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New in Paperback! 21 Terrific Reads That Won’t Weigh Down Your Beach Bag

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • May 21, 2021

It's time to start thinking about your summer reading list! As we all know, hardback books can be a bit hard on the back when lugging them around in beach bags or carry-ons. So we decided to focus on the best new releases in paperback. And—lucky us!—there sure are lots of great (lightweight) books to choose from!

Historical Fiction

The Giver of Stars
Set in Depression-era Kentucky, the newest bestseller from Jojo Moyes is the story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable experiences as a team of women braving the Appalachian mountains on horseback to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt's new traveling library.

The Mirror and the Light
The third in Hilary Mantel's wildly popular trilogy completes Thomas Cromwell's journey from self-made man to one of the most feared, influential figures of his time. The story paints a defining portrait of a modern nation being shaped through conflict, passion, and courage.

Conjure Women
This debut by Afia Atakora sweeps across eras and generations to tell the story of a mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing—as well as the conjuring of curses. The intimate bonds and transgressions among people and across racial divides are at the heart of this mesmerizing story.

The Night Watchman
Based on the extraordinary life of celebrated author Louise Erdrich's grandfather who fought against Native dispossession, this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity. The rich, complex story unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and emotional depth of a master craftsman.


Honey Girl
With her newly completed PhD in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls' trip to celebrate. A certified high achiever, Grace is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn't know. Or is she? A charming debut from Morgan Rogers.

The Ex Talk
In Rachel Lynn Solomon's new novel, longtime public radio producer Shay Goldstein loves her work at a Seattle public radio station, but lately it's been a constant clash with her newest colleague. So she's peeved when asked to host a new show with him—on which they must pretend to be exes.

The Girl with Stars in her Eyes
Growing up in dive bars up and down the East Coast, her guitar was her only companion. Her name's Antonia (Toni) Bennette and yeah, she's heard all the jokes and she's not a rock star—not yet. This novel from Xio Axelrod is the story of a strong, feminist, fierce musician working to make her mark.

Sex and Vanity
For fans of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, Kevin Kwan's newest novel is a daring homage to A Room with a View. Lucie Churchill is torn between two worlds—the WASP establishment of her father's family and George Zao, the impetuous man she is trying desperately not to fall in love with.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown
In bestselling author Talia Hibbert's newest installment of The Brown Sisters series, the flightiest sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally. Eve Brown is a certified hot mess, but it's time for her to grow up and prove herself—even though she's not sure how she'll do it.


Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
Based on a true story, this debut novel from Deepa Anappara, follows three children as they venture into the darkest corners of a sprawling Indian city to try and track down their missing classmate. But what begins as a game turns sinister as other children start disappearing from their neighborhood.

The Silent Patient
Entertainment Weekly describes this psychological thriller by Alex Michaelides as a "mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy." A famous painter refuses to talk after killing her photographer husband and a criminal psychologist becomes obsessed with uncovering her motive.

The Summer House
One historic lake house. Seven murder victims. Four accused Army Rangers. Two versions of the truth. Only one can survive. When a shocking multiple homicide takes place in a small town, the investigation shakes a small-town sheriff to her core in James Patterson's tense new thriller.

The Guest List
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. And then someone turns up dead. A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller from Lucy Foley.

Literary Fiction

All Adults Here
Emma Straub's unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a warm, funny, and keenly perceptive novel about the life cycle of one family. As her kids are becoming parents and her grandchildren, teenagers, a matriarch confronts the legacy of her mistakes.

The Vanishing Half
From Brit Bennett comes the story of twin sisters. They will always be identical. But after growing up in a small, southern black community and running away together at sixteen, their paths diverged. Now, everything about their lives is in contrast: their families, their communities, and their racial identities.

Shuggie Bain
Recalling the work of Édouard Louis, Alan Hollinghurst, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, this Booker Prize-winner is an epic portrayal of a working-class family. Douglas Stuart's blistering debut novel is an unforgettable, heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love.

Deacon King Kong
The National Book Award-winning James McBride returns with this funny, moving novel about the fallout when, in September 1969, a cranky old church deacon shuffles into the courtyard of a Brooklyn housing project, pulls out a .38, and publicly shoots the neighborhood drug dealer at point-blank range.


Becoming Duchess Goldblatt
Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved Twitter account reveals how the pseudonymous author deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace's voice, her wit, and the life-affirming community that's sprung up around her.

Finding Chika
From the bestselling author of Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes Mitch Albom's most personal story to date. His intimate and heartwarming memoir is about what it means to be a family and the young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change his heart.

House of Glass: The Story and Secrets of a Twentieth-Century Jewish Family
Hadley Freeman knew little about her grandmother's early life in France as Hitler started gaining power. But after her grandmother's death, she found a shoebox containing an intriguing set of keepsakes. The discovery sent her on a decade-long quest to uncover her grandmother's extraordinary story.

Uncanny Valley
Anna Weiner's prescient, page-turning account of her stint at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble offers a rare glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power.

And there you have it! Twenty-one great new reads that won't break your back (or your bank). Enjoy!

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