While releases by best-selling authors, and critically-acclaimed "buzz books" grabbed the spotlight in 2021, there are plenty of great releases still waiting to be discovered.
Meet the Overlooked Books of 2021! These include books from nearly every fiction genre, plus non-fiction on a variety of topics, from exploring Mount Everest to a memoir by a professional gambler.
We've created a display in the Main Library Adult Services section of 2021's Overlook Books (you'll know it by the googly eyes!), and an online catalog that you can browse from home. We've also highlighted a few of our favorite Overlooked Books by genre, and hope it leads you discover a hidden gem!
Leda and the Swan by Anna Caritj - After a wild Halloween party, sorority girl Leda awakens to find she isn't exactly sure what happened the night before. Did she have sex with the guy she went home with? And what about Charlotte, the mysterious girl dressed as a swan, whose paths crossed Leda's several times, but who is now missing? As the campus buzzes with tension and speculation, Leda begins to realize that her fractured recollections may hold the key to Charlotte's disappearance. A unique debut novel set in the early-2000s, that blends suspense and mystery, with issues of gender, power and sexual assault on campus.
Half Life by Jillian Cantor - Poland, 1891, Marie Curie (then Marya Sklodowska) was engaged to a budding mathematician, Kazimierz Zorawski. But when his mother insisted Marya was not good enough, he broke off the engagement. Heartbroken, Marya left Poland for Paris, where she would attend the Sorbonne to study chemistry and physics. Eventually Marie Curie would go on to change the course of science forever and be the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
But what if she had stayed in Poland, married Kazimierz, and never attended the Sorbonne or discovered radium? What if she had chosen a life of domesticity with a constant hunger for knowledge in Russian Poland where education for women was restricted? Entwining Marie Curie’s real story with Marya Zorawska’s fictional one, Half Life explores loves lost and destinies unfulfilled—and probes issues of loyalty and identity, gender and class, motherhood and sisterhood, fame and anonymity, scholarship and knowledge.
The Cat Saw Murder by Dolores Hitchens - Love cat-themed mysteries? This 1939 mystery launched the popular trend, which continues today. When 70-year-old Miss Rachel and her cat Samantha visit Rachel's niece Lily at her California beach home, they discover Lily's home is actually a decrepit rooming house, and Lily herself is in desperate need of money to settle a gambling debt. With Samantha the cat named as the heir of a eccentric relative's fortune, Lily sees feline murder as the solution to her problem, until her own mysterious demise. Can Miss Rachel and Samantha solve the mystery? Part cozy/part California noir, this throwback classic is a fascinating and fun read.
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley - A time twisting alternative history that asks whether it's worth changing the past to save the future, even if it costs you everyone you've ever loved. Joe Tournier has a bad case of amnesia. His first memory is of stepping off a train in the nineteenth-century French colony of England. The only clue Joe has about his identity is a century-old postcard of a Scottish lighthouse that arrives in London the same month he does. Written in illegal English—instead of French—the postcard is signed only with the letter “M,” but Joe is certain whoever wrote it knows him far better than he currently knows himself, and he's determined to find the writer. The search for M, though, will drive Joe from French-ruled London to rebel-owned Scotland and finally onto the battle ships of a lost empire's Royal Navy. In the process, Joe will remake history, and himself.
The Third Pole by Mark Synott - A hundred-year mystery lured veteran climber Mark Synnott into an unlikely expedition up Mount Everest during the spring 2019 season that came to be known as "the Year Everest Broke." What he found was a gripping human story of impassioned characters from around the globe and a mountain that will consume your soul--and your life--if you let it. Readers witness first-hand how Synnott's quest led him from oxygen-deprivation training to archives and museums in England, to Kathmandu, the Tibetan high plateau, and up the North Face into a massive storm. The infamous traffic jams of climbers at the very summit immediately resulted in tragic deaths. Sherpas revolted. Chinese officials turned on Synnott's team. An Indian woman miraculously crawled her way to frostbitten survival. Synnott himself went off the safety rope--one slip and no one would have been able to save him--committed to solving the mystery. Eleven climbers died on Everest that season, all of them mesmerized by an irresistible magic. The Third Pole is a rapidly accelerating ride to the limitless joy and horror of human obsession.
You Can't Lose Them All: Tales of a Degenerate Gambler and His Ridiculous Friends by Sal Iacono and Jimmy Kimmel - Over the last forty years, Cousin Sal has made bets with doctors, lawyers, teachers, agents, bookies, writers, comedians, radio DJs, tv producers, baseball players, front office executives, bandleaders, movie stars, publicists, weed lab owners, hedge fund operators, and even professional wrestlers. From his early days growing up in Brooklyn and Long Island flipping baseball cards to now hosting podcasts and TV shows and managing several offshore accounts we don't talk about, Cousin Sal has truly become the average American sports fan's go to source for gambling tips. With hilarious tales of love and loss, winning and (a lot) of losing, crazy family and fatherhood, and a life saga that inspired the Phil Collins' song, "Against All Odds," Cousin Sal has now written THE Vegas super-system, MIT-algorithmic, sharp-approved book for how to gamble like a pro -- or at least not how not to go broke and lose your kids to Child Protective Services.