2021 Book Archive

Somehow it’s the beginning of the second quarter of 2022 already and I haven’t recapped my year in reading for 2021 yet. It was a banner year where the avid reader in me rejoiced at finishing grad school and getting to make up for lost time by reading exactly what I wanted for leisure again! A total of 76 books, to be exact. I haven’t read that many books in a year since I’ve been keeping track on Goodreads. Something very worth celebrating. I do these posts mostly to document for myself, but maybe there’s folks out there who also are looking for recommendations here. Enjoy!

  • Organizational Culture and Leadership, Edgar H. Schein – Grad school assigned reading of the business self-help variety
  • Anxious People, Fredrik Backman – this was a book club pick from an author we had read before. This one was a great mystery with a satisfying and emotional ending
  • We Were Liars, E. Lockhart – my oldest daughter (an avid reader herself) brought this one home and it looked interesting so I also read it. Very good mystery that I did not see the ending coming with.
  • Contemporary Business, Louis E. Boone – more grad school required reading textbook. Think of it as a mini MBA…
  • Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey – one of my favorite actors and an interesting memoir. Did it rock my world with revelations? No.. But do I have a greater understanding of the person behind the actor? Yes
  • Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult – this was a book club pick that was surprisingly good. Interesting to learn about elephants, but also some great thriller/mystery/who done it elements that were very satisfying
  • The Winter People, Jennifer McMahon – I picked this one up from a local author event the year before not realizing it was a second in a series. I think I would have liked it better if I had read the first one in the series as well
  • Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia – this was a book club pick for my writing group which was honestly kind of a dud. I guess I either am not a fan of the “gothic novel” or I’ve desensitized myself with hard core horror because this was more ew than scary
  • The Night Swim, Megan Goldin – this was a recommendation from a friend and well worth the read! I was on a serious thriller/mystery kick and this was a real gem
  • Second Skin, Christian White – this was an Audible Original that was free with my account. It was supposed to be super scary about a reincarnated girl and it was kind of a dud. Not memorable except that it failed to meet any of my expectations
  • Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1), Leigh Bardugo – there was so much hype about this book and my daughter begged me to read it. It was really good especially if you are a fan of the young adult genre, which I’m not. While it was a good story, it wasn’t compelling enough for me to keep reading the series
  • A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1), Alyssa Cole – this was a guilty pleasure romance that a friend highly recommended. It had been a while since I’d read any romance and it was very enjoyable with not only some steamy scenes but a plot that could stand on its own
  • Queen’s Peril, E.K. Johnston – I picked this up because I love Star Wars and the author was going to be a keynote at a conference I was attending. I enjoyed additional layers of Star Wars than you get with the movies, but I also realized that there are probably good reasons I don’t read novels like this in licensed franchises because it feels like I’m reading fan fiction about beloved movies
  • When You Find Me, P.J. Vernon – a fantastic mystery/thriller
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab – one of the best books I read this year! My oldest insisted that we had to read it on our spring break road trip and she was not wrong. We all loved it and I
  • That Inevitable Victorian Thing, E.K. Johnston – a wonderful book with alternate history and inclusive characters. Highly recommended!
  • The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, Lori Nelson Spielman – book club pick that was so great. We also listened to this one on our road trip and even the hubby was interested and talking about it when it was over
  • Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens – so much hype and for good reason. This was an incredible read and I loved it!
  • Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right, Linda K. Trevino – assigned reading for grad school
  • Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Emily Nagoski – recommended by my therapist and one amazing book. The first chapter alone changed my life
  • The Midnight Library, Matt Haig – I read this for both my neighborhood and my writing group book clubs. It was good especially since I love stories about alternate universes, but it didn’t strike the same chord as many others I know who also suffer with mental health challenges
  • Queen’s Shadow, E.K. Johnston – more Star Wars fan fic
  • Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate – this was almost a book club pick that looked really good so I read it anyway. It was a really good family drama with a very satisfying ending
