I began the year with no reading goal and I hoped that along the way I would read some good books and boy did I. Also, I read some duds along the way and by about September, I figured that I might hit a book a week target – this I did and surpassed slightly. Previous year lists are available here: 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Some overall thoughts, I got into audio books for the first time and since I also read ebooks, I don’t really care how the material is presented, books are books. I got into some new Australian authors (and podcasts but that’s another post altogether). I tried to read the Women’s Prize shortlist and got through 4.25 out of 6 of them. I also read some non-fiction, sometimes for work and others just out of interest.
Key: *** Highly Recommend ** Yeah, why not read it *Nah, only read if you have nothing else (No star) I have no feelings on the book
See the chronological list below and some thoughts I had as I finished the books.
- Sex and Vanity – Kevin Kwan *
- Destination Wedding – Diksha Basu – **
- Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A novel – Balli Kaur Jaswal ***
- The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters – Balli Kaur Jaswal **
- Dreamland – Sam Quinones ***
- A Bollywood Affair – Sonali Dev
- Pride and Prejudice, and other flavours – Sonali Dev **
- The Wedding Party – Jasmine Guillory *** LOVE ALL HER WORK
- Recipe for Persuasion- Sonali Dev **
- The Prenup: A Love Story – Lauren Layne
- The Windfall – Diksha Basu. HARD PASS. The book did not start, get better or finish. The only interesting side note is that she is the daughter of a superstar Economist, Kaushik Basu.
- Talking to Strangers – Malcolm Gladwell. Look I love Malcom’s books, all of them but this is THE WORST of his books. Wouldn’t recommend it.
- Nothing Ventured – Jeffrey Archer
- Hidden in Plain sight – Jeffrey Archer
- The Family Gift – Cathy Kelly
- The Fifth Letter – Nicola Moriarty ***
- Those Other Women – Nicola Moriarty ***
- Becoming Men – Malose Langa ***. Possibly one of the best non-fiction reads for 2021.
- The Perfect Mother – Aimee Molloy **
- The Hundred Wells of Salaga – Aysha Harun Atta **
- Grown Ups – Marian Keyes ***. LOVED IT. Therapeutic.
- Manchester Happened – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. *** Best Short Stories.
- Eating from one Pot: dynamics of survival in poor households in South Africa – Sarah Mosoetsa ***.
- How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House – Cherie Jones*. Didn’t like or get the story. I also think it could have been a short story.
- The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman ***. Lovely little read.
- Yellow Means Stay: An Anthology of Love Stores from Africa. DO NOT READ. Problematic collection that included a paedophile’s “love” as one of these love stories. Yuck, yuck and yuck. Reached out to the editors and their response was lukewarm at best.
- Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi ***
- Unsettled Ground – Claire Fuller ***. Loved it! Finished it and immediately smiled. The book starts so slowly and there is build up but you can’t quite see it. I was rooting for Jeanie all along and it was nice seeing her develop through the course of the book.
- The Wives – Tarryn Fisher *. It’s like two books in one. First half great! The second, confused, hurried. Still not sure what actually happened at the end there.
- That Summer – Jennifer Weiner ***. It really got under my skin in a good way.
- Here Comes the Sun – Nicole Dennis-Benn *** This book sat in my heart really painfully. It was tragic, it felt like poverty porn, relentlessly painful.
- Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at Saint Paul’s School – Shamus Rahman Khan *** . A serious contender for Best Non-Fiction.
- The Weekend – Charlotte Wood ***. WOW. I did not expect to be enchanted by this book as much as I was. Please read it.
- Good Company – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney ***
- The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney *
- Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments – Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler ***
- Love in Colour – Bolu Babalola *. This was one of those Bookstagram made me read this and it was honestly CRAP.
- People we meet on vacation – Emily Henry ***
- The Other Black Girl – Zakiya Dalila Harris *. I wanted to love this book but nah, I don’t get the hype.
- The Kindest Lie – Nancy Johnson *** READ IT, JUST READ IT.
- 491 Days – Winnie Madikizela Mandela. Another non-fiction read that was a total education for me, I realised I never understood or made up my own mind about Winnie Mandela.
- The Rose Code – Kate Quinn ***
- Snapped – Alexa Martin **
- The Huntress – Kate Quinn *
- Other Women – Cathy Kelly
- All Gomorrahs are the Same – Thenjiwe Mswane **
- How we get free – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor *
- Apples Never Fall – Liane Moriarty *** (Definitely a top read contender)
- Party of Two – Jasmine Guillory ***
- The Mother In Law – Sally Hepworth ***
- The Secrets of Midwives – Sally Hepworth *
- The Man who Died Twice – Richard Osman
- The Family Next Door – Sally Hepworth **
- The Alice Network – Kate Quinn ***
- The Evening and the Morning – Ken Follet *** WOW
Top five fiction:
- The Evening and the Morning
- Manchester Happened
- Unsettled Ground
- The Weekend
- The Kindest Lie
- The Rose Code
Still being read
- No one succeeds alone – Robert Refkin
- The sum of small things – Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
- Long Bright River – Liz Moore
- Disappearing Church – Mark Sayers
- No one is talking about this – Patricia Lockwood. I do not get the writing style of this book and DO NOT UNDERSTAND how it made it onto so many long and short lists. AVOID.
- Black Buck – Mateo Askaripour. I HATED the narrator’s voice and could not get past the first ten pages.
Any books you read last year that stood out to you?