AU’s Most Anticipated Books in 2021: October – December
2021 enters the home stretch, the last quarter, and with that, more books – all vying for the Christmas market. There are 81 days left, if you’re curious.
We are therefore back for our last part of our AU’s most anticipated reads feature for this year. Although we’re back just before Christmas to give you a rundown of our favorite books for 2021.
There are so many books published every week and every month it can be quite difficult to choose what to read next. This is a very small preview of the literary highlights to come in the next few months. These are the books we are most passionate about, the ones we think deserve your attention.
From Norwegian heights to the underworld of Greek myth, from the history of popular music to graphic novels, there is much to be excited about. Here are some of our most anticipated books of 2021 – Happy reading! :
Because Venus met an alpine violet the day I was born – Mona Høvring
BookHug Press | Publication date: October 5 | Pre-order HERE
Simon: I’ve been counting to this release day for a little while now. Full disclosure, I had the pleasure of working with the author – the wonderful Mona Høvring – and the two translators of the book Kari dickson and Rachel Rankin at a literary translation summer school last year. After hearing rumors about this project, I have kept my eyes on the lists ever since.
Winner of the Norwegian Critics’ Prize for Literature and shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers Prize, Because Venus met an alpine violet the day I was born tells the story of two sisters, once close but now separated, as they attempt to reconnect. Høvring is as much a poet as a fictional writer, with six books of poetry to his credit, and in my experience this poetic style is reflected beautifully in his fiction. Expect thoughtful, vibrant and evocative prose. As fans of the three women involved, I can’t wait for my copy to arrive and to immerse myself once again in Høvring’s writing.
Stars in their eyes – Jessica Walton and Aïka
Fremantle Press | Publication date: October 6 | Pre-order HERE
Jess: Let’s face it, you can’t see the names Jessica walton and Akka and not be excited. Both have an energy that is always transforming on the page and they are so cool! So of course as soon as I heard about it Stars in their eyes I immediately hooked. It’s a graphic novel by YA about a disabled gay teenager with chronic pain and anxiety on a day out in Fancon.
Maisie travels to Fancon to meet her hero, Kara Bufano, an amputee actor who plays an amputee character on her favorite show. There, she meets the volunteer Ollie with whom it turns out she has a lot in common. But it’s not a teenage story if there isn’t an embarrassing mom lurking around the corner, waiting for the chance to inadvertently spoil everything!
Give me all the nerdiness, all the love, and all the cute visuals.
The silence – Sara Foster
HarperCollins | Publication date: October 27 | Pre-order HERE
Emilie: Sara fosterthe most recent novel by ‘is already making the buzz with its Handmaid’s Tale-premise esque. While Foster is known for his clever domestic thrillers and clever mysteries, this latest novel has more of a dystopian premise, centered around a pandemic affecting fertility and childbirth.
Novels that combine the politicization of female bodies with action-packed futuristic sets have seen a kind of renaissance in recent years, and rather than becoming a tired concept, the genre is becoming more and more exciting as writers explore the complex philosophy underlying the issues represented.
For my part, I’m here for it, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it The Hush.
How decent people behave – Maxine Beneba Clarke
Hachette Australia | Publication date: October 27 | Pre-order HERE
Simon: After a foray into the world of children’s books Maxine Beneba Clarke is back with a new collection of poetry, How decent people behave. Unsurprisingly, the collection is inspired by the recent past, frankly how not to be. The book’s blurb hints at events overseas and in Australia, and emphasizes the interconnectedness of everything from Black Lives Matter to bushfires and climate change. A certain virus could even appear.
But it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a pessimistic collection, but rather a reflective collection, with Maxine Beneba Clarke describing poetry as “a hopeful and joyful space” and a “quiet contemplative space for people to reflect on. world that is, and the world that they hope to exist. “I just see a new book by Maxine Beneba Clarke, I buy it. And any new book is a good excuse to remind all of you that Maxine Beneba Clarke is one of the best accounts to follow Twitter (and a godsend for parents of school-aged children).
