Too often it can seem that literary coverage is dominated by scandal, that people don’t want to read books as much as they want to read writers who do bad things. Whether it’s the parade of former Trump administration officials signing lucrative publishing deals (and then some of those deals are canceled) or a long-awaited biography pulled from shelves after the predatory past of its author, the first half of 2021 did nothing to diminish this perception. But (and this is where they say that “real” readers are always there to read, appreciate books, magnet books, having meaningful conversations about books, etc.), which is why we’re happy to call attention to the writing itself in our mid-year favorites. As with any such list, these 10 books are as eclectic as our individual tastes. A pair of novels in translation are popping up here, as are collections of non-fiction and poetry that have flown under the radar, and a few books that don’t come out until later this month (we just couldn’t wait. ). And while a lot of this work focuses on what you might call hot topics like climate change, social media, and birding in black, all of these books are urgent for us.
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