Everything I Read in 2021, Ranked by Genre.

Everything I Read in 2021, Ranked by Genre

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.

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!

  1. THE PUSH, BY ASHLEY AUDRAIN
  2. JUST ONE LOOK, BY LINDSAY CAMERON
  3. GREENWICH PARK, BY KATHERINE FAULKNER
  4. GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL BY AIMEE MOLLOY
  5. LITTLE SECRETS, BY JENNIFER HILLIER
  6. WHITE SMOKE, BY TIFFANY D. JACKSON
  7. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, BY CAROLA LOVERING
  8. THE THERAPIST, BY B.A. PARIS
  9. THE STRANGER IN THE MIRROR, BY LIV CONSTANTINE
  10. FAKE, BY ERICA KATZ
  11. THE GOLDEN COUPLE, BY GREER HENDRICKS & SARAH PEKKANEN
  12. OUR AMERICAN FRIEND, BY ANNA PITONIAK
  13. ACE OF SPADES BY FARIDAH ÀBÍKÉ-ÍYÍMÍDÉ
  14. STATE OF TERROR, BY LOUISE PENNY AND HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
  15. IMPOSTER SYNDROME, BY KATHY WANG
  16. APPLES NEVER FALL, BY LIANE MORIARTY
  17. ONE BY ONE BY RUTH WARE
  18. THEY’LL NEVER CATCH US, BY JESSICA GOODMAN
  19. YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME, BY KAREN M. MCMANUS
  20. THE GIRLS ARE ALL SO NICE HERE, BY LAURIE ELIZABETH FLYNN
  21. THE OTHER ME, BY SARAH ZACHRICH JENG
  22. THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, BY NANCY TUCKER
  23. THE MAIDENS, BY ALEX MICHAELIDES
  24. HER THREE LIVES, BY CATE HOLAHAN
  25. THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME, BY LAURA DAVE
  26. THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR BY ROSE CARLYLE
  27. THE HERD, BY ANDREA BARTZ
  28. PRETTY LITTLE WIFE, BY DARBY KANE
  29. 56 DAYS, BY CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

  30. FRIENDS LIKE THESE, BY KIMBERLY MCCREIGHT
  31. LOOKER, BY LAURA SIMS
  32. LAYLA, BY COLLEEN HOOVER
  33. THE END OF HER, BY SHARI LAPENA
  34. NOT A HAPPY FAMILY BY SHARI LAPENA
  35. ALL GIRLS, BY EMILY LAYDEN
  36. THE HUNTING WIVES, BY MAY COBB
  37. TOO LATE, BY C. HOOVER

MY FAVORITE LIGHT READS FROM THIS YEAR

  1. THE SOULMATE EQUATION, BY CHRISTINA LAUREN
  2. THE BLUE BISTRO, BY ELIN HILDERBRAND
  3. MALIBU RISING BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID
  4. IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, BY KATE SPENCER
  5. THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS, BY MADDIE DAWSON
  6. PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION, BY EMILY HENRY
  7. A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN, BY LAURA HANKIN
  8. THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF PARADISE, BY KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY
  9. GHOSTS, BY DOLLY ALDERTON
  10. IN POLITE COMPANY, BY GERVAIS HAGERTY

  11. ANNA K AWAY, BY JENNY LEE
  12. DELICIOUS, BY RUTH REICHL
  13. WHILE WE WERE DATING, BY JASMINE GUILLORY
  14. REMINDERS OF HIM, BY COLLEEN HOOVER
  15. RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE BY CASEY MCQUISTON
  16. THE VIEW WAS EXHAUSTING BY MIKAELLA CLEMENTS AND ONJULI DATTA

  17. ANNE OF MANHATTAN, BY BRINA STARLER

MY FAVORITE MORE SERIOUS FICTION

  1. THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY, BY MATT HAIG
  2. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, BY COLSON WHITEHEAD
  3. PACHINKO, BY MIN JIN LEE
  4. INFINITE COUNTRY BY PATRICIA ENGEL
  5. DETRANSITION, BABY BY TORREY PETERS
  6. THE ART FORGER, BY B.A. SHAPIRO
  7. WISH YOU WERE HERE, BY JODI PICOULT

  8. THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY V.E. SCHWAB
  9. THE PAPER PALACE, BY MIRANDA COWLEY HELLER
  10. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA, BY CHANEL CLEETON

  11. THE SHOW GIRL BY NICOLA HARRISON
  12. YOLK, BY MARY H.K. CHOI
  13. THE LOST APOTHECARY, BY SARAH PENNER
  14. IF I HAD YOUR FACE, BY FRANCES CHA
  15. THE MOTHERS, BY BRIT BENNETT
  16. THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV, BY DAWNIE WALTON
  17. 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.

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Erin says 1.13.22

    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!

  2. Molly says 1.13.22

    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!

  3. Heidi says 1.13.22

    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).

    • Katie says 1.13.22

      THIF is my favorite of all time and I can’t imagine anything dethroning it!

      • Erin says 1.13.22

        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!

  4. mary says 1.13.22

    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!

  5. EMM says 1.13.22

    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!

  6. Katie says 1.13.22

    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.

    • Sarah says 1.13.22

      I am reading that right now. It’s so good. Sad. But good.

  7. Sarah says 1.13.22

    Yes! Adding all of the serious fiction and light rights and non fiction to my TBR list!

  8. Katie says 1.13.22

    Grace, I think this is my favorite post!! I don’t care when it happens, I’m just so excited it’s here!

  9. Katelyn says 1.13.22

    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.

  10. Rachel says 1.13.22

    Always love your recommendations! Thank you for continuing to do this list!

  11. Emma says 1.13.22

    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.

  12. Ally says 1.13.22

    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 🙂

    • Ally says 1.13.22

      Oh, and I read 28 books this year!

    • Donna says 1.13.22

      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

  13. Dena says 1.13.22

    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!

    • Heather says 1.14.22

      I *loved* Between Two Kingdoms! I thought it was so well written and beautiful.

  14. Christina says 1.13.22

    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!

    • Christina says 1.13.22

      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).

      Favorites:
      – 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

  15. Melissa Mayaudon says 1.13.22

    Invisible Life of Addie Larue was my favorite

    • Kelly says 1.14.22

      Wahhh. What is wrong with me? I read like 5 pages an gave up on it. Do I need to try it again?

      • Heather says 1.14.22

        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!

        • Clarissa says 1.16.22

          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

  16. Barbara says 1.13.22

    I read 107 books last year. My favorite hands down was Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Thank you for sharing all your books!

  17. Sarah says 1.13.22

    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!

  18. MIchelle says 1.13.22

    I ma curious, are you a speed reader?

  19. Donna says 1.13.22

    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!)

    • Donna says 1.13.22

      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

  20. Cortney says 1.13.22

    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.

  21. Kristy Harvey says 1.14.22

    Thank you SO much for reading The Southern Side of Paradise I hope 2022 is a GREAT reading year for you! xoxo

  22. Rica says 1.14.22

    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?

    • grace at the stripe says 1.14.22

      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!

      • Rica says 1.17.22

        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!

        • grace at the stripe says 1.17.22

          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!!!!).

  23. Nicole says 1.14.22

    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!

  24. Kelly says 1.14.22

    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.

  25. sarah says 1.15.22

    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!

  26. Lily says 1.15.22

    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.

  27. G says 1.15.22

    Grace, I thought you read Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil before your Savannah trip? I was curious what you thought of it.

  28. Anne says 1.17.22

    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!

  29. Breanne says 1.24.22

    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.

    • grace at the stripe says 1.24.22

      Hi Breanne,

      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.

      Best,
      Grace