This year has been a really tumultuous one for me; a roller coaster of a ride, if I may. Hence, the reason for not posting as regularly as I’d like (this post almost didn’t make it), due to lack of time and motivation, and most of the time I’m just too frazzled to write anything that make sense. Sometimes, I just feel like screaming into a pillow.
Last year I did a Top 10 of 2020, so I thought, I should do it again this year, just one last post before I bid 2021 goodbye and pray hard for a better 2022. Moreover, I did have some luck, stumbling across some really good reads before the closing of the year. A good sign for 2022, I hope?
So here is my Top 10 of 2021. Definitely an easier pick than last year when there were too many good books to choose from.
In no particular order:
The FIRST BOOK that I fell in love with was The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline: My year started strong with this one. A historical fiction that would stay for me for awhile and one that I’d strongly recommend to fans of historical fiction. My full review here.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune: Despite all the good recommendations from my fellow bibliophiles, I ended up enjoying this a lot, while others were so-so. This was so good I couldn’t write a review good enough to do it justice. I kept writing and rewriting and still felt it wasn’t good enough. My suggestion? JUST READ IT. I cried and smiled and laughed a lot throughout the book. And this book took me out of my reading slump!
Strange Weather in Tokyo: A Novel by Hiromi Kawakami: A quiet, unassuming short novel about the complexities of love and loneliness. I loved Strange Weather so much I bought a physical copy of my own. My full review here.
Ghost Forest: A Novel by Pik-Shuen Fung: This was such a great debut about a father-daughter relationship that strained after the family moved to Canada while the father stayed back in Hong Kong to work. This little novel was unforgettable and relatable. Just be prepared for a melancholic read. Full review here.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid: I didn’t expect much from this book due to its polarized reviews and it didn’t come recommended, but I was curious enough to check it out and surprisingly, I enjoyed it. Full RTC!
Leonard and Hungry Paul: A Novel by Rónán Hession: This book was really very different from many books that I had read. It’s a book about two introverts and ordinary people doing normal things from going to an interview to ordering food from a menu. Sounds boring right? But it wasn’t at all to me, which was what surprised me. A funny and heartwarming read. Full RTC!
Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith: A fun ride into the world of Vietnamese folklore, magical realism with some horror, history and mystery mixed in. I really enjoyed the journey. My review here.
My reading palate can be very varied, and I try to read across genres EXCEPT ROMANCE (unless I unknowingly read it), even my short stories genres ranged from historical to dark fairy tales. These are the ones that I loved this year.
Pianos and Flowers: Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind by Alexander McCall Smith: Beautiful, charming short stories about love, loss and friendships inspired by black and white pictures from the archives of the Sunday Times. I had many favorites in this collection. My full review here.
Hao: Stories by Ye Chun: Ahh…! Another strong collection of short stories, this one, mainly based on Chinese women living in China or America, about their hardships and struggles of motherhood, migration and being a woman in a patriarchal society. Full RTC.
Beasts and Beauty by Soman Chainani: Dark and twisted classic fairy tales, all unconventional and unexpected, just the way I like it! And the illustrations were gorgeous. I loved this so much I bought a copy for myself and the illustrations were even more striking in real life. Full RTC.
I haven’t read many non-fiction this year but those I have read were really good. Here they are:
In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bordain by Tom Vitale: I love watching Anthony Bordain’s show Parts Unknown and No Reservations. He had an enigmatic sorta personality that added a special layer and different touch to his travel/food shows, and he shared truly great insights on the places he visited. I of course, absolutely loved the episodes he did on Malaysia. I have so much to say about this book. It was amazing. 5 full hearts! Review here.
The Book of Hope: A Surviving Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Adams: A book about having hope despite challenging times. Another deserving 5 full hearts. My full review here.
So, there you go. My Top 10 (Psst! 12 actually. I cheated a bit 😅) How about you? Did you have a good reading year and found it hard to choose your top 10? Please share with me your thoughts or your links!
Last but not least, for those of you who are having or have had a not-so good year like me, this one’s for you, taken from one of my friend’s social media posts:
To all of you who’ve been so supportive of my blog, reading, commenting, and sharing my posts, a big thank you! This blogger would’ve survived the year without you all. To all the publishers who’ve been sending me delectable good reads, thank you, thank you!
A special shout-out to a friend whose kindness and thoughtfulness (and humor!) always warm my heart. If you’re reading this, thank you so much for making me feel less alone.
I’m going to end this post quoting this wise friend of mine, “We never know what life has in store for us, but often it is the making of us.”
Here’s wishing everyone a Happy, Merry and Better 2022! Covid, Omicron, Be Gone!