It’s that time of year again! Aka the time of year when I gush about all of the fantastic books I read throughout the year. And oh boy howdy, were there a lot in 2021.
I feel like this was an especially great year for reading. I track everything I read on Goodreads (it automatically syncs with my Kindle, and it’s just so gosh-darn convenient), and, as of right now, I’ve read 67 books this year.
Of course, I started a few I didn’t end up finishing for one reason or another, but that’s 67 books I read from cover-to-cover.
Most of the books I ended up reading were fiction; I read to escape and to really lose myself in the story, and fiction is the best way, the most engaging way, for me to do that.
I learned about aliens and their distant home planet. I traveled through Europe and time. I went on vacation countless times. All without leaving my couch, my favorite blanket, and my best girl, Maya.
But, of course, some of the novels I read this year now have a very special place in my heart. They’re the ones that I read just at the right time. The ones that blew me away, surprised me, or made me laugh. The ones that I just can’t stop talking about.
And that’s what you’ll find in this post today!
Like last year, if you’re interested in checking any of the books I mention out for yourself (or for a loved one! books make the best gifts), I have a few links for you below:
- The first one, the link to buy a physical copy, is for Bookshop.org, a website that allows you to support independent bookstores with your purchase.
- The second, the ebook version, is an Amazon link.
- The third is a link to add the book on Goodreads.
None are affiliate links; I just wanted to give you as many places as possible to look for these fantastic books!
I highly encourage you to check out your local library as well –– most, if not all, of the books I mention here I got from my library. I download my ebooks through the Libby app by adding my library card. It’s free and so so convenient.
Alright. Onto the reads!
The Best Books I Read in 2021
If you and I talked at all this year, I’ve probably mentioned this book once or twice.
I. Loved. This. Book.
In fact, I’d go as far to say that this book right here is my all-time favorite book.
Andy Weir also wrote The Martian, which was on my “best of” list last year. But man. He can write. I love the way he writes internal monologues. They’re hilarious and super witty, yet based in science and excitement.
The adventure! The flashbacks! The suspense! ROCKY!
I’m obsessed with this book.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
I think I read this book right before it blew up on social media, and I can honestly say that I 100000% back the hype that it has gotten this year!
It’s a story of a girl named Addie who makes a deal with the devil. Good news? She lives forever. Bad news? No one remembers her. Until one person does.
The story spans centuries and countries as we follow along with Addie’s experiences of trying to find her place in the world, all while being invisible to each and every person she meets.
I don’t re-read books very often, but this is one I know I’ll be revisiting.
I love characters that are grumpy and witty but also have a soft side. And that describes Ove to a T.
This book had me from the first few pages. Even now, nearly 8 months since I read the thing, I still think of it every week.
It was such a touching, funny, moving story of what it means to love and be loved. Very much an Ove fan.
This thriller! I think I found it from following my friend (Gretchen!) on Goodreads, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The synopsis –– two women, trying to escape their lives, switch tickets at the airport so they can’t be tracked and can disappear completely –– sounded really unique and interesting.
I think I finished the book in two days.
It kept me on the edge of my seat without being too intense (just didn’t have it in me for many intense thrillers this year), and I thought the twist was great. Very much a fan!
I’ve read a lot of Colleen Hoover’s books, but this is probably my favorite of the bunch.
I thought the love story –– between those intense first few interactions to their problems and reactions throughout –– was super interesting. It’s a bit of a hard read when the characters face some difficult issues, but I thought they were handled (and resolved) really well in this novel.
I liked this book way more than I thought I would! I thought it was just going to be your standard rom-com with some very silly hoodwinks and problems and then ultimately end in a cute-yet-predictable way.
Of course you had some of that in this novel, but I think People We Meet On Vacation gives you a little more than that, too. I thought the strained relationship between best friends, Poppy and Alex was a really interesting twist, and the entire story was really fun, heartwarming, and memorable.
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
The best cure for my wanderlust in 2021? This book.
It reminded me so much of my childhood –– the unique relationships between family, the Italian deli they worked at, the foods that were just… everyday foods to them. It was so fun.
The story follows Emilia, her cousin, and her great-aunt as they galavant around Italy to break the curse that has haunted their family for generations –– the second-born daughters in their family never find love.
The story is a wee bit far-fetched, but man. I enjoyed every second of this one. For being a book about traveling, it was such a cozy and homey read for me and my Italian roots.
I’m so very late to this one, but I really enjoyed it. And if you, too, love the enemies-to-lovers trope, you’ll also be a fan.
Lucy and Joshua, who work at desks right across from each other, have hated each other for years. So when a single promotion is dangled in front of them both, tensions rise, emotions go wacky, and, of course, their feelings towards one another start to evolve.
It was funny, it was spicy, it was sweet, and it was exactly what I wanted in a rom-com like this.
There’s a movie based on the book coming out soon, but I’d still recommend the read!
The House in the Cerulean Sea
I had no idea what to expect from this book, since the synopsis didn’t quite sound like my thing:
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management, he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
That said, I’m so happy I picked this one up because it has become one of my all-time favorite books.
It had me laughing, crying, and feeling so many things. It was one of the most heartwarming books I’ve ever read.
So much so, I’m thinking about buying this shirt.
Tips for Reading More
If you’re like, “You know, I want to read more (or start reading) next year!” I have some tips for ya that have really helped me do just that.
I read a lot when I was younger, but then I got out of it as a teen / college-aged person. I only very recently (within the past few years) started reading on the regular again, and it has become my favorite hobby!
Here’s what has helped me fall (back) in love with reading:
- I wake up early before work to read. Of course, this is relatively simple for me because A) coffee, B) I work from home, and C) I don’t have any kiddos to worry about. But! It works well for me –– and I really do love easing my way into the day with a book in my hands.
- I mentioned this before, but my library card is usually smoking from how much I use the thing each week. Pre-covid, I would use it to check physical books out of the library, but this year, I used it solely for ebooks on the Libby app.
- I find my book recommendations from a few different places. Friends and family are always a great place to start. I’ve also become a huge fan of Booktube (that’s people on YouTube who make videos about books) recently (Ariel, Noelle, and Leone have been my faves as of late!). And! I listen to a podcast about books to get some recs (it’s called Books Unbound, and it’s run by Ariel and her friend, Raeleen).
- That said, all of these tips wouldn’t really matter if I didn’t lean into reading what I actually wanted to read. For so long (most of my 20s!) I felt like I had to read a certain genre/type of book since I was “an adult.” That’s dumb. Read what you want to read because, if you actually enjoy it, it’s much easier to stick with.
And that’s a wrap on this year’s “best of” list of reading! Writing about books is definitely different from writing about food, but it’s something that’s really important to me, so I hope you enjoyed and got some good recs out of the deal.
If you’re interested in learning about some of the other books I read this year, feel free to follow me on Goodreads.
And! Leave your recommendations below. What were some of your favorite reads of 2021?
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