Thursday, December 16, 2021

Ten Best Books of 2021


What a good year for reading!  I have read a multitude of books culled from my shelves,  but I also fit in a few new ones.  I have divided the list into two categories, "New Books" and "Classics," for the sake of sanity. And I have gone slightly off the beaten track, so I hope some of these titles are new to you.  Click on the links to read my reviews.

Enjoy the list!  Happy reading!



1.  NEW NOVEL:  The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig

2.  NEW NOVEL IN TRANSLATION:  The Frightened Ones by Dima Wannous

3.  NEW SCIENCE FICTION:  Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

4.  NEW SHORT STORY COLLECTION:  Pleasure Palace:  New and Selected Stories by Marian Thurm


 5.  REISSUED CLASSIC:  The Lifeline by Hugo Charteris

6.  CLASSIC SCIENCE FANTASY.  The Book of the New Sun quartet by Gene Wolfe  (The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor, and The Citadel of the Autarch)

7.  CLASSIC GOTHIC NOVEL:  The Rose and the Key by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

8.  CLASSIC MEMOIR:  My Apprenticeships by Colette

9.  CLASSIC MYSTERY:  A Dram of Poison by Charlotte Armstrong

10.  CLASSICAL HISTORY & LETTERS:  Cicero's Letters to Friends (Epistulae ad Familiares).


What are your favorites of the year???  Happy List-Making! 

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  1. You only go back to the 1st century BC? I thought you were going to include some real classics. :)
    And I really must read 'The Lifeline' one of these days.

    1. Ha ha! :) I do think you would like "The Lifeline." Which reminds me, I should read more of him.

  2. Thanks for sharing your list!

    I can't list most these as new releases, but I'll share a few of the books that I enjoyed the most this year:

    To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (Wow - I'd never read it - brilliant!)
    Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)
    The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz by Russell Hoban
    Cutting It Short and The Little Town Where Time Stood Still by Bohumil Hrabal
    Various short stories and Jacob Von Gunten by Robert Walser
    Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima
    If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
    The True Heart by Sylvia Townsend Warner
    Are You Somebody? by Nuala O'Faolain
    Other Worlds: Peasants, Pilgrims, Spirits, Saints by Teffi (newly translated!)
    David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (first time I've read it! WOW!)
    Days in the Caucacus by Banine (also pretty newly translated)

    Thanks for giving us the space to make lists! Lists are fun! Happy holidays and a Happy New Year!!

    P.S. Have you ever listened to the Podcast "Backlisted" out of the UK? It's the best book discussion ever. Brilliant and funny. Soooooo good and highly recommended!

    1. What a great list! I do want to read the Russell Hoban. I've never gotten beyond "Turtle Diary." I am immediately checking out the "Backlisted" podcast. Thanks.

    2. P.S. I'm adding some of your titles to my TBR. I knew this would be useful. :)

  3. Glad to hear you got some inspiration from it, as I did from your list! :-)

    The Backlisted podcast goes back several years, and covers books old and modern. Scroll back several years and see all they offer -- the first one I listened to was on My Ántonia, and it was so good! They have turned me on to several great books and writers. Andy Miller is hilarious, and absolutely insightful.

    Russell Hoban can be pretty far out -- but he explores some really cool ideas and really wild ways.

    Territory of Light blew me away -- so subtle, so beautiful, gently building and growing.

    And I think I mentioned Warner's The True Heart to you before. I think it would definitely be up your alley from what I see. Beautiful, subtle, delightful book. I'll look forward to seeing you post on some of these titles! :-)

    1. I'm always happy to learn about a new podcast and am a fan of Warner!

  4. P.S. The Backlisted podcast is where I heard about Nuala O'Faolain's book. Brilliant discussion of her work and a fantastic book!!! She says about literature --

    "If there were nothing else, reading would -- obviously -- be worth living for."