I didn’t hit my target of 52 this year.
I’m fine with that, I half expected it, once lockdown was over, I made up for lost time and took every chance to do a lot more and see friends and family, I have no regrets.
I hit a grand total of 47 books this year, not too shabby.
I can’t pick my favourite ten from over the past 12 months, the majority I’ve really enjoyed, I must be getting better at choosing what to pick up, instead I’m going to highlight a few of them (we’ll see just how many by the time I get to the end of this post).
One that goes straight on to my favourite books of all-time list….
A man called Ove by Fredrik Backman.
Three weeks on and I’m still thinking about this book.
I loved it so much, there aren’t enough superlatives to describe this novel.
I’ve banged on about to as many people as possible ever since and will definitely end up re-reading it, it was just beautiful from start to finish.
It’s made me download all of Backman’s books so, you can probably expect him to feature a lot on this blog over the next 12 months.
Final word, if you haven’t read it yet, what are doing? Go start it now, you won’t regret it.
One that became my most popular post…
Do they know it’s Christmas yet? By James Crookes.
A couple of months after posting about this one, it really took off. It’s one of my most read posts of all time and I’m thrilled by that because it is a great book!
In my mid-year review I had this down as the funniest book of the year, it still takes that prize.
It isn’t strictly a Christmas story, it’s about brother and sister Tash and Jamie who accidentally time travel back to 1984 and break it.
It’s fun, it’s nostalgic, it’s an all-round great read and there is a follow up – Did they steal a million yet? – that I’ll be reading very soon.
One that was a tear-jerker
The one hundred years of Lenni and Margot.
Obviously, a story that involves a 17-year-old terminally ill girl living in hospital is going to bring the tears.
It’s a story of unexpected friendship as Lenni strikes up a close bond with 83-year-old Margot and between them they paint 100 pictures depicting their lives and Margot shares her deepest secrets.
It isn’t a depressing read, it’s a celebration of life.
“Do you know,’ she said slowly, ‘that the stars that we see the clearest are already dead? […] it’s not depressing, it’s beautiful. They’ve been done for who knows how long, but we can still see them. They live on.” Marianne Cronin
The one that sparked a million memories…
The Storyteller by Dave Grohl.
No surprise here, I love this guy. I am a huge Foo Fighters fan.
The Storyteller cemented Dave Grohl’s legend status and revealed that he is a great storyteller.
There was so much I didn’t know about his background; he has a fascinating story to tell even if you aren’t a Foo Fighters fan.
The one with the great twist….
Okay, there’s two. I have actually had more luck with thrillers than normal this year.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that thrillers, at times, can fall a bit flat for me.
Dorothy Koomson always delivers and she did again with I know what you’ve done, I loved it – here’s my full review.
Excellent set up that we can all relate to.
Secondly, Rock paper scissors by Alice Feeney snuck up on me, she is great at coming up with an original idea and running with it.
Adam and Amelia’s trip to the remote Scottish Highlands kept me guessing throughout and at no point was I anywhere near to being right.
The one that introduced me to a new author…
Call Billy by Sam McColl.
I loved this tale of the incredibly dysfunctional Gillespie family and their new start in Edinburgh.
It’s a new start that goes up in flames rather quickly. Andrew and Rachel, are prone to making disastrous choices, they’re selfish at times, they’re human.
I met Sam through this blog, a case of mistaken identity and a shared love of reading, keep writing Sam, looking forward to reading more!
The one that felt like a hug….
There’s only one that could ever take this title, The Comfort Book by Matt Haig.
It lives on my bedside table with my favourite passages marked, passages that made me think halle-fucking-lujah I’m glad someone said that finally.
“It’s okay not to make the most of every chunk of time” Matt Haig
It’s book that you can do whatever the hell you want with, read however you like, and it is comforting.
The one that shone a light on the unheard….
Songbirds by Christi Lefteri.
Songbirds is a book I want everyone to read and then think about the choices that people in some of the poorest countries in the world have to make. I say choices, there isn’t a whole lot of choice involved when it is the only option available.
I’d like to thrust a copy of this into the hands of so many people in the hope that it would encourage them to view the world differently and with some empathy.
Songbirds is a hard read, it’s based loosely on a real story that happened in Cyprus, which is just awful. It is well worth the read here’ my full review
The one that taught me the most…
Got to be Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera.
The history lesson I never got at school that I absolutely should have.
Sathnam unpicks Britain’s history as a colonial power and explores the impact it still has on society today and the racism that still blights this country.
There’s still a desire, by some, to view Empire through rose tinted glasses, the same people do not want to recognise the horrific acts that were carried out in the name of Empire and the sure as hell don’t want anyone else to point it out either.
The accompanying two-part documentary is must watch TV too.
The One that just didn’t hit the mark…
Beautiful world where are you by Sally Rooney was perhaps the most anticipated release of the year and I didn’t like it.
I didn’t like it all. I didn’t like the characters. I don’t have to like characters to stick with a book, but I have to care about the story and at least understand them. I was just bored by them and got fed up with their relentless angst.
It took weeks to finish, I should make it a resolution to give up when I’m not enjoying something.
So, there we have it, my 2021 in books.
It’s been a varied reading year, as always. There’s been books that have been nowhere near my usual read, it’s been filled with fiction, non-fiction, memoir and poetry.
There’s been more thrillers than usual, there’s been surprises both good and bad, there’s been books I’ve loved; characters I’ve adored and those I’ve despised.
I might not have read as many books as I intended but there’s always been a book on the go!
Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm