2021 Book List
|December 24, 2021
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
Edited 12/27/21. I forgot a FIVE STAR book on the list!!!!! Apparently I forgot to write it down in the bullet journal list, and when I rated in goodreads I didn’t record a date read, so when I was scanning over books this year, it got missed.
2021 was not a good year for reading. There was lots of 1 and 2 star books (meaning I didn’t finish or actively disliked enough NOT to recommend), even more ho-hum books (3 stars. Take it or Leave it). I finally I got a break through of some good books, thanks to recommendations from friends and family later in the year, which is why there’s a list at all this year.
I can’t promise that if you are in a reading funk you will find the answers here, but it’s worth a try?
A reminder of how I rate books: A 5 star book isn’t a perfect book. It’s a book that kept me up way past my bedtime. A 4 star book was good but didn’t grab me quite the same way. Both 4 and 5 star books I can recommend without reservation. I rate every book I read on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/melnewton) in real time and you are welcome to follow me there if you want to see what I’m reading and recommending throughout the year.
Only 4 and 5 star books are listed below. Most are fiction and genre fiction, but there are 2 non-fiction books listed this year as well. If you’ve been following these posts over the years then I think you will already know whether my tastes are a match for yours. Happy reading :).
Dead Spots by Melissa Olson. Melissa is a new author for me this year. If you are a fan of genre fiction and looking for something entertaining that will take you out your life for a few hours, this series is your new friend. This is book one of the Scarlett Bernard series (currently a trilogy) which I liked better than her other tangentially related series “Boundary Lines” etc, but both are entertaining and readable.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. Different and the first of a series, the second book in the series just came off of library hold after MONTHS. That alone should tell you this is worth a read. Is it dark? A little. But I think all of us who grew up feeling different has a little darkness in us.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. This is THE book of 2021 for me. When I think of all the books I read in 2021 and I must recommend one quickly and under pressure, this is the one that immediately comes to my lips. Try it. Preferably on an afternoon you don’t have a firm bedtime in mind.
How to Kill Friends and Implicate People by Jay Stringer. Solid 4 star book. I didn’t realize until I was composing this post that this is listed as book 2. I don’t think it matters? I had no idea that there might be a book related to it out there, and I have very little tolerance for starting a series in the middle. I’m adding the “first” book to my “to read” list now, but in the meantime, give this one a try.
Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West by Christopher Knowlton. One of the few non-fiction books this year. Surprisingly readable, a little repetitive, probably should be required reading for anyone that is really enamored of “cowboy culture.” This was such a brief period in the history of our country but a defining one. Sorting myth from facts with a bit of economics thrown in makes this book a must read.
The Scholomance Series by Naomi Novik. Damn this author can write. Similar to T Kingfisher, when I pick up one of her (?) books, I never quite know what I’m in for. I’ve loved, hated, and been meh about various books she’s written….but this series…..THIS SERIES. Kept me up WAY past my bedtime. The first book was a solid 4 stars but that damn second book was a 5 star and I’m still so mad that I found this series before book 3 has been published.
Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding by Daniel E. Lieberman. I swear this non-fiction book is not some secret plan to get you to run a 100 miler with me. It’s a good read! I promise! It was recommended by some non-extreme-exercising members of my family and similar to other books in past years that delved into the how and why’s of human behavior, I find myself thinking about the concepts presented in the book often. The biggest takeaway? I don’t exercise as some sort of life-extending elixir. Instead, exercise may extend the quality of life for as long as possible and make my inevitable death more a rapid fall off of a cliff, instead of a slow tumble into the twilight years. That alone is motivation enough for me to lace up my shoes for a walk or run, and pick up some weights now and again.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Based on the Goodreads ratings, you will either love or hate this book. I loved it, 5 stars. It’s not really my type of fiction (beautiful love story, a bit of tragedy blah blah blah) but it came highly recommended by people I trusted so I gave it a try. Wow. Just wow. One that will stay with me in a good way. Give it a try. The writing is wonderful.