The Ministry of Utmost Happiness - Arundhati Roy
A third of a great novel. I was head over heels for this at the start, but it begins to feel like several stories chopped up and sandwiched together, complete with wildly varying tones and writing styles.
Roy's writing is still powerful and eloquent, but the plot doesn't hold together.
The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead
Magical-realist history as polemic. I don't need to tell you how timely the story is, but you should know that it's both devastating and captivating. The kind of book where you can't stop turning the pages, even if part of you doesn't want to find out what happens next.
The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry
Light, bright historical fiction in the mode of Jane Austen (with a possibly-imaginary river serpent). It's cosy and entertaining and the writing is lovely, but you'll see most of the story beats coming a mile off.
The Holocaust - Laurence Rees
Rees delivers both an informative oversight and a compelling new investigation of the Holocaust. This book should be your go-to if you want answers to questions about how and why it happened, and the nature of the Nazi leadership's involvement.
Includes bonus unsettling parallels to current political discourse.