The end of Aurora – Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Allen & Unwin | Publication date: November 2 | Pre-order HERE
Jess: I have this book on pre-order since the announcement in March. Featuring everyone’s favorite smart tech on the cover (we love you Fin!), This is the third and final book in the Aurora Cycle trilogy, The end of Aurora.
Picking up after the killer cliffhanger that was the end of book two, the latest installment looks set to give our heroes one last chance to save the day. How will this group of losers, disciplined and misfits overcome their issues with each other, unite with their enemies, and save the galaxy from an ancient evil?
I cleared my calendar on release day and will be lining up at the bookstore for the opening that morning to find out!
Lore Olympus: Volume 1 – Rachel Smythe
Delray / Random House | Publication date: November 2 | Pre-order HERE
Jess: I’ve been reading this story as a comic on WebToons for almost two years and I’m absolutely captivated. The artwork is stunning and the author has done an impressive job using the classic tales of the Greek gods, especially the tale of Persephone and Hades, to examine modern themes of the majority, sexual assault, abuse mental and political.
Persephone, the goddess of spring, finally convinced her mother Demeter to let her leave the home of the mortal realm and move to Olympus to study. The trap ? She must join the goddesses of the Eternal Virgin and remain a virgin for the rest of her life. But, when her roommate and eternal companion, Artemis, desperate to help Persephone gain some independence, takes her to a party, she meets the misunderstood god of the Underworld, Hades, and her entire life changes. But Olympus is a hive of scandals, politics and power games and Persephone is about to be cast in the center of it all.
I’m so excited to get my hands on a hard copy. Come for the beautiful artwork and charming love story, stay for the clever Easter eggs, strong characters, and insightful handling of modern issues.
Killernova -Omar Moussa
Penguin | Publication date: November 30 | Pre-order HERE
Simon: Not content with being an acclaimed author, poet, hip hop artist and playwright, Omar Moussa has now added the artist to their CV. And, in the end, he’s pretty good at it, too. Over the past two years, as Musa has “grappled” with his legacy, he has also tackled the ancient art of cutting wood.
His next book, Killernova, sees him sprinkle his art with his boastful and fiery poetry. Exploring themes of colonialism, environmental devastation, family, isolation and more, the collection promises to be a striking blend of words and art. The new Omar Musa is always a reason to be excited, and just in time for Christmas. Perfect!
The prince monk – Golda Mowe
Penguin | Publication date: November 30 | Pre-order HERE
Jess: I recently tried reading more fantasy and sci-fi from a non-European centric perspective and this new version of Golda Mowe sounds good in my alley.
King Waluyo discovers that his crown prince is not his biological son and suspects the boy’s mother of having poisoned his other children. Twenty years after the disappearance of one of his sons, he finally reunites with Parantapa and now he must protect his only living child and his people by teaching his son how to be a king. But Parantapa was raised as a monk with nonviolent beliefs at odds with Waluyo’s political strategies. Can Waluyo convince him to abandon his Buddhist ways or will his kingdom fall into the hands of his brother-in-law, King Jayagapor?
Major labels: a history of popular music in seven genres – Kelefa Sanneh
Canongate | Publication date: November 30 | Pre-order HERE
Simon: If you know me, you know I can’t miss a book that explores the history of popular music. It really is a professional risk, thanks to my PhD and writing for AU. So when a new one arrives, I take note of it. Main labels seems to be hitting all the right notes too.
To start, Kelefa Sanneh clearly knows what he is talking about: he is an elder New York Times music critic and editor for the New Yorker. There’s also the promise of debunking myths, reassessing heroes, and exploring how popular music unites and divides us. After all, it’s not just music; popular culture and music are lenses through which we can see and understand the world in which we live. Yes, it’s the story of groups and artists, but it’s also a way to explore greater strengths and tell bigger stories. I’m excited to stay stuck and explore new perspectives for these more important stories.
Thanks to Emily Paull and Jess Gately for their contributions to this article.
You can read our picks for our most anticipated books published January through March. HERE; april to june HERE; and from July to September HERE.
Header Image: Mona Høvring by BookHug