First of all, thank you for your patience with me and this post! My end of year content (namely this post and a few others that are in the works) is more in depth and tends to take a longer time to put together… I’d hoped to have this post done before LA but that did not happen with all the preparation for yesterday’s big launch. So here we are, with everything I read this year!
Last year, I read 80 books! This is the least I’ve read in a bit (last year it was 96, the year before it was 83). I don’t set reading goals but it makes sense that I read less than I did last year (still a lot). First of all, we were locked down for quite a bit of 2020 so I read much more than usual. Also, I listened to a lot more audio books in 2020 (walks were the key to my sanity). This year, I moved, started dating someone, and spent a lot more time with family so I had less time to read. I am not surprised. How many books did you read last year? And what was your favorite?
EVERYTHING I READ IN 2021
MY FAVORITE NON-FICTION FROM THIS YEAR
I didn’t rank these as I enjoyed them all SO MUCH.
- BIG MAGIC, BY ELIZABETH GILBERT
- JOYFUL, BY INGRID FETELL LEE
- UNTAMED BY GLENNON DOYLE
- CULTISH, BY AMANDA MONTELL
- WE’RE SPEAKING, BY HITHA PALEPU
- THE THIRD DOOR BY ALEX BANAYAN
- HEAVY, BY KIESE LAYMON
- THE LYNCHING, BY LAURENCE LEAMER
- IF YOU TELL, BY GREGG OLSEN
MY FAVORITE THRILLERS + SUSPENSE FROM THIS YEAR
Despite reading fewer total books, I read more seven more thrillers in 2021 vs. 2020. Thrillers are my escape and I was tired this year… I just wanted my murders!
- THE PUSH, BY ASHLEY AUDRAIN
- JUST ONE LOOK, BY LINDSAY CAMERON
- GREENWICH PARK, BY KATHERINE FAULKNER
- GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL BY AIMEE MOLLOY
- LITTLE SECRETS, BY JENNIFER HILLIER
- WHITE SMOKE, BY TIFFANY D. JACKSON
- TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, BY CAROLA LOVERING
- THE THERAPIST, BY B.A. PARIS
- THE STRANGER IN THE MIRROR, BY LIV CONSTANTINE
- FAKE, BY ERICA KATZ
- THE GOLDEN COUPLE, BY GREER HENDRICKS & SARAH PEKKANEN
- OUR AMERICAN FRIEND, BY ANNA PITONIAK
- ACE OF SPADES BY FARIDAH ÀBÍKÉ-ÍYÍMÍDÉ
- STATE OF TERROR, BY LOUISE PENNY AND HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
- IMPOSTER SYNDROME, BY KATHY WANG
- APPLES NEVER FALL, BY LIANE MORIARTY
- ONE BY ONE BY RUTH WARE
- THEY’LL NEVER CATCH US, BY JESSICA GOODMAN
- YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME, BY KAREN M. MCMANUS
- THE GIRLS ARE ALL SO NICE HERE, BY LAURIE ELIZABETH FLYNN
- THE OTHER ME, BY SARAH ZACHRICH JENG
- THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, BY NANCY TUCKER
- THE MAIDENS, BY ALEX MICHAELIDES
- HER THREE LIVES, BY CATE HOLAHAN
- THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME, BY LAURA DAVE
- THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR BY ROSE CARLYLE
- THE HERD, BY ANDREA BARTZ
- PRETTY LITTLE WIFE, BY DARBY KANE
56 DAYS, BY CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD
- FRIENDS LIKE THESE, BY KIMBERLY MCCREIGHT
- LOOKER, BY LAURA SIMS
- LAYLA, BY COLLEEN HOOVER
- THE END OF HER, BY SHARI LAPENA
- NOT A HAPPY FAMILY BY SHARI LAPENA
- ALL GIRLS, BY EMILY LAYDEN
- THE HUNTING WIVES, BY MAY COBB
- TOO LATE, BY C. HOOVER
MY FAVORITE LIGHT READS FROM THIS YEAR
- THE SOULMATE EQUATION, BY CHRISTINA LAUREN
- THE BLUE BISTRO, BY ELIN HILDERBRAND
- MALIBU RISING BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID
- IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, BY KATE SPENCER
- THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS, BY MADDIE DAWSON
- PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION, BY EMILY HENRY
- A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN, BY LAURA HANKIN
- THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF PARADISE, BY KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY
- GHOSTS, BY DOLLY ALDERTON
IN POLITE COMPANY, BY GERVAIS HAGERTY
- ANNA K AWAY, BY JENNY LEE
- DELICIOUS, BY RUTH REICHL
- WHILE WE WERE DATING, BY JASMINE GUILLORY
- REMINDERS OF HIM, BY COLLEEN HOOVER
- RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE BY CASEY MCQUISTON
THE VIEW WAS EXHAUSTING BY MIKAELLA CLEMENTS AND ONJULI DATTA
- ANNE OF MANHATTAN, BY BRINA STARLER
MY FAVORITE MORE SERIOUS FICTION
- THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY, BY MATT HAIG
- THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, BY COLSON WHITEHEAD
- PACHINKO, BY MIN JIN LEE
- INFINITE COUNTRY BY PATRICIA ENGEL
- DETRANSITION, BABY BY TORREY PETERS
- THE ART FORGER, BY B.A. SHAPIRO
WISH YOU WERE HERE, BY JODI PICOULT
- THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY V.E. SCHWAB
- THE PAPER PALACE, BY MIRANDA COWLEY HELLER
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA, BY CHANEL CLEETON
- THE SHOW GIRL BY NICOLA HARRISON
- YOLK, BY MARY H.K. CHOI
- THE LOST APOTHECARY, BY SARAH PENNER
- IF I HAD YOUR FACE, BY FRANCES CHA
- THE MOTHERS, BY BRIT BENNETT
- THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV, BY DAWNIE WALTON
- EVERYTHING AFTER, BY JILL SANTOPOLO
DISCLOSURE: IF YOU BUY SOMETHING THROUGH MY LINKS, I MAY EARN AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION, AT NO COST TO YOU. I ONLY FEATURE THINGS I TRULY LOVE HERE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
photo of me by Allie Provost.
