A new year means it’s time to load up on fresh new books to read. Here are five recs to get on your reading list, and if you like to pick up books in person, check out our fave independent bookshops right here.

The Midnight Library | Matt Haig

If there was one book we’d urge you to read, it has to be this one. Classified as ‘life-changing’, this fantasy novel follows the story of Nora, who unexpectedly finds her way in-between life and death, and is permitted to choose an alternative life from an infinite number of books within the library. Really it makes you question; if you could choose a brand new life altogether, would you? 

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me | Bess Kalb

You’ll be laughing through your tears whilst tucking into Nobody Will Tell You This But Me. Narrated by TV writer Bess Kalb, she channels the voice of her late Brooklyn-born grandma Bobby in this memoir that shares old voicemails, bits of advice and phone calls they once shared, all as if Bobby was sharing them herself. It’s probably unlike anything you’ve read before (it the best kind of way) and one that you’ll keep by your bedside for a longtime.

To Paradise | Hanya Yanagihara

Anyone who sobbed their way through A Little Life before recommending to every single person they know will be very excited at the prospect of a new book from Hanya Yanagihara. It’s another epic novel – we wouldn’t expect anything less tbh – that runs with three very different timelines; an alternative version of New York in the 1800s where people are free to live and love as they please, New York in the early 90s in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, and the world in 2093 beset by plagues and totalitarian rule.

Animal | Lisa Taddeo

Three Women, an investigation into the sexual and emotional lives of three women written over the space of ten years, was her breakout hit and now Lisa Taddeo is back with her first novel Animal. Narrated by antihero Joan, who flees New York for California after seeing a man commit an act of violence in front of her, she reflects on her life and her past, which has been dominated by the male gaze, unravelling a horrific childhood event and unleashing a whole load of rage in the process. 

Open Water | Caleb Azumah Nelson

Open Water is the debut novel from Caleb Azumah Nelson and what a debut it is, weaving themes of race, masculinity and creativity around a powerful love story. The plot revolves around two Black Brits, who both won scholarships to private school and who both work in the arts – one is a dancer and the other is a photographer – who fall in love only for it to be torn apart.