The Lists

Full May 2021 List of the 19 Most Irresistible New Book Releases

new book releases, including novels and non-fiction, coming out this May 2021

New month, new books! Book Light is our Dandelion Chandelier curated list of the most-anticipated new book releases every month, and next up is May 2021. If you ask us, the perfect May read inspires us to make a fresh start. So what are the best new books to read coming out in May 2021? Our intrepid team has been exploring and here’s what we found: 19 exciting and powerful new book releases, including novels and non-fiction, coming out this May 2021 that are at the top of the list for what to read next.

what are the most-anticipated new book releases for May 2021?

Wondering what to read in May 2021 among all the new novels and new non-fiction books?

It’s the , and there are memoirs and biographies of luminaries in music. There’s also a bounty of new novels from favorite authors and some highly-anticipated debuts. And it’s

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new novels and poetry May 2021

The month sees new novels and short story collections from Joan Silber, Rachel Cusk, and Taylor Jenkins Reid.

new book releases, including novels and non-fiction, coming out this May 2021

What to read in May 2021: the top new book releases, including novels and non-fiction of the month.

new non-fiction books May 2021

There are new memoirs from Billie Eilish and Julianna Margulies. And Sebastian Junger of The Perfect Storm fame returns with a new non-fiction book about freedom.

19 of the best new books coming in May 2021

Here’s our pick of what to read in May 2021: the top new book releases – novels, essay collections, and non-fiction. You can pre-order them now if you like.

New book releases the week of May 4, 2021

Here are the top new novels and non-fiction book releases of the first full week of May 2021.

1. Secrets of Happiness by Joan Silber.

 

The author of one of our favorite novels, Improvement, returns this month with a new story of intersecting lives. Secrets of Happiness is the story of two families exploding after a years-long infidelity comes to light. Its told in intersecting, polyphonic voices – like a tapestry of those affected.

BUY NOW: $22.99.

2. Second Place by Rachel Cusk.

 

The wildly talented author of The Outline Trilogy of novels returns with a new work of fiction. A “fable of human destiny and decline,” Second Place explores themes of art, gender, relationships and morality in Cusk’s signature understated style. In it, a dispirited woman persuades a famous male artist to visit her coastal home, seeking to understand herself through the prism of his gaze.

BUY NOW: $22.49.

3. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead.

 

In Great Circle, the latest from the author of Seating Arrangements, two women separated by time face down the challenge of being a woman seeking agency and impact in a field dominated by men. Marian Graves is a globe-trotting pilot whose story comes to a dramatic end when she disappears in Antarctica. Decades later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a biopic. Her mission? To undermine and ultimately transcend sexism in Hollywood.

BUY NOW: $22.09.

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4. The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel.

 

In The Secret to Superhuman Strength, the wry comic author of Fun Home turns her attention to exercise and fitness fads. What could possibly be worthy of satire in such a heady milieu? Well, join her journey from Jack LaLanne in the ’60s (“Outlandish jumpsuit! Cantaloupe-sized guns!“) to “the existential oddness of present-day spin class.”

BUY NOW: $18.72.

5. Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life by Julianna Margulies.

 

In Sunshine Girl, 54-year-old Margulies traces the arc of her life and career. With candor and gratitude, she tells the poignant story of  her childhood experiences with divorced parents who lived on different continents. And then she marvels that this peripatetic youth ultimately lead to her success as an Emmy-winning performer. And to stable and loving relationships with her husband and son.

BUY NOW: $21.49.

6. The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis.

 

In The Premonition, the acclaimed author tells a riveting true story of 2020 with sharp insights into action and inaction during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. We meet a thirteen-year-old girl’s science project that develops into a grown-up model of disease control. A local public-health officer who uses her worm’s-eye view to see what the CDC has missed. These renegades and truth-tellers prove to be among the hidden heroes of the COVID-19 era, and their stories are brought to vibrant life here.

New book releases the week of May 11, 2021

Here are the top new novels and non-fiction book releases of the second full week of May 2021.

7. Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau.

 

In the debut novel Mary Jane, we follow the story of a fourteen-year-old girl’s coming of age in 1970s Baltimore, caught between her straight-laced family and the progressive family she nannies for—who happen to be secretly hiding a famous rock star in detox and his movie star wife for the summer.  With a clear new view of the differences between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.

BUY NOW: $23.49.