Such a great list, thanks to you I have read almost all of these and am constantly sending new recs to my book club! Definitely add “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to your current reading list if you haven’t yet!
The Push – I get why mothers might not want to read it but oh my god. So effing good. The Plot was the only other thriller I read this year that came close to the level of the Push. I highly, highly recommend it.
Adding so much of your more serious fiction to my list. Detransition Baby was sneakily one of the funniest novels I read this year.
I love going through this list every year, thank you for continuing to do it!
I love this list and the comments that come with it!
My favorites of the year (that don’t appear above): Dancing in the Mosque (memoir), The Hearts Invisible Furies (serious fiction), and The Sweetness of Water (serious fiction).
THIF is my favorite of all time and I can’t imagine anything dethroning it!
The Hearts Invisible Furies has been sitting (unread) on my shelf for two years now. This comment might be the one that makes me pick it up!
I read 40 books this year, 14 of which were your recommendations. My favorites are always your more serious books as I ultimately find them so rewarding and need that little extra encouragement to read them. Many of my favorites this year were your recommendations: Infinite Country, The Midnight Library, Cultish, The Underground Railroad and City of Girls. I also loved The Sweetness of Water and my favorite twisted thriller was The Turnout. You have REALLY encouraged me to read more, so thank you!
I’ve read a ton of the same books (often because of your rec!) and just finished The Art Forger last night – WOW. One of the best ones I’ve read in awhile! It reminded me of the Steve Martin novel about the art world (blanking on the name), but much more fast paced and twisty!
I think my favorite book I read this year was The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah…definitely depressing but I still think about it to this day.
I am reading that right now. It’s so good. Sad. But good.
Yes! Adding all of the serious fiction and light rights and non fiction to my TBR list!
Grace, I think this is my favorite post!! I don’t care when it happens, I’m just so excited it’s here!
A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Wife Upstairs, and The Last Thing he Told Me were my favorites this year. I also really enjoyed The Plot.
Always love your recommendations! Thank you for continuing to do this list!
I love your yearly roundup posts, Grace! I have Just One Look on hold from the library, and Greenwich Park on pre-order! Love a good wintertime thriller.
Thanks for sharing, I love your book recommendations and have found a lot of new books to add to my “TBR” list. My favorite of the year was by far the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I also really loved Addie LaRue 🙂
Oh, and I read 28 books this year!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was my first read this year. I haven’t been that emotionally invested in a book in awhile! Already know it’s gonna be my top read this year
My favorite books were: The Last Flight, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano, Between Two Kingdoms (memoir), Wish You Were Here, and The People We Keep! I got a lot of book recs from you and I also think Greenwich Park will be a big 2022 hit!
I *loved* Between Two Kingdoms! I thought it was so well written and beautiful.
Love your book roundups!
Book talk is what brought me to your podcast, blog, etc. 🙂
Thanks to your recs and book club, I’ve read a bunch of these!
Oh! And I don’t set book goals because reading is my #1 hobby and I want it to always be enjoyable, never feel like I’m rushing a book or making it a “to do,” in any way. I have DNFd more than usual, thanks to you and Becca talking about it, I think — there’s just so much to read that I’m not interested in “slogging” these days!
I did read 58 books in 2021, which was 10 more than in 2020 (I don’t set goals, but I’ve started keeping track of the books I read for fun).
– The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (my subjective rating on this was A++++++ ! this book was so well written, so profound, thought-provoking, beautiful….)
– The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
– Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
– How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry (the sweetest and loveliest story, while also being well-written with fun/funky characters)
– A Promised Land by Barack Obama (can’t recommend listening to this one enough)
– The Boys Club by Erica Katz
– Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (also listen to this one!)
– Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayd
– The Music of Bees by Eileen Garbin (who knew bees were SO incredibly fascinating!)
– Too Good to be True by Carol Lovering
– Musical Chairs by Amy Peoppel (i think I got this rec from one of your BOP guests…)
– The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons
– Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
– Outlawed by Anna North
Invisible Life of Addie Larue was my favorite
Wahhh. What is wrong with me? I read like 5 pages an gave up on it. Do I need to try it again?
