Ahead of the traditionally published summer playlists around this time (the official start of the season arrives on June 20 in conjunction with Father’s Day), Amazon launched its own book list: the best books of the year until now. Amazon Books publishers picked each of the books from the list – 20 flagship titles released in the first half of the year that its publishers “couldn’t help but think, rave about or recommend,” genres ranging from mystery to biography.
“Publishers collectively read thousands of books each year, discuss them passionately and create editorial recommendation lists each month,” said Sarah Gelman, Editorial Director, Amazon Books. “Halfway through the year, we comb through the titles that made the cut and pick the best of the best. While many of these books end up being bestsellers and customer favorites, we’re especially excited to highlight literary gems that customers might not have heard of otherwise.
There were no general guidelines that publishers considered before choosing books, except that each one had to be published between January and June – “the only criterion is to choose books that we liked and which according to us, will resonate with other readers, ”Gelman said. .
The 20 best books of 2021 so far, according to Amazon Books editors
The following are some of the favorite reads for Amazon Books editors so far this year. For the full list of books recommended by publishers, you can find them all here.
Top 10 best books
Out of the top 20 books featured, here are the top 10, which we’ve listed along with their average Goodreads ratings and why Amazon Books publishers said they love each one.
1. “Great Circle” by Maggie Shipstead
- Editor: Knopf
- Good reading: An average rating of 4.18 stars out of over 1,800 ratings
Amazon Books Publisher Al Woodworth: At a young age, Marian Graves becomes obsessed with flying, and she will do whatever it takes to climb into the skies and circumnavigate the world. Fast forward 100 years, and Hadley Baxter remakes herself in Hollywood as Marian Graves in a Hollywood bio-epic. From Montana to Los Angeles, from London to New Zealand, “Great Circle” follows these two women who aspire to adventure and freedom, and who love to fly, it’s the thrill of the century.
2. “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Editor: Knopf
- Good reading: An average rating of 3.9 stars out of over 47,200 ratings
Chris Schluep, Editor-in-Chief of Amazon Books: When receiving the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature, the committee noted how Ishiguro “discovered the abyss under our illusory sense of connection with the world.” In this beautiful novel, Ishiguro presents an “artificial friend”, a robot girl with artificial intelligence designed as a playmate for real children. It’s a heartbreaking yet heartbreaking story about the abyss that we may never cross.
3. “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race” by Walter Isaacson
- Editor: Simon & Schuster
- Good reading: An average rating of 4.37 stars out of over 6,550 ratings
Schleup: Isaacson is famous for writing “Steve Jobs” and “Leonardo da Vinci”, so a title like “The Code Breaker” might imply a book about an inferior character. But 2020 Nobel laureate in chemistry, biochemist Jennifer Doudna, who co-developed CRISPR gene-editing technology, is a giant in her own right. CRISPR could open up some of the greatest opportunities and most troubling dilemmas of this century – and that book is here.
4. “We start at the end” by Chris Whitaker
- Editor: Henry Holt and company
- Good reading: An average rating of 4.21 stars out of over 21,300 ratings
Vanessa Cronin, Editor-in-Chief of Amazon Books: “We Begin at the End” is a story of regret and revenge, wrapped around a mystery, buried in a cursed love story. Duchess Radley, a thirteen-year-old ‘outlaw’ – fierce but vulnerable – tries to protect her struggling mother, but instead sets off a fateful chain of events in this beautiful and heartbreaking novel.
5. “What’s mine and yours” by Naima Coster
- Editor: Grand Central Publishing
- Good reading: An average rating of 3.7 stars out of nearly 8,000 ratings
Woolworth: For fans of Celeste Ng, Ann Patchett and Jacqueline Woodson, “What’s Mine and Yours” beautifully unravel the pain, happiness and hope that one generation bestows on the next. An unforgettable portrait of how parents and children, white and black, deal with love and loss, racism and loyalties.
6. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
- Editor: Saint-Martin press
- Good reading: An average rating of 4.36 stars out of over 169,700 ratings
Erin Kodicek, Editor-in-Chief of Amazon Books: Set during the Great Depression and starring an unlikely heroine who will lodge in your heart, “The Four Winds” is a reminder, when we need it so urgently, of the resilience of not only the human spirit, but also from this country. . Kristin Hannah’s latest reads like a classic.
7. “Punch Me Up to the Gods” by Brian Broome
- Editor: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Good reading: An average rating of 4.4 stars out of over 330 ratings
Woolworth: Hard-hitting, unwavering, and written with the unhindered enthusiasm of a moving fist, “Punch Me Up to the Gods” is a searing memoir of racism, homophobia and addiction from a hugely talented writer. With humor, grace, and honesty, Broome investigates his own identity and experience as a gay black man in America.
8. “The Gold Diggers” by Sanjena Sathian
- Editor: Penguin Press
- Good reading: An average rating of 3.7 stars out of nearly 1,700 ratings
Gelman: This debut novel is part an examination of the immigrant experience, part an exploration of the dark underbelly of the suburbs, all with a touch of magical realism. Two second-generation American Indians discover that drinking literal gold lemonade is the secret to success, and their lives are forever merged and changed. If this funny, realistic, and heartbreaking story is any indication, Sathian is an author to watch.
9. “The plot” by Jean Hanff Korelitz
- Editor: Celadon Books
- Good reading: An average rating of 3.94 stars out of over 5,300 ratings
Seira Wilson, Editor-in-Chief of Amazon Books: “The Plot” is a compelling story within a story that is a Rubik’s Cube of twists and turns. Jake Finch Bonner, a once promising young author, flounders in the dark when a single plot falls to his knees. The resulting book propels Jake to stardom – only the plot wasn’t his. Korelitz’s thriller leaves readers guessing until its shocking ending.
10. “Chatter: the voice in our head, why it is important and how to use it” by Ethan Kross
- Editor: Crown Editions
- Good reading: An average rating of 4.03 stars out of nearly 3,000 ratings
Schlüp: It turns out that some of the most important conversations we have are with ourselves. Ethan Kross examines the voice that speaks in our head, explains why it’s there, and reveals how we can learn to trust it rather than being broken by it. “Chatter” is a masterful and revealing interpretation of human nature.
The rest of the top 20 books
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