One of my favourite things to do in December is to check out all the lists of the best books of the year. There’s always a title I’ve missed in my never-ending quest for a great read. It’s good to be reminded about books that have come out during the year, so that I can keep an eye out for them at the library. They sometimes take a while to show up on the shelf.
I’m hesitant to compile my own list of best books, because everyone has different tastes, but I’d like to share some titles I’ve enjoyed in case you are looking for something new to read over the holidays.
This task is usually easy for me because I normally keep a spreadsheet of books I’ve read, but this year I was very lackadaisical with my record keeping, so I’m not sure how many books I got through (and nor does it really matter) but I think it was around fifty. My list peters out in August, so I had to go back over all the issues of my newsletter to find out what I’d read, and when.
When I look back over my reading year, I can see that my concentration dropped a bit in the second half of the year, for reasons that are perfectly understandable, given the strange year that we’ve all had. Sometimes I find it hard to start new books. I wrote about that here.
I read a few romantic comedies (no shame in that) and some books that were definitely a little sweeter than my usual fare. I also gave up on a lot of books because they were not what I was in the mood for. No shame in that either. Life is too short to keep ploughing through a book you aren’t enjoying.
Overall, I think I’ve been a lot more fussy about my reading. I’m less inclined to read what I call ‘worthy’ books (they’re the books people tell you must read) and more inclined to read books that engage me with vivid stories and characters. I’d also like to note that my best reads were all recommended by reading friends or family. It’s good to have friends who know what you like and can recommend accordingly.
Here are my top ten picks for 2021, listed in the order I read them.
- Bruny, by Heather Rose
- Sorrow and Bliss, by Meg Mason
- Heft, by Liz Moore
- The Good Sister, by Sally Hepworth
- Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Covered Wife, Lisa Emanuel
- The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
- Love Objects, by Emily Maguire
- Once There Were Wolves, by Charlotte McConaghy
- The Last Woman in the World, by Inga Simpson
What was your favourite book in 2021?