2021: The Year in Books

2021: The Year in Books

2021 written with masks on a brown wood floor

2021 has seemed endless, but here we are. Here’s the meme of the moment:

This image baffles me. Bernie and his mittens at Biden’s inauguration seems like it was years ago. I guess plague years seem the longest.

I didn’t read much this year. I was doing other things. I had tons of downtime (read: time stuck at home) that I used to sew and learn to quilt. I had a mask shop on Etsy that I only recently closed. I did other things too, I guess, like stare at the wall and wish COVID didn’t exist. After I went back to work, I learned Python, mostly out of boredom, but I became bored with that, too. Hopefully a new year and a new job (!) will revive my interest in…things. For now, there are books. I’ll post about my plan in the next few days. Here’s what I read this year:

Soooo I’ve blogged about exactly one of these, but here’s a list nonetheless.

Bold means I really liked it, italics means I hated it, and plain text means it was reasonably good. They’re in the order in which I read them, and they’re on the list because I finished them this year, regardless of when I started.

  • The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan
  • Making History: Quilts & Fabric from 1890-1970 – Barbara Brackman
  • Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy
  • Bad Island – Stanley Donwood
  • Bright and Dangerous Objects – Anneliese Mackintosh
  • The Great Offshore Grounds – Vanessa Veselka
  • Bride of the Sea – Eman Quotah
  • Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir
  • Tropic of Orange – Karen Tei Yamashita
  • How to Take Smart Notes – Sönke Ahrens
  • The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All – Josh Ritter
  • Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much – Sendhil Mullainathan
  • Show Your Work! – Austin Kleon
  • The War of Art – Winning the Inner Creative Battle – Steven Pressfield
  • Nomadland – Jessica Bruder
  • Here – Richard McGuire
  • First Person Singular: Stories – Haruki Murakami
  • Zazen – Vanessa Veselka
  • Red Screen – Stephen King
  • The Coddling of the American Mind – Greg Lukianoff
  • Last Night in Montreal – Emily St. John Mandel
  • Three O’Clock in the Morning – Gianrico Carofiglio
  • Ohio – Stephen Markley
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Travels with My Aunt – Graham Greene
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land – Anthony Doerr

I read some really good books this year. Of these, it’s really hard to choose a favorite. Here are my top three:

Honorable mentions are The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All, Last Night in Montreal, and Travels with My Aunt. I guess.

I’m not going to go beyond the top three this year. They’re all excellent for different reasons, with an connecting thread of dystopia. I really wish I had written about Tropic of Orange after I read it, as I think it’s an amazing and under-appreciated novel. It’s objectively the best I read this year.

Featured photo credit: Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash.

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Indices, etc, coming soon!