The Best Books of 2024 So Far Free Download Pdf

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We like to think of this list of the best books of 2024 as the anti-algorithm, a collection of highly specific, highly individual, and somewhat eclectic books that we just absolutely love. At a moment when the very act of curation threatens to be overwhelmed by whatever cookies you’ve unflinchingly accepted to track your cursor and your clicks, we hope this list—and lists like these—serve as a counterweight: a reminder of a beloved author, an introduction to something new, a detour into the unexpected. We will be updating this list of the best books of 2024 throughout the year, and we hope to see you back here again.  

Sugar, Baby by Celine Saintclare (January)

Celine Saintclare’s debut novel Sugar, Baby (Bloomsbury) depicts the glittering world of the young women who make a kind of living by showing up at clubs and restaurants to burnish their associations with youth and beauty. Are these women being taken advantage of—or are they on the ride of their lives? This personable novel, which charts the somewhat inadvertent trajectory of a girl who finds herself enmeshed among a group of more knowing models, to its credit, doesn’t come down on one side of the equation. Instead, it shows the grit alongside the glamor and crafts a very believable story that feels like a document of the moment, when image is a valuable and fleeting currency. —Chloe Schama

Come and Get It by Kiley Reid (January)

Another study of class and money arrives in Kiley Reid’s Come and Get It (Putnam). Set on a college campus, with a chorus of voices filling out the multi-strand narrative, the novel depicts a group of University of Arkansas students, professors, and administrators. Campuses are not just centers of academic inquiry and nighttime misadventures, the novel shows, but intersections for people of vastly different resources. Reid, whose first novel probed the sometimes sticky relationship between a nanny and a mother, masterfully captures the quiet misalignments that stem from a varying sense of what’s at stake. This is a somewhat old-fashioned novel of manners that acutely captures the modern moment. —C.S.

Good Material by Dolly Alderton (January)

Dolly Alderton is something of a modern-day Nora Ephron, bringing a fresh and mordant perspective to the eternal struggle between the sexes. Her last novel, Ghosts, had the inscrutable male psyche as the subject of her narrator’s torment; her new novel, Good Material (Knopf), tells the story of a breakup from a tortured male perspective. Its narrator, Andy, is a 35-year-old London comic who has recently been abandoned by his more corporate-minded girlfriend after a years-long relationship and has found himself having to redefine his place in the world among his coupled-up peers. He has the instinct (if not the perspective in his lovelorn state) that—as Ephron would have put it—everything is copy, and the book finds the amusing angle in even the most poignant moments. —C. S.

Private Equity by Carrie Sun (February)

Carrie Sun is the kind of epic overachiever that in a previous era might have been tapped for a prestigious PhD program or funneled into clandestine training for the CIA. The late-stage capitalism equivalent is a position as the personal and professional assistant to the wildly successful CEO of a private equity fund, which Sun documents in her memoir Private Equity (Penguin Press). At 29, she sees the opportunity as an even more promising path than the one she had carved out as a financial analyst, but the extreme responsibilities of the position soon took their toll. Sun writes clearly about the demands and privileges of the job, though this isn’t a tell-all about abuses in the industry but rather a more probing inquiry into what we deem success and the values underpinning it. —C.S.

Grief Is for People by Sloane Crosley (February)

Over the course of a few short months, Sloane Crosley’s apartment was burgled and her best friend died. This coincidence becomes the backbone of a stunning investigation into the nature of loss that is Grief Is For People (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), an ambitious book lightened by strains of acerbic comedy. Crosley, who is perhaps best known for her effervescent essay collection I Was Told There’d Be Cake hasn’t abandoned her spritely wit, but she is looking more critically at what matters here. A quixotic hunt to reclaim stolen jewelry is intertwined with the equally insurmountable task of better understanding the friend she has lost—a prominent figure in the publishing industry. The loving and complex tribute Crosley has paid to him here will no doubt offer a bittersweet balm to many. —C.S.

Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story by Leslie Jamison (February)

Leslie Jamison ’s memoir tells the story of the end of her marriage, but it is also an account of motherhood and the way that a life-transforming event can cause a woman to feel as though a part of herself has fractured. Jamison, known and beloved for her clarion voice and her unflinching perception, has not shied away from self-interrogation in the past, but her new book is a particularly cutting account of her own decisions, motives, and desires. It is also an exceptional read, guiding her reader through her thrilling and bitter and fulfilling affairs of the heart. —C.S.

Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan (February)

Set in the not-so-remote past of the 1990s, Ordinary Human Failings (Little Brown) feels just distant enough to offer a remote landscape, devoid of cell phones and an immediate multicultural perspective that greater connectivity affords. The Green family is at the center of Megan Nolan ’s gripping new novel; they’ve settled into insular life on a London housing estate, having haphazardly fled Ireland after the daughter, Carmel, becomes pregnant. Circling this unfortunate family is Tom, a hungry young tabloid reporter, who senses in the Greens just the kind of mess that his readers love to disdain. With her careful and caring novel, Nolan shows how misfortune can start with a few bad decisions and how culpability is entangled in providence and privilege. Her prose is slicing and exacting; this is a book that smarts but also comforts with its precise generosity. — C.S.

One Way Back by Christine Blasey Ford (March)

The long-anticipated memoir from Christine Blasey Ford, One Way Back (St. Martin’s Press), recounts the time in her life before the scientist’s name was emblazoned on T-shirts across America, before she became a kind of poster child for a post-Me Too fealty to the credibility of women, before, in short, she testified that she had been assaulted by a man who was lined up to assume a position on the Supreme Court. Today, in the wake of the overt politicization of the Court, it can be a little hard to conjure a time when such nominations felt impossibly consequential, but this memoir brings you there. It also paints a picture of the woman behind the complicated calculation to come forward with nuance and introspective insight. —C.S.  

Change by Édouard Louis (March)

Change (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), by the French writer Édouard Louis (The End of EddyWho Killed My Father), is a work of autofiction that reads a bit like the confessions of a madman: a breathless account of Louis’s hard-won transformation from Eddy Bellegueule, a lonely and beleaguered little boy from northern France, into a celebrated author and public intellectual. What makes it so unsettling? There’s the bracing directness of Louis’s prose, translated into English by John Lambert; the fitful structure, crammed with self-conscious annotations and swift shifts in form; the unsparing examination of poverty and extreme privilege in modern France (and, when you squint your eyes, sort of everywhere else too); the rendering of an appetite for better, different, more that can no longer reasonably be satisfied. Here, self-invention is an act of brutal violence with no discernable survivors. —Marley Marius

Memory Piece by Lisa Ko (March)

The follow-up to 2017’s National Book Award finalist The Leavers, Lisa Ko’s Memory Piece (Riverhead) is a moving, strikingly evocative exploration of New York’s art, tech, and activism scenes across the decades. The novel follows three friends from mallbound suburban New Jersey teens into adulthood, as they forge their own paths in a rapidly changing world. Chafing against the assumptions projected on them as Asian American women and resisting the stifling expectations of their immigrant parents, they yearn for freedom—from the demands of race, gender, and family—while grasping at the expansive futures they once imagined. —Lisa Wong Macabasco

Ellipses by Vanessa Lawrence (March)

A wry and winning debut from Vanessa Lawrence, Ellipses (Dutton), charts the course of a mentor-mentee relationship as toxic as it is intoxicating. Lily, a 30-something magazine writer grappling with her role in the endangered ecosystem of prestige print media, slips into the thrall of a lopsided power dynamic with Billie, a cutthroat and self-assured beauty CEO who issues sharp adages from her lacquered thumbs. With the relationship conducted entirely over text, Lily’s life becomes suspended in a digital limbo of an anticipated blue text bubble, the ellipsis of the novel’s name. They meet when Lily is reporting on one of the “disease-oriented galas”—an Alzheimer’s Unforgettable Evening—and we accompany Lily on a roller coaster of self-doubt and eventual self-actualization set against the backdrop of the rise of digital media. Lawrence, who wrote for W and WWD for the better part of two decades, deploys her insider fluency with aplomb, describing the microaggressions of office politics as deftly as nepo-baby influencers turned vegan caterers. —Chloe Malle

Help Wanted by Adelle Waldman (March)