  • The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1), Sarina Bowen – another romance recommendation that was okay but not amazing based on college life
  • A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2), Alyssa Cole – more romance, this one a second in the series that I had really liked earlier in the year that was also really good
  • The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1), N.K. Jemisin – this was a sci-fi/fantasy by a Nebula nominee (or maybe winner?) that I wanted to read to see what kinds of books win those awards. It was a little too fantasy for me and while I did like it, I didn’t love it
  • Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, Byron Katie – another recommendation from my therapist. It resonated with me because I had done similar work about twenty years ago and it built on some fundamentals I had forgotten. Not sure I would have liked it as much without that prior info but it was a good reminder
  • The Flight Girls, Noelle Salazar – a recommendation from my sister that I enjoyed. I used to fly (and wanted to fly in the military back when I was in high school) and this was just enough historical fiction from WWII and female pilots to make me very happy
  • The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah – this was a book club pick. While it was an amazing historical fiction about the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression, it was also a really heavy and difficult read. I’m glad I read it but it isn’t for everyone
  • The Queen’s Gambit, Walter Tevis – I loved the Netflix series and assumed that the book would be better. However, it was such a well-done adaptation that there wasn’t any additional depth that I got from reading the book
  • Change Management and Innovation, MindEdge Inc. – grad school assigned reading
  • The Afterward, E.K. Johnston – another young adult that was good but the whole genre leaves me wanting. This one was unique in that it was about super heroes after the end of their heroic journey
  • Unfuck Your Boundaries: Build Better Relationships Through Consent, Communication and Expressing Your Needs, Faith G. Harper – an amazing book that I highly recommend. I think I found this because Audible recommended it based on the other self-help books I’d been reading. Of course the name was intriguing and so I had to pick it up. It did not disappoint! Highly recommended if you find yourself wishing you could have more effective relationships with people
  • Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir – another best book of 2021 that I devoured. I loved Weir’s first book and this one was even better. I recommend it to everyone even if you aren’t a sci-fi reader
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living, Jes Baker – another recommended to me by Audible because of my reading history that did not disappoint. It was my first foray into the whole body positivity movement and this idea of rejecting diet and fitness culture as harmful. Very interesting
  • Magic Hour, Kristin Hannah – I love everything I’ve ever read from Kristin Hannah, this one included. Kind of hard to read about ferrel children and intense neglect and abuse but well done
  • Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works, Evelyn Tribole – this book changed my relationship with food. It is a much more healthy way of eating and approaching the world and part of the rabbit hole I started down with my health coach a few years ago
  • It’s Not All Downhill From Here, Terry McMillan – a book club pick that was so amazing especially for aging women
  • The Lost Apothecary, Sarah Penner – another recommendation from a friend that did not disappoint. It is a weave of history and current events tied to a city. Very great read
  • Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage, Arthur A. Thompson Jr. – the very last assigned reading for grad school before I finished
  • The Power, Naomi Alderman – book club pick that was legitimately amazing. Dystopian and feminine empowerment with a science fiction twist and feel. This one stayed with me for a while!
  • Radicalized, Cory Doctorow – a short story collection that I picked up after seeing the author as a keynote at a writing conference. It was enough to know I liked his work and add a novel-length work to my to-be-read pile
  • Not the Girls You’re Looking For, Amina Mae Safi – a great read with diverse characters by another keynote speaker who I was very impressed with. This one was also a young adult but I really enjoyed this one!
  • The Lost Queen (The Lost Queen Trilogy, #1), Signe Pike – a book club pick in the historical fiction genre, this time an Irish/Scottish tale about a character who probably came to be known as Merlin in the King Arthur tales. Hard to read, but also fascinating. Better on audiobook to hear the accents read for you and the pronunciation of all the names
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division: Hearts on Fire, Kc Wayland – another audible original that I got for free. If I’m being honest, I picked it up because it was narrated by one of my favorite actors from my BSG fandom. It was a fast and fun read that reminded me of a video game
