2021 was a really good reading year for me. There were a lot of books that I enjoyed so much, but I narrowed it down to my top 5 for this list. Here are the ones I enjoyed the most:
- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
So I’m gonna go ahead and count this as a book I read in 2021 even though I started it at the end of 2020 and finished it at the beginning of 2021. It’s a long book so reading it in a span of a few months is to be expected, especially if you’re like me and like to read multiple books at once. But I remember just being completely immersed in the plot of this book and being obsessed with the way Margaret Mitchell developed Scarlett O’Hara’s character to be so unlikeable but also rooting for her because she’s the main character and you can’t help it. One second you love her Scarlett’s strong will and the next you despise her narcism and wish her all the worst. She’s beautiful, spoiled, and self-absorbed. She is desperate to escape her poverty so she uses her charm and her ability to get her way to climb her way up. The more you get to know her the more you realize how heartless she is and love for herself and her own well-being is of superior importance to her.
The reason I find her character so admirable is that it takes a lot of courage and confidence to develop a character like that. It takes so much talent to do this. This is a romance/historical novel but not what you would expect, especially from a classic. It’s suspenseful, witty, and heartbreaking. A must-read for classic enthusiasts.
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
I loved this book! It only took me a few days to finish it. It has such a special place in my heart. It was like reading a magical book that would lure you in as a child but with a much deeper lesson that can only be fully appreciated as an adult. Does that make any sense?
Matt Haig takes you on a journey through the multiple lives of Nora Seed. Between life and death, she finds herself in a library where every book contains a life she would’ve lived had she made different choices. The shelves in this library are infinite as are the possible lives of Nora Seed. Along the way she learns valuable lessons about what it takes to have a fulfilling life that is worth living.
I love how Haig writes for the child in all of us. I found myself reflecting on what my younger self would think of the life I’m living now. Would she be proud? We all had dreams as a child but whether or not any of those come to fruition shouldn’t be what determines the value of our lives. Sometimes our dreams take a different turn and that’s okay.
I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a magical place to find yourself again. I’ve heard of many being disappointed in this book and I can see why. It’s not at all what I expected from this book either. It’s not an “easy” read, per say, but I think I’d best describe it as a self-help book in fiction form.
- Anxious People by Frederick Backman
I read this one as an e-book and read a few pages every night before going to bed. If you have trouble going to sleep because your anxious thoughts are keeping you up, I’d recommend reading this book before going to bed. It’s a light-hearted read and will make you laugh. I often found myself laughing out loud and my husband would glance over at me confused.
Anxious People is about 8 strangers who find themselves being held hostage during an apartment viewing by a bank robber who never actually robbed a bank — it’s a long story. Each of these strangers’ lives are so different and far from perfect. They all have secrets and struggles they are trying to deal with and to top it all off they can now add “being held hostage by a failed bank robber” to the list. However, while inconvenient, this whole situation actually turns into an overdue, well-needed therapy session, if you will, in the most humorous and unexpected way.
After reading so much about Backman’s novels and his humorous writing, I’m finally convinced that his books are worth the read. I’m not one to gravitate towards comedy-style books but I found the humor to be well-placed without taking away from the plot. Will definitely be giving his other novels a try soon!
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is the first book I’ve read by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She’s a well-known author and talked about so much in the book world. This isn’t typically the kind of book I’d be drawn to but was pleasantly surprised. This is both a contemporary read and historical fiction with lots of family drama added to the mix.
Nina Riva throws an annual end-of-summer party along with her 3 siblings. She is a talented surfer and supermodel; Jay is a championship surfer; Hud is a renowned photographer; and their little sister, Kit, is still trying to find her true self and what she really wants in life. But these famour Ricas’ lives change over the course of 24 hours as they prepare for the party. They all have secretsof their own that will only be revealed in a matter of time. Reid takes you on a journey through this family’s past and through the single day that will change their future.
I read this book while on holiday and I couldn’t put it down. It’s amazing how immersed you can become in a fictional family’s life. So many secrets and so much heartbreak for this well-known family. I think there are times when we see the lives that famous people live and think that they have it all or that they have it eas=y. But there’s so much that happens behind the scenes that no one else sees. This can also be true for anyone else who we think may have an easy-going life or seem to have it all. But really, we all have things we struggle with, sometimes even more than we would assume others would be dealing with. This book is a real eye-opener and makes you appreciate your own life, as mundane as you think it might be.
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Jessie Burton is another author I’ve heard so much about. This book, which is part of a series, had me at “historical fiction with a hint of magical realism.”
Nella Oortman, an 18-year-old, becomes the wife of an illustrious merchant trader, Johannes Brandt. She starts this new life in Amsterdam and moves into a new home. While splendorous, her new home is unwelcoming. As a wedding gift, Johannes gives Nella a cabinet-sized replica of their home. Nella then occupies herself by filling this cabinet with tiny replicas of her new home’s features by engaging in the services of a miniaturist. Nella begins to uncover secrets and understand more about the Brandt household with the help of the miniaturist.
This novel was beautiful as if every sentence was carefully structured and then plated with gold. I find it difficult to believe that not many people actually enjoyed this book as much as I did. I would definitely say that this is what they call a slow-burning book. Personally, I enjoy the imagery and long descriptions. It helps me become fully immersed in the plot and be able to clearly envision it.
I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series which comes out this summer. But until then I’ll be watching the TV series that’s based on this book and stars Anya Taylor Joy.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite books from 2021! My goal is to read 50 books in 2022 and to incorporate some short story collections as well. What are your reading goals for this year? Let me know in the comments along with your favorite books from 2021 xx