There are few acts more soothing in their simplicity than wrapping a book if you're giving one as a gift: the sleek slide of scissors through glossy paper, the brisk fold-over, the symmetrical double tuck, the setting of tape. And when it comes to determining the best recipient of a gifted new book, I think we can all agree: It's none other than yourself. Which is why, if you aren't already looking ahead to the new books coming out in 2020 that are guaranteed to be must-reads, you should be.
When it comes to buying books, I have only one recommendation to make. Be selfish. Buy a really good book and cancel your plans to read it. Tell your date you have to leave early so you can finish that last chapter. Take it to the coffee shop and spill your chai latte all over it because you're flipping pages too quickly.
Ahead, I've compiled the 20 best books the early months of 2020 have to offer — the gilded, the soon-to-be lauded, the highly anticipated. Consider these picks an excuse to treat yourself with a good read even after the official holiday season is over.
Most Likely To Get You Triple-Digit Likes On Instagram: Godshot by Chelsea Bieker
Post this one to the feed: It’s flashy. It’s gold. It’s about cults.
Most Likely To Give You Major Sally Rooney Vibes: Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey
It's more Conversations with Friends than Normal People, but Miranda Popkey will definitely be a hit with readers who love Sally Rooney.
Most Likely To Be A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick: Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
It's smart, wry, plot-driven, and all about how earnest white people so often get race majorly wrong. Reese Witherspoon, you there? This one is begging for a book club burst on its cover — and an adaptation.
Most Likely To Result In You Making An Unattractive Noise In Public: Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby
A laugh. A fart. A snort. Or some combination thereof. Be prepared to totally lose control of the noises that come out of your body while reading the latest essay collection from humor writer Samantha Irby.
Most Likely To Make You Quit Your Sh*tty Job: Temporary by Hilary Leichter
The temp jobs this protagonist takes on are definitely — how should I say it? — not of this world, but she tries her best anyway.
Most Likely To Actually Get You To Turn Off Netflix And Read A Book: Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
Darling Rose Gold is basically a true crime documentary in book form. It's fiction, but you will quickly spot the similarities to the case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard.
Most Likely To Get You To Redownload Tinder: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
This book proves that if you can find love in the darkest corner of the internet — Twitter — then you really can find love anywhere. (Bustle has an exclusive excerpt of this love story that you can read here.)
Most Likely To Totally Blow Up Your Group Chat: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
You'll rant. You'll rage. You'll use the red-with-anger-and-cussing emoji one too many times while talking with your friends about the relationship at the center of this book: one between a teacher and his underage student.
Most Likely To Get You To Call Your Representatives: The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah
This moving story centers on one Palestinian American woman on the morning when the Muslim girls' school where she works becomes the target of an alt-right mass shooter.
Most Likely To Convince You To Quit New Year's Resolutions Altogether: In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
What if you knew exactly what was going to happen in five years and it was totally different from the life you had planned? That's the question at the center of Rebecca Serle's latest novel, which you can start reading on Bustle now.
Most Likely To Result In You Booking Your First Botox Appointment: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
There's a new Hunger Games book coming out, the first since 2010. It's for teens. You are no longer a teen. You can still read it, of course.
Most Likely To Make You A Literary Cool Girl, Or Whatever: Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh
If Ottessa Moshfegh writes something, and you don't read it, are you even on Instagram?
Most Likely To Get You Off The Couch And Out To A Protest Or To A Voter Registration Booth: The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
If the modern-day Queen of Speculative Fiction cannot pump you up with her story about New Yorkers defending the city from an ancient evil, then I don't know what to tell you.
Most Likely To Inspire You To Rewatch Every Episode Of Gossip Girl: Anna K by Jenny Lee
This Anna Karenina retelling follows a glamorous Korean American teenager in New York City whose life goes topsy-turvy when she meets the charming playboy Alexia "Count" Vronsky in Grand Central Station.
Most Likely To Get Name-Dropped On A First Date: Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
This memoir of Anna Wiener's dizzying experience working at a startup in Silicon Valley is going to be everywhere next year — including your awkward first-date chats.
Most Likely To Be 'Grammed By The Pool: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
Everyone read and loved Emily St. John Mandel's last book, Station Eleven, and I'm already predicting that this hazy blue-green cover will be the foreground for a lot of pool pics next summer.
Most Likely To Result In Actual Tears: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
This epic about one woman's journey across Mexico and into the United States is an eye-opening account of the unfathomable, brutal violences experienced by those who dare to dream of better and immigrate to the United States. It made me cry — and donate money to organizations helping immigrants in the United States.
Most Likely To Be Described As "The Next Girl On The Train": Long Bright River by Liz Moore
This one features an unreliable female narrator, an ending that speaks to the social and systemic flaws of the criminal justice system, and a refreshing, honest take on addiction. (It even has a Paula Hawkins blurb.)
Most Likely To Result In A Smug "I Read It First" Later This Year: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich is a genius, and anything she writes will inevitably win lots of awards. Be the first to read it so you can brag to your friends later.
Most Likely To Get You To Stop At A Bookstore On Your Way To Work: Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
It's the first novel beloved author Julia Alvarez has released since 2006, and — like all her work — it promises to be a profound and illuminating examination of the Latinx experience.