My Favorite Books of 2021

08 January 2022

 
2021. What a year it was! I feel like I barely even had time to grasp what year it was before it passed me by, leaving nothing but a blur in my memory. But somehow, despite everything else going on in my life, I was actually able to read quite a lot. I ended the year with 63 books finished, and even though that is slightly less than I've been able to read in the past, I am still incredibly happy and thankful for every single story I got to experience. 


My reading year was defined by comfort reads and rereads. I felt like I was constantly crazing books that would take me back to my childhood, so I picked up some old series I used to love and a lot of other easy stories that I knew would be comforting. Of course, not all the books I read fit in with this trend, but when I look back on my moods and the books I was drawn to, it's clear I turned to reading as an escape for much of the year.


Another unusual aspect to my 2021 reading year is this list. I love compiling a list of my favorite books. It's one of my favorite blog posts to put together at the end of every year. But this year is a little different because, even though it's very clear in my mind which books stood out, I have no idea what order I should put them in. Every book I've listed has meant something to me in some way or other, and there's not a single one that I can confidently give the coveted title "Favorite Book of the Year." 


So while I'm extremely excited to share these books with you, just keep in mind that they are listed in no particular order. They're just the books I love and if I can convince you to put at least one of these on your TBR, I will be satisfied!


Misery - Stephen King


I became fully obsessed with Stephen King's writing after I read (and LOVED) 11/22/63 in 2020, and ever since I have made it my mission to read all of his books. Misery was one that quickly climbed to the top of the list (second only to 11/22/63, of course). It's one of his classic horror/thriller novels following a best-selling author, Paul Sheldon, who is kidnapped and tortured by his biggest fan. This was probably the first Stephen King book to actually scare me because, unlike in his other horror books I read, Annie Wilkes was such a believable villain. Once I reached the half-way point, there was absolutely no way I could put this book down. It's so fast-paced and I was on the edge of my seat. If you want a book that is just as exciting and thrilling as it is terrifying, I cannot recommend this one enough!


Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman


Practical Magic is my new quintessential book for autumn. I honestly didn't have high hopes for it when I first picked it up, but it turned out to be one of the most perfect books that I've ever read! I will fully admit that I don't think this is a book most people will enjoy, but it fits with all my particular tastes as a reader and I loved it! This is a story about a family of witches, and two sisters who are navigating life, romance, and magic. The writing was absolutely beautiful with a lot of slice-of-life details that added to the cozy atmosphere. Alice Hoffman makes even the smallest, most mundane things feel magical. And watching the sisters' relationship through the story reminded me a lot of Gilmore Girls. The actual magic elements really take a back seat in this one compared to other witch-y books, but I didn't mind that at all! I wouldn't change a single thing, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series this year.


Everblaze - Shannon Messenger


My little sister has become obsessed with the Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger, so of course I had to pick it up and get in on the hype with her. These middle-grade books follow, Sophie, a young girl who discovers she's an elf and gets wrapped up in the conflicts of the magical elf world. I enjoyed the first two books, but the third one, Everblaze, is what took the series to a whole other level for me! I'm amazed by the detail and care the author puts into her world building. It's so much better than a lot of adult fantasy books I've read. Every little thing is explained so well and is actually useful to the progression of the story. The characters are developed so well and have such distinct personalities (Keefe is the best!), the plot is fast-pace with lots of twists and turns, and it's overall such a fun time. This is a series I firmly believe anyone at any age can enjoy.  


The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery


This was my first L.M. Montgomery book outside of her Anne of Green Gables series, and it officially solidified her as a favorite author of all time. This book has much more mature themes than Anne's books did (at least the earlier ones), since the heroine, Valancy, is in her twenties, trying to find her own voice and sense of adventure while living with an overbearing, stifling family. Valancy's journey to love and happiness and her overall character growth are done so well and I was cheering her on the whole way. I also just cannot get over the sheer beauty of L.M. Montgomery's writing. No one makes you feel the changing of the seasons or the beauty of nature quite like her. If you enjoy any of Montgomery's other work, you will definitely love this gorgeous, romantic book.


The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah


This was another book that took me by surprise this year. I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale when I read it a few years back, but this one overwhelmed me with its sense of place and the dynamic character relationships. Set in the wilderness of Alaska in the 1970's, this is the coming-of-age story of Leni, a young girl growing up with an abusive, survivalist father who struggles with PTSD from the Vietnam war. Kristin Hannah creates such a beautiful atmosphere with the harshness of Alaska as the backdrop of the story. There are so many layers to this story, showing how abuse isn't always such a black and white issue, and how it can be hard to get out. There were several times I could not put the book down as I raced to find out what happened in the end. Definitely a worthwhile book that is not too overshadowed by The Nightingale at all!


The Shadow Rising - Robert Jordan


I've been continuing on in my read through of The Wheel of Time, and I've been loving it! (Don't get me started on the show, though. I was thoroughly disappointed.) This fourth installment was by far the best in the series that I've read so far and I can completely understand how it's a fan favorite. The series keeps getting elevated with each book, but this one took it a step further than any others. It's really become it's own among other fantasy series I've read. I absolutely loved Mat's storyline and how everyone else has really grown in their abilities and motivations. I also appreciated the deeper look into the history and culture of the Aiel, and how we continue to learn more and more about the magic system. Of course, I can't get into too much detail in this short review in order to avoid spoilers, but this is definitely a dense fantasy series worth the hype!


Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers - Dane C. Ortlund


This was short, but impactful Christian non-fiction book that dives deep into the character of Jesus, especially examining his heart toward sinners according to the gospel. The truthful reminders of Jesus' sacrifice and how he understands our suffering were sobering and beautiful. Ortlund also looked at what Jesus is doing for us now by interceding on our behalf, which was another great reminder that he is always with us, that his work isn't done, that sinners and sufferers can still find rest in him. It's hard to put all my thoughts on this book into a coherent review because I know I'll need to reread it a couple more times to fully understand its impact. But I loved it and I recommend it to any Christian.

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What were your favorite books of 2021? I'd love to hear about them in a comment!


Read about my previous favorite books of each year:


My favorite books of 2020

My favorite books of 2019

My favorite books of 2018

My favorite books of 2017

1 comment

  1. Yay! Hannah has appeared in the blogging world once more : )

    The only one from your list I've read is The Great Alone. I have a couple others from her on my shelf to read soon. I'm curious to see if The Nightingale was a "once in a career" novel or if I'll love another just as well.

    Happy New Year!
    k.

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