  • Aetherbound, E.K. Johnston – this was a scifi young adult. I really like this author but YA just is blah for me. Not really sure why…
  • Little Brother (Little Brother, #1), Cory Doctorow – this was social commentary and social justice/the future is a shit show like I really enjoy. If that’s your thing, you would love this book as well. If it isn’t, you probably hate this book…
  • Forty Acres, Dwayne Alexander Smith – a very interesting take on slavery and finding a way to heal our past but in fiction form. I picked this up from recommendations and was not disappointed
  • The Hiding Place, C.J. Tudor – a pretty creepy psychological thriller with some supernatural woven in for good measure. This was a recommendation from a friend that did not disappoint
  • When We Believed in Mermaids, Barbara O’Neal – another thriller/mystery because I just couldn’t get enough of these. It was really good and recommend this one for anyone who loves a good family drama with a little bit of mystery
  • Restless, William Boyd – a spy who got out kind of story about a woman who comes clean to her daughter about her secret life many years after the war.
  • On the Beach, Nevil Shute – a book club pick that I just didn’t like. Mostly because I can’t stand reading older fiction (this one was published in the 50’s) where the blatant sexism of the time period comes shining through
  • The Hollow Places, T. Kingfisher – another psychological thriller
  • The Scent Keeper, Erica Bauermeister – I devoured this book while on a beach in Mexico with my sister celebrating graduation… it was an amazing book that I highly recommend!
  • Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston – romance of the highest and best kind with diverse characters and accurate portrayal of romance and real life. So good!
  • Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewell – a book club pick in the mystery/thriller genre which was very well-done
  • Boyfriend Material (Boyfriend Material #1), Alexis Hall – more great and diverse romance
  • One Last Stop, Casey McQuiston – this was paranormal, diverse, and amazing all wrapped up together. I love this one!
  • Trailer Park Trickster (Adam Binder #2), David R. Slayton – an urban fantasy with my kind of witchcraft. I think I liked this second in the series even better than the first which is pretty rare for me
  • The Last Thing He Told Me, Laura Dave – more mystery/thriller but also really well done
  • The Guest List, Lucy Foley – mystery/thriller that had great potential and kind of left me wanting with the ending
  • Peeps (Peeps #1), Scott Westerfeld – eh, another YA that I didn’t hate but also didn’t love. At least I’m consistent, right?
  • Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam – a story about the end of the world where that isn’t central to the plot and instead is about people thrown into weird situations trying to cope. It didn’t really love this one especially the ending
  • Cytonic (Skyward #3), Brandon Sanderson – a rare YA series that I’ve kept reading and don’t hate
  • Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid – an interesting read with undertones of dealing with privilege and race issues that I really liked
  • In Five Years, Rebecca Serle – this was a surprising find that I expected to be fluffy and trivial but that turned out to be very deep and with some heavy adult themes. Very good one!
  • Detransition, Baby, Torrey Peters – a very difficult read for non-trans (and especially cisgenered, heterosexuals like me) that is also one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read. I’m an LGBTQ+ ally and thought I had enough friends and people I care about who had shared their experiences that I knew what their lives were like. This book showed me that I knew almost nothing and gave me a deeper empathy for everyone on this path
  • Devil Versus Alpha (The Millennium Wolves #1) – I got sucked into some free reading app with a teaser chapter on Facebook because what’s more guilty pleasure than sex and werwolves?
  • Ghosted Soul (The Millennium Wolves #2) – who knew I was already reading the second book with that teaser app…
  • The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett – another amazing novel that gives needed glimpses into #ownvoice experiences of the African American experience
  • Ravel, Cassidy Ward – a novella from one of my personal writing friends. Knitting and unraveling strands of reality? Yes, please!
  • The Wife Upstairs, Freida McFadden – a psychological thriller recommended by a coworker. Very enjoyable and very well-done
  • Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Brandon Sanderson – I’m trying not to give up on this series but the books are slow to be released and major tomes to read when they do. This felt like a dip of toes into the world without a 54-hour audiobook commitment
  • Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre, Max Brooks – this one was fun but also not that scary or amazing given my previously mentioned desensitization toward “scary” books

About terraluft

Writer; wife, mother, survivor, and impulsive bitch rarely capable of saying no. Fueled by coffee, yoga and sarcasm. (She/Her) View all posts by terraluft

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