From campy horror to heritage cookbooks to a birdwatching guide by a beloved fiction writer, here’s what we’re most looking forward to reading next year.
But we’re even more excited for what 2024 has in store for literature, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate TBR list – with something for every different kind of reader.
From thrillers that send a chill down your spine to nonfiction that delves into the curiosities of the mind, here are the 12 new books we can’t wait to get our hands on in 2024.
‘The Fury,’ by Alex Michaelides
Release date: 16 January
A glamorous tale of fame and frenemies filled with twists and turns that’s recounted by the ultimate unreliable narrator, ‘The Fury’ is billed as a “masterfully paced thriller” from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ‘The Silent Patient’.
Every year for Easter, the reclusive ex-movie star Lena Farrar invites her closest friends to her private island in Greece. But this year’s trip is cut short when one of them is murdered.
The mystery of who did it and why is slowly unravelled over the course of the novel, through the dramatic telling of narrator Elliot Chase, one of Lena’s guests.
If you like a good thriller, or if you enjoyed the film Glass Onion, this page-turner is for you.
‘My Heavenly Favorite,’ by Lucas Rijneveld
Release date: 5 March
The latest novel from one of Europe’s most exciting young voices, ‘My Heavenly Favorite’ isn’t the most comfortable read on this list. Its subject matter is dark, but if you’re ready to be destroyed, it promises to be the most beautiful wrecking ball.
Told from the perspective of a Dutch veterinarian who’s been punished for sexually preying on a young farmer’s daughter, it’s a modern spin on Lolita with a touch of American Gothic.
The farmer’s daughter, the narrator’s titular “favourite,” is on the verge of adolescence and longs to have a boy’s body. She sees the older veterinarian as a way out of her pastoral prison, and we’re given an intimate look into her world – filled with pop songs, horror novels and imaginary chats with Freud and Hitler.
The follow-up to Rijneveld’s International Booker Prize-winning debut ‘The Discomfort of Evening’ is already making waves in literary circles. It’s definitely one to look out for next year.
‘The Morningside,’ by Téa Obrecht
Release date: 19 March
Belgrade-born US writer Téa Obreht’s new novel is a fantastical yet familiar tale of a young girl’s search for identity and meaning in a land that appears devoid of it.
After being forced from their ancestral home in a not-so-distant future, Sylvia and her mother relocate to the Morningside, a crumbling luxury high-rise in the flooded Island City.
Sylvia’s mother has kept her in the dark about her birthplace, and Sylvia finds solace in her aunt Ena’s stories of her demolished homeland – folktales of natural beauty and communal spirit that bring light to her dim existence at the Morningside.
With renewed purpose, she embarks on a quest to unearth the secrets of her mysterious older neighbour who lives on the top floor of the building – a quest that puts her in danger of losing everything.
Obrecht is a masterful storyteller and ‘The Morningside’ is more than relevant in today’s world.
‘Bear,’ by Julia Phillips
Release date: 25 June
US author Julia Phillips follows up her stunning debut novel ‘Disappearing Earth’ with a second tale of two sisters, trading the barren lands of Russia’s Kamchatka for a remote island in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
‘Bear’ examines the lives of sisters Elena and Sam, who are struggling to make a living on the island off the coast of Washington state, where they were born and raised. Their plan to leave the island and start a new life is threatened when a wild bear begins to make an appearance in their daily lives.
The sisters are at odds about the meaning of the bear’s presence in their lives – Sam sees it as a clear sign that it’s time to leave, while Elena falls under its charm, throwing doubt upon their long-held dream of a life beyond their limited environment.
If it’s anything like Phillips’ poignant debut, this is a novel that will stay with you for a long time.
‘I Was a Teenage Slasher,’ by Stephen Graham Jones
Release date: 16 July
It’s 1989 in a small town in Texas where oil is king and everyone knows everyone. This is where we meet Tolly Driver, a precocious high schooler who is going to tell us the story of how he became a teenage murderer.
“I was a teenage slasher, yeah, okay. I said it,” he narrates in an excerpt published by Bloody Disgusting!
“And it wasn’t because my career placement test told me what I was, and it wasn’t because I’d been harboring secret resentments since sixth grade, about some traumatic prank.
It was because I had, and still live with, a peanut allergy.”
Fans of dark humour and 80s slasher films will love how this fun novel from bestselling Blackfoot Native American author Stephen Graham Jones flips the script and asks, “But wait, what about the killer?”
‘The Silence of the Choir,’ by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr
Release date: 14 May
From the winner of the 2021 Prix Goncourt comes a new tale of immigration and community told through a chorus of characters in Sicily.
Translated from the French, ‘The Silence of the Choir’ takes a look at what happens when a group of 72 asylum seekers arrive in a small Sicilian town. The group of men, who locals call the “ragazzi,” meet a rich tapestry of people in the village and we discover how each person reacts differently to their presence.
Through each character, we understand more about what it means to encounter someone unknown in a situation that is both opaque and out of their control. The symphony grows steadily until one final voice brings silence to the choir.
