Next in my 2021 wrap up blog posts is my favorite books of 2021 list. This is one list that I usually have too much fun making but also am so conflicted by because I just can’t seem to choose. But last year, I adopted a practice where every time I loved a book, I’d automatically add it to a ‘Best Books of 2021’ worksheet in my book list workbook. It’s another matter altogether that end of the year me kind of cussed my past self out for putting the burden on her, but we ended up here. So that’s good, I think? 😛
But since there are going to be 21 books (more, because there are 2 series in here), I’m going to split this post into 2. They’re still going to be long, so I request a little patience as you go through them. 🙂
The video for this went up on my YouTube channel yesterday. If you’d like to go check it out, here’s the link: Favorite Books of 2021.
1. The Ember Quartet by Sabaa Tahir
This is one series that I love so much despite it wrenching my heart apart! A fantasy series replete with magic, jinns, purely evil commandants, characters trying to do the right thing, multiple sacrifices, bloodlust, gore, violence, the thirst for power, and so much more, this series will wear you out and make you want to curl up into a ball and cry your eyes out. The world-building is fantastic and Sabaa Tahir will transport you into deserts and sandstorms and castles and forests alongside sword and knife-wielding warriors, soldiers, and assassins while hoping against hope that there is hope after all in this world. Does that make any sense? I sure hope so!
3. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
This is the story of William or Will, a black kid whose older brother Shawn has been shot dead in the streets. He sets out, revolver in hand, to take revenge against the people who killed his brother. But on his way down in the elevator, Will is visited by the ghosts of people in his life who entreat him to reconsider what he’s doing. Will this journey Long Way Down do something to bring peace to Will’s mind? Will it help him understand?
Jason Reynolds packs a powerful punch every time he writes, and this book, a novel in verse, is full of heartache, truth, and pain. It reflects a sad reality that shouldn’t exist, but which unfortunately does. But it also talks about how the necessity of caution is putting the burden on the victims and their families instead of perpetrators when it should be the other way round.
3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid has cemented her place as one of my favorite authors of all time with this book in which she tells us aging Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo’s story and what she had to do to stay in the business. Evelyn Hugo is such an iconic character, honestly, and everything that she does is so awe-inspiring. Some are shocking, but her explanations more than make up for it. She is unapologetic about her decisions and sticks by them, which is something that I love her for. I really want to be like her and own myself like she owned her personality. Gah, what a fantastic book and what a fantastic character and what an absolutely fantabulous author!
#4. Boys Will Be Boys by Clementine Ford
A hardcore feminist, Clementine Ford is always unapologetic about her disgust for sexist and misogynistic pigs, as one should be. In this book, she talks about toxic masculinity and what the patriarchy has done and is still doing to women and also men, who have been conditioned to be in one way in order to be accepted by society. She talks about how femininity in men is seen as a bad thing, and that’s because of society’s distaste towards women. And she lists so many examples of how this binary viewing of the world has led to women being treated like third-rate citizens. This book, like its predecessor, Fight Like a Girl is a powerful but necessary punch to the gut.
6. The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
In this duology where we follow six outcasts, each as different from the other as can be, Leigh Bardugo finds her best work ever. These outcasts set out on an impossible heist and along the way, force you to fall in love with them. The whole found family trope, handled with such sensitivity, wit, and humor, is one of my favorite parts of this duology. Of course, Kaz Brekker, that teenage criminal of the barrel, plays a huge part in how I see this series because of how cutthroat he is. But don’t underestimate any of the other characters. There’ll be hell to pay for later. Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
6. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Pain! This is my first thought when I think of this book because Chloe has chronic pain (fibromyalgia) and I have arthritis, so it feels like I’m one part of two souls stuck in alternate dimensions. But the thought that’s a close second is: ‘Redford Morgan’. Chloe’s love interest is a hunk of a man who is the sweetest I’ve ever read in literature. As their relationship progresses, so does my heart begin to beat faster, because Talia Hibbert has that knack for making a story supremely empathetic. She talks about how two people in a relationship need to pull each other up while being understanding of the other, and that’s the kindest thing I read in a long time. Ah, Talia Hibbert! Cannot wait to read more by you!
7. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Cora, a slave on a Georgia plantation, is visited by Caesar, another slave, who tells her about the Underground Railroad on which they can escape. They set out, but soon, a slave-catcher is on their heels. Will they be able to find a way to get away? Or will the catcher catch up to them, forms the story.
Colson Whitehead’s narration is raw and wide open, and filled me with so much anger that even now, months after having finishing it, I’m fuming red. Reading this book needs to become necessary, to learn about the extent of the absolute barbarism that white people perpetrated against people who weren’t like them. And to everyone who justifies it – I’ve seen on social media that such people exist – may you never find peace.
8. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
John Green is one of my favorite authors of all time. I was super excited as I went into this book and I was not disappointed. Far from it, really, because John Green, with his narration of his reviews of the current geological age, the Anthropocene, catapulted this book into my top reads of 2021 and perhaps into the all-time-favorites list too. Some of these essays are from observation, some from experience, some are relatable, some are not – but all of them are witty and amazing. Thinking about this book fills my heart to no end. I listened to this on libro.fm and I was so in love with it that I went and ordered the paperback for it.
9. Where Hope Comes From by Nikita Gill
Writing a poetry collection about hope and strength and infusing hope into me during a pandemic that’s leeching the hope from the world is something only Nikita Gill can do. I can’t say anything else because with her words, Nikita Gill renders me speechless, every single time. I’m at a loss for words. So all I can say is that please go read her poetry. It’s something that is out of this world, yet will seem like such a huge part of you by the time you finish reading it.
10. Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri
When I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s most famous book, The Namesake, earlier in the year, little did I know that there was going to come a time when I would thank my stars for having started reading her works. Whereabouts, a book with a solitude-loving protagonist very much like myself, identified the likenesses, entered my heart, and settled into me in the most beautiful way possible. It talks about solitude and loneliness, and how the two are so different yet so intricately interwoven that it sometimes becomes difficult to tell where the line of difference lies. Also, living in Rome is a dream, something that I won’t act on, but still dream of because it’s nice to do so.
So those were the first 10 of my favorite books of 2021. I’ll be back soon with part 2 of this list. 🙂
Which of these 10 have you read? Which ones do you want to read? Which ones did you add to your TBRs or wishlists? Which books were your favorites of 2021? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
Also, if you’d like to watch a video of me talking about my favorite 2021 books, here’s the link: Favorite Books of 2021. And if you’d like to keep up with more of my video content, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.
Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life! 🙂