I didn’t do anything fun to announce my fave reads of 2021 like I did for 2020 (see: no motivation; Zombie In January) but here is a list of my favorites in no particular order. Also, I already wrote up lame reviews for each one throughout the year, so this is literally just a list with maybe a few thoughts peppered throughout, but please note that if someone were to ask me, “SAY* ERIN, CAN YOU RECOMMEND A BOOK FOR ME TO READ” I would 100% refer them to this list. These were SOLID 5 star reads, you guys.
*(After I typed this the other day, I felt inspired to be more “1950s pure” in my blog writings. You’re welcome.)
(Pro Tip: You should also follow her on Instragram.
2. Writers & Lovers – Lily King
I fell in love with Lily King while reading this. It was sublime.
3. The Dutch House – Ann Patchett
Because of my own family sitch, I related a lot to this and it gave me big throat lumps and wet eyes.
My third Mary H.K. Choi novel, and the one that solidified her as one of my current favorite writers. Please read this.
5. Goodbye, Vitamin – Rachel Khong
I laughed out loud but also cried out loud. Also, after reading this, I realized that whatever subgenre of literary fiction/contemporary fiction you would categorize this, it’s clearly my favorite genre/style. I should ask my library to match me with similar books, shouldn’t I?
6. Crying In H-Mart – Michelle Zauner
Surely you’ve heard of this, if not already read it. It was one of the most hyped books of 2021 and deservedly so! Zauner is an exquisite writer, and her story is raw and real. Bonus: if you’re a Korean food aficionado like I am, you will really really really love all the references and food talk. But um, be prepared to cry at least a little. Unless you’re Henry. He is going to read this and I bet he won’t cry.
7. Anxious People – Fredrik Backman
I fully expected the follow-up to Backman’s “Beartown” to be in my top reads of 2021, but when I read Anxious People, it knocked “Us Against You” off the list. Backman is a master of writing an “assemble cast.” Every single person in this book was multi-dimensional, memorable, and loveable in spite of their flaws. I only just recently saw that this was turned into a Netflix mini-series and I’m excited to watch it, but also nervous because I could not get past the first episode of the Beartown series on HBO.
8. What Comes After – JoAnne Tompkins
If this book was on Facebook, its status should just be “It’s Complicated.” I read this while we were on our rollercoaster road trip over the summer and had to keep scrounging the car for napkins because I was crying so hard. Found family tropes always get me.
9. Razorblade Tears – S.A Crosby
This was a wild, emotional, violent, funny, scary, intense, sad ride. Henry loved it too!
10. In My Dreams I Hold a Knife – Ashley Winstead
OK Ashley Winstead. I see you. Looking forward to reading the one!
I just had a straight-up bitchin’ time reading this. The writing was hilarious, the small town fall vibes are cozy, and the characters are v.memorable. (RALPH FOR BEST SUPPORTING CHARACTER.)
12. Build Your House Around My Body – Violet Kupersmith
This book has so much going on, it is so rich with culture and folklore, and something that I will never forget. It deserves a re-read.
13. Butter Honey Pig Bread – Francesca Ekwuyasi
When I read books as intelligent and masterfully written as this one, I am so fucking glad that I never wanted to be a novelist because how?? This one blew my mind. I want to buy my own copy just so I can hug it and then re-read it until I can quote from it in my sleep.
Well, that’s a wrap. Best 13 from 2021. (I think I had 13 in my list last year too!?) Gotta use this as an excuse to repost a NCT127 “Favorite” video for the 87th time, lol: