My Top Ten for 2021

That’s right- it’s time for the best post of the year because these are the very best books I read!! And as usual, it’s a very different mix! This was the year of historical fiction and big surprises! Okay- let’s not waste any time and get to the good stuff!

Pumpkinhead– some books are just like getting a big, warm hug! This is the kind of story I know I’m going to return to again and again… and now that I have a copy of my own you can be sure that’s what I’m going to do every autumn 😉

Hunchback of Notre Dame– as good as I thought it would be! Far, far from the Disney version, this is a harsh and yet still stunning story. Set in 15th Century France, it is a moving tragedy of good, evil and those who fall in between.

Girl With Seven Names– I don’t know how I haven’t managed to talk about this on the blog before now. This was a phenomenal memoir about a North Korean defector. I was simply bowled over by her story- she’s such an inspirational, incredible woman!

Bring Up the Bodies– I finally read the Wolf Hall trilogy and it was genius! My favourite instalment was easily Bring Up the Bodies– where the threads of the story knit together… and where we can also see them beginning to fray apart.

Kindred– this was so much more than a sci fi about time-travelling- it’s about a woman’s journey through history and personal self-discovery. It’s a masterpiece. I can’t wait to read more by the author!

Salt Path– I listened to this on audiobook and that made the experience all the more evocative. Raynor’s voice brought her descriptions to life and made me feel like I was going on the walk with her. Such a surprising story of human endurance, this begins with an ugly situation, but winds up revealing the beauty that is all around us.

House of Hollow– I normally don’t like creepy stories, so this YA horror was a huge surprise. I have to admit, I was initially drawn in by THAT COVER- I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. And once I started reading, it was even worse. I fell under its atmospheric spell with every turn of the page; I was captivated by each and every character. I was taken far out of my comfort zone and blown away by what I found. This is not the kind of book that lets you forget about it either- it leaves you hungering for more and stuck ruminating on everything that happened. By far the best of its kind I’ve ever read. 

Nightingale– this shattered my heart… and now I want everyone to have the same experience! Such a powerful WW2 story- I love how it captured the beauty of the human spirit and managed to stay true to the realities of the time period. 

Code Name Verity– another WW2 book… and yet this is a book unlike any other. Soaring to unbelievable heights and shocking lows, I honestly didn’t expect to fall for it as much as I did.

Where the Crawdads Sing– this was nothing short of beautiful. This book has *everything* I could ever want in a story- a moving story, twists, mystery, love, coming-of-age. All of which flow seamlessly into each other, sweeping you up in the current of a melodically written narrative. Truly, I cannot applaud it enough. 

So, have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2021? Let me know in the comments!

42 thoughts on “My Top Ten for 2021

  1. I’ve only read Where the Crawdads Sing and it definitely made its way onto my top 10 list for 2021 as well, although not the number 1 spot. I think it landed on number 4, if I remember that correctly! All of that aside, I’d really like to read Kindred someday.

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  2. I’ve only read Pumpkinheads and I really enjoyed it and agree with what you said about it. There are several others that you mentioned on your list that I have on my TBR to read eventually. Hopefully sooner rather than later but we shall see.

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  3. You have several of my favourites on that list. As a long-distance path walker myself, I loved The Salt Path – it’s so much more of a journey than the actual route travelled. Code Name Verity made me cry, and Where the Crawdads Sing is just brilliant. I listened to the Hilary Mantel trilogy after watching Wolf Hall, so I ‘saw’ Mark Rylance as Cromwell while I was listening, which was not a bad thing!

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  4. I loved Where the Crawdad Sings. I like the quick to the point reviews you’ve given, and I’m interested in House of Hollow because of your review. I don’t usually read scary books, but if you like it, well, I’ll give it a go. Here’s one for you, The Good Son, by Jacquelyn Mitchard,

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  5. I loved Where the Crawdad Sings, Pumpkin Heads & The Nightingale too! I read and enjoyed the graphic novel version of Kindred, and have always meant to read the original version.

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  6. Wow, you have so many books I love on your list! Pumpkinheads is adorable, and I do want to read it over and over again. I loved The Salt Path so much! She has a sequel out, and I just picked up the paperback recently. I hope to get to it when I have a weekend to sit and enjoy it. I love Code Name Verity so much — it makes me cry every time. And I also love Bringing Up the Bodies (still need to read #3) and Crawdads. Looks like you read some fabulous books this past year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah that’s great!! Me too!! Oh awesome- I’m hoping to listen to that one on audio, cos I really liked listening to the first one. Ahh yes! Same! Mirror in the light was a good end to the series (though not as good as bring up the bodies) Crawdads was fantastic- hope you love it! I did!!

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