books 2021 in review

2021 Fiction

These are the ones I didn’t read or complete:

Watership Down – I’ve come to the conclusion I’m never going to actually read this book. I hated “animal” books when I was a kid and I don’t know that I’m convinced I want to make space to read it now. Perhaps I should try an audiobook version..

The Snow Child – I really want to read this one, but I keep forgetting about it.

Passage to India – I bought this one, started it and couldn’t get into it. I’ll try it again as it’s on the home library shelf, but I think it will have to be a “not before bed” book.

Les Miserables – This one has been by my bedside untouched for a year. If I wait much longer I’ll have to start over again.

These are the 3 I actually did finish from my original list:

  • The Chosen (amazing)
  • Little Men (pretty good – I like Little Women better)
  • East of Eden (bonkers weird – but man I love Steinbeck)

I had a goal of reading more Gaiman and Doerr. 

Doerr was the one that I sort of dove into – I read About Grace and his brilliant new novel Cloud Cuckoo Land.

I also wanted to finish the Shiloh Series by Helena Sorensen and I read the second one and then stopped. I don’t know why I can’t get into this series.

2021 Non-Fiction

I didn’t do so great with this one. I actually own almost all these books now, but I get so sidetracked with other non-fiction books that I either forget about this list or just can’t find the time to work through it.

The ones I did read:

  • Handle with Care: How Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry (so good!)
  • Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents 
  • and I started Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Taleb

Of the remaining list, I still read want to read all of these. Bandersnatch is probably at the top of this list as it’s been on my “want to read list” for way too long and I keep hearing about it in so many different places.

  • The Hill Women
  • Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings 
  • Through the Gates of Splendor
  • The Four Loves
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
  • Atomic Habits


When it came to my reading life in 2021 – these were my ultimate goals:

  • read slower – I honestly don’t know if I did this or not. I did try to contain the number of books I was reading- but more often than not I was super overwhelmed with my lack of motivation, discipline, time etc.
  • commonplace regularly – totally didn’t happen. I’ve really got to figure out how to make this happen this year. Even if I never write online again – I seriously have got to start commonplacing regularly. I really feel like that is the push I need in order to get that writing muse re-awakened.
  • work on research/reading for my writing – failed.
  • read more from our growing home library – as in dig into those TBR stacks – getting there. I really am working on curating a home library even harder than ever.
  • read more authors that I want to write like – yes!

Top books of 2021

My absolute favorite reads of 2021 were…

FictionCloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. It’s been a long time since I finished a book and then immediately wanted to read it again.

The one book I’ll read every yearHannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. 

Non-Fiction: Ties between A Circle of Quiet & The Summer of My Great Grandmother by L’engle (the Crosswick journals), This Beautiful Truth by Clarkson and Prayer in the Night by Warren. All of these I would read over and over again.

Looking back at my Goodreads, I read a lot of really, really good books this year. I didn’t really follow any sort of list or standard…I just heard of something or remembered something and read it. I abandoned a lot more books that I ever had – but I’ve come to that stage of my reading life where I just can’t waste time reading stuff I don’t enjoy/like or writing that is lousy. I’ve fully embraced the “book snob” life.