best new books 2020

These are the best new books coming out in 2020

From political biographies and climate change treatise to crime thrillers and business exposes, these are the books to add to your shelf this year

#Content. There’s a lot of it around right now, don’t you think? And, yes, before you say anything we’re aware that Gentleman’s Journal is only adding to the mountain of TV shows, films and must-read articles on your list. But, just as we strive to only serve you the best content possible on our platforms, we’re also here to cut through the noise when it comes to the rest of the cultural world, too. We’ve already offered up our guide to 2020’s best new TV shows and the films you need to see this year, and now it’s time to flick through our guide to the books you should be reading in 2020.

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

uncanny valley

Ever dreamed about upping and sticks and joining the great and good of Silicon Valley? This debut novel from tech insider Anna Weiner may just make you think again. Disillusioned with her job as a New York literary assistant, Weiner joined a web analytics start-up in San Francisco aged 25 before moving on to GitHub (later acquired by Microsoft). Drawing on the years before she eventually burned out, Weiner’s book juxtaposes the excesses and absurdities of overly-youthful tech CEOs with the city’s growing homelessness crisis, while making cutting judgements about the misogyny, immorality and structural racism that infect the Valley, in an attempt to undermine the world’s blind faith in the “aggressive, arrogant young men” that run it.

Release date: 23 January

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

the mirror and the light

The final instalment in Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy will hit shelves in March — and expectations are high. It’s hard to believe it’s been over a decade since Wolf Hall took the literary world by storm with its tale of intrigue, drama and betrayal in the court of Henry VIII. Given that both it and its successor, Bring Up The Bodies, won the Booker Prize, The Mirror & the Light has big shoes to fill. And, at 864 pages, big it is. Filling in the final years of Thomas Cromwell’s life, the power-hungry minister begins the novel sitting firmly at the right hand side of the king. But, as history has taught us, the higher you climb, the further you have to fall.

Release date: 5 March

Our House Is On Fire by Malena and Beata Ernman, Svante and Greta Thunberg

our house is on fire

Unless you’ve been living in a cave (in which case kudos on your, presumably, very low carbon consumption), you’ll have noticed a Swedish teenager has been bringing the dire state of the planet to everyone’s attention over the last year or so. Now Greta Thunberg, along with her father Svante, mother Malena Ernman and sister Beata, will offer an insight into the enigmatic family that sparked a climate change revolution. Starting long before the first climate protest, the book charts the family’s distress when, at age 11, Greta stops eating and speaking and is eventually diagnosed with autism and selective mutism. As her parents try to come to terms with this unforeseen crisis, they notice that much of Greta’s anxiety stems from a pre-occupation with a rapidly heating planet — and a plan begins to form.

Release date: 5 March

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

my dark vanessa

Following on from the success of a number of #MeToo-influenced books, including 2019’s critically acclaimed Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, Kate Elizabeth’s Russell’s debut novel is sure to be a debate-stirrer as much as it is a page-turner. The story is told alternately by the 15-year old Vanessa, whose life is entirely consumed by a years-long affair with her teacher Jacob Strane, and 32-year-old Vanessa, who discovers Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Reflecting on past events amid a much-changed culture and a wave of allegations against powerful men, Vanessa must decide whether to stay quiet or speak out and come to terms with the idea that the relationship she considers her first love may have been something much more sinister.

Release date: 31 March

Joy at Work: Organising Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein

joy at work

She of the sparking joy is back – and this time she’s going to help you sort out your overflowing desk drawers. For her new book, KonMari method creator Marie Kondo has teamed up with organisational psychologist Scott Sonenshein to help you identify what really matters in your business life and refocus your energy to improve the way you work. From the basics (tidying your desk and finally getting through your inbox) to the more ephemeral (how to find joy in an open plan office), this might just be the book that gets you out of your career rut.

Release date: 7 April

Death In Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh

death in her hands

After the triumph of 2018’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh returns in 2020 with a new novel that turns her pitch-perfect way with black comedy to the traditional crime thriller. While on her daily dog walk, the book’s protagonist finds a note that says, “Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.” Alone, new to the area and still grieving the death of her husband, her discovery quickly escalates into a full blown obsession and an investigation that may find its answers a little too close to home.

Release date: 23 April

Antkind by Charlie Kaufman


Antkind is about a failed film critic who stumbles upon a three month-long stop-motion film which took 90 years to create. It might just be the best film ever made but, unfortunately, it’s been destroyed so now he must try to recreate it from memory in order to share his momentous discovery with the rest of the world. Look, we know it sounds bit weird, but hear us out. This is the debut novel from a screenwriter who penned, among other films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich. Conventional isn’t really in his wheelhouse. But, when it comes to Kaufman’s brand of surrealist, Kafka-esque genius — tell us where to sign up.

Release date: 12 May

Fall: The Last Days of Robert Maxwell by John Preston

fall robert maxwell

One for budding entrepreneurs wanting to know how not to let it all go disastrously wrong. Written by the author of A Very English Scandal, this gripping account of the life of notorious business tycoon Robert Maxwell begins as he sails his yacht victoriously into Manhattan harbour after buying the New York Daily News. So well-publicised were his business successes that taxi drivers stopped to shake his hand, children asked for autographs and he received standing ovations when he entered restaurants. Then, just 10 months later, Maxwell was found drowned having disappeared from the same yacht. Within days, a man who had once been upheld as a framework for what a ‘good’ businessman could be was revealed as a greedy, amoral and unscrupulous manipulator. So where did it all go so wrong?

Release date: 2 July

Boris Johnson by Tom Bower

boris johnson

After turning his unflinchingly forensic gaze on Jeremy Corbyn last year, the biographer every politician wishes would leave them alone has set his sights on Prime Minister Boris Johnson for 2020. Bower, who has a reputation for specialising in ‘men with something to hide’, has previously delved into the lives of Prince Charles, Bernie Ecclestone, Richard Branson and Simon Cowell with no-holds-barred. His biography of Johnson, who has a colourful private life and famously isn’t quite sure how any children he has, is guaranteed to be explosive.

Release date: TBC

These are the classic books you should have on your shelf

Join the Gentleman’s Journal Clubhouse here.

Further Reading