So I realized I hadn’t actually talked about any of the books that I read as a whole from 2021. While I read plenty of books, there were only a few that stuck with me, some of which I didn’t review in the moment, so I wanted to take the chance to share a few.
- Robert E Lee and Me by Ty Seidule: This book was a fascinating look at Robert E Lee’s legacy and how it can be innacurate. It’s written by someone who spent years idolizing Lee (and living in areas/working in institutions that idolized him) before realizing that Lee wasn’t a pinnacle or someone to look up to. This book goes into the history of the civil war, talks about why there are so many monuments to confederate soldiers (surprise surprise, the answer is blatant racism), and the debunks most of the things used to hold up the South’s argument to honor Lee.
- When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey: Honestly, this book stands out to me for the combination of creepiness of the book and how accurate the portrayals of high school were. The friendships and conversations between all of the people in the friendgroup reminded me viscerally of my own high school experience. But then the entire thing was surrounded by covering up a murder. Let’s just say this book had real emotional whiplash.
- Piranesi by Susanna Clarke: God this book is everything I could have hoped it would be. It’s about someone who is trapped in an endless library and is documenting his stay, before he realizes that he’s missing some of his memories. The characters are fascinating. The place setting is fascinating. And I find myself thinking about this book when people are asking for recommendations.
- The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik: God I would have thrown this book across the room except I had a digital version. This is my favorite kind of dark academia book, where there’s a little relational drama, but mostly just trying to survive.
- Finna by Nino Cipri: This book has a customer going missing through a portal in an Ikea-esque store. I love a multi-verse, I love a pirate story (yes there is one in this book), and I love a happy(ish) ending. I also appreciate what this book has to say about 1) chain stores being these liminal spaces where they have the same atmosphere no matter where you are, and 2) the way that our society has turned employment into considering the bottom line and nothing more has affected jobs specifically in the retail and labor markets….
- A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers: I’m not going to go too deep into why I loved this book as I know I did a review. But the world was amazing. and these deep philosophical conversations between a human trying to find it’s place, and a robot who seems to know what it’s about, it just killed me.
- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir: I’m a massive fan of the Martian and this book was a return to form. Weir does a great job of marrying hard science concepts (while still being science fiction) to the excitement of saving a world so well. This book was just fun and I know I’ll end up re-reading it.
Looking back on it, these were some of my favorite books of the year. I know I didn’t review all of them, but if you’re looking to expand your TBR, I think these are worth taking a chance.
I’d love to hear if you liked these books the way I did, or if I inspired you to pick one of them up!