Books of the Month: January 2021

Books of the Month: January 2021

Happy New Year! Every month, The Bookseller's expert previewers highlight a selection of the new fiction, non-fiction, children's and paperback titles coming out. Here, we share their top picks for January's new releases.

  1. 1

    Fiction Book of the Month

    Luster by Raven Leilani 
    Publisher: Picador 
    RRP: £14.99
    Publication date: January 21st 2021
    ISBN: 9781529035988

    Books editor Alice O'Keeffe selected Raven Leilani's first novel Luster as her January Book of the Month, a "standout" in a month packed with debuts, said O'Keeffe. 

    The novel follows Edie, a 23-year-old black woman of precarious means who is just about holding down a badly paid publishing job in a nearly all-white office; that means she can only afford a mouse-infested apartment in Brooklyn. She spends a lot of time not painting and too much time on unsuitable hook-ups with her awful colleagues. She begins a relationship with an older, married, white man, Eric, who lives in the New Jersey suburbs and whose wife, Rebecca, has agreed to an open marriage.

    O'Keeffe wrote: "Edie's voice is terrific; wry, sharp, honest, often caustically funny... And exactly how Edie navigates her life, her struggle to make art and her relationships with Eric-and Rebecca-makes for a dazzling debut novel."

    In November, Leilani spoke to O'Keeffe about Luster — read the full interview here.

    Subscribers can read the full January 2021 Fiction Previews here.

  2. 2

    Non-Fiction Book of the Month

    All the Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks
    Publisher: Trapeze
    RRP: £16.99
    Publication date: January 21st 2021
    ISBN: 9781409189107

    An "astonishing modern-day Good Samaritan story" was how Caroline Sanderson descirbed her Book of the Month, Ruth Coker Burks' All the Young Men. 

    in 1986, Coker Burks, a young straight, white single mum living in Hot Springs Arkansas, became the only person in her community willing to help the many young gay men afflicted and stigmatised by the growing AIDS crisis; finding them housing and jobs, delivering meals and medication, persuading drag queens to practise safe sex, and arranging burials when the upstanding Christian families of her "guys" had disowned their sons. 

    Sanderson said: "[This] story will move you to tears of sadness and outrage, but also buoy you. For Coker Burks is a do-gooder with sass. And hers is a story of ordinary but heroic human empathy that we could all do with reading right now.

    In November, Coker Burks spoke to Sanderson about All the Young Men — read the full interview here.

    Subscribers can read the full January 2021 Non-Fiction Previews here.

  3. 3

    Children's Book of the Month

    Amari and the Night Brothers by BB Alston
    Publisher: Egmont Books
    RRP: £12.99
    Publication date: January 21st 2021
    ISBN: 9781405298179

    Fiona Noble described her Book of the Month, BB Alston's Amari and the Night Brothers, as "a brilliantly realised magical world of supernatural creatures, magical gadgets, rip-roaring action and humour". 

    Amari Peters is a 13-year-old Black girl, living in the Rosewood low-income housing projects. She idolises her brother Quinton, who has mysteriously disappeared. When she finds a briefcase containing a nomination for a summer try-out at the Bureau for Supernatural Affairs, Amari is certain this will lead her to Quinton — if only she can get her head around the fact that supernatural creatures, myths and legends are all real.

    In November, Noble spoke to BB Alston about Amari and the Night Brothers— read the full interview here.

    Subscribers can read the full January 2021 Children's Previews here.

  4. 4

    Paperback Book of the Month

    Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene
    Publisher: Hodder Paperback
    RRP: £9.99
    Publication date: January 28th 2021
    ISBN: 9781473673809

    Alison Flood selected Jayson Greene's Once More We Saw Stars as her Book of the Month, a memoir about how the author's two-year-old daughter Greta was killed by a brick crumbling from a windowsill overhead, and how he lived through it. 

    Flood said: "This is one of those rare books which I started in the bath and finished a couple of hours later, water freezing cold, cheeks stained with tears, looking at the world in a different way. Greene is unbelievably generous in allowing the reader into the depths of his grief, sharing, honestly and straight-forwardly, his despair and absolute heartbreak."

    Subscribers can read the full January 2021 Paberback Previews here.