2021 In Books!

We’re back! I’m back! You’re back! Back back back! Let’s talk about book book books! (ha)

Fifty. Fifty novels. I made my goal in the NICK of time on December 31st at 11am. (Not pm, you know I’m a snooze parade by 9.)

Without a doubt, 2021 was a spectacular year of reads. Some better than others. Some epic, some meh, some that just hit the spot (re: Elin). And I’mon break it AWL down for ya. This is the list of books I read this year (BTW, here’s my Goodreads in case you need yet another thing in your life. <you do>.), but not in this exact order. The list is backwards, but only in chunks. The chunks are correct, but the order is reverse.

Never mind.

The best of this round? Let’s see if I can even do this:

Okay, if I had to pick five, it would BE – Mexican Gothic (so trippy), Blackbird Café (you’ll want pie), Before We Were Yours (incredibly gripping), The Blue Bistro (classic Elin), The Four Winds (epic Hannah), The Push (that last line!), and American Dirt (just unbelievable).

And that was seven. See I already can’t narrow down.

The others didn’t suck at all (like Rodham was fantastic, and The Wife Upstairs was GREAT). Basically add them all to your list this year.

Okay the warmer months! I’m going to attempt a top five to seven again. Let’s see.

For SURE All the Light We Cannot See, We Run the Ti– actually this is going to be impossible. I’m reading all these titles and remembering just how much I obsessed over everything. Matter of fact during this era I remember Ashlee texting me, “Damn we’re reading some seriously good stuff right now.” She wasn’t wrong.

Okay, top three, if I can:: Golden Girl, In Five Years, and Early Morning Riser. And The Rumor.

Scratch that, add them all. Add them all right now.

Ahhhh into our fall reads!

Okay, top five, if it’s possible. It Ends With Us (I cried), A Slow Fire Burning (so good!), The Paper Palace (gonna land in the top ten of the year), The Husbands (eeeee!), and Apples Never Fall (you know I love family dynamics.)

But listen, they’re all fantastic. Just add them. Now.

And then holiday! Well, and My Lovely Wife. It’s the way the list looked, okay?

I DID love My Lovely Wife. (think: Dexter meets You – crazy.)

My favorite of holiday had to be The Christmas Bookshop. Now listen, I’m a firm believer that Christmas books are allowed to be sugary, fuzzy, cheesy, all the Hallmark. But The Christmas Bookshop had a little more to it, so it won. But all of them are perfect for December reads! The Santa Suit came in second.

And now you want a top ten, I knew it.

Okay, my TOP MAYBE TEN, in no particular order. I think.

In Five Years

Early Morning Riser

The Rumor

The Paper Palace

Midnight at the Blackbird Café

American Dirt

It Ends With Us

All the Light We Cannot See

The Four Winds

Before We Were Yours

(but like, ALL of Elin Hilderbrand is next in line. All of them. No question. Don’t try and argue with me.)

(Wait, the Paris Wife was magnificent, too! And of course both Lisa Jewell books. I’m zero help, is what I’m saying.)

So this is next! I’m about 30 pages from the end of The Language of Flowers, and it’s blowing me away. So beautiful and sad and, well, floral. Clearly I’m obsessed. After this I’ll dive into The Castaways, which I’m sure will only do me right.

Alright, you’re up! Tell me your favorites from the year, what you plan to read, and what I should add. (I’m going to get into Joan Didion!) And if you’d like more specific in-depth blog posts on books, I have them! Here, here, here, here, here and here. And here! Oh, and here. Also, here’s my huge recap for 2020. Just in case you have three hours you need to figure out something to do with today.

So glad to be back, and to have you all back. On Thursday I’ll have some new tunes to start your year, and then we’re solidly back in regular rotation. Giddy up.


