2021 is at its end, and that means it’s time to write another Top Books post. I had a difficult year with books; I ran into a lot of what I call “meh” books that were overhyped and left me disappointed. But overall, I am still happy that I read.
From wrapping up a master’s thesis to getting pregnant with our first baby, I didn’t expect to meet my Goodreads challenge, but I did! Hooray!
While I did read 5X books this year, only a few made the Top Books list. I’m excited to share them below.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Perhaps one of my favorite books of all time? I read this one for a buddy read back in January. It was my first book of 2021, and my favorite this year. I write more in detail in my book review, but there are a lot of trigger warnings in this one. If you want to read, reach out and we can talk about it. This book is complicated, frustrating, raw, and beautiful. Backman is just tremendous. My advice: Yes, it’s a book centered around hockey, but it’s so much more than that.
Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
This book is from a chorus of writers accounting 400 years of the history of Black America. This book is an essential piece of storytelling and I highly recommend reading it. I plan on rereading it next year because it is that good. The audio is also fantastic.
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
After reading a few disappointing books this summer and fall, Kate Quinn certainly delivered with The Rose Code. In my book review, I wrote about how this book is all about strength, sisterhood, love, and sacrifice. Quinn always knows how to weave a good story and bring rich history into her books. I highly recommend this one and anything Kate Quinn writes. I’d give something she wrote on a napkin 5 stars.
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
This book is the sequel to Beartown and oh my goodness, I enjoyed this one. These books break my heart. Again, some trigger warnings, so please reach out if you’d like to read this series. Backman will be releasing the third one this year, and while I can’t wait, I am also preparing my soul for simultaneous heartache and healing.
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
I read this one on my iPad and furiously highlighted throughout. Hood Feminism offers rich insight in areas such as intersectionality and the problem with white feminism. I learned so much reading this book and I encourage everyone who is interested in feminism (read: everyone) to pick it up.
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Throughout the fall of 2020 into spring 2021, I read the Throne of Glass series, which was no easy feat. I am glad I did it, and I am thrilled that I found an author that I enjoy. Out of all of the Throne of Glass books, Queen of Shadows was my favorite. The action, the badass women, the plot — I was hooked throughout. You can read more about my thoughts on Throne of Glass in my series review.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
You want to have a lot of fun? Read Talia Hibberts’ Act Your Age series. I read all of them, and really enjoyed them. Out of all three, I’d have to say I liked Dani the best, but I enjoyed Eve’s story more. These books are funny and steamy, but I also love their representation, from LGBTQ to mental health and more.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I read the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology this year, and while I flew through the Shadow and Bone trilogy (review here), I enjoyed Six of Crows as a standalone book much more. I am yet to read King of Scars and Rule of Wolves, but I have a feeling I will continue to enjoy the stories. I really loved the Grishaverse and the characters she introduces in Six of Crows. I love the action and the heist and how she writes dialogue. It’s fun, witty, and engaging. I really loved Nina and Inej, as well as Jasper and Wyatt. Looking forward to checking in with Nikolai in January!
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Oh, look. Another Backman! Britt-Marie Was Here was fantastic. This one is a good mix of A Man Called Ove and Beartown — without feeling like you are reading the same book. I go into more detail in my book review, but this one really stuck with me. I loved Britt-Marie, the town and its characters. I laughed and shed many tears reading this one!
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
This was a perfect Halloween, witchy read. What I really loved about this book was the pretty prose throughout. Griffin has a talent for atmospheric writing. I appreciated all of the seasons while reading this book (and I usually hate summer!). I also loved the idea that everyone has their own “season” where they feel the most themselves — I am definitely an autumn! You can read more about my thoughts on this one in my book review!
What were your favorite books this year?
2021 Kassual Reads
Check out my wrap-up posts throughout the year: