needing to be finished is the series of essays, Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby. Irby writes in a way that is hilariously self deprecating but not pitiful, I’d definitely recommend it.

Another book I plan on purchasing is Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life by Katherine E. Standefer. I had the privilege of seeing Standefer read an essay of hers at a conference I worked at in 2018, and her prose moved me to tears. I’m incredibly excited to read this memoir (and probably cry again).

Last on my list is Culture Warlords by Talia Lavin. The alt-right pipeline and online radicalization are major interests of mine and Lavin has been sounding the alarm on these issues for years now. So, I’m eager to read her take on the situation.


Katerina Barberio, Revenue Manager

I do not own a bookshelf nor do I ever plan on having one — who even has space for one anyway? Asking a person who does not own a bookshelf which books are on her 2021 book list is quite the tall task. So, I’ll admit: I asked my peers, friends, family and co-workers what they intend to read this year.

Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty, suggested by Amelia Barberio

Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey, suggested by myself

Institute, Stephen King, suggested by Anthony Lepore

Atomic Habits, James Clear, suggested by Sabrina Badin

What I Know For Sure, Oprah Winfrey, suggested by Joanne Erimos

The Investment Zoo, Stephen A. Jarislowsky, suggested by Giovanni Barberio

Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle, suggested by Vicki De Paoli

The Answer is…, Alex Trebek, suggested by Andrew Trombino

Becoming, Michelle Obama, suggested by Louise Starnino

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, suggested by Jessica Trombino

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Holly Jackson, suggested by Alyssa Barberio

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry, suggested by Caroline Chagnon

Home Body, Rupi Kaur, suggested by Julia Rinaldi

Elon Musk, Ashlee Vance, suggested by Frank Trombino

Bonus: Marc Richardson writes for Grailed, an online marketplace where you can buy and sell menswear. His style of writing takes some time to get accustomed to, however, once you do, you wish everyone wrote like him. I definitely intend to read most of his articles in 2021.

I admittedly already read Greenlights from McConaughey which was graciously given to me by my boyfriend. It’s a biography and a story at the same time. This quote summarizes the book: “We cannot fully appreciate the light without the shadows. We have to be thrown off balance to find our footing. It’s better to jump than fall. And here I am.” I mean… alright, alright, alright.


Lillian Roy, Editor-in-Chief 

After one two many nights scrolling endlessly through Tik Tok until 4 a.m., I figured it was finally time to ban phone use before bed. Instead, I took to reading before I go to sleep, a habit that I lost somewhere during my teenage years. So far, I’ve read Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, a beautiful book that made me full-on weep, and Brit Bennet’s The Vanishing Half, another great book that I cannot recommend enough. Currently, I’m reading Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, which I haven’t been enjoying as much, but the cheesy enemies-to-friends-to-lovers plot is keeping me going.

I just ordered a bunch of new reading material, so I should be set for awhile. Here it is, with some brief descriptions:

Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See: two children navigate the terrors of WWII

Madeline Miller’s Circe: an adaption of the story of Circe, an enchantress from Greek mythology

Adam Silvera’s They Both Die At The End: two characters find out they’re going to die by the end of the day and decide to go on one last adventure

Kate Elizabeth Russel’s My Dark Vanessa: a woman grapples with the inappropriate relationship she had with a teacher when she was a teenager

Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward: the sole survivor of a plane crash tries to reconnect with himself after losing everything

If you can’t tell, I like to read books that make me cry. Here goes nothing!


Graphic by Lily Cowper.

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