24 Responses to 2021 In Books!

  1. Nancy January 4, 2022 at 9:29 am #
    I read In Five Years based on your review earlier in the year and I also loved it! Have you read anything else by R. Serle? I am basically late to every party so I just got around to reading "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Where the Crawdads Sing" in 2021 and loved them both! I've got "The Four Winds" and will be reading it soon but I've got to get my mind right to read Kristin Hannah. Always so much struggle in most of her books. Just me?
    • Bev Weidner January 4, 2022 at 10:32 am #
      Ahhhh I love Kristin Hannah! She's a hefty writer, for sure. You have to be in the mood to really FEEL her. I'm going to add The Fault in Our Stars!
  2. Kim January 4, 2022 at 9:37 am #
    I like a good family drama too, & if you're looking for another one, don't sleep on Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen! Almost 600 pages but reads so fast- WORTH IT.
    • Bev Weidner January 4, 2022 at 10:31 am #
      Ooooo the cover has been intriguing me for some time! ADDING.
  3. Brienne January 4, 2022 at 10:17 am #
    Read Such A Fun Age immediately. Love all your reccs! xo
    • Bev Weidner January 4, 2022 at 10:30 am #
      Ahhh I loved that one last year, yes!
    • Nancy January 5, 2022 at 10:17 am #
      I loved this book, too! I believe it's being made into a movie. I hope so! Even tho I know the book is always better :)
  4. Janet January 4, 2022 at 10:35 am #
    The House in the Cerulean Sea. Quirky. Weird. Most heart warming.
  5. Smitha Reads Too Much January 4, 2022 at 11:00 am #
    Hi Bev! Love the list and Language of Flowers is one of my favorite all time. Here was my top 10 out of 110 books in 2021: 1. Once There Were Wolves - Charlotte McGonaghy ⁃ beautifully written story with heart and a great message about saving our planet too. And the rest of my top 10 in no particular order: 2. Cloud Cuckoo Land - Anthony Doerr There is no way to explain this book except to say it involves three very different time periods and one very unusual play. You will fall in love with all the characters including the “bad” ones. 3 & 4. Malibu Rising & The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid. TJR is a master. She writes books with characters I feel like I know in real life. I empathize with them to a point where I can guess how they will react in a situation. And even when they aren’t predictable, it’s enjoyable. Can’t wait for her next 5 books. 5. The Paper Palace by Miranda Crowley. A lot of people had mixed reviews on this one. Especially towards the ending. I thought the ending was perfect. I thought about it for days later. And even now, I don’t think I would change a thing. 6. We Begin at the End - Chris Whitaker. This was one of those books where I was 10% in and I already knew it was going to be one of my very favorite books. It’s so clever and like nothing I have read before. 7. The Seven Sisters series - Lucinda Riley. I’m so happy I read 6/7 of them this year. A clever weaving of historical and literary fiction. I highly recommend the audio version of this one. 8. Writers & Lovers - Lilly King. I recommended and/or loaned out this book to so many people. It was a great story with so much depth and heart. A little far and a little dreamy and another great ending with a choice. 9. The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh. A thriller. A love story. A coming of age. All in one. I bet you haven’t read something like this before. 10. Once and Future Witches - Alix Harrow. I couldn’t decide between this one or 10,000 Doors of January. I loved both but Witches with its undertones of feminism captivated me.
  6. Jb January 4, 2022 at 12:11 pm #
    I’m excited to read some of these! The best books I’ve read this year is 100% “The Lonesome Dove” and “Gone with the Wind”.
  7. Kyra Strachan January 4, 2022 at 12:24 pm #
    In five years had me sobbing over my best friends! Blue bistro was my first ever Hilderbrand and you are so right, she’s phenomenal. One of my all time fav books is called Sum by David Eagleman. It’s a collection of short stories about different afterlife scenarios. It’s creepy at times and thought provoking at others. Plus you can read it in one sitting. I’m looking forward to Portrait of a Scotsman this year!
  8. Anne Parker January 4, 2022 at 12:27 pm #
    OK...The Castaways is one of my favorite books OF ALL TIME! And you are going to LOVE Last Summer at the Golden Hotel. Enjoy!!!
  9. B. Helen January 4, 2022 at 1:46 pm #
    Kristin Hannah made it on my list too! "Best Books to Read In The New Year"- https://lifewithbhelen.com/?p=99 I've heard All The Light We Cannot See is amazing too! From my list linked above, I would recommend Killing November...I think you would like it.
  10. Trisha F January 4, 2022 at 2:45 pm #
    Love your book reviews, friend!! Can't wait to dig into some of these that are on my list! XO
  11. Kara January 4, 2022 at 3:19 pm #
    Love this list, a few I have read already but adding some to my reading list for this year! Love Elin, everything she writes is cozy! Add No Exit by Taylor Adams and Verity by Colleen Hoover to your list for a couple thrills if you haven’t read them already! Those two were my favorites from past years and you won’t be disappointed! Happy reading!!
  12. Liz P January 4, 2022 at 3:19 pm #
    I always love hearing what you are reading! These are my top 5 from the past year: We are the Brennans by Tracey Lange, The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave, For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing, State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton, and The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles. I have started the year reading the Class Mom series by Laurie Gelman. They are fun, fast reads, and would definitely recommend them!
  13. Deanna January 4, 2022 at 5:43 pm #
    My favorite books of last year were (in the order read): Oona Out of Order, This Tender Land, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, The Four Winds, The Rose Code, Where the Lost Wander, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, The Light in Hidden Places, The People We Keep, The Cold Millions, These Silent Woods, and Cloud Cuckoo Land. I can’t pick a top 5, but if you haven’t read The People We Keep (about a young songwriter), Where the Lost Wander (took my back to playing Oregon trail and never making it to Oregon), The Rose Code, or The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue I think you’d like them! I just finished 100 Years of Lenin and Margot and highly recommend it too. My New Years goal is to read my favorite people’s favorite books, which should be interesting, although I’m not particularly looking forward to some of the classics that made the list
  14. Adrienne Harris January 4, 2022 at 6:14 pm #
    I read Luster and My Lovely Wife. Luster was a very out of the ordinary cheating story. I loved it. As far as My Lovely Wife goes, I wish someone could’ve videoed my facial expressions as I read. ? I thought this story was more out there than Gone Girl. I loved this book and wish I could find more books like it. It would make for a very interesting movie!
  15. Julie Pylkas January 6, 2022 at 6:00 pm #
    Paper Palace is my top read for this past year...loved it. Still think about it. I love your book content Bev!
  16. Jen January 8, 2022 at 7:53 am #
    YES!! My favorite posts of the year on here!! Thank you for sharing, I found my love of Elin through you and of course a verity..: (still scrambles my mind to think about that ending!) happy 2022 and thank you for sharing all of these with us!!! Ps I keep making that crunchy spicy Buffalo shrimp taco recipe on repeat, that may be my fav recipe you have shared this year!! Cheers my friend!
    • Bev Weidner January 10, 2022 at 9:11 am #
      Well Jen, you've made my whole day!
  17. Joanne January 11, 2022 at 6:01 pm #
    OH I see so many of my favorite books on here! I loved the Christmas Bookshop which I read in December too and thought it was just so well done.
    • Bev Weidner January 12, 2022 at 6:08 am #
      Yessss wasn't it just darling? But not TOO darling, ya know? Just the right amount. :)

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