My Fifty Books of 2021

My 50 books of 2021

*blows her own trumpet* I’ve managed to read 50 books (slightly more now, but who’s counting 😉) this year and I have every intention of making sure everyone I know hears about it! Okay, it’s not the greatest reading achievement, but it’s the target I set myself and one I managed to achieve (unlike my weekly blogging goal!) so I’m going to celebrate.

I’ve listed my fifty books below, with a little detail (if you’d like more, just hop over to my Instagram)  some of it borrowed, about the book as well as which format I read it in. You won’t be surprised to learn that a lot of these books were in audio format, as its one of my favourite ways to access books now, and a significant number are also short stories, another favourite genre of mine.

Finally, I just want to add that this was just a little fun I wanted to have with my reading. We all have various constraints on our time, making this kind of goal completely arbitrary and personal. Reading, whether it’s a single book or a hundred, should be done for pleasure and joy, or to spoil the ending of a book for your husband. Whatever your reasons, I hope you’ve also had a great year of reading.

Books

1. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, dystopian fiction, sequel to The Handmaids Tale, my last book of 2020, and the conclusion of Gilead (Canadian)

2. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Epistolary fiction, beautiful and moving prose, with often difficult subject matters. (Vietnamese)

3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. A novel about passing in America set from 1950 to the 1990’s (American)

4. The Vegetarian by Han Kang. A novel about a woman’s decision to become a vegetarian, which is very rare in Korea, but also about mental health, shame and family. (South Korea)

5. The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam. Set over a period of days during the brutal civil war in Sri Lanka. (Sri Lankan)

6. Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand (Audiobook) Nonfiction. Anita Anand explores the life of this little known princess as well as taking a deeper look int British Indian History (British)

7. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam. An apocalyptic thriller for our times. (Bangladeshi /American)

8. Dear by Margaret Atwood. Poetry collection (Canadian)

9. Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis. Nonfiction, brilliant collection of essays. (American)

10. The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue. Audiobook. Set during the flu pandemic of 1918, deeply moving story of love and loss. (Irish)

12. Red at the Bone by Jacquelie Wilson. Fiction. A book of intergenerational trauma and family love. (American)

11. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson. Fiction. Beautiful and poignant look at the depths of love. (British)

13. Help Yourself by Curtis Sittenfeld. Short Stories. A brilliant collection of short stories exploring race, friendships and womanhood. (American)

14. Brutally Honest by Melanie Brown. Audiobook and biography. My first ever celebrity biography about the toxic relationship spice girl Mel B found herself in. (British)

15. Love After Love by Ingrid Persuad. Fiction. A story of love and loss and finding ones way back. (Trinidadian)

16. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins. Gothic Fiction. Set in 1826, and looking back to life on a plantation in Jamacia this is a story of a former slave girl on trial for killing her current employer in London. (British)

17. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. Fiction. A brilliant book about love, loss and redemption. ( Ghanaian / American)

18. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. (Science fiction, Audiobook)  A reread of one of the funniest books written. (British)

19. The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain. (Audiobook, Fiction) A moving look at a Pakistani family as they deal with grief and life as an immigrant family in the UK. British/Pakistani)

20. Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood. (Short stories) A powerful collection of short stories about womanhood. (Canadian)

21. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes. (Mythology) a retelling of the Battle of Troy from the perspective of the women. (British)

22. Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali (Young Adult, Fiction) Two young Muslims trying to make sense of the world find their way to each other. (American)

23. Are You Enjoying by Mira Sethi (Short Stories) A collection of short stories about the loves and lives of the elite in Pakistan. (Pakistani)

24. Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi (Fiction) A strained mother/daughter relationship with historic parental neglect and more recent mental health issues. (Indian)

25. Cut From The Same Cloth edited by Sabeena Akhtar. (Nonfiction, anthology) A brilliant collection of essays by Muslim women who wear hijab about life in the UK. (British)

26. Notes On Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi (nonfiction) The author speaks about her grief following the death of her father (Nigeran)

27. On Palestine by Noam Chomsky and Ilam Pappe (Nonfiction) Conversations between the two great thinkers on the situation in Palestine. (American / Israeli)

28. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (Fiction) A women tries to figure out what it means to be happy in a world that seems to tell you what happy is. (Japanese)

29. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. (Fiction Audiobook) Two sisters with psychic powers who lead very different lives. (American)

30. Who’s Loving You by Sareeta Domingo. (Short Stories) A collection of love stories by women of colour. (Global)

31. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adam. (Science fiction Audiobook) Sequel to The Hitchhikers Guide. (British)

32. Reckless by R.J. McBrien. (Thriller) A meaning less affair ends in a tragedy. (British)

33. I Refuse to Condemn edited by Asim Qureshi. (Nonfiction, anthology) A collection of essays looking at how the expectation to condemn has emerged, tracking it against the normalisation of racism, and explores how writers manage to subvert expectations as part of their commitment to anti-racism. (Global)

34. Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld. (Fiction, Audiobook) A look at what might have been if Hilary Clinton hadn’t married Bill. (American)

35. 10 minutes, 38 seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak. (Fiction) A prostitute is brutally killed and recalls her life before her conscious shuts down. (Turkish)

36. Light Rains Sometimes Fall by Lev Parikian (Non fiction) A look at the British year in Japan’s 72 seasons (British)

37. The Inseparables by Simone de Beauvoir. (Fiction) The newly discovered, semi-autobiographical book on friendship. (French)

38. Good Intentions by Kasim Ali. (Fiction) A Muslim Pakistani boy falls in love with a Black Muslim girl but worries what his family will say of their union. (British – released in 2022)

39. No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood. (Fiction) What happens when real life and social media collide. (American)

40. Conjure Women by Afia Atakora. (Fiction) An engrossing and haunting debut novel about the lives of slaves and their lives after the civil war. (British/ American)

41. Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Rania Mamoun (Short Stories) A rich, complex and moving portrait of contemporary Sudan. (Sudanese)  

42. We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza. (Fiction) Best friends, one white, one black, are left questioning their relationship and loyalties after the fatal shooting of a young black boy.

43. Misfits by Michaela Coel (nonfiction) Michaela Coel’s MacTaggart Lecture. (British)

44. The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed. (Fiction) A Somali man goes on trial for murder in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay in 1952. (Somali)

45. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Fiction) Probably one of the greatest American novels of the 20th century. (American)

46. The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. (Fiction) Two friends on their own journeys leading to the discovery of their past. (American)

47. The Startup Wife by  Tahmima Anam. (Fiction) A tech start-up and an unconventional marriage lead Asha to question why she still isn’t happy. (Bengali / American)

48. Family Lexicon by Natalia Ginsberg (Autobiographical Fiction) Natalia recollects her life and her family through their stories and language. (Italian)

49.Minor Detail by Adania Shibli (Fiction) The brutal rape and murder of a young woman in 1949 becomes the obsession of a women in present time. (Palestinian)

50. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (fiction) a café serves carefully brewed coffee which offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time. (Japanese)

And there you have it, my 50 books of 2021. I have written full reviews of most of these books either elsewhere on the blog, or more likely, on my Instagram account. For me most of these books are 4 or 5 star reads, I no longer invest my time and energy in books that I don’t enjoy, I just put them away. There is one book I didn’t especially get along with, but curiosity kept me reading. If you’re a regular on here you’ll know which one it is. I’m not going to set myself a reading goal for next year, but I’m thinking about what I will do in order to inject some excitement in my reading life – if you have any suggestions, please let me know below.

I’d love to hear about your reading journey in 2021, or if you’ve read any of the above books? Do let me know in the comments below.

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