The events in Adelle Waldman’s fleet-footed novel, Help Wanted (Norton), take place at a box store of declining fortunes in upstate New York—a setting that in Waldman’s steady hands proves to be a crucible of ambition and survival. We are with Movement, the corporatized name given to the employees who show up at 4 a.m. to unload trucks full of household goods and move them to the retail floor. Waldman is unsentimental about her low-wage protagonists, investing them with foibles as well as everyday heroism, and she’s mesmerizing on the details of their work, the mechanical belts, the “throwing” of boxes, the meticulous unpacking. A single paragraph on the difficulty of untangling bras has thrilling specificity. In their petty and casually unempathetic supervisor, Meredith, the novel finds its engine of suspense, a middle-management villain whose team comes to believe must be promoted to be vanquished. —Taylor Antrim

Clear by Carys Davies (April)

On a remote island off the coast of Scotland, a lone tenant—insulated by distance and his own rare dialect from 19th-century society—is preventing the landowner from turning the property over to more profitable uses. A minister is engaged to convince the tenant to leave. But not long after he arrives on the island, he suffers a terrible accident and is forced to recuperate under the care of the very man he’s been sent to evict. This strange premise is the backdrop for the surprisingly gripping novel from Welsh novelist Carys Davies, Clear (Scribner), which feels a bit like a thriller set against a history lesson rendered fantastically vivid. Eventually, the minister’s wife sets off for the remote island to find her husband, and her arrival disrupts the powerful intimacy that has arisen between the tenant and the minister, raising questions of belonging, ownership, and how we forge the bonds between people and place that are really durable. —C.S.

On the Tobacco Coast by Christopher Tilghman (April)

A faded estate on Maryland’s Chesapeake shore, packed with family members for a Fourth of July weekend and haunted by its history, provides the backdrop for Christopher Tilghman’s elegant, boisterous, and moving new novel, On the Tobacco Coast (FSG). Mason’s Retreat is the name of this farm and ancestral seat, tumbledown in haute WASP fashion, a place of brackish marsh air, oyster shells, and drawers jammed with mismatched cutlery. Tilghman has now written four acclaimed novels located amid this landscape, exploring rich themes of race, class, and privilege along the way. Tobacco Coast is the first set in the present, and it teems with convincing characters: Kate and Harry, the owners grappling with mortality; their three grown children warring with respective partners; a pair of French cousins; a clutch of aged neighbors. Tilghman ranges through them–the inner life of a Vassar coed is as accessible to him as that of a 96-year-old Chesapeake matron—as they assemble for a gloriously described meal where buried conflict and sublimated pain inevitably intrude. —T.A.

Wives Like Us by Plum Sykes (May)

Plum Sykes ’s delectable new novel, Wives Like Us (Harper Collins), bears a strong resemblance to the Austen-era novels of the 19th century, although it’s no longer a fortune of ten thousand pounds that makes a country gentleman a desired catch but a fortune of innumerable sums (and potentially unspeakable provenance). The silly, lovable heroines at the heart of this satire are mostly paired up anyway—but what’s to stop them from hunting for husband number two? Sykes sets the modern-day measures of social influence (Instagram followers, bikini line start-ups, glam teams at one’s beck and call) against the traditional Cotswold landscape of manor houses and horse stables, and the result is a delightful mash-up: a loving portrait of a social milieu that recognizes the value of tradition but is also perpetually chasing what’s new. —C.S.

The Memo by Rachel Dodes and Lauren Mechling (June)

Do you ever wonder if everyone else somehow got a secret leg up, insider knowledge, or even just a map to navigate the proverbial lay of the land? Such is the premise of Rachel Dodes and Lauren Mechling ’s charming new novel. The hapless heroine, Jenny Green, has been toiling away at her nonprofit job in a non-coastal city while college classmates and peers have been ascending to more prestigious positions. Jenny doesn’t exactly mind where her life has taken her, but she is dogged by that universal preoccupation: what if? A surprise (and somewhat supernatural) encounter allows her to relive certain episodes in her life, and she sets off on a twisting and circuitous adventure to find out just what her life could have been. A modernized Sliding Doors set amid a delightfully specific milieu, this is a paranormal parable with a very relatable heart. —C.S.


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