Whether you’re a library card-holding bibliophile or have made the resolution to read more books in 2019, committing to your next read can mean serious business. Spanning from literary debuts to blockbuster sequels, life-changing non-fiction to feminist dystopias, these are the books we’ll be stashing in our carry ons, flaunting on our coffee tables and passing around the office this year.

How to Be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan

We’ve all had one (read: many) of those days when you feel lost and anxious and scroll green-eyed through Instagram while crying into a bowl of cereal. Daisy Buchanan has been there too. How to be a Grown-Up dispenses emotional and practical advice for 20-somethings, covering everything from becoming more confident at work to not needing validation from others and being more than comfortable in your own company.

Crudo by Olivia Laing

If you’ve not yet discovered Laing’s writing, you should. Her latest novel, Crudo, follows commitment-phobic writer Kathy as she prepares to get married in the summer of 2017 while the world around her (literally) falls apart. It’s a brilliant, funny and raw account of love in the apocalypse.

The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison (12 February)

Revel in this luminous collection of essays, speeches and meditations on society, culture and art from celebrated writer Toni Morrison. It’s four decades worth of work and thought packed into one book. In it, she tackles issues such female empowerment, money, the press, Afro-American literature and the power of language.

Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells (19 February)

“What does it mean to be entertained by an apocalypse when we stare down the possibility of a real one?” This must-read book on climate change, famine and economic collapse is inspired by Wallace-Wells’ article of the same name that amassed seven-million views overnight and has become New York Magazine’s most-read article ever. If you thought rising sea levels were the worst thing about global warming, think again.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (28 February)

In this stunning follow-up to A Brief History of Seven Killings comes James’ Dark Star Trilogy. Dubbed the “African Game of Thrones”, this first instalment draws on a rich tradition of African mythology, fantasy and history to weave the tale of an ancient world, a lost child, an extraordinary mercenary and mystery set against a backdrop of magic and violence.

Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution by Amber Tamblyn (5 March)

Filmmaker and founder of Time’s Up, Amber Tamblyn explored the effects of sexual assault in her first novel Any Man. In her second, she gets personal, digging in to the powers of feminism, activism and the magic of hitting rock bottom.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (7 March)

Making music is never just about making music. This heady oral history of the excesses of 70s rock ‘n’ roll is one you’ll be forcing your friends/ colleagues/ neighbours/ people sat next to you on the tube to read. It’s so good, it’s already being made into a 13-episode binge-worthy series by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine. Just make sure you read it first.

Naturally Tan by Tan France (15 March)

Don’t pretend you didn’t swoon for Tan while watching Queer Eye. In this poignant yet witty memoir, our favourite fashion guru uncovers the realities of growing up gay in a traditional South Asian family, as one of the few people of colour in South Yorkshire. This coming-of-age tale of acceptance traces Tan’s journey as he finds his voice, his style and the love of his life – a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City.

The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey (26 March)

If there’s anyone that is going to make us want to get ourselves together, it’s Oprah. According to the Queen – sorry, Winfrey – everyone has a purpose. “Your real job in life,” she writes, “is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be and begin to honour your calling in the best way possible.” Intense. *Buys 76 copies*.

Spring by Ali Smith (28 March)

What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Brexit and Beethoven? Spring. If you read Smith’s Autumn and Winter (or even if you didn’t) the third instalment of her Seasonal Quartet, is equal parts consoling and inspiring. Riffing on Shakespeare’s Pericles, it seeks to open the door when around us is a world of walls.

Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young (4 April)

It’s best to think of this dystopian novel as the love child of Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale. Set in the not-too-distant future, the beautiful, well-rounded pupils at an all-girls school soon discover their controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. Expect high-octane drama. Some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

Underland by Robert MacFarlane (2 May)

This is the latest chapter in MacFarlane’s exploration of landscape and the human heart. Taking in underground networks through which trees communicate, the rock art of Arctic sea caves and Bronze Age burial chambers, the prolific nature writer takes us on a voyage into the worlds – past and present – beneath our feet.

Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston (13 June)

Part love story, part murder mystery and part scintillating description of a wasted life, Diary of a Somebody is perhaps the most original novel you’ll read this year. Brought to you by the enigmatic man dubbed “the poet laureate of Twitter”, the book is peppered with Bilston’s characteristically wry poems.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (16 July)

“Even in death the boys were trouble.” So begins the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s novel. Based on the true story of a Florida reform school, The Nickel Boys dramatises the lives of two black boys in 1960s America as they are sentenced to the Nickel Academy, a place of sadism, brutality and corruption.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (10 September)

“Dear Readers: Everything you ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” Since The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985, Atwood’s vision has become a rallying call at women’s marches – not to mention a blockbuster TV series. Set 15 years later, the sequel lets us in on Gilead’s future and just what happened to Offred. Praise be!

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