8. Billie Eilish by Billie Eilish.

 

A look inside the life of Billie Eilish as told by the superstar herself with a treasure trove of photographs. Up until now, Eilish has been very guarded about her personal life. Her decision to reveal the most intimate details and allow the public to see her in her most private moments through her words and amazing photos will be eye-opening to all her followers who think they know the real Billie Eilish. Here, she captures raw moments before, during and after her concerts as well as during the creative process.

BUY NOW: $23.11.

9. Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown.

 

From the author of The Boys in the Boat, Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II is a poignant new history. It weaves together the experiences of Japanese-American soldiers fighting in Europe and their interned families back in the U.S.

10. American Republics by Alan Taylor.

 

In  American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783-1850, the author – a Pulitzer winner – returns (after American Revolutions) with an incisive look at the turbulent decades following American independence.

11. Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering How the Forest Is Wired for Intelligence and Healing by Suzanne Simard.

 

the best new book releases coming out in May 2021, including fiction and non-fiction

Research continues to prove that trees and forests have their own ways of communicating and learning. In Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering How the Forest Is Wired for Intelligence and Healing, a renowned ecologist shares her fascinating findings on tree communication and behavior.

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12. There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love, edited by Tracy K. Smith and John Freeman.

 

There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love is a poignant anthology of poems, essays and meditations about the global pandemic, racist violence and the great social distance and indifference that many Americans feel from their fellow citizens. On the heels of the George Floyd verdict, it offers both catharsis and a sense of hope.

New book releases the week of May 18, 2021

Here are the top new novels and non-fiction book releases of the third full week of May 2021.

13. The Atmospherians by Alex McElroy.

 

what to read this month: the best new releases of books, both novels and non-fiction, coming out this May 2021

In The Amospherians, an influencer loses everything and then seizes the opportunity to rebrand herself as the face of a friend’s anti-toxic-masculinity retreat. But how will she handle being the temporary den mother to a bunch of angry, resentful men? And why has her friend singled her out for this gig?

14. Dead Souls by Sam Riviere.

 

Dead Souls, a debut novel by a well-regarded poet, takes place over the course of a single night. When an unnamed narrator ends up at a bar with a renowned poet recently accused of plagiarism, the poet tells him his entire story. Which turns out to be complicated.

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15. Freedom by Sebastian Junger.

 

what to read this month: the best books, both novels and non-fiction, coming out this May 2021

Against the backdrop of a demanding trek along a series of East Coast railroad lines, in Freedom the author of The Perfect Storm considers the conundrum that is “freedom.” Whether freedom to, freedom from, individualistic or in community – he excavates the tensions that have long plagued and defined American democracy. Moving between travelogue, history, nature writing, observation and philosophy, this is a provocative meditation on human nature.

16. Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein.

 

In Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment, we learn a great deal more about what many term “subconscious bias.” Doctors give different diagnoses to identical patients. Judges assign different sentences to the same crime. How can we recognize the “noise” in the system that creates these outcomes? And then silence it?

17. The Window Seat by Aminatta Forna.

 

what to read this month: the best books, both novels and non-fiction, coming out this May 2021

The Window Seat: Notes From a Life in Motion is a collection of essays written as the author – a young woman of color – moves around the world from Sierra Leone to Scotland, Iran, Mali and ultimately the United States. Her observations and musings about race, displacement, loss and memory are spot-on and inspiring. This is a roadmap to help others find their place in the big wide world.

New book releases the week of May 25, 2021

Here are the top new novels and non-fiction book releases of the last week of May 2021.

18. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

 

new book releases May 2021

The author of Daisy Jones and the Six returns with a novel about a wild beach party. In Malibu Rising, the setting is “The Riva Party” – the social event of the season. It’s thrown by four siblings: Nina, the supermodel who owns the party house; surfer dude Jay; photographer Hud; and baby sister Kit. This year, they all bring their secrets to the party, and it becomes a night that literally blows up their lives.

19. Burning Man by by Frances Wilson.

 

what to read this month: the best new releases of books, both novels and non-fiction, coming out this May 2021

We close our list of what to read in May 2021 with a ground-breaking biography. The controversial novelist’s first female biographer takes a fresh eye to his life and body of work in Burning Man: The Trials of D.H. Lawrence. From 1915’s The Rainbow to the writing of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1928 – and the 1960 obscenity trial over the latter in the U.K. – this is a revealing account of a brilliant writer scorned by the literary establishment of his time.

the most-anticipated new novels and non-fiction books May 2021

Those are our picks for what to read this month: the best and most-anticipated new book releases coming in May 2021. So many options to answer the pressing matter of what to read in May 2021! What’s at the top of your list? Whatever you decide, stay safe and strong and have a good month, dear reader.

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