YES. I thought that I’d hate it and ended up being mad at myself for not reading it sooner. It’s truly great, and made my best of 2021 list too!
I’m also in the minority and didn’t like it! I found the main character so strangely joyless and immature. I read the book but I didn’t find it got any better
I read 107 books last year. My favorite hands down was Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Thank you for sharing all your books!
I loved the Blue Bistro and immediately became an Elin Hilderbrand fan. I also really enjoyed Emily Giffin’s newest, The Lies that Bind. A lot of light reading in 2021 which I craved!
I ma curious, are you a speed reader?
No… I just really love to read and make the time for it. 🙂
Always look forward to your books posts! I watched a ton of TV in 2021 so I only read 10 books.
Becoming by Michelle Obama, Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering, and The Other Mrs by Mary Kubica were my favourite reads last year.
This year I’m back on Goodreads and aiming for 50 books. I’ve already read 3 books since January 1st – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (can’t stop thinking about it. I am pretty sure it will be my top read this year), Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica (so many twists and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Definitely a favourite!) and Hostage by Clare Mackintosh (finished this one last night. Kept me on the edge of my seat and had to keep reminding myself to breathe. Loved it from start to finish!)
Thanks again for these posts! Just picked up American Royals by Katharine McGee, Modern Love by Daniel Jones, The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz, and They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman on your recommendation
I loved “The Office of Historical Corrections,” which was a collection of short stories. I don’t usually go for short stories but I could not stop thinking about each story and craving more about each character! I also loved “Damnation Creek,” but I think you have to be in the right mindset to read it or it might feel slow.
Thank you SO much for reading The Southern Side of Paradise I hope 2022 is a GREAT reading year for you! xoxo
Always a highlight to look at your reading lists, Grace!
I know from your post last year, it was important that you carved out a focus for books written by BIPOC authors; I’m wondering if you had any kind of focus this year and how well you feel like you made progress against that goal? Curious whether you have any for your 2022 reading?
Honestly, I don’t really have any reading goals, and I didn’t last year either. I tallied it up and this year’s list was about 25% BIPOC authors. Right now I am pretty fried by the pandemic and just want to read thrillers. I’m constantly searching for thrillers by BIPOC authors though, should you have any great recs!
Thanks for the reply!
I have two recommendations that fit the bill:
– All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M Morris (came out in late 2021)
– Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett (comes out in March)
Neither was OMG-hands-down-5-stars amazing for me, but totally scratched the itch and I think you might enjoy!
Thank you, I really appreciate it and am ordering both! (And I do hope to get back to more social justice books etc when the pandemic brain fog lifts!!!!).
I always look forward to this list. Thanks for sharing! I read 36 books last year and discovered TJR. Currently reading seven husbands and can’t wait to see what unfolds based on comments!
Thank you so much for your recommendations!! I’ve turned into such a nerd, where I’m constantly reserving books at the library and the first thing I do is go to your blog for your recommendations! I must have read the Jodi Picoult based on your review – that was one where I seriously didn’t see the plot twist coming.
The twist was wild!!! Excited to talk about it on the podcast this month.
Thanks for posting, I think I’ve read almost half of your pics! This year you may want to check out the Thursday Murder Club. I devoured it, and am on the second book. It reminds me of Only Murders in the Building and is my favorite book I’ve read in quite a while!
Oooh that sounds amazing, thank you for the rec!
I always love and look forward to this post – thanks, Grace! I read 76 books in 2021 – a ton in the summer and then my pace slowed down a bit when the Fall got busy. Many were on your recommendation and there were some truly great ones in there! Anxious People by Fredrik Backman was my #1 book of the year and one of my favorites in a long long time!! I went on to read much of the rest of Backman’s catalog and loved them all, esp. the Beartown series.
Grace, I thought you read Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil before your Savannah trip? I was curious what you thought of it.
I put it down and haven’t picked it back up! Sorry!
Thanks for the reply! 🙂
This post (and the comments) are so fun to read! I’ve added a number of recommended books to my TBR list. Also, your “books” page is one of my favorite features of your blog! I appreciate all your ratings and reviews!
Oh that makes me happy, thank you for telling me!
Curious how your anti-racism book goal this year turned out? Or was that a one year and done goal? It was a ‘big focus’ in 2020 and now just no mention.
Thanks for the note. That was a goal for 2020. It was a 12 month commitment to learning and I am glad I did it, as I learned a LOT. Two books on the list (Heavy and The Lynching) were from the list. I was pretty fried this year and focused more on reading for pleasure vs reading to learn: a lot of fiction and thrillers. I will always strive to read from a diverse mix of authors (more than 25% of the books on my list this year were by authors of color – I would have liked that number to be higher), and if a new book in the anti-racism space comes out I will absolutely read it.
Thanks for all the amazing recommendations Grace!
You’re so welcome!
Just went through your list and downloaded 6 books for my upcoming vacation! Thanks for all the recs!
Oh yay! You are so welcome!