As promised, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite books of 2021. Originally I was planning to do a favorite book per month. But some months I have more than one favorite, and a couple of months the reads were just not that memorable.
That is the reason I’m so late with this post, and I apologize.
So, let me try to do this differently than I had first planned.
First of all, let me say that I managed to read 60 books in 2021, where my goal was set at 52. It totaled 21,815 pages. I only put it up around May, because last year I really did not enjoy the pressure I put on myself to finish my goal.
That being said, if you read my previous post, then you know that I like stats and love keeping score. Mostly against myself though, so no worries!
So how can I break this down for you? I rated the books on average 3.6 stars.
The average length of books was 363 pages. The shortest book had 199 pages, the longest was 720 pages.
From the books I’ve read, The Sixth Wicked Child was the highest rated on Goodreads.
The most popular book I’ve read was The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab and the least favorite The Last Lullaby by Carin Gerhardsen.
I will also link the article I posted a while back with my favorite ten books from the first half of the year.
There are a couple of books from the first six months that will make my top favorite books, but the others will, unfortunately, take a back seat. Last few months I discovered some pretty amazing books, some that might even warrant a reread.
How about I start by sharing the books that I gave five stars to this year. Surprisingly, although I did enjoy quite a few of them, only two ended up in this category.
Five Star Books
The two books that I absolutely adored this year, and will probably remain favorites of mine for years to come are the following two:
The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai, and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V. E. Schwab. Two very different books, but very well-written. The storylines were both great and complex without creating any confusion, so pretty easy to follow without being redundant or boring.
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, is quite a gem of a book. The only reason I didn’t rate it with five stars is because of its heavy subject matter. I’m still putting it up here because it’s a great book that deserves a lot of praise. Those of you who have read it know that it is not an easy read, not one you can breeze through in a few days. I needed many breaks in between with some lighter reads. That doesn’t take anything away from the book though.
This year, or should I say, 2021, I only read three non-fiction books:
One of them is because of my grandson since he was three years old for a good part of the year.
How to Talk so Little Kids Can Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King is a great guide on how to communicate with little people. Very insightful, I wish I read something like this when my daughter was at that age!
Organize Tomorrow Today by Dr. Jason Seik and Tom Bartow is a guide to help get your days organized. There are helpful tips about time management and preventing procrastination, stuff most of us know but don’t necessarily apply.
An Edited Life by Anna Newton is another guide to help with keeping things organized in different areas in your life. A light read, but full of useful information, presented with quite a bit of humor.
Four Star Books
Those were quite numerous this year. If you notice a trend, it is mostly thrillers and Nordic Noir books that fall into this category.
Let me start with the books that are fiction, and/or literary fiction first.
Monogamy, by Sue Miller I reviewed in one of my previous posts, so check it out here if interested.
Ayesha at Last, by Uzma Jalaluddin, is also a book that falls under my favorites from the first half of the year.
Fable by Adrienne Young is a young adult novel that can be categorized as fantasy.
Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova is a work of fiction that depicts Huntington’s disease and how it affects everyone inside the O’Briens clan.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris is a collection of short stories that are humorous and easy to read.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a story about the lives of four siblings and the bond they share.
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones, touches on a current issue the US faces. Although a work of fiction, it rings true for many African Americans living with racial inequalities.
A Good Neighborhood by Therese Ann Fowler, a similar issue, different narrative from the previous book.
The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas, a moving novel about the choices a woman faces concerning becoming a mother. A deeply moving and insightful book that all women can relate to.
I Wanna Be Where You Are, by Kristina Forest is a cute debut young adult novel about an aspiring African American ballerina.
Where The Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger is an easy read that delves into the seemingly perfect lives of two sisters.
We Are Not Like Them, by Cristine Pride and Jo Piazza, is a novel told by the different perspectives two best friends face when their friendship is put to the test.
Thrillers/ Nordic Noir
Gallows Rock, by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, is the fourth installment in the Children’s House series. This book finds detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja solving another mysterious puzzle that involves entitlement, revenge, and violence.
More Bitter Than Death by Camilla Grebe is the second Siri Bergman thriller. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it more than her first one, Some Kind of Peace.
Snowdrift, by Helen Tursten, is the third Embla Nystrom installment, which I also liked more than the first two.
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave is a debut thriller that I enjoyed quite a bit. More on the domestic suspense range, it was not a dark and gory kind of thriller that is hard to digest.
Who is Maud Dixon by Alexandra Andrews is considered a thriller, even though I disagree? I am going along with the characterization because I wouldn’t know which other category it would fall under. Pick it up if you want to read something different from your typical thriller.
The Butterfly House by Katrine Engberg, a second Korner and Werner book, is also one of my favorites of 2021. Her previous novel The Tenant is worth giving a shot if you like to dip your toes in the Nordic Noir genre.
The Katharina Code by Jorn Lier Horst is an older Nordic Noir that was on my TBR list for years. I’m glad I finally read it last year!
The Silence Of The White City by Eva Garcia Saenz de Urturi is a great first in a Trilogy of the White City.
The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson is a great debut thriller. I highly recommend it!
The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor is also a great book that is different from what I am usually drawn to.
The Creak on the Stairs, a first by Icelandic writer Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir is a must for Nordic Noir lovers.
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins is the last thriller I read in 2021.
Series I read in 2021
The Fire Witness, by Lars Kepler, is the third book in the Joona Linna series. A complex and thrilling novel that finds detective Inspector Joona Linna solving another intricate and disturbing case that takes place at a youth house for troubled teenage girls. Two favorite Lars Kepler books, The Sandman and Stalker are third and respectively fourth in the Joona Linna series, one that I cannot recommend enough. And the first two in the series I read a while ago.
Now, I liked the three books in the Hammarby Serien series equally. It is an older series by Carin Gerdhardsen, and it includes The Gingerbread House, Cinderella Girl, and The Last Lullaby. They are not as hyped as some other Nordic Noir series, but as far as I’m concerned, definitely worth trying to get your hands on if you can.
And, I saved another favorite thriller series for last. Definitely not least though. The 4MK thriller series by J.D. Barker. I must say another series to keep in mind when you’re in the mood for a serial killer trilogy. The Fourth Monkey, The Fifth To Die and The Sixth Wicked Child are the three books you need to read in the Sam Porter trilogy. It will blow your mind. Although quite long, all at more than 400 pages, they are all fast-paced reads.
And there you have the books that I rated four and five stars on Goodreads this year. The other books were okay, some I really did not enjoy. I wanted to concentrate on the books that I loved this time. If not, the post would’ve been super long, and surely boring for some of you. I did include the pictures of all 60 books I’ve read, just in case you’re not following me on Goodreads.
I hope you enjoyed the little compilation of my reading year for 2021. All in all, a great reading year!
Have you read any of these? If you did, I’d like to hear what you thought of them.
Until next time, keep reading my bookworm friends.