14 January 2022

Best & Worst Reads of 2021

Without further ado, starting with our best 3 reads:

This book is so cutting and vicious. I feel like I love to sneer too much, and this book let me. I am so glad I finally decided to pick it up, after having eyed the cover so many times in Indigo. This was my first experience reading Ottessa Moshfegh and I immediately ordered her two other novels to my apartment. My Year of Rest and Relaxation is about a young woman who decides to sleep for an entire year. It is only 304 pages and I am seriously considering a reread now. Reviewed in full here

I loved this so much I already am dying to re read it. It captures the female mind so perfectly, it's the perfect length, and it's equal parts romantic, heartbreaking, and funny. I can't imagine a woman not being able to relate to some aspect of Rachel's character. This is definitely the best book I read in 2021, my full review is here.

I have also been swept up in the Sally Rooney hype, but I honestly believe she deserves it. Her novels are so clearly written by (and for) someone who was born in 1991. Beautiful World, Where Are You came out this year and I sped through it. It is about two best friends and the relationships they find themselves in. I reviewed it in full here

If I'm being honest, I think the Netflix adaptation is affecting this ranking. I think I probably read better books this year (see my honorable mentions) but this story just moved me so much this past year. I have thought about Stephanie and her daughter non stop and her strength and circumstances come to mind so often for me when I feel like I'm having a hard day over something totally stupid. I would highly recommend the book, even if you saw the show because weirdly it goes off script a lot, but both are so worth enjoying. My full review is here.

I am late to Colson Whitehead, but am trying to make up for lost time. This is a man who won back-to-back Pulitzer's for his novels! The Nickel Boys is about a young black boy who ends up at an abusive reform school. This book completely shocked me in the end and I found it extremely moving. I enjoyed it so much that I recently picked up a copy of Whitehead's newest book Harlem Shuffle. You can read my full review of The Nickel Boys here

This was a huge surprise for me this year because it got sent as part of a marketing circuit and I read it sort of "out of obligation" rather than interest but I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to read more Wendy Fox in the future. My full review is here.

Meagan Honourable Mentions: 

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer (Meghan's review here).

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (my full review here).

Meghan Honourable Mentions: 

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (my review here)

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (my review here)

And now for our worst 3 reads:

Funny that my favourite and least favourite read of the year comes from the same author. In defense of Death in Her Hands, I did read this immediately after My Year of Rest and Relaxation so I was bound to be disappointed. I loved the premise of this book, but found it kind of loses itself and doesn't really amount to anything. Great cover, but will not revisit. Full review here

This was a huge disappointment because Moriarty's The Husband's Secret was actually one of my top three reads last year. I read this in advance of the Amazon Prime adaptation, which was equally terrible in my opinion. The content was super weird and I didn't connect to any of the characters really. I will read more Moriarty but this was  not great for me. Full review is here.

I am disappointed to be including my first ever Tom Wolfe read on my least favourite of the year list, but I found this book insanely boring. I usually love learning about new topics/cultures and was very excited to read this and watch the movie adaptation. The book really started out strong for me (talking about how risky it is to be a pilot) but quickly took a downturn. The other reasons I disliked this book can be found here

I feel like I already read all of Shreve's best books and am now working through the duds I didn't have interest in to begin with, which is why I'm not totally loving them these days. I just finished another that I didn't like at all that I'll share on the blog soon. I found this very slow and didn't care at all about the plot. My full review is here.

I also feel very embarrassed to be including a Kazuo Ishiguro book on this list, but I cannot understand what's to like about it. The problem may be that I started with Never Let Me Go (which I loved) and then Klara and the Sun, and both of these have a sci-fi element to them. I found The Remains of the Day so painfully boring in contrast. Review coming soon! 

And to rag on a third author I usually love that I have been recently disappointed by, this trilogy by Hilderbrand was a flop for me. I really liked her winter series and was excited for this trilogy but I found myself dragging through them. I wondered in my review if it's the setting? It's Hilderbrand's first books off Nantucket (they're set in the Caribbean) and it's just not the same. The charm was totally missing. My review is here.

If you like this post, we have one every year dating back to 2017, check em out:

2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 

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