Called “the most promising Senegalese writer of his generation” by Le Monde, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr paints a deeply empathetic picture of immigration in Europe and what happens when two cultures involuntarily collide.
‘Swimming in Paris: A Life in Three Stories,’ by Colombe Schneck
Release date: 14 May
In this three-part semi-autobiographical novel, award-winning French author Colombe Schneck depicts a woman’s personal journey through abortion, sex, friendship, love and swimming… in Paris, of course.
It’s a coming of age triptych that’s intimate, honest and profoundly human, inviting the reader to flow with the character as she makes her way through a decades-long evolution of sexuality, bodily autonomy and loss.
Through its three parts – ‘Seventeen,’ ‘Friendship’ and ‘Swimming’ – the novel offers a privileged look at Paris’ bourgeoisie while remaining familiar to all women around the world.
‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ showrunner Aline McKenna called it “a must read for anyone with curiosity and compassion.”
‘The Science of Weird Shit: Why Our Minds Conjure the Paranormal,’ by Chris French
Release date: 19 March
British psychologist Chris French has decades of experience in the paranormal. He’s often the guy that gets called to debunk paranormal claims on TV.
This book is a one-on-one conversation with French, gives authoritative evidence-based explanations behind things like ghostly encounters, out-of-body experiences and UFO sightings and convincingly debunks alien abduction claims, ESP, and other seemingly mysterious phenomena.
If you desperately want to believe (Team Mulder 4ever), don’t stress – French isn’t here to snatch that tin hat off your head. Throughout the book, he reiterates that our belief in paranormal phenomena is neither ridiculous nor trivial, and it can even tell us a lot about the human mind if we pay attention closely.
So if you want to get deeper into the science behind the paranormal (while staying weird), try picking this up next year.
‘The Backyard Bird Chronicles,’ by Amy Tan
Release date: 23 April
Is 2024 the year we all become birdwatchers? It might be, if beloved American writer Amy Tan has her way.
The author of ‘The Joy Luck Club’ began watching birds in her backyard in 2016 as a salve for her growing anxiety over the deep divisions and vitriol in the United States. But she didn’t expect the exercise to become such an important part of her life.
What began as an attempt to find solace turned into an opportunity to connect to nature in a meaningful way, imagine the intimate lives of the birds she admired and fully drink in the beauty of quiet moments in a world that felt oppressively loud.
‘The Backyard Bird Chronicles’ is Tan’s understated observation of the passage of time – filled with daily entries and beautiful original sketches. And it just might turn you into a birder next year.
‘The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen,’ by Yevhen Klopotenko
Release date: 14 May
Yevhen Klopotenko is Ukraine’s most famous chef – the Kyiv restaurateur and winner of Ukraine’s MasterChef has made it his mission to promote Ukrainian food around the world, even successfully campaigning UNESCO to recognise borscht as Ukraine’s cultural heritage.
As the war with Russia hurtles towards its third year, with support from western allies waning, spreading Ukrainian cuisine and culture to the world has become more important than ever – and Klopotenko is once again rising to the challenge.
In ‘The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen,’ he shares authentic Ukrainian food – the way it is really cooked today – with modern recipes for familiar and forgotten dishes.
Pick up his cookbook to learn more about regional Ukrainian cooking traditions – from fermentation and pickling to dumplings and braises through to desserts like Lviv-style cheesecake.
More than just a collection of recipes, it’s a testament to the resilience of Ukrainian culture amid the ongoing attack on the nation’s identity.
‘Rise of a Killah: My Life in the Wu Tang,’ by Ghostface Killah
Release date: 14 May
Want a peek into the mind of a hip hop legend? Celebrated rapper and founding member of Wu-Tang Clan Ghostface Killah is an open book in this autobiography.
He shares the good, the bad and the legendary – from his first hand-scribbled rhymes to his battles with his personal demons to his commitment to his family. And if you’re a Wu-Tang fan, you’ll get a detailed first-hand account of the Clan’s early successes all the way through to the peak of Ghost’s career and his development as a solo artist and fashion icon.
The unique format of this book – featuring exclusive photos, memorabilia and graphic art – gives it a three-dimensional feel, making it perfect to pore over or leave out on your coffee table for your friends to flip through.
‘A Programme of Absolute Disorder: Decolonising the Museum’, by Françoise Vergès
Release date: June 2024
While an overwhelming majority of the world’s museums are located in western Europe and North America, many of the artefacts they house were looted from the Global South. The countries those artefacts came from are increasingly demanding them back.
The issue is widely discussed, but few people have managed to propose concrete solutions for actually ‘decolonising’ museums.
In ‘A Programme of Absolute Disorder,’ Franco-Reunionnaise activist, independent curator, and public educator Françoise Vergès boldly questions the foundations of the universal museum.
Her proposal is radical – implement a ‘programme of absolute disorder’ by inventing new ways to interact with the world that will redistribute the playing cards and nourish collective creativity.
Vergès’ book is a thought-provoking demonstration that should fascinate anyone interested in social justice, post-colonialism and the arts.
The original French version of the book is already available, but the English translation will be released next year.