New Year’s has come and gone, and now I’m looking down the long tunnel that is 2022, with its unknown twists and turns, waiting to once a gain throw me for an unexpected loop. I used to to love New Years Day—it meant possibility, it meant hope, it meant change. But as I’ve gotten older, all it’s seemed to mean is more and more uncertainty.
One thing I can always rely on, however, is books. Books have, and always will be my comfort zone and my safe space. I will always have a home in books, a warm place to snuggle in and feel safe. Even when the story itself is unpredictable, I find comfort in the smell, the heft, the feel of a book. And in 2021, when everything was strange and new and unpredictable, it’s clear that I found comfort in my familiar retreat. I lost myself in 50 books. 50 beautiful, wonderful, heavy stories. 50 chances to live a new life entirely different of my own. So here is my 2021 Bookish Year in Review.
- The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – This book was the first book I read in 2021, and it has stuck with me for a year now. I think about it all the time. I wish I could re-read it for the first time all over again.
- The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel – We read this for a book club. It is not something I would have picked up for myself, but I’m glad that I did; it became one of my favorite books of the year.
- Nothing But the Truth by Avi – I read this with my students. It was fine. Not my favorite class read, not by far
- Monster by Walter Dean Meyer – This, on the other hand, is one of my favorite class reads. It was complex and beautiful and heartbreaking. My students loved it, and I did too.
- Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin – I had attempted to read this book several times before it finally stuck, and when it did I couldn’t put it down.
- Accidental Presidents by Jared Cohen – Another book I wouldn’t normally have picked up on my own, but I heard it mentioned on What Should I Read Next? and it sounded incredible, so I picked it up. I’m so glad I did. I was fascinating, and I feel smarter.
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – I finished it, but it was a slog. I have no desire to read the rest of the series; I just found nobody to be truly redeeming.
- The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams – Every so often, I try a romance novel to see if I like them. I still don’t.
- The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – I could write thousands of posts about this book, alone. It’s my favorite. This is probably the 15th time I’ve read through this book and it never gets old.
- Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – Okay, I lied. Maybe I do like a romance if it’s well-written and adorable as hell.
- Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel
- Fifty Words For Rain by Asha Lemmie – Oh. My. God. This book haunts me it was so good. I want to read it again right now. Seriously. Go get it. Read it. Thank me later.
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jessmyn Ward – This rings every one of my bells for a book I love, and I was captivated by it. It made me cry hard. A lot. Every tear was worth it.
- Strange Love by Fred Waitzkin – I’ve already reviewed this book and said everything I wanted to there. I loved this book. It was a lovely read.
- Behind Blue Curtains by Lizzie Hershberger with Molly Maeve Eagan – Not only was this book so, so, so good, I got to chat with Molly Maeve Egan about it and the writing process. It will forever be one of my favorite experiences.
- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – TJR could write a story on a napkin and I’d want to read it 400 times. She’s so freaking talented. This book was no exception.
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling – Listen to it on audio. It’s so much better that way.
- Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian
- The River by Peter Heller
- Celine by Peter Heller – Of the two Hellers I read this year, I preferred this one. But I liked both books.
- Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave – This was another reread. It’s so good. I will always love this book.
- The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – So many people in my life told me to read this book, and I’m so glad I did. It was so, so, so good. I don’t even have words to describe how it consumed it.
- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – Oh my god. This book. Y’all. It messed me up in all the best ways. Brit Bennett is a genius. And she’s also super sweet; she did an event with my library and chatted with us through Zoom. It was a delightful. She is a delight and this book is a gift.
- The Parish Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
- Beach Read by Emily Henry – Another romance recommended by a friend that is by far the least romancey romance I’ve read.
- Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
- Sourdough by Robin Sloan
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Another re-read that I loved so much the first time I couldn’t even finish typing the review I was writing, because I had used amazing so many times, it had lost meaning.
- Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
- Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
- The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
- The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- A Promised Land by Barack Obama – I had to listen to this on Audio over the course of months. It was so much. So. Much.
- Little Gods by Meng Jin
- A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood
- The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mendel – I love the way this author weaves together storylines and allows people’s lives to intersect for mere moments. It’s a beautiful way to craft a story.
- Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon – In the words of a friend, “Nicola Yoon hasn’t let me down.”
- The Other Eintstein by Marie Benedict – I gobbled this book whole. It was great!
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon – I love Chabon, but I have to read him slowly.
- Final Girls by Riley Sager – Oddly enough, the perfect airplane read
- Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia
- Circling the Sun by Paula McLain – This book is perfect on audio. Highly, highly, highly recommend.
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
- The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand – Another re-read. I’ve reviewed this one in the past.
- The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – I’ve probably read this book at least 20 times. I’ve read it every Christmas Eve since the 7th grade
- A Killer Among Us by Charles Bosworth, Jr.
And there we have it. A year of comforts. When I started to feel off-kilter and lost, I turned to a book I’d read before. This year I re-read more than I really ever have before, and so much of that is because of the changes in my life and the unsureness I was feeling about life in general.
I’m grateful for books and the comfort they bring. And I’m grateful for change and the opportunity it brings. And I’m grateful to have an abundance of both, even if it’s scary and makes me feel like I’m totally out of control sometimes.
So here’s to 2022, and the changes and the books that it holds. Let’s see what the